Category Archives: Media

Shamima Begum’s Media Circus

When, four years ago and at the age of fifteen, Shamima Begum first left her family and her country to join a group of religiously-inspired murderers in the Levant, I doubt she expected that her future life would include so many TV interviews. Continue reading

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Misreading Houellebecq

In France, the release of Serotonin, the latest novel by Michel Houellebecq, attracted the sales and comment his work usually receives. Around the same time, France’s former infant terrible was awarded the légion d’honneur. The author, popularly held to be brutal, unromantic, also married Qianyum Lysis Li late last year. In the pictures, Houellebecq was dressed strangely, but looked happy. His new book is, so far, unavailable in English. Continue reading

A New Right Reading List

When Osama bin Laden was found by the special forces of the United States and met his end, there was surprising attention paid to this bookshelf. First, and understandably, the volumes present were the subject of understandable interest. That bin Laden appeared to like the books of Noam Chomsky, at least enough to include them in his collection, elicited a little amusement. Continue reading

On Destiny’s Side

Review – Churchill: Walking with Destiny by Andrew Roberts

How can a writer address a life such as Winston Churchill’s – a life so full of incident and happening, a life of early fame, deep failure, and finally international apotheosis? Continue reading

Modern Day Presidential

On real mania and its imitations

A piece nominally about how social media drives people mad, or at least superficially so; but also how, instead of that madness being a product of authenticity, it is in fact just another role played by some participants, who are able to induce others into legitimate, real mania while remaining, if not detached, at least unaffected by its worst excesses.

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How we communicate has changed dramatically in recent years. It is increasingly defined by the artificial world we have constructed on our phones and our computers. What is said there and, more importantly, how it is said bleeds out of the devices on which such things are displayed. Continue reading

Liam Young and Guileless Political Optimism

Something is happening to opinion journalism. Never an entirely reputable business in any case, the format has witnessed a severe degradation in recent years. Doubtless the proliferation of new media and social media – where everyone can and must have an opinion on everything, with the most extreme and partisan voices often emerging as the most popular – has something to do with this. It has made household names of a few nobodies, but it has done more than that: it has given hope of similar advancement to a whole crowd of mediocre would-be writers. Continue reading

Online Media and the New Boredom

We’re all bored, we’re all so tired of everything
We wait for trains that just aren’t coming
We show off our different scarlet letters –
Trust me, mine is better

Taylor Swift, “New Romantics”

We are all bored. Well, not exactly all of us – but boredom is everywhere; being bored, which, so our mothers told us, used to mean that we ourselves were boring, seems to be more ubiquitous, more pervasive, than ever. Continue reading