Friday Reading S13E11
Friday Reading is a weekly series of recommended reads from the Guardian’s Martin Belam, covering journalism, media and technology, and other interesting nerdy things he found on the internet this week. It is now in its thirteenth season. Sign up here.
That "cancel culture moral panic" editorial from the New York Times was bad. I've not much time for Dan Froomkin either but I did enjoy his line "The fundamental right is to be able to engage in spirited debate without government intervention. There is no right not to be ratioed on Twitter."
For the record, I think if you say things that society finds terrible, you are perfectly entitled to say them, but we are perfectly entitled to shame or shun you in return. And it is always pretty much the same terrible views people complain they can't express, isn't it?
Pleased to confirm that I started covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine on our live blog for the first time at 7am on Tuesday morning, and by 2.15pm I'd already had the first abusive email about my work. I have not written a 1,057 word op-ed on how this is cancel culture.
Strong work in this opening paragraph:
“The QAnon cult that gathered in Dallas towards the end of 2021, which, among other things, believes that former president Donald Trump is simply John F. Kennedy in disguise, is finally beginning to fall apart.”
… and of course …
“As the group unravels, the language and imagery it’s using are also becoming increasingly extreme. On Monday, one of the group’s more prominent members, a rapper known as Pryme Minister, posted images of himself and Michael Protzman making a Nazi salute.”
“The JFK QAnon Cult Is Finally Collapsing: ‘Shit’s Falling Apart’” – David Gilbert, Vice
Ron wants to be sure that you didn’t miss this week’s Guardian Thursday quiz: Boy bands, happy lands and Buffy’s deadly mate – take the Thursday quiz
Increasingly look back on big chunks of telly that I happily watched to pass the time in the 90s and 2000s as being as toxic as I considered Love Thy Neighbour and Mind Your Language to be when they were twenty years old: What Jeremy Kyle Documentary Death On Daytime Reminds Us About the Culture of Cruelty
Talking of which, looks like I already missed out on seeing Oxide Ghosts:
“In a post-screening conversation with Walliams, Cumming discusses the scenes Morris might not venture were the show made today. A sketch about a Holocaust board game was mentioned – although it ended up on the cutting-room floor anyway. The series’ rape jokes and conspicuous interest in gay sex feel ickier to me a quarter century on. But Brass Eye’s brutality is the point: it’s a bonfire of proprieties. (Cumming cited Pete ’n’ Dud’s Derek and Clive albums as an influence.) You take it in that spirit, or not at all.”
I’ve probably mentioned before that I’ve never felt getting an adult diagnosis of autism or ADHD or something along that spectrum would be much use to me – I know who I am, I’ve leant in to what I am good at and what I enjoy doing, what more is there to know? This was good from Hannah Gadsby on her adult diagnosis:
“I was told I was too fat to be autistic. I was told I was too social to be autistic. I was told I was too empathic to be autistic. I was told I was too female to be autistic. I was told I wasn’t autistic enough to be autistic. Nobody who refused me my diagnosis ever considered how painful it might have been for me, and it got really boring really fast.”
And oh my heart at this bit.
“I spend hours alone at home rearranging my little piles of bric-a-brac, because it’s really fun. I only wear blue clothes because blue makes me feel calm. I listen to the same music, watch the same shows, and eat the same foods over and over again without any qualms. I find joy in my life where once I couldn’t because I was too busy trying to do the ‘right’ thing instead of checking in with my own needs first.”
They’ve managed to crowdsource the money to make brand new online-only episodes of Time Team.
Jay Hulme recommended Second Dimension games and they do all look delicious.
Kimberly McIntosh writes for Gal-Dem: The End of the Elizabethans – are we ready for a UK republic?
Me? Yes. The rest of the country? Not so much I suspect. Although that tour of the Caribbean by Wills and Kate has certainly opened the eyes to how strong Republican feeling has now become in those countries. Kimberley writes:
“But the Commonwealth isn’t suddenly ‘a voluntary association of 54 independent and equal countries’. just because that’s how it’s being presented by the Palace. The children of the Mother Country haven’t been elevated to an equal footing with their former coloniser. Last Friday, Kenyan MP John Kiarie said a proposed UK-Kenyan trade deal would ‘slide [Kenya] back to the colonial period,’ due to what lawmakers believe are unfavourable terms. You cannot tell the contemporary story of the Commonwealth without the Empire and exploitation. You cannot understand the history of the Empire without the history of a racist monarchy.”
A lot of people laughing at the rich person’s gap-year trauma of this “bird nesting in my hair” piece … but I found it strangely lonely and heart-breaking. Like that Kate Bush song about the washing machine isn’t really about the washing machine, that piece isn’t really about the bird is it?
“Experience: I let a baby bird nest in my hair for 84 days” – Hannah Bourne-Taylor
TRACK OF THE WEEK: Midnight Sun by Nilüfer Yanya. Completely new album and artist to me at #TimsTwitterListeningParty at the weekend and really loved the way it married some quite soulful tunes and her intriguing voice with an undertow of miserabilist guitars which reminded me of Seventeen Seconds-era The Cure and In Rainbows-era Radiohead and China Crisis. This was the stand-out track.
“His paintings have a resonance for me on so many levels: the stark sense of black and white, the industrial landscapes, the melancholy … I just went, ‘Woooah.’ And then I got a bit carried away.”
Lovely bit on OMD’s Andy McCluskey obsession with industrial landscape painter Maurice Wade that also then talks a bit more about how OMD came about: “Nobody can even find a photograph of him. He’s quite mysterious”
A good interview with Suzanne Vega about running her own label and re-recording lots of her early catalogue, and the dilemma of still having battles with the corporate structure that retains the name and logo of the label you signed for 35 years ago.
“Close Up with Suzanne Vega” – Paul Sinclair, Super Deluxe Edition
I’ve got a new 7-track 21 minute mini-LP coming out next month. There’s a song about a magic candle made of human fat, and one about a spirit waiting to drown you. There’s one about a werewulfe, and one about a man who has slipped back in time, and there’s even *gasp* a bit of me singing on it …