Summer is a distant memory now. We huddle around the fire for warmth and watch the leaves slowly drift to the ground. It’s chilly outside. Best to draw up the blankets around you, grab a hot drink and hibernate for the winter. Here are a few links to keep you going
- As I write the whole world is waiting for a result in America. Perhaps you know the result now. Either way, remember that America is just a story.
This is a great article by Laurie Penny behind the curtain of American politics, which goes beyond simple discussions of policy or candidates and focuses on the stories that shape the election.
When I was a child, I always half-suspected that America wasn’t real. It had to be made up. It was too good and too simple a story to make sense in the everyday world of bus stops and breakfast cereals and adults who invariably let you down.
Really, the whole thing is great. Go read, whether it’s the election or not.
- Sticking with the power of narrative, for now, Steven Novella of The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe writes about the myth of organic food. I don’t know enough about the science to agree or disagree with his judgment, but the emphasis on story is really interesting. It is so powerful it can overrule facts. Tell a people a convincing story that fits their existing beliefs and you can do anything.
A grumpy article I mostly disagree with. It comes across a lot as ‘These damn kids and their pokemans!’. But it’s very well written:
Thirty years ago, in my bland and blameless youth, there was no overlap between games and the world: You played a video game in an arcade, for God’s sake, with clanking buttons, screaming armpits, and coins banged into slots, while the world hummed along outside
I think the author is nostalgic for a world that never really existed. He seems to have fallen into a common trap of seeing new technology as something to be feared. And yet some of it must have resonated. My girlfriend Mel uninstalled the app and I followed suit. We were sick of being addicted to a game that drained us from the real world. So I agree with this article more than I thought I did.
It’s interesting to see the technology really be adopted. We’re just at the start of augmented reality and virtual reality and how they interact with the real world is going to be really interesting. Our perception of the world is likely to change as a result. Who knows where will end up?
- Finally, a discussion of Caliban in The Tempest and how it inspired Safiya Sinclair’s writing. It’s long been my favourite Shakespeare play, full of magic and joy. Safiya’s reading is a completely different, radical interpretation of the text. It’s the power of literature and writing to bridge the gaps between us and explain different experiences.
Top post is Constantinople (The Harbour, Evening) by Lucien Lévy Dhurmer, via Huariqueje