"The Black Skull, the Broom and the Can of Hair Spray" Edition
Obligatory shilling. I wrote for the latest edition of The Critic about underground education and culture in communist Poland.
Also for The Critic, I wrote about the 150th anniversary of the birth of Bertrand Russell.
There are still places on my little writing course for Paideia.
In personnel news. I have been fortunate enough to be invited to join The Critic as a contributing editor from July. This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone but it feels especially wonderful as someone who dropped out of one of London’s lesser universities and went to Upper Silesia to teach the perfect tense.
THE ZONE will continue but I’m not sure about this aspect of it. Spending a lot of time promoting the work of other publications seems undutiful. Perhaps it can become a more irregular diary? We’ll see.
A cheery jingle. The great Sam Ashworth-Hayes looks ahead to Britain in 2049:
As you follow the instructions, a camera mounted on your television tracks your movements and estimates your calories burned. Ten minutes later, you’re judged to have Done Your Bit for Our NHS. A cheery jingle plays to congratulate you, and your wrist buzzes as a small sum is added to your balance. You decide a shower isn’t worth the time or carbon credits.
Characters and character. Will Lloyd reflects on Winston Churchill and Boris Johnson:
The version of Winston remembered by Britain, and imitated by Johnson, is a false one. The picture is incomplete. In his last years Churchill said over and over again that he wished he had died in 1945. His beloved Empire was being dismantled. Communists dominated most of the Eurasian landmass. Socialism appeared to be the future of British politics.
Heroes are not supposed to go on. Either they die young, like Alexander did at 32, or their ludicrous self-image cannot be maintained in the face of the reality of the world. After a certain age, failure sets in like frost.
Or milk. Do men age like wine? Not without a lot of work, says Ed West:
In reality, men reach their peak of desirability a bit later than women, but it’s not that much later. Men hit the wall, too. Male attractiveness actually peaks around the mid-20s, only three or four years after women, and starts to drop quite sharply after 40.
They’ll break a man’s arm but can they fix a man’s heart? I’ve never used online dating and nothing I’ve heard about it has made me regret that. Still, it isn’t going to disappear, any more than the computer and the streaming service. Elle from Swan Dating is trying to bring humanity to the form:
Your list of requirements becomes longer and longer as you scroll through more people, and in the end, you become incapable of settling on anyone. All you see are flaws that the next person you swipe on might not have.
At Swan, we think optimizing for a handful of really good matches, rather than a high quantity of mediocre matches, is the way forward.
Against the depressive horde. Alex Perez advises young writers against overdosing on the blackpill:
Reveling in the ‘baseness’ of things might get you closer to the societal truths you seek to uncover, but that’s not enough. It’s only when these young, dissident writers get away from the terminally blackpilled themes and antisocial views that they’ll open themselves — and their work — to the possibilities inherent in style, tone, and narrative hijinks.
Have a lovely week,