We live in an Age of Kings armed with algorithms

China’s New Era Under Xi – Rowan Callick


“You Owe Me An Apology!”

A passing thought:

Women are often constructed to bare their slights in silence.

It makes sense, right?

The systems which enable so many grievances – be it casual harassment, discourses on irrational hysteria, prejudices against the economic worth of baby carriers, rape (there is seemingly no end to this list) – hardly responds well to women who challenge it, speak back to it, call it out. Neither do men in power respond well to being told they are privileged – that some part of their success is unearned – and the risks are great; they are powerful for a reason. They can hinder you, harass you, marshal the status quo against you.

And in America?!

Even with my maleness, my class privilege, my education, my physicality, my confidence, pride, aplomb; I can’t honestly say, with much assurance, that I would talk back.

To even consider listing the injustices towards black people seems futile. To even contemplate a list of injustices towards black women makes my head hurt.

And in America?!

No “Western” nation can claim to have transcended its caste structures, but in America… Well, I don’t understand why much of the rest of the world has not offered African Americans refugee status (I mean not to suggest they should vacate their country and home, only that the freedom to do so, and the recognition of their justifications, should be readily available.)

Extraordinary as she is, Serena Williams nonetheless showed something quite remarkable on the 8th of September. She did something she was not supposed to. She overrode the system. She spoke, loudly, and with words I hope will capture the hearts of our angry young generation. With words I hope, more importantly, will speak to every black girl whose hair has been made fun of, to every black teen told her bursary is unearned tokenism, to every black woman bedevilled by colleagues who assume her promiscuous:

“You Owe Me An Apology!”


“Sure looks a lot like conservatism” by Didier Fassin


Sometimes you just can’t say it better.

For those currently harbouring illusions about Macron or the future of France, here is Didier Fassin’s LRB piece in response to Sophie Pedder’s fawning hagiography “Revolution Française: Emmanuel Macron and the Quest to Reinvent a Nation” (The Economist, quelle surprise).

Not unlike his political alter egos – self-proclaimed progressives such as Obama and Trudeau – Macron has proven himself an expert showman and mountebank, an authoritarian and ‘president of the rich’, hiding in plain sight behind identitarian rhetoric and intelligent public relations.

Front National never stood a chance of winning in 2017. Will we be able to say the same in 2022?


Didier Fassin, ‘Sure looks a lot like Conservatism’

Fascism: I sometimes fear…

In lieu of any original thought, today can be a quote day, compliments of Michael Rosen [http://michaelrosenblog.blogspot.com]. Enjoy:

I sometimes fear that
people think that fascism arrives in fancy dress
worn by grotesques and monsters
as played out in endless re-runs of the Nazis.

Fascism arrives as your friend.
It will restore your honour,
make you feel proud,
protect your house,
give you a job,
clean up the neighbourhood,
remind you of how great you once were,
clear out the venal and the corrupt,
remove anything you feel is unlike you…

It doesn’t walk in saying,
“Our programme means militias, mass imprisonments, transportations, war and persecution.”


  • Michael Rosen