Sunday links

9th October 2016

I missed a links post last Sunday and other entries over the past fortnight have been only sporadic. I can only plead busy-ness in the preparation for the RSC Live from Stratford-upon-Avon broadcasts of Cymbeline, ten days ago, and King Lear, next Wednesday (and of which more tomorrow). Here, however, is the weekly offering of links to articles and videos that I have found interesting or stimulating over 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 appropriate name-checks.

The protective state: British politics is so awful at present that we have a profound responsibility to undertake some deep analysis; fortunately there are writers who can help, including Will Davies here in an exceptional post for Goldsmiths’ Political Economy Research Centre…

How the education gap is tearing politics apart: … and David Runciman, professor of politics at Cambridge University, writing here a Guardian Long Read.

• Idiots: Dan Mersh’s message to America from us Brits – ‘we’re the classy Judi Dench-y ones and you’re the subhuman fuckwits who think that a mentally unstable bankruptcy addict is somehow going to be “strong on trade”.’

Shakespeare explains the 2016 election: for The New York Times, Stephen Greenblatt on Richard III and the Donald:

Shakespeare’s words have an uncanny ability to reach out beyond their original time and place and to speak directly to us. We have long looked to him, in times of perplexity and risk, for the most fundamental human truths. So it is now.

Replay it again, Clint – Sully and the simulations: David Bordwell on narrative techniques in Hollywood, both today and int he 1940s.

• Hell Drivers – Stanley Baker and Patrick McGoohan star in a British action classic: a great piece in which BFI curators Jo Botting and Kieron Webb discuss the restoration of the 1957 pulp thriller, illustrated above.

Children at play – Jacques Rivette’s apprentice films: Daniel Kasman for on three early shorts by the French director.

The case for unfair use: a fascinating and provocative piece by Charlie Lyne for Sight & Sound:

A fair use orthodoxy has built up around the word, and there’s perhaps no better way to see it in action than by comparing the various recent appropriations of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, which… has become the go-to fair use building block.

How Hollywood whitewashed the old west: Leah Williams for The Atlantic on how the film industry has obscured the role people of colour played in the American frontier.

Westworld, season 1: a very good exploration of adaptation and the new HBO/Sky Atlantic series by Aaron Bady for Los Angeles Review of Books.

Living the life: a gloriously entertaining LRB review by Andrew O’Hagan of James Andrew Miller’s Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency.

What is radio?: productive musings by Luke McKernan on the future and the part of the medium.

Panama – the hiddent trillions: for New York Review of Books, Alan Rusbridger writes about a slew of books on ‘tax planning’.

Karl Marx, yesterday and today: Louis Menand for The New Yorker on contemporary meanings of the nineteenth century thinker.

Russian invasion – on Dan Ackerman’s The Tetris Effect: another very good Los Angeles Review of Books piece (see Westworld above), this time by Ian Bogost on ‘the bizarre story of [behind] the successful release of Tetris on Game Boy and its concomitant cultural canonization.’

• Ben’s fairy tales – how The Storyteller sheds new light on Walter Benjamin’s philosophy: Jessica Siu-Yin Yiung writes for The Modernist Review on Walter Benjamin’s early writings.

The Girl on the Train and women’s dark fantasies: Anne Helen Petersen for Buzzfeed on

the latest in a long line of texts that channel women’s rage at living under patriarchy. It offers an escapist fantasy, but unlike most fantasies, the escape is not into a more perfect world, just one where women can call bullshit, some more murderously than others, on the increasingly impossible expectations that legislate our lives.

The limits of loving the boss: a thoughtful essay by Ann Powers for npr music that develops to a conclusion that, ‘Loving the Boss, it’s important to remember that it’s okay to question what he’s given us, too.’ One of the songs she deconstructs is this:

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