Also for Spectator USA I wrote about Elon Musk, as a man and as a cultural phenomenon.
I wrote a short piece for UnHerd about the media's about turn on Andrew Cuomo.
Finally, I wrote for my paying Substack subscribers about deepfakes and the future of images.
Tournowskie Góry. I hope at least some people enjoy the photos I put here. I love my town and like to show it off. If you're someone who thinks “this guy posts a good link every now and then but I'm sick of these stupid photos”, though, you're out of luck because the next one is even getting an introduction. On one side of Tarnowskie Góry is a cluster of mounds produced, no doubt, by mining. On one side is a WW2 bunker. I don't think it saw action but can you imagine crouching here, with a gun, looking out across the valley.
Uncanny reverberances. Bogna Konior and Łukasz Biederman have produced a wonderful photo-essay about Polish mysteriousness:
Poland seemed to Westerners both other and familiar. It was the uncanny of Europe, the East of the West, and the West of the East. Poland was like the uncomfortable feeling of someone else having been to your home while you were away. Something's not quite right.
Going. A tribute to Philip Larkin has been placed on a list of “statues of concern” by Hull City Council as part of a handwringing response to Black Lives Matter protests. Now, Larkin has not been “cancelled”. His statue is still standing. But the fact that people in positions of authority could even think about attempting to defenestrate the memory of a man who gave such beauty to the world - “An Arundel Tomb”, “Church Going”, “High Windows”, “Faith Healing” et cetera - on the basis of obnoxious private sentiments says a great deal about the censorious mediocrity of this cultural moment.
We’ve developed a bias that something…obvious must be wrong in some way. We love counter-intuitive explanations for the world, when most of the time the world is just intuitive.
Of course, there are limits to intuitive thinking as well. The world defies the maintenance of a single line of thought - be it straight or at an angle.
The case against lockdowns. Philippe Lemoine makes it at his usual tireless length. I am not sure he is right (and have largely stopped commenting on corona-related issues as I do not think I have anything substantive to say) but as with everything Philippe writes, it merits consideration.
Living history. Great excitement in Exeter, England last week as an unexploded bomb dropped in World War Two had to be blown up after residents had been evacuated. My grandparents were among them. I was a WW2 buff when I was a kid, and it seems mildly funny that I used to read history books in my grandparents’ house as the past and the present mingled underneath us. As for Gran and Grandad, I think they can now can claim to have survived Hitler on two occasions - seven decades apart.
I used to love a good conversation. I used to do well in interviews. I used to pride myself on my lecturing skills when teaching. Now I stutter constantly, struggle to follow what’s being said, stumble forward like my shoelaces are tied together, constantly fearing humiliating myself as I push through the fog. I don’t have anything artful or poignant to say about it. I just hate what my mind has become.
A wonderful gift. If you read my memorial for my mum you might remember seeing my favourite photo of her. Our dear family friend Anne painted this beautiful picture of the scene, and my dad was kind enough to send it to me. If I ever have an office it will take pride of place as constant inspiration.
Work-meets-life. My sister, Lucy, has written a lovely piece about worship, faith and our mother's Bible.
Have a lovely week,