"And We Are Proof That The Heart Is A Risky Fuel To Burn" Edition
I've been in talks with investors about expanding The Zone into a fully-fledged media empire. The usual suspects are interested, like the Bilderberg Group, the Chinese Communist Party and Ray's Peanuts, “the nuttiest peanuts in town”. All of them made tempting offers but I told them, “No! I'm not going to sacrifice the independence and integrity that MY readers expect for ANY money less than five million pounds.” Sadly, they lost interest after that.
Obligatory shilling. It was a busy week. I reviewed Michael Sandel's The Tyranny of Merit for Arc Digital. (I wish I had written more about the common progressive equation of diversity with merit but the points I made stand.)
I wrote for The Critic about a political crisis in Poland that somehow revolved around a ban on fur.
I have a piece in this month's Catholic Herald about why, as an agnostic, I am still attracted to the Church. (It should be online soon.)
Finally, I wrote for my paying Substack subscribers about trying and failing to make fun of Martin Amis.
Poor kids. I don't want to get too into tub-thumping in this space but I can't stop thinking about this. Young Britons - many of whom have already been screwed by the A-Levels débâcle - have been encouraged to apply to universities and to leave their hometowns and live in student halls. There, they have, in many cases, been offered online courses - and ordered not to leave their rooms, sometimes under the threat of force. They will pay thousands of pounds for this privilege. This is systematic sociopathy. Let them live, or at least send them home with refunds.
But also, close a lot of these courses and universities. I agree with my right-wing peers that much of what is taught in them is leftist propaganda but I also agree with left-wingers that the system has turned into a racket. Cut it down to size. There is no need for lots of kids to be there. Justifiably, millions of them will never forgive the Tories.
Here is a good post by “Rory” on all this.
Bye, ologist. The College Historical Society has rescinded a speaking invitation to Richard Dawkins, on the grounds of his opinions regarding Islam.
“I truthfully hope we didn’t cause too much discomfort,” says the limp organiser. I disagree with Dawkins on almost everything, but imagine being discomfited by such a mild-mannered and civilised old man. What makes such people uncomfortable is people disagreeing with them.
Warlike people in conflicted times. Scott Beauchamp on Vikings.
Milestones. Clive James on memorising poetry.
Getting medieval. Mary Wellesley on the rich scholarship of the “Dark Ages”.
Surveillance society. Rod Dreher considers the advance of the technology required for a Western “social credit” system. He thinks it would be used against “political dissenters”, and I'm sure it would be, but it is worth pointing out where the research he analyses locates its function:
This means that systems will ultimately be used for a variety of commerce and lifestyle-related issues ranging from risk assessment (access to credit, financing fees, insurance, etc.) to accessibility within public places such as concerts, sporting events, and other assemblies.
To a large extent, then, it is of interest as a tool for predatory financial institutions. My point is that when conservatives talk about “woke capitalism” it is not just the modifier that makes the concept problematic.
Have a lovely week,