That’s not an innuendo. These lists tend to open with about a dozen grim articles on Syria and everyone complains that it’s a bit “monotonous” and “depressing” so here we are. Not so much as one article about Syria, and the security/international relations bit is only about four articles. Never let it be said I don’t listen to feedback.*
Think I meant to share something by Banks something like a year ago now, but it felt a bit like I was doing that high school thing of pass-agg posting songs on Facebook (which obviously I never did), which just meant I couldn’t claim credit for Discovering her. Anyway, this one’s good, very strong voice, and I think she does that wobble-thing that Adele does but without being boring and/or bad.
Plateauing a bit here in terms of viewers and clicks, and I do live for the viewers and clicks. So if you’ve enjoyed any of the articles I’ve shared this week, please do tell a friend. Also, if this isn’t your preferred format, you can read this list on my blog or in a fortnightly email newsletter.
*tbh I don’t, couldn’t care less what the haters say, I just happened not to have read many stand-outs on Syria and that this fortnight
- Loophole, here. Got one piece for you analysing the Islamic State’s strategy in Iraq so I get away with the opener.
- Excellent critique of Britain’s support for Egypt’s President Sisi.
- Detailed look at how Northern Mali is recovering from conflict and dealing with climate change
- Examining the archives to work out whether India planned to bomb Pakistani nuclear facilities before they were finished
- Two excellent pieces from Emily Reynolds (who’s also just got a book deal)*, one on the creepy viral stories about dads defending their daughter’s ‘honour’ in a cute way, and one on the realities of dating when you’re mentally ill
- On a not-dissimilar note, this is one of those Daniel Dalton male-mental-health pieces on Buzzfeed (he’s done similar on depression and recently, just on crying) that is both extremely basic and simple and yet extremely important and powerful. Idk. This one’s on body image anxiety
- As Playboy continues its rebrand away from all the Playboy bits of itself, this is a good corrective to a narrative (that, tbh, I’ve not actually seen expressed) of nostalgia for the limited, homogenous view of sexuality Playboy cultivated before the Internet
- Fascinating, on how efforts to minimise the spread of STIs during WW2 led to really oppressive measures for women
- Great look at the consequences of Adblock for small sites
- There was a period of last year where the kitchen in my flat was about 80% avocado, so I’ve had to develop a contrarian ‘avocadoes are bad’ policy. So I enjoyed this history of how the avocado industry (hardly Big Oil, is it?) rebranded them to great success
- Brilliant takedown of the misogynistic figure of the ‘nice girl’ in popular music, with particular, deserved ire for Drake and (alas) Kanye
- A broader look at the devaluation of music, going beyond just ‘spotify is bad and pirating is also bad’
- Lovely essay on the author’s relationship with the Bond franchise and his father, and an entertaining ranking of all the Bond films (not a fan of the order, mind)**
- Nerd alert, sorry, but I really enjoyed this essay on how Stannis Baratheon’s arc is playing out in the Song of Ice and Fire series and how Game of Thrones’ decisions in the last season mishandled this
- Quite excited about Aziz Ansari’s new sitcom, both because he’s excellent, and because everyone’s saying it’s excellent. Also apparently it’s quite effortlessly diverse
- Two brilliant, thoughtful essays on games. One, on the limits of video-games’ portrayals of blackness (very personal, very good), and one, pondering the shooter genre and its glaring ethical issues
There we go. Have a good fortnight, all. x
*there’s a very odd vicarious pride you get with people you’ve followed/interacted with slightly for a while on Twitter when their careers start to take off – this is that.
**half-tempted to do one of those round-up of the reviews of Spectre here, but I might save it for next time. One phenomenon I’ve found intriguing is that once it came out in the States, there was a much more negative, and much more interesting! tone to the criticism. Most British film critics I’ve seen have sort of embraced it despite its obvious flaws, while Americans have been rightly critical. Interesting to me, anyway.