Everyone On The Couch

Savaging of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which “colonises human experience”. Weakness, sadness and anger are labelled as illnesses. “The DSM is an instrument for weakening human resilience, self-reliance, fortitude, and resolve. It turns humans into mechanisms, deprives their conduct of meaning, and makes them prey to entrepreneurs of misery” (2,775 words)

Banksy: Discriminating Philistine

Street artist Banksy is clever and funny. He’s no van Eyck, but he can draw. He makes some good points: about inequality, CCTV, police, consumer culture. But he has chosen they way of the philistine. He celebrates society’s vandals, hooligans and hypocrites. There is nothing in his work to inspire or improve us. If that is the burden of his art, then “his talent is not an extenuating but an aggravating circumstance” (2,980 words)

Of Owls And Richard III

Miscellany of observations on owls. No particular rhyme or reason that I can discern, but every sentence (after the first couple of paragraphs) is memorable, quotable or both. “One method by which ornithologists of the past estimated fluctuations in the numbers of owls was by the numbers brought to taxidermists for stuffing. The fashion for stuffed birds in glass cases seems to have passed and so this method is no longer used” (2,187 words)

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