Written By GingersnapComments Off on Fifty Billion Shades of Gray – Aug 24, 2018
Billions: Integrating Mental Health, Finance, Silicon Valley Industries and Law and Order, with a Little Yonkers-Secret-Recipe-Pizza
by Anna Kornbluh | Los Angeles Review of Books | August 24, 2018
Ten years ago, the collapse of Lehman Brothers triggered the global financial crisis of 2008. Democrats were eight years in power, and their failure to prosecute the corporate criminals behind the crisis surely ranks as their biggest legacy. That failure was the condition of possibility for the anti-elite narrative that inspired the white working class and the white upper class to support a genuinely fascist insurgency before and beyond November 2016. It was also the condition of possibility for Billions.
Across its three seasons on Showtime, Billions explores the aftermath of Lehman’s and Obama’s 2008 peaks, tracking the waning and waxing faculty of elite professionals to steer their careers and helm the most powerful country in the world. The show is built around an extended parallel between outer-borough upstart Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), principal of the wildly fruitful hedge fund Axe Capital, and Manhattan WASP Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti), US Attorney for the New York Southern District and hero of a counterfactual recent past in which 81 bankers and traders were successfully prosecuted for their outlaw engineering of toxic asset slides. Rhoades fancies himself a just warrior, fighting against “[these] Teflon corporations that defraud the American people on a grand scale.” As the series opens he levels his gaze at Axe, the Moby-Dick of parkour finance.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on How To Dress Like a Billionaire – April 23, 2018
Now on its third season, Showtime’s dramedy “Billions” masterfully captures the changing dress codes of the finance world
by Jacob Gallagher | Wall Street Journal | April 23, 2018
Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (next to his wife Lara, played by Malin Akerman) wearing his trademark hoodie. Source: Showtime – Photo by Jeff Neumann
TYPE “BOBBY AXELROD” into Google and the first recommendation that pops up is “Bobby Axelrod hoodie.” So, to satisfy your curiosity: Mr. Axelrod, the cool-as-an-ice-cube-in-Alaska protagonist of Showtime’s series “Billions,” wears Loro Piana zip-ups. They’re cashmere and just in case you’re really interested in dressing like the man who makes the billions on “Billions,” each one costs $2,295. For a glorified sweatshirt, they’re a needlessly expensive indulgence, which makes them perfect for a show that is the embodiment of what wealth looks like today.
Now on its third season, the drama unfurls a cat-and-mouse chase between Mr. Axelrod (played by Damien Lewis), an ethically flexible Manhattan hedge fund manager, and Charles “Chuck” Rhoades Jr. (played by Paul Giamatti), an ethically flexible United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. The plots weave stock swapping and legal loopholing with fist-bumping bros, strip-club sushi lunches and even an excursion to a BDSM dungeon. In short, the show is glorious, greedy fun.
More than that though, what “Mad Men” did to immortalize the style of 1950s ad agencies, “Billions” is doing for post-Great Recession financial firms. Aside from his used-Camry-priced hoodie, Mr. Axelrod dresses more or less like the guy who sold me my coffee this morning, with his simple, dark A.P.C. jeans and egalitarian Puma sneakers. Gordon Gekko would mistake Bobby Axelrod for an intern.