There’s an actual 9/11 piece in the list this week, which I guess appeared online because of the anniversary so it’s not that much of a weird coincidence. Anyway I’ve been up since 8 (I miss curtains) and just been dreading writing this one up all morning. Have been reading blogs not books on the commute recently, so the list is just ballooning, it’s vile. As such, let’s get right to it.
Think I listened to this song three times on the way home last night, having hardly heard it since I was about 14? It’s possibly tacky but I love it dearly* so have some Stevie.
- War on the Rocks ending up publishing a sort of debate series on sectarianism in Iraq and Syria and the Assad regime and all sorts that I read in completely the wrong order and in too scattered a fashion to really summarise and process and judge the arguments, but if you’re interested in that kind of thing, there are worse things to spend half an hour going through. It started with this two-part article on how sectarian divides in Syria and Iraq are misunderstood and abused by policymakers, then there was a rebuttal on Syria, and finally a kind of fascinating look at how the Syrian regime has crumbled into militias and warlords.
- This is a very long piece on the French war on terror, in French, that took me the best part of a morning to read (turns out gyms aren’t conducive to speed-reading) but is also worthwhile. Ignore the annoying hashtag jokes, France is like that sometimes.
- Have you been complacent about the Korean peninsula as the source of our doom recently? Me too, but their latest nuclear test is a scary thing.
- Decent write-up of Dilma’s ouster
- Another scary place! The new Filipino president is kind of terrifying and this story on his drug war is… damn.
- Speaking of the war on drugs, Fabric, eh? eh? I never went to Fabric and probably would have hated it** but what a bleak story. Whole lot of good stuff got written mourning it to some extent this week. Shortlist and Thump tied it into how London is not for the young anymore. Sadiq’s depressingly ineffectual role, here. And the drug angle, here. Reminder – the police investigation into the club was called Operation Lenor. ugh.
- Meanwhile, look at these perplexingly sober kids at Reading festival this year.
- On the misguided criticisms of “””””””milennials””””””” for spending frivolously instead of wisely saving up for ??????.
- FFS there are four articles on British politics this week I’m ashamed. After Theresa May’s ascent to power, there was a sort of “oh thank god a competent leader” vibe – I’m glad Abi took the time here to question that. A cool Aditya Chakrabortty piece on teaching assistants in Durham organizing in protest against vile contract changes. The rare piece that could do with doubling in length, on how Harlow is processing the recent murder of a Polish man. Finally, even as I am eternally grateful to have turned 18 a year after the 2010 election*** this is kind of an interesting interview with Nick Clegg.
- Look I really like the Imperial War Museum because I’m a little ghoul child with the ability to suppress my politics for the sake of convenience and also because there’s a T-34 and a Sherman just parked in it and that’s cool. But this savaging of how much propaganda is baked into the permanent exhibits is accurate and necessary I guess. tanks tho.
- Over-long, possibly, and IDK what I make of all of the arguments, but an actual unique and thought-out and informed take on the burkini debate by an actual muslim woman is worth reading anyway.
- Christ there’s something surreal and terrifying about this piece on sexual assault on long-haul flights.
- Also terrifying – Bridget Minamore being very good on the fear of walking home alone at night and the makeshift weapons and safety rituals women have to create. Side-note, I finally got around to watching Bridget doing some poetry reading and it was actually good which is weird cos poetry. Check it out, it’s funny and sharp.
- So here’s that 9/11 piece. I think I was old enough to remember 9/11 but it’s basically just been an event that has shaped the world I lived in more than an actual concrete thing I can remember. Reckon that’s why it’s always so compelling reading about the minute-to-minute experience of people who were there in some capacity. This oral history of Air Force One on 9/11 is even more fascinating! It mixes the standard fascinating personal responses people had with the high-level political stuff and man I was reading this on the way to the pub last night and considered waiting outside just to finish it it’s gripping.
- Interesting study of what made the British intervention in Sierra Leone work.
- Don’t forget, antibiotic-resistant beasties are gonna fuck us all up! And it’ll be chicken’s fault.
- This was kind of fun about Tindering across Europe. (remember Tinder?)
- On the superstitious rituals we have with technology.
- Putting Deliveroo and Uber in a hundred-year history of scientific management systems is interesting (lmk if you can’t get through the paywall here)
- Kinda still hope robots will save us all, but why would anything good happen? “the future will kill us all”
- Bit overblown, bit US-centric, bit overlong, but quite cutting on foodie delusions. And on that note, this compelling profile of an absolutely bizarre restaurant stunt lie thing had me kind of bemused for a good while.
- Absolutely fuming that Wikipedia isn’t actually skint tbh
- Lovely profile of lovely Chance the Rapper
- Having played games on shitty computers most of my life, let me tell you – it isn’t worth it. But this fella’s interesting, taking it to absolute extremes.
- Michelangelo’s David might just topple over jsyk. Really liked this piece.
- This week’s good-ass sports-writing is on O Fenomeno. Beautiful.
- This week’s good-ass food-writing is on hot chicken in Nashville. I don’t even like fried chicken! but wow it’s good.
- Sweet explanation of the joys of Let’s Plays and watching people play computer games on the internet.
- Figs are really weird!
- Don’t know if I’ve shared it before but I think Ed is almost at the end of his “Winning the Lottery with Nicolas Cage” ordeal and it’s worth browsing his archive.
- Finally, Hussein Kesvani is good on the bleakness of the gym.
*also the missus is on holiday so she won’t see this and ruthlessly mock my taste. was tempted to put up something off the new Carly Rae Jepsen album to take maximum advantage of the freedom.
**all the tributes left me feeling some weird kind of way, like when I read about the British teenage experience or what university is like for people who didn’t dislike it and I just feel a bit like I’ve got my face pressed up against the glass, bemused at other people’s lives. idk. don’t read my footnotes imo
***somehow the knowledge that I would have definitely voted Lib Dem and regretted it feels less embarrassing than it would be to have actually done so and regretted it. slim consolation tbh