1st of February: Weight off my Mind

So I’ve just gotten shot of a two-year long project, freeing me up to do far more of the […] I had been missing out on. Despite having spent the past week in a bit of a stressful haze, got a lot of good reading lined up for you, so let’s get to it.

Song of the week is Beyonce’s Blue mostly because the video is one of those “beautiful footage of Brazil/Brazilians” ones that I love – also because Kanye’s new video reminded me of it.

As ever, there are two ways to view this reading list. If you’re getting the newsletter and would prefer the blog, go here. If you’re reading the blog and would like the newsletter in future, go here.

  • Bit of a troubling examination of the attacks on Israel coming from Syria – just in case you thought there weren’t enough wars currently happening in the Middle East
  • Couple of interesting analyses of alternative for the Responsibility to Protect – the French, and the Chinese (and Brazilian). Good antidote to black-and-white “the West vs the Rest” stuff
  • In defence of the word ‘but’
  • I absolutely love reading about the logistics of the withdrawal from Afghanistan so this feature was a gift – if you’re not such a fan of reading about shipping routes and convoys then maybe give it a miss
  • Meant to share this last week when it’d have been relevant but it went to the wrong folder. Anyway, a good obituary of the late King of Saudi Arabia
  • On climate change – this comic starts grim and ends positively, as does this article. Of course, they both start grimmer than they end happy so everything is still bleak.
  • Upsetting piece interviewing Nigerians who fled Boko Haram in Bama
  • Jonathan Freedland is very good on the Auschwitz memorial service
  • This was going around on Twitter as the author sadly passed away this week – an account of living with the rare skin condition EB
  • Powerfully irritated piece on doctors refusing to perform sterilisations on young people
  • Joel Golby writes another advice list and it’s rather brilliantly dull
  • Useful primer on the difference between “coloured” and “people of colour”
  • If you don’t spend your every waking hour on Twitter, you may have missed out on Jonathan Chait’s latest bad piece on political correctness and the debate it provoked. Anyway. Gawker had a funny response,  this is an angry response, and this is a sensitive attempt to discuss the issues Chait raises (best read in conjunction with this)
  • Very good critique of how the LOTR films adapted Eowyn’s character
  • Interesting on statistical modelling and the East Coast snowstorm
  • Some of these are a bit lame, a couple disgustingly adorable, but this artilce on stories about love mediated through videogames is great
  • Fascinating interview with one of the pilots of the SR-71, the world’s fastest plane
  • Chiamanda Ngozi Adichie (she of ***Flawless fame) wrote a nice short story
  • Great history of the smile
  • Really cool write-up of the fourth season of The Wire, if you’ve seen it
  • Thought this was really nicely-written, on how not to be a harassing dickhead in nightclubs
  • In defence of a little hatred


And that’s it. Quite pleased that at last, this week approached gender parity, though I didn’t really make any particular effort in that direction so was mostly luck. Anyway, have a good week. x

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