4th of May: Quarterly Review

So this is roughly the three-month anniversary of the Reading List posts. While my initial ambition to use them to ease me back into actually writing has gone out of the window, I’ve enjoyed doing this every week anyway, and I hope you have too. Happy anniversary.


With that out of the way, off we go. I’m away from home for the second weekend running, so there’ll be less links, and if WordPress fucks me over again, it might not even appear till I get home, but there you go.

last.fm is giving me nothing as far as song of the week goes, as it’s only been able to track me for two days. So, have a Kendrick Lamar song – it’ll be relevant for one of the last links, so you can go into it knowing what it sounds like!


  • To start with, as Iraq holds parliamentary elections this week, these are timely and interesting too – a profile of Prime Minister Maliki, and an account of how Iraq has continued to be unstable and dangerous in the aftermath of the US withdrawal
  • Interesting long piece on how enormously the US entry into World War One changed the country and its institutions
  • A great article from Cord Jefferson here on how Donald Sterling’s comments fit into a long tradition of white male anxiety over inter-racial relationships. On a similar topic, this from Jude Wanga on the issues with the “#somostodosmacacos” campaign in support of Dani Alves is a quite provocative response, and this is a poignant tribute (that I meant to link weeks ago) to Rubin “Hurricane” Carter
  • The Buzzfeeding of Novara continues in fine form with this good primer on how important the recent strikes in Chinese footwear manufacturers are
  • I was all ready to put this in the eyeroll section – “criminal eyesores” made it sound like it would be classic Jenkins with the added bonus of being targeted at Brazil to annoy me. But it’s actually a thoughtful article on the future of informal housing in cities the world over, with appropriate respect given to the concerns of favela residents. Fair play to Sir Jenkins.
  • Oddly, I’ve read several articles on British politics recently, which I thought I was trying to stop doing. Regardless, a good article by Rafael Behr on how the disillusioned voters Ukip appeal to are changing British politics, a reminder of how awful Ukip are by Hugh Muir, and a very interesting read on HS2
  • Fun blog from Jessica Valenti on why it can be worthwhile to engage with nasty trolls
  • Was linked to this site earlier – it’s a very interesting look at the rhythms of rap lyrics – reminded me of struggling with, and giving up, with moving from tabs to sheet music on the guitar years ago. Anyway, this analysis of some of Kendrick Lamar’s raps is really cool.Image
  • In case you hadn’t seen it yet, this photo and cast list of the new Star Wars films gave me shivers. Though in light of the previous films’ hit-and-miss representation of women and people of colour, it’s unfortunate to see so many white guys in those sofas.


Finally, the eye-roll of the week! It is, for the first time, a Seumas Milne column. It’s pretty standard Milne – but the disingenuousness of the last few paragraphs is shocking even by his standards. NATO member states requesting firm commitments to their defence after Putin expresses a desire to protect ethnic Russians beyond his borders becomes, naturally, US imperialism, and there is no mention of Russia’s invasion or the thousands of troops waiting on the border. Throw in some baseless (or incorrect) speculation about a Russia-China alliance, and you’ve got a gem. I award it the full Kanye.


With that, we’re done – have a good week!

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