Pride, Grief, France, Paul, Brando

America, The Exceptional?

Steve Lagerfeld | Hedgehog Review | 8th December 2020

American exceptionalism is an "honourable idea" with a "long and productive life";  but it should be retired, "put on a stretcher" and "carried back to the intellectual world where it was born". Belief in exceptionalism thrived after both World Wars, when power and prosperity put America in a category of its own. Now, any claim to exceptionalism is neither obviously true, nor obviously useful (3,500 words)


The Impossibility Of Memory

Theo Dorgan | Dublin Review Of Books | 6th December 2020

Keening, or public lamentation for the dead, is a tradition from antiquity that was flourishing in Ireland within living memory. Though never formally recognised as such, keening was an art form, blending song and poetry and performance. Keening may have been the closest thing to ancient Greek poetry — oral, tribal, dramatic, plastic — still current in 20th-century Western Europe (4,800 words)  


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Unrepentant Baguette Merchant

Niccolo Soldo | Fisted By Foucault | 2nd December 2020

Tongue-in-cheek, provocative but revealing interview with right-wing French pundit Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry. Politically incorrect throughout; but Gobry is in on the joke, and makes his points well. "I'll let you in on a little secret we don't share with foreigners: nobody in France believes in "laïcité", it's all a code to say we don't like Islam. We have a concordat, for crying out loud!" (4,200 words)


64 Reasons To Love Paul McCartney

Ian Leslie | The Ruffian | 8th December 2020

Let us first agree that Paul McCartney is the best and the best-loved British songwriter of the past century. Even so, we risk undervaluing his art, if we think it ephemeral. "His achievement is immense, historic, and will be remembered for centuries if anything will ... There are very few artists in history, in any field, who have produced so much work at a high level over such a span" (9,700 words)


On Marlon Brando

Molly Haskell | Village Voice | 6th December 2020

From the archives, an epic profile first published in 1973 when Brando shocked the film world by spurning an Oscar in protest at the fate of Native Americans. "He is intensely physical, strong, sensual. And yet there is, in his stillness, the hesitation of a troubled soul. He watches like nobody else watches, and behind the glare is a mind that knows more than it will ever, can ever, utter" (17,400 words)


Video: Rules For Rulers | C.G.P. Grey. Machiavelli for stick figures. How outsiders think political power works; and how it actually works (18m 13s)

Audio: How We Get What We Value | Mark Carney. BBC Reith Lecture. Ex-governor of the Bank of England talks about the ascendancy of financial values over human values (57m 50s)

Afterthought:
"Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you"
Jean-Paul Sartre


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