Lots of post-referendum reading this week, but – with two exceptions – not here. These are links to other bits and pieces that I have found interesting the past seven days. Thanks as always to those who have pointed me towards some of them, via Twitter and in other ways, and apologies for the absence of name-checks.
• What sort of crisis is this?: again, I’m trying to avoid Brexit links, but this thoughtful, subtle and far-reaching analysis by Will Davies (I linked to his earlier post last week) is entirely exceptional. Be afraid, be very afraid.
• Brexit and the politics of the fake orgasm: Fintan O’Toole for the Irish Times puts his finger on something truly significant:
When Trump says “I will build a wall and Mexico will pay for it” or Boris Johnson and Michael Gove say “We send the EU £350 million a week – let’s fund our NHS instead”, they are actually saying “Colourless green ideas sleep furiously.” Their claims have the form and grammar of traditional political promises, but they bear no relation to anything they actually intend to do.
The problem with pure nonsense is that is cannot be contradicted…
• The dead: to mark this week’s commemorations, Luke McKernan re-posted his 2008 thoughts on the restoration and DVD release of the 1916 film The Battle of the Somme.
• Home of the weak – Out of the Past and four ways of framing film noir: Brad Stevens for Sight & Sound on Jacques Tourneur’s masterpiece; some great images too.
• The Sunday post – enter videotape: last weekend’s offering from the learned Andrew Martin at the BBC Genome blog is an excellent piece about the arrival of video recording at the BBC in the late 1950s; it includes the wonderful image above of the BBC’s VERA system.
• Tough love – Alan Clarke: a very good piece by Graham Fuller for Film Comment about the maverrick director, tied to the BFI’s release of two exceptional DVD box sets of Clarke’s television drama.
• The good, the bad and the ugly – behind the scenes of the Brexit broadcasts: included here because it’s arguably about broadcasting in general, this is a smart, short review by New Statesman‘s Helen Lewis:
Nothing feels more artificial than doing live television… everything has irony baked into it: TV now happens in the lively expectation that it will be instantly giffed, memed and stripped for parts on Twitter. It’s like eating a pre-chewed meal.
• The Artist Project – Eric Fischl on Max Beckmann’s Beginning (above): this series of image-and-audio pieces from the Met, in which a contemporary artist looks at a work from the collection are just great, and many of the format’s strengths are on show in this short reflection by one of my favourite living painters on a canvas by one of my favourite dead ones.
• Review: Bruce Conner’s darkness that defies authority: Roberta Smith for The New York Times on a major MoMA show for ‘one of the great outliers of American art, a polymathic nonconformist whose secret mantra might have been “Only resist.”’ The MoMA page is here (the show is on until 2 October) and the catalogue looks to be essential (if eye-wateringly expensive).
• At the Grand Palais: Jeremy Harding for LRB on the Paris exhibition of work of Malian photographer Seydou Keita (until 11 July), beautifully illustrated.
• The daredevil of the auction world: an exceptional New Yorker profile by Rebecca Mead of Christie’s expert Loic Gouzer.
• The workes of Beniamin Ionson: a digitised version of Ben Jonson’s First Folio (the model for the Shakespeare one that followed seven years later), presented as a handy e-reader; courtesy of archive.org and Boston Public Library.
• The eve of youthful destruction: Todd Gitlin for Spiked on the 1960s in the States and the dangers of generational politics.
• Beyoncé – many things all at once: a great tribute to the ‘dazzling and confounding’ artist, by Carol J. Oja for TLS.
• The best and worst Internet experience in the world: on the Internet in China, by Christina Larson for MIT Technology Review.
• A hater for all seasons: another essential Trump piece, this time from Garry Wills for New York Review of Books.
• My four months as a private prison guard: 35,000 words of truly remarkable reporting of often grisly scenes inside a private prison in the USA, by Shane Bauer for Mother Jones.
• ‘This Land is your land’: The Boss, for tomorrow…