20th of July: Heatwave Reading

So, no more World Cup, and at least in South London, weather going from oppressive heat to torrential rain and back every two days. Perfect timing for some hopefully uplifting (at times) reading at the end of the miserable, terrible week the world has had.

First off, I’ve been holding off on this for weeks now for World Cup reasons, but Lana del Rey released a new album and I’m obsessed with her again, so here’s a song from Ultraviolence. Come for Lana, avoid the daft drug lyrics (or scroll down for the Lana supplement I’m gonna link and ponder what she means by it all) and stay for the delightful guitar lines.

Off we go.

So now there’s some sort of schedule, I think, and the first of my legit Junior Research Fellow articles is up! I wrote a thing about the coalition’s plans to restructure the Royal Army.

  • Meanwhile, also at NATO Council, this piece had me nervous because I normally find drone/robot-war pieces both sensationalist and dull, but this one is actually good!
  • Informative article on the collapse of the Iraqi Army, and a reassuring post suggesting the situation isn’t as dire as it looks (Optimism alert)
  • Essay on the strategic motives IS(IS) may have had in declaring the caliphate
  • Long critique of US policy in the Middle East for the past few decades
  • I’ve linked to a lot of articles that almost take China’s unpeaceful rise as inevitable. This article highlights domestic dynamics that may work against that, and how the rest of the world can support them. (Optimism alert)
  • Thought-provoking essay on the necessary(?) link between liberalism and Empire
  • Dispiriting list of civilian airliners that have been shot down in the past* along with a troubling analysis of the updated regulations for airlines in Ukrainian airspace
  • Article on the future of Ukaine (Optimism alert)
  • New York Times feature on Srebrenica today – long, at times upsetting, at times a bit moving.
  • The World Cup may be over, but the media are still hovering over Brazil** so plenty of good stuff. This column on our humiliation in the semi-final puts it in nice perspective. Mauricio Savarese has a nice post on the legacy of the Cup – I particularly liked this line: “If the 1950 Maracanazo was a tragedy for a country in the making, the 2014 Mineirazo was more of a sad comedy for a people that don’t depend on a sport to define itself.”
  • Meanwhile, for non-footballing things. 538 have hardly covered themselves in glory at this Cup, but this piece on how Brazil/the PT has reduced poverty and inequality is interesting. This analysis of Brazil’s interest in and potential contribution to the recently-announced BRICS Development Bank is good, though this, by Daniel Drezner, suggests we be cautious about seeing the Fortaleza conference as too much of a revolutionary moment***. Finally, a fucking surreal feature on a community of Confederate exiles in Brazil.
  • Depressing that this needs to be written, really, but this, again at NATO Council, lines up some of the most common terrible presumptions about contraception and knocks them down, in the wake of the Hobby Lobby ruling
  • Leigh Alexander has a good, clear, set of suggestions for combating online sexism
  • I still feel like the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a legit term, but even its creator apparently disagrees.
  • Finally, I linked to this set of New Inquiry essays on Lana del Rey last week, assuming it was the start of a series, but it’s actually already there and available to download as a PDF. It’s got tossy cultural analysis, music theory, Yeezus quotes, and is just very interesting to read.

And that’s that. Have a good week! x

*though worth noting the different framing the author gives to the USS Vincennes shooting down the Iran Air flight

**or they were at the start of the week when I bookmarked these anyway

***what do I think, you ask? Glad and intrigued to see Brazil taking a leading role in defining and creating new models of development and global governance. Disappointed and wary of our partners in this good effort being China and Russia.


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