22nd of June: Rebrand

I’m writing this week’s post, at long last, from London. To celebrate the move, I’ve changed theme (also because the other one was just absurdly narrow). Very glad to have seen Spain crash out of the Cup and crown Phillip the Sixth before leaving, but delighted to be home. With that out of the way, vamonos.

First up, song of the week is the great opener from O Rappa’s MTV Acoustic album. Come for the infectious riff, avoid getting bored by the overlong introduction, and stay for the wonderful Brazilian instrumentation.

Next, in case you missed it, I wrote a review of HBO’s The Pacific here, which somehow skyrocketed to one of my most successful posts ever by virtue of …idk being part of the tumblr “pacific” tag? either way, works for me.

With that, let’s go, for the first reading list of the summer in London!

  • Couple of posts on the ongoing debate over the ‘America in retreat’ trope. One in response to an Anne-Marie Slaughter piece, and one in response to a Robert Kagan one: both pieces are linked to in the introductions.
  • With regards to the ongoing nightmare in Iraq, several pieces. Here, a history of the Kurds’ efforts for statehood (in French). Interesting piece from Aaron Zelin who’s been justifiably doing the vindicated-expert thing on Twitter recently on what it’s like to live under ISIS rule. Strong argument for us not going back into Iraq from Barry Posen. Finally, important Jay Ulfelder post on the dangers of making up counterfactuals
  • Great essay on the relationship (much more complex than it seems) between God and State in Egypt
  • Non-annoying Amnesty International piece scrutinising Brazil’s shortcomings in the context of the World Cup
  • Reporting on a World Cup protest that is actually constructive and useful and features badass old ladies
  • Important piece on the British-caused/exacerbated/provoked famines in India during the Second World War. Churchill FTW
  • Gripping account of the soon-to-be retired A-10 warplane saving a British raid gone wrong in Afghanistan
  • Incisive, clear-headed analysis of what was actually going on in that scandal over an Islamic extremist takeover of Birmingham schools
  • Terrifying piece on how poor internet and software security is. Properly chilling
  • Great review of Lana del Rey’s new album Ultraviolence, which I’ve been wanting to share tracks off for weeks, but my stupid World Cup feature takes precedence. Features wonderful thinking about the emotions girls are allowed to express. You guys know I’m a sucker for over-analysing pop music.
  • Speaking of over-analysis, brilliant examination of the dragons-as-nukes metaphors in Game of Thrones
  • Examination of the way the backstories of female characters in video-games show how their writing continues to be lazy. It focuses on games, but seems relevant for a lot of other media.

And with that, we’re done! Spent most of the flight home watching Louie and Batman cartoons, so less articles than expected. Also, I’ve finally arrived in walking distance of the UCL library, so am planning to read a lot more books. On the one hand, this means less links – on the other, more reviews! Have a great week, guys – next time we speak, I think we’ll be well into the knock-out stages! x

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