8th of June: A Birthday Return

Oooh I told you there’d be more this week – plenty of links here, so let’s head off at a half-run.

The song of the week is becoming my favourite feature – I went through about eight choices, but ultimately settled on this wonderful tune – I figure in honour of the World Cup I’m going to try and stick to a Brazilian theme. Even better, this is off Sergio Mendes’ 2006 album Timeless, which is indelibly associated with the 2006 World Cup in my head. Come for the promise of a collaboration between two greats, avoid the realisation that nothing in your life will ever be happier than this song, and stay for the sheer infectious joy.


First up, I wrote a thing about my newfound love for Spotify playlists that was a bit out of character but I quite like. And now here we go.

  • Strong argument that China has overplayed its hand in being assertive in recent months
  • Evaluation of Hillary Clinton (possible next President of the USA)’s record as Secretary of State
  • Couple of good pieces on whether Obama has developed a coherent foreign policy “doctrine”
  • Fukuyama has become one of those authors with a bold thesis I read a bit of in first year and went “lol buffoon” and never revisited. His defence of his “End of History” thesis is compelling though.
  • You’ve probably seen them by now, but these comparison photos of locations in Normandy on D-Day and now are incredible.
  • Good piece by the speechwriters for Clinton’s address at the 50th anniversary of D-Day, and fascinating article about the women who covered the landings
  • Deliciously pessimistic voxplainer on why we’re all fucked on climate change
  • Novara Wire on how the left is stuck between two unappealing options on the EU – the nasty right-wing extremism of UKIP, and the pro-capitalist race-to-the-bottom policies of the EU*
  • It’s looking like the Spanish won’t overthrow their political order in time for me to say “I was there when…” (rude of them tbh) but still – good piece on the Spanish monarchy
  • Important rebuttal to that Morgan Freeman quote I’m sure you’ve all seen about how all we need to do to solve racism is stop talking about race.
  • This story about a man’s disabled brother is terrible and utterly without redemption but the least we can do is read what seems to have been a horrible thing to experience and write about. This is the week’s heartbreaker – fair warning.
  • *smug bilingual face*
  • Fascinating feature on elephant hunting in Botswana – read it in a web browser; it’s kind of gorgeous
  • Nice tribute to a teen magazine
  • As the World Cup approaches, and coverage of Brazil hits fever pitch, I feel like there needs to be a word for orientalism but about Brazil. This documentary on Brazil and football is by the brilliant Musa Okwonga, so I’ll forgive the “OMG SUCH AN EXOTIC LAND” bits.
  • Combining video-games and Kanye? Sold.
  • Interesting look at the historical inspirations for Game of Thrones, and a delightful (and necessary) corrective to the nasty, nasty ending of last week’s episode
  • Nice Hadley Freeman piece on the World Cup
  • TBH I’m not even that big a Mario Kart fan but these ’Luigi death stare’ videos are brilliant
  • Funny review of “The Ubisoft Game” (ie any of  Ubisoft’s major releases for the past few years)
  • Three funny Buzzfeed lists (featuring #misandry, Peep Show, and Karl Pilkington)
  • Terrible, terrible news (but I just saw rumours of new Guns N’ Roses material which helps make up for it)

In honour of said bad news, Yeezy season is back with a bang, because this fucking article made me seethe. I’ve got so little comprehension for how a human could dislike Mad Men that I honestly expected this article to be ironic. So when I saw that it was just trolly bullshit criticisms and tenuous connections to other recommendations (I love Veep so much, but it’s not even close to being a replacement for Mad Men) I seethed. I seethed hard. And then I filed it away for Kanye to judge, and you know what?

tumblr_mshgsbUsd61qfkqupo1_500He wasn’t fucking impressed.

Finally, and this isn’t really a link so much as a bitter cackle, but after a year of smug “we’re fourth in the world!” triumphalism, the news that UCL couldn’t even scrape the top ten British universities was delightful. Even more so as I’m currently having my face scraped against the realities of final year module selection. Cutting my nose off to spite my university it may be, but the schadenfreude is fuckin’ strong here, folks.

And that’s it! Enjoy the first week of the World Cup! It won’t feel real yet, but start now – you’ll be punching walls by the quarter-finals, trust me.

UPDATE: Just found out from a reliable source that it’s Kanye West’s 37th birthday today! In keeping with my ongoing delusion that he’s a reader – happy birthday Kanye! Also, I forgot to put a title on this one, so now I am.

*this is one of those issues my “heterodox” politics fall apart on. As far as IR and stuff goes, I’m super in favour of the TTIP as a means of solidifying a liberal transatlantic bloc. But as far as domestic politics, my instinct (and lots of people I respect) are super hesitant about the merits of these massive pro-business free trade deals. So *shrug*

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