Think Political

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Think Again, Al Jolson

Peter Tasker | 23rd September 2023

Japanese audiences rarely watched silent films in silence. A narrator, or benshi, provided spoken accompaniment, explaining the action and improvising the dialogue. The best benshi were stars in their own right; 1920s cinema-goers would select for the benshi as much as for the film. Even now there is an audience for silent films in Japan and for the benshi who still accompany them (1,550 words)

The Wagnerization Of Political Order

Alexander Gelland | Palladium | 22nd September 2023

The rise of the Wagner group in Russia was a consequence of state failure. Military preparedness is a core duty of the state, and when the Russian state failed in this duty, it created a vacancy for a private actor, who necessarily became a rival of the state. A state cannot transfer any of its core duties to another party without also transferring a corresponding share of its power and legitimacy (3,000 words)

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