Peter Frase | Jacobin | 6 February 2013
Soviet waiters were famously rude because the system allowed to express their feelings towards the customers. By and large, the customers didn't like it. Now, fast-food chains such as Pret a Manger are criticised for demanding that their workers behave cheerfully. Which would you prefer: Authentic rudeness, or feigned cheerfulness?
Sam Biddle | Gizmodo | 7 February 2013
Gripping business story. How bad deals get done. Some people are smarter than others. Monster electronics and Interscope Records agree to build headphones branded by rapper Dr Dre. Interscope walks off with all of the brand value, stuffing Monster with development and manufacturing costs. "One of the all time worst deals in tech"
Ivan Krastev | Open Democracy | 7 February 2013
Changes in global energy and strategic fundamentals, deterioration of Russia's political climate, greatly diminish Russia's allure for foreign partners. Looks more and more like a 19C autocracy stranded in a 21C world. Some deduce that democratic shift is inevitable. But even a more democratic government would have much the same foreign policy
Geremie Barmé | China Story | 8 February 2013
On the connotations of the Year of the Snake, and on animals as metaphors in Chinese political discourse more generally. Snakes are feared, not for any biblical associations, but because the word for "snake" sounds like "break" or "lose". The worst of animals is the wolf, as in: "America is the global tiger, and Japan is Asia’s wolf"
Sarah Knight and Mary Ann Lund | Times Literary Supplement | 6 February 2013
How do historical and literary accounts of Richard III's deformities hold up, now that we have the chance to examine his remains? His right shoulder was higher than his left; but there was no sign of kyphosis, in which the spine curves outwards. So: "crookback" yes, "hunchback" no. Shakespeare gave him the "envious mountain" a century later
Will Sheff | Will Sheff | 4 February 2013
Let me deliver the off-putting news up front. This is a long essay about a shambolic television performance by Dr Hook And The Medicine Show band in 1974. You may want to read no further. But if you do, prepare to delight in a lyrical appreciation of the cheesy underbelly of period pop—"entertainment verging on sheer life-affirming joy"
Thought for the day:
"Few critics truly evolve, they just find new subjects" — Ben Masters