Quick one this week, as I’m racing to catch up on all the work I didn’t do this week for pressing Crusader Kings-related reasons.
Remember when Lily Allen wasn’t annoying? I can’t even remember what she did wrong. Anyway, the song of the week was on in the pub the other week and I forgot it was her for long enough to listen to it.
- The big debate on Twitter this week has been around a long essay in The Atlantic called “What ISIS Really Wants”. I put off reading it as long as I could, but the more I avoided it, the more people argued about it, and finally, I bit the bullet. And then, of course, had to read all the participants in the debate. I’m not really sure how I feel about any of the pieces I’m about to link, really, but taken together they’re probably worthwhile. This debate does feel an awful lot like it’s everyone talking past each other, but there you go. A strong critique of The Atlantic’s methods, intentions, and conclusions. An interview with one of the experts featured in the essay. Conversely, this article is glad the U.S. government has started taking ideology seriously again. Meanwhile, terrorism expert J.M Berger (who also rounds up some articles at his own site), suggests that the most relevant aspect of ISIS’ ideology is their end-of-days cult features, not their religion. Make of them all, or none, what you will*
- Gripping and ultimately upsetting read on attempts to rescue U.S. hostages in Syria
- This is very good on the tendency for the debate on Ukraine and Russia to be conducted over the heads of the Ukrainians and Russians themselves, denying their agency in events
- Meanwhile, asylum application numbers in Germany haven’t been this high since the fall of the Berlin wall
- The no-platform/free-speech debate has popped up again, very disingenuously so. This is an excellent blog on free speech, hypocrisy, and Peter Tatchell
- Meanwhile, the “the internet makes it really hard to get away with racism :(:(:(:(” thing hasn’t gone away – this is good on the disproportionate pity felt for Justine Sacco**
- Fascinating and personal pieces on issues of ‘passing’, identity, assimilation, etc.
- Anniversary of Malcolm X’s murder this week – this telegram from Dr. King to his widow is touching
- This is a very articulate defence of the ‘lesser of two evils’ argument when voting
- Succint, well-produced, video summary of the racial politics of dating
- Some positive*** news out of the music industry for once – the internet is making it a lot easier for niche bands to find big live audiences
- I want Vox to do this for every music video. This analysis of the music and imagery in Taylor’s Style video is a bit basic, and tends towards the “omg she’s wearing Harry Styles’ necklace” thing that’s oh so dull, but it’s so beautifully put together and visualised
- Utterly surreal campaign of birthday trolling
- Brazil does food well – in other news, water wet, etc.
- My favourite thing about this reimagining of Half-Life as a 1990s isometric game was that I recognised all the level architecture
- More Kanye****! Really good interview with my favourite Kanye-writer Ayesha Siddiqi on Kanye c.Yeezus (I think) and very good essay on the double standards of white mediocrity and black excellence
- Couple of good Sam Kriss pieces – one, old, on Age of Empires as a game where you play as feudalism itself, and a very-him review of 50 Shades of Grey
- Interesting on how editors negotiate language for transatlantic audiences
- Karl Pilkington should do everyone’s wedding proposal.
And with that, I’m off to make up for a week of slacking. Have a lovely week x
8 out of 26, so I’m stuck around a 2:1 dude ratio, again.
* lol this was going to be a “quick one” and that’s the longest paragraph of text to appear on this blog since How I Met Your Mother
** yeah, her of the ‘AIDS tweet’ literally millennia ago and I’m still annoyed that someone felt the need to write another article about her to plug his bad book
*** I say positive, it mostly made me feel extremely out-of-touch, because the biggest flash of recognition I got out of the names listed was when I recognised they were taking the piss out of Ed Sheeran before his name was mentioned (which was good because he’s literally the worst thing alive)
**** unfortunately, Ye went and blew the consensus that was forming around him when he waded into whatever beef the Kardashians have started this week with some grim, grim comments on his ex-girlfriend, which is upsetting