Friday Reading S10E06

It’s back. My weekly newsletter of … stuff that caught my beady little eye. Subscribe to it here.

Some eco-fascists argue that the environment is being destroyed by overpopulation and blame the global south for it. (This idea, quietly taking hold in some traditional right-wing circles, was directly referenced by the Christchurch shooter.) Others believe that consumerism in the West explains the razing of the environment, and is the fault of Jewish elites.

“Neo-Nazis are using Eco-Fascism to recruit young people” – Mack Lamoureux, Vice

In one image on his Instagram, he is feeding a child from an object that looks similar to a dog bowl. You read that correctly. In another photo, he poses with two children while not wearing a mask or social distancing. “I’ve taken a bit of a ‘summer break’ from social media,” he says in the caption. “So many children around the world rely on their school for daily meals.” The tired trope of the white superhero who comes in to save the day and rescue the children from their distressing lives is both degrading and dehumanising. Gerard feeding the children with a huge smile on his face left many feeling cold. Whether his efforts were well-intentioned or not is irrelevant when the public promotion feels so self-serving.

“Is mid-pandemic travel creating a resurgence of the white saviour complex?” – Lola Christina Alao, gal-dem.

It has always been easier to isolate the perpetrators in these cases by their psychologies than to ask, How did we get here? But the research we gather after every misogyny-motivated mass killing shows us something we’d rather it didn’t. It reveals that there is a terrorist ideology at work and online forums have given it a place to fester and spread.

“The Making of an Incel – How misogyny in online forums turns into real-life violence” – Katherine Laidlaw, The Walrus

I was genuinely absolutely fucking seething this week to get a letter from my bank reducing the interest on my account from 0.8% to 0.35% – what is the actual fucking point of saving for the future? I’d be better off spending it all and then telling my kids “Oh well, tough” later in life. Anyway, if you want a more practical answer here’s a guide to the best savings deals as NS&I slashes rates and Premium Bonds prizes. This is not a sponsored post, I just think capitalism is fucking bullshit and we need to stick it to the man any way we can, especially if the man in question is my fucking bank.

Talking of capitalism, Ben on Ticketing shared an epiphany about the economics of gold prospecting in the olden times which made me go “WOAH!”

My Leyton Orient have caught a bad dose of the Covids, and had two games postponed. I’m not very optimistic about the season finishing for football in the Covid anti-Goldilocks zone.

LE GIORNATE DEL CINEMA MUTO – that’s the Pordenone Silent Film Festival to you, sunshine – is online this year and it’s only €9.90 to watch a load of weird old silent films. Come on.

I’m also sorely tempted by the RURAL GOTHIC festival which for a tenner gives you access to a weekend of talks (starting tomorrow) called things like “A Secret History of Wolf Cults and Werewolves” and “Researching and Animating Borley Rectory”

There was an online hoo-haa because Zendaya won an Emmy and it was described as an “upset”. Then lots of people patronised the Zendaya fans who were saying that was a bit shitty, and who was “upset” about it, by going “Oh, there there, don’t you know what an upset means, you molly-coddled millenials” all smug boomer hoity-toity etc etc, but my former colleague Elle Hunt hit the nail on the head by saying…

Yes Zendaya fans might have taken her Emmy being called an “upset win” literally but the fact it was described as that at all says a lot about gatekeeping. Who picks the “favourites to win”, you know?

There was also on online hoo-haa about the face recognition algorithm used by Twitter being racist because it was favouring white faces over black faces.

What struck me most about this row though was just the sheer extent of people digging their heels in and going “no it isn’t racist, it’s just computers find it easier to detect white faces than black faces because that’s just how it is” as if:

  1. The way camera technology has been developed
  2. The way photography techniques have been developed
  3. The way it was decided images would be encoded on computers
  4. The way algorithms have been trained to detect faces
  5. The way the product was shipped by Twitter

Were all perfectly neutral actions that couldn’t have been developed any other way. Nobody was saying Twitter set out to be racist. But they either knew it worked this way and shipped it as a feature anyway, or they didn’t notice it worked this way because they never tested it like this.

For months the broadband in the whole village failed due to ‘electrical noise’ from one resident’s television. The old telly that brought down a Welsh village’s broadband.

What will the flirty butcher who hates anything orange make of the salami-heavy starter served up by the Fitness-freak Architect? What mysterious object will the Theatrical Personal Trainer find hidden in the flat of the Pretentious Nanny? And, most importantly, will Jane be happy with her sad little life?

Absolutely sterling work here on Come Dice With Me, the RPG game of Come Dine With Me you never knew you needed.

The Time Scope charity Doctor Who anthology e-book I contributed to is on course to hit raising £2,000 for Scope – just 10 sales away apparently. There’s going to be a Christmas-themed follow up, which is currently seeking contributions.

From elaborate band arrangements to their pioneering collaborations with Giorgio Moroder, Sparks’ music has always been innovative and instantly identifiable.

Old but gold incredibly nerdy long read from Sound On Sound about Sparks’ use of music equipment through the years.

Smashing new video for the song Computers by Clown Core. Don’t try this at home. Or indeed anywhere really. WARNING: Contains trace elements of clowns.

I released a new single on Saturday in all good digital record stores. It is called Anneliese and tells the particularly grim story of a woman, Anneliese Michel, who died in the 1970s. Here’s why I made it.