Janan Ganesh in the Financial Times --There is just one threat to English as the world’s lingua franca, and it is not Mandarin. It is not even the (overrated) potential of translation technologies. It is the language’s own descent into bullshit.
Saturday, June 05, 2021
Wednesday, June 02, 2021
Thursday, April 29, 2021
Saturday, April 17, 2021
It's fine to do the "Prince Philip was an immigrant!" discourse if Twitter is your level. But people with a column at their disposal really should do better. Philip was also an immigrant from a different Europe -- one that was no longer on the map when he was born -- that of the multinational empires. World War 1 had destroyed these empires, and replaced them multi-ethnic nation states, that would then go on to destroy each other in World War 2. And what emerged from that was a Europe where borders corresponded more to "national identity," and a Europe with its Jewish population mostly killed or displaced. So rather than the easy layups, how about a reflection on which Europe was better, for whom, and why Philip's life story is more than validation for comfort-zone bourgeois opinions?
Friday, April 16, 2021
The organizers of the world’s leading events are gathering for an invite-only online conference to discuss the future of events.— Paddy Cosgrave 🏴☠️ (@paddycosgrave) April 16, 2021
Event organizer? Want to join?https://t.co/o089XC05Sb
Friday, April 09, 2021
Saturday, March 27, 2021
Thursday, March 25, 2021
Thursday, March 11, 2021
How could Bibi top that? By appearing with the allegedly in Abu Dhabi but long not seen Leonardo painting, Salvator Mundi.
UPDATE: Bibi's bag of tricks didn't include an airspace clearance from Jordan.
Sunday, February 28, 2021
It's understandable that people are interested in #TheMoment, that one time when they realized that Covid-19 was going to be something really big and disruptive. But maybe the focus should be more explicitly on the retrospective aspect: not a moment that was immediately evident, but something that stuck in your mind when you saw it, but its significance only became apparent later. Here's an example, from RTE one year ago tomorrow:
Meanwhile, a healthcare expert from the Royal College of Surgeons said the urgency of Covid-19 merits the cessation of government formation talks and for political leaders to instead focus on national planning to deal with an outbreak of the virus here. Professor Sam McConkey, Associate Professor of International Health/Tropical Medicine at RCSI, ... also said that an '"open, transparent national discussion" should take place to decide upon "acceptable levels of social control and social distancing" as Irish people are not used to being told what they can and cannot do. He said the spread of the virus onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship and across northern Italy showed that efforts to contain the spread had failed. He said the "draconian measures" of mass quarantine and social distancing in China seem to have reduced the spread of the virus so Ireland needs to consider how best to approach an outbreak here.
At the time, this seemed jarring. All the discussion was around individual or a small number of cases. Prof McConkey was warning of the possibility that the disease was not contained and radical measures like in China might have to be considered, despite their seemingly shocking nature. It would still be many weeks before this level of alarm permeated the general debate.
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Saturday, February 06, 2021
Thursday, February 04, 2021
US House Member Marjorie Taylor Greene in her otherwise patently insincere apology for believing crazy stuff today (via WSJ) --
“I was allowed to believe things that weren’t true and I would ask questions about them and talk about them and that is absolutely what I regret,” she said Thursday, wearing a “Free Speech” mask.
Note: she's admitting that "asking questions" was her gateway to believing crazy stuff. It's a case study in faux-scepticism.
Saturday, January 30, 2021
Thursday, January 28, 2021
Saudi Arabia Future Investment Initiative press statement --
Others scheduled to participate include ... Lord Grimstone of Boscobel; Minister for Investment at the UK Department for International Trade; ... and Anthony Scaramucci, Founder & Managing Partner of SkyBridge Capital.
Saturday, January 23, 2021
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
From the truly bizarre White House 1776 report, where it sounds like reactionary American conservativism meets rant overheard at Irish bar in Washington DC --
British monarchs not only disputed one another’s claims to the throne but imposed their preferred religious doctrines on the whole nation. Gruesome tortures and political imprisonments were common. The Puritans proclaimed a “commonwealth” which executed the Anglican king. The executed king’s son proceeded to supplant the “commonwealth,” but because his brother was suspected of being Catholic, Protestants expelled him in the so-called "Glorious Revolution" of 1688 that installed the Protestant monarch of the Netherlands and his wife as England’s king and queen.
Monday, January 11, 2021
There was an article briefly posted on the White House website which purported to blame state-level Covid-19 related business restrictions for the bad payroll numbers in December. The article has disappeared (here's the busted link). Blaming states for their attempted mitigation of uncontrolled spread of a virus whose impact was constantly minimized by the President is ... interesting.
UPDATE: It's reposted, but the headline message has been changed. The headline does not blame the states ("December job losses driven by state-enforced shutdowns"), it is now attributed to industries.
Friday, January 08, 2021
There is attention of the "that's unexpected!" variety on the Wall Street Journal editorial calling for Donald Trump to go, preferably via resignation. The problem is, the editorial is rubbish. It's not worth line by line analysis. But it starts:The lodestar of these columns is the U.S. Constitution.
Thursday, January 07, 2021
Monday, January 04, 2021
Just one of the astounding exchanges in the Trump Georgia election phone call (transcript via Wall Street Journal) --
MR. RAFFENSPERGER: Well, Mr. President, the problem that you have with social media, they can – people can say anything.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, no, this isn’t social. This is Trump media. It’s not social media. It’s really not. It’s not social media. I don’t care about social. I couldn’t care less. Social media is big tech. Big tech is on your side, you know? I don’t even know why you have a side, because you should want to have an accurate election. And you’re a Republican.
Sunday, January 03, 2021
Thursday, December 31, 2020
Bonus points for the NHS-bashing.
Image: screen capture 3.25pm before the hideous Pay-for-Outrage flash page takes over.
The New York Times article today about the unfolding process of realization in China a year ago about Coronavirus as the political instinct clashed with the scientific is interesting and has some new details. But in substance, it's very close to a lengthy Financial Times investigation from over 2 months ago. The FT article also involved some riskier local reporting, as a note at the end indicates. And both articles agree that there is a critical 2 weeks in the middle of January where President Xi is missing in action, which may also be the critical 2 weeks in scaling the virus up to a pandemic.