11th of May: The Best Laid Plans
So I’m writing this at 5AM, mildly nauseous from mediocre street-food and falling asleep a bit because I care. Even after three months, that is impressive commitment. So with that self-pity taken care of, let’s go. (Update: naturally, I decided to sleep before posting this and didn’t wake up until 1PM. But of course.)
First off, this week’s song isn’t really a song, but two songs so look at that value for money. A mash-up I came across on YouTube a couple of months ago combining my teenage idols with the best thing about Community (RIP) – what’s not to love?
And with that sorted, let’s go!
- Very clear outline from Reni Eddo-Lodge of the machinations of structural racism – useful because unlike the usual articles I post, this one looks more at the UK than the US
- On a similar note, a brilliant post by Musa Okwonga on Jeremy Clarkson and Ukip and the ubiquity of racism in British public discourse. Angry and beautifully-written.
- Meanwhile, because it’s nice, if discomfiting, when Conservatives speak sense, this from the effing Spectator of all places, is nice on how mass immigration is something Britain should be proud of. A bit of a whitewash, perhaps, bearing in mind Reni’s piece above, but still.
- I’ve not made any effort to hide my general Nick Cohen-fatigue, but haven’t bothered to properly dissect a column of his – this is a heroic effort in that direction.
- Moving to the Middle East, where the Assad Regime has retaken Homs in what Juan Cole suggests may be a turning point in the civil war, while the ICC is closer to being asked to investigate abuses in the civil war, possibly threatening its legitimacy. Meanwhile, in a tragedy that doesn’t compare to the suffering of the Syrian people but is nevertheless devastating, priceless historic buildings, monuments and artifacts are being destroyed.
- Interesting piece from David Wearing connecting poor labour conditions in the Gulf with the wider politics of the Middle East
- With regard to the depressing situation in Nigeria, an important post from (AFAIK) a Nigerian writer on the shortcuts, prejudices, and assumptions that have dominated Western responses to #BringBackOurGirls, and a good explanation from Vox of why it isn’t another #Kony2012
- Couple of interesting posts on East Asia – one suggesting a new framework for historical memory, and one on Europe’s role in US-China relations. Also, I wrote a thing about it here, so check that out – I’ve updated it with some wisdom from the comments about Brazil.
- Few good pieces about Russia; this one from Jay Ulfedler summarises the main debate over responses to Putin’s action and it’s useful example of wider tensions within IR. This extended Jurassic Park analogy, at War on the Rocks, is funny, and works surprisingly well. Finally, this, in French, is rather great, and if possible, I’d recommend perusing the blog’s archives – no-one puts fools down quite like an irritable, eloquent Frenchman
- Interesting what-if? piece on how Germany could have won WW1
- Troubling account of a response to the nasty, nasty abortion restrictions being mooted here – just a reminder of how awful Spanish conservatives are
- Bittersweet piece on growing labour mobilization among fast food workers in the US. Pretty depressing, but there’s a note of optimism somewhere here
- I’m sure every country that isn’t the UK or USA gets irritated at crappy journalism about them in the serious press, but this rebuttal of an Economist report does suggest Brazil has it pretty bad.
- Three pieces on comic book movies and the Amazing Spider Man 2. For what it’s worth, I enjoyed it, mostly because Emma Stone is wonderful – which is why this post on how they mistreated her character is interesting. Meanwhile, FilmCritHulk wrote a thing about the poisonous themes at the heart of the film which is hard to dispute and worth reading anyway because Hulk, and here, a film critic highlights how the identikit action sequences are becoming a burden on superhero films
- Gif of the week (yes it’s a gif), and it’s not long before another Mad Men comes out to maybe supplant it.
Finally, and this has been a long time coming, a Kanye eye-roll for a columnist who’s been annoying me for a while now. I felt guilty about how much I was enjoying the critical panning of the Vagenda book as, despite their general dull vacuousness aside, they were kind of harmless. Also, ultimately, I feel uncomfortable criticising how a woman “does feminism”. But with this piece, Rhiannon Lucy Coslett enters the pantheon of annoying Nick Cohen-esque “why are X to afraid to support Y – perhaps with bombs” (I mean seriously, look how offhandedly the suggestion of military intervention is raised) columnists, moving much closer to my wheelhouse, and thus earning herself a full Kanye eye roll (as well as a heartfelt plea to the Guardian to stop commissioning people who have no knowledge of topics to write about them).
With that, we’re done! I might not post next week as I’m away for the weekend celebrating my birthday so you know, give me a break. x