With her distinctive calling-card single “Video Games” and album Born To Die, Lana Del Rey has been one of the most hotly debated artists of the past year. Initially feted for her “gangsta Nancy Sinatra” sound and DIY Youtube aesthetic, the blog love quickly faded with some flat live performance and the news that, far from a trailer park ingenue, Ms Del Rey is the daughter of a rich investor. Lana haters became as ubiquitous–and as vocal–as her defenders. It’s surprising, then, that neither have really been out in force with the release of her new “Paradise Edition” of Born to Die. Is the hype over?
Discordia, by Laurie Penny and Molly Crabapple, Vintage 2012.
With Greece collapsing in agonisingly slow motion over the past few years, it was inevitable that a slew of books would come along to chronicle the demise of the birthplace of democracy. Discordia, a collaboration between the English journalist Laurie Penny and the American illustrator Molly Crabapple, manages to avoid the usual journalistic cliches of Greek tragedy and Trojan horses, bringing us right into contemporary Athens with a lavishly illustrated gonzo snapshot of the crisis on the ground.
It might have escaped your notice, but apparently a Mediterranean climate and robust olive oil are not the only things Australia has in common with Greece. This week, prominent Australian banker David Murray told the ABC’s 7:30 report that it is “easily possible” that Australia could experience a similar downturn to Greece, sparking a flurry of controversy.
Downton Abbey is the best show on television this year, is it not? Or at least, it has the best frocks and hats on television at the moment (sorry Mad Men, you’re so whatever year it was that everyone was into you). There is romance! Hats! It has the glorious
Professor MacGongall Maggie Smith! And Harriet Jones, Prime Minister Penelope Wilton! And Susan Death Michelle Dockery! And other people of lesser nerdy significance! And in less explanation pointy things, it’s generally well scripted, acted and a sterling example of how well the English do period upstairs/downstairs drama. Anyway, now that we’ve established how amazing Downton Abbey is (and it really is), here is the bit where I tear it apart and make pretty shapes out of it.
In New York yesterday, forty thousand Haredim (“ultra Orthodox”) and Hassidic male Jews crammed into Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets, in an asifa (rally) against the Internet. It was a striking sight, a sea of austere black clothes, forelocks, beards. Like the Haredi women unable to attend this single-sex gathering, I, of course, watched it on the internet live stream.
One of the most persistent threads throughout the two years of imprisonment of accused Wikileaks leaker Private Bradley Manning has been the rumour that he is in fact, she–a transgender woman. Manning faces thirty charges, one of which “aiding the enemy” potentially carries the death penalty (though life in prison is more likely) for leaking hundreds of thousands of documents via the website Wikileaks including the shocking “Collateral Murder” video. Dismissed by many as a smear or simply irrelevant to the case, this transgender story has nevertheless refused to die.
Samhita Mukhopadhyay: I felt a tremendous frustration with what I felt were the dominant narratives about romance in the mainstream media. I really saw the book as an intervention. Not really rewriting the fairytale, or this is how you live happily ever after, not necessarily a follow these guides into the relationship of your dreams, but to really critically analyse the dominant mess that we have internalised about romance and to really serve as an intervention into what I felt was making young people unhappy. Continue reading
One of the most striking and moving images from the Egyptian Revolution was a line of Coptic Christians, linking arms and protecting the Muslims from the military police during their call to prayer. On Sunday, many Muslims joined thousands of Christians to march against last week’s violent attack on a Coptic Church in the southern town of Aswan—a telling symbol of the systematic, institutionalized racism against the Coptic minority in Egypt.
Egyptians watched in shock and horror as the peaceful march of 10,000 Egyptians—many united in religious solidarity–became a violent confrontation with the military police, escalating into a massacre brutally killing at least twenty-six and leaving over five hundred injured.