16th of March: Redesign

Bit of an aesthetic shake-up this week. Charlie pointed me towards another blog, A View From The Cave, doing a similar type of review piece as a template, and I’m going to shamelessly nick it. Obviously though, you should check it out – I’ve even linked two separate weeks. We’re going sparse bullet-pointed lists and occasional flashy media embeds today, people. Let me know what you think.

Opening with a song from my most-played this week for you to have on in the background – an old classic from Jorge Ben Jor that I rediscovered recently.


International Relations and Security Stuff

  • If you’re not bored of reading commentators dissect the Crimea situation, these two are good on the vapid media response, and this is strong on the politics of annexation
  • This is a nice interview with the author of this piece – War on the Rocks’ 5 Questions feature is always worth checking out
  • This piece is a gentle and very evidence-based critique of the campaigning around Syria at the moment. On which note, can I just indulge in a bit of mean-spirited judging and link you to this delightful Twitter exchange? Sunny Hundal, people
  • This a thoughtful post from Jay Ulfedler (with lots of good links within it) on what an uptick in incidences of state mass killings last year means
  • Few weeks ago I posted an article defending the F-35, then I read this absolute savaging of the whole program and now I’m lost. See what you think, but it’s pretty damning stuff.

Serious Miscellany

Finished Season 4 of The Wire this week so these seemed relevant

  • Two of them are by Jamelle Bouie over at The Daily Beast. This, on the dog-whistly euphemism that is “inner-city poverty” and the GOP’s bad solutions, led to this introduction to some of the nasty policy decisions that “built the ghetto” as he puts it.
  • Meanwhile, this is quite a sad account, from a guy who lost his job for bullshit reasons, of what working in retail can be like

Development and aid isn’t my area really so I’ll point you over to the blogs linked in the introduction who specialise in it. Still;

  • This is an interesting report on what Invisible Children (of #Kony2012 fame) are up to now. One of my first, and most successful posts on here, was about that campaign when it was happening, so this was sort of enlightening. Worth reading anyway.
  • Another report on a charity – sponsoring Haitian kids. This one toes the line of being a bit white saviour-y but is nicely-enough written
  • Finally, not only was there more mass killing last year, but just generally more humanitarian disasters, to the point where the system can’t cope. So that’s nice.
  • I like Clive Martin and this Vice piece from him on masculinity on modern-day in Britain is funny. Still, I also like Ally Fogg and I think he makes some fair criticisms here so read both.
  • Another Vice piece (and it’s very Vice), about a tourist’s horrid experience with Tanzanian police that is properly strange and I’m not sure how I feel about it to be honest. Read it, but it’s kind of fucked.
  • This is a nice piece defending Pope Francis’ actions under the military dictatorship if only just to be reminded how fucking horrid the those regimes were. On that note, this is a nice reminder from Patrick Iber that things do get better:  


  • Closing out this section is this fascinating but fucking long (it took me two days commute to finish it) by Andrew O’Hagan, who was meant to ghost Julian Assange’s autobiography.

Popular Culture stuff

  • There’s not much point in me linking to weekly recaps,  but this is an exceptionally good one by Todd Van der Werff on the Mad Men Season One finale. I’m even more excited for next month now. This feature on Elizabeth Moss (Peggy) is also worth reading.
  • A good feature on Anita Sarkeesian and how fucking depressing it must be to be trying to change video-game culture for the better.
  • Nice account of the TwitchPlaysPokemon thing here.
  • I actually played Hotline Miami this summer while listening to a lot of Yeezus. I never thought to combine the two – this article suggests doing just that. The article is really good, the idea less so (but it did inspire me to reinstall Hotline I guess)
  • A nice feature on Jay-Z that is really old but I got linked to it through the less interesting Pharrell one this week so it’s going here. Also just reminded me of this one written by Zadie Smith which I read ages ago but is great.
  • This is sweet on how a little girl’s comic got picked up by the community
  • A remix of the rap from this week’s Community – utterly delightful.
  • Science is fucking weird:



This week was a bad one for left-wing heroes, so I’d just like to end this on a sad note, raising a glass to Bob Crow and Tony Benn, on who this tribute by my old professor Phillippe Marliere is very good, but in French (because I’m a dick).

<850 words!

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