Monthly Archives: September 2011

Ambivalent anniversaries, III

They talk techno-gibberish, they are mind-numbingly nerdy (you wouldn’t want most of them at your barbecue) but what they are saying screams to be heard. The trouble is; no one is likely to listen for long. The wealth of statistical and numerical detail has a way of freezing your brain. But they can’t tell it

Ambivalent anniversaries, II

As any good crime writer knows, you should cherchez la femme or follow the money or at least check for skeletons in the cupboard when pursuing an enquiry. For there is an awful sameness to the badness of bad men, something rather bland: Hannah Arendt called it the “banality of evil”. When I wrote last

Ambivalent anniversaries

The small screen had the full and undivided attention of the fat man at the ticket desk. With the gaping mouth of a stranded fish, in which his discoloured teeth and tongue were moving impulsively, he was repeating a single word like a mantra in the face of utter disbelief; “Scheisse, scheisse, scheisse, scheisse …”

Bad art

The Nazis were not the first to describe certain types of art as degenerate, though they were probably the first to go to the trouble of cataloguing that art and codifying the elements that make something decadent or not. The non-decadent, officially-approved art consisted mainly of neo-classical, heroic-realist or futurist works (of a propagandist or