"Don’t Forget to Like, Comment, Subscribe, Pledge Loyalty, Leave Your Home, Leave Your Family, Change Your Name, Take Off Your Clo---" Edition
Obligatory shilling. For The Critic I wrote about how it is easy to criticise Tony Blair and New Labour – and fun as well!
Dangerous driving in Donbas. A brave and brilliant piece of war reporting from Aris Roussinos:
It is strangely tranquil, lying in the long grass fragrant with wild herbs, listening to the cuckoos and the rustle of the oak leaves — until the radios crackle and the mortar squad shout out their orders. Now.
One thing I love about my town is that it is small enough that I can jog into the countryside in fifteen minutes. Running around, I always notice the old bunkers nestling in the grass. My friend and I used to drink on top of one of them, listening to the birds (when it was not to music from a mobile phone). War haunts peace, as it should. Now was then, and could be then.
Avant guards. In a great essay for Tablet, Armin Rosen speaks to the subversive Ariel Pink:
Rosenberg’s career is the story of how indie rock purged monsters that the culture had wrongly tolerated—or perhaps it’s the story of how even the most supposedly open sectors of the American creative scene abruptly slammed shut, losing any remaining patience for the complexities and cognitive dissonances that form the bulk of human existence. Both are really the same story, of how American culture got so stupid and so boring so quickly.
If all you have is a hammer. SW1 Forum investigates, with reference to a study of maternal mortality, how explaining societal inequalities with reference to such vague forces as “structural racism” tends to obscure their nature:
Looking at the MBRRACE data, it is true that certain minorities are more likely to die: 8 in every 100,000 white women but 15 for Asians and 40 for black women. However the report ignores that the same data also shows that women of Chinese/others ethnicity were the least likely to die, with only 5.32 in every 100,000 doing so.
When it comes to dying mothers, our explanations had better be accurate.
History and histeria. Terry Glavin reports on how scandals concerning Canadian residential schools and indigenous children blended truth and fantasy:
One of the most totemic images from the turbulent summer of 2021 depicted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holding a teddy bear, kneeling at a little flag marking the site of a grave near the former Marieval residential school on the Cowessess reserve in Saskatchewan’s Qu’Appelle Valley.
Except it wasn’t a just-discovered residential school burial ground. The graveyard where Trudeau knelt was a Catholic cemetery, a community cemetery. Children and adults, Indigenous and settler, were buried there, going back generations.
The thrill of the pace. Ross Hunt investigates the addictive nature of running apps:
…it turns out the adoption of Strava was more widespread than even its owners knew, and that its users were more devoted than even the app’s engineers realized: apparently soldiers, special forces troops, and intelligence operative around the world posted all of their runs and workouts to Strava religiously. By publishing their routes, Strava inadvertently revealed the location of US, French, and Nigerian military camps and intelligence facilities around the world. CIA “black sites” that had remained opaque to enemy surveillance for years were suddenly lit up in bright orange blueprints for all the world to see (Strava has since considerably increased its focus on user privacy).
Have a lovely week,