Maggi Hambling’s tribute to Mary Wollstonecraft lit up a bleak winter with some social media pyrotechnics

One morning in November 1924, readers perusing their Morning Post (one assumes served by a butler, crisply-ironed on a tray with their bed-tea) were informed of a grievance in the form of a public letter.

The signatories demanded the removal of the newly unveiled sculpture in Hyde Park with as little delay as possible. The letter was signed by several public-spirited individuals who saw themselves as guardians of proper English morality. They included Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, and Her Highness, the Ranee Margaret of Sarawak.

The offending piece of art was Jacob Epstein’s Rima. The problem was that the statue was bare-breasted. Even the Prime Minister was taken aback by the sculpture when he pulled back the curtain for its public unveiling. …

The completely expected ridiculous hypocrisy of “manufacturing dissent” against capitalism as a corporate brand

So-called street rebel artist Shephard Fairey, a man who made his name vandalising private property to make statements about government oppression and injustice has trademarked for exclusive use not just the word “Obey” (stealing cult science fiction film-maker John Carpenter’s work) but “Disobey”, too.

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That’s right. The word “disobey” is Mr. Fairey’s private property.

Adrian Tomine returns with evolved art, humour like a razor and an eclectic mix of narcissism and self-loathing

The Moleskine diary is one of those weird, sacred must-have accessories for writers and creatives. Personally, I no longer use the books, preferring to use cheaper and more customisable Muji B5 notebooks — yes, yes, we do love our rituals — but I did have a phase in my ‘career’ as a writer where I carted a Moleskine everywhere, jotting down notes in book launch talks and noting down inspirations on the bus (none of it has ever earned me a dollar directly). …

Nike has shaken up a sport that was almost unchanged from the dawn of human civilisation

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Alan Mathison Turing (1912–1954) is often referred to as the father of modern computing. As digital technology becomes the central fulcrum of global culture and commerce, Turing is treated as a modern Prometheus, and his fame is only increasing. His death, as dramatised in the Benedict Cumberbatch starring The Imitation Game is attributed to being persecuted and chemically-castrated for being homosexual (though some reports suggest it was an experiment with electricity to electro-plate a spoon with gold gone wrong; it is possible that the hormones he was forcefully injected with as part of his criminal sentence impaired his judgement).

Computers are always at danger of over-heating and require cooling. The work and the materials involved in the construction of these machines result in the generation of large quantities of heat. Like their inventions, the humans who worked to create these machines also require letting off some steam. This is where running came in for Turing. …

Quentin Tarantino cannot hide behind artistic freedom to disguise how basic his sense of aesthetics is

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As a thick-accented, returning citizen from Hong Kong, Bruce Lee found his path to American television and film barred by experts and advisers. Despite Lee’s demonstrable on-screen charisma, proven popularity with audiences (after outshining the lead as Kato in The Green Hornet and other bit appearances in Marlowe and The Wrecking Crew), executives kept inventing reasons for why audiences would never accept him as a lead actor in an American movie or television show.

Whether one speaks of Steve McQueen, James Coburn, or the man who would be handed Lee’s intellectual property on a platter, David Carradine — a mop of gold, even a dirty one, never hurt one’s chances in Hollywood. Throughout history, blonde hair has been in and out of favour. But the devotion of Hollywood taste-makers like Quentin Tarantino to an idea of beauty traceable to a mythical blonde and blue-eyed Aryan super-race is laughable for its naive vulgarity. …

Jordan Mechner’s memoirs document how some of the greatest electronic games of all time came to be published

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Title screen

Half-way through reading Mechner’s Prince of Persia diary, I had to put it down. I powered up my rarely used, almost vintage Nintendo 3DS and looked for the game on the online store. To my delight, there was a ported version of the classic original available for download. I purchased it immediately (the same way I bought the two diaries for Kindle the moment I knew they existed and binge read them). And, man, does it still play well.

A classic will always be a classic

Classics, whether Greek mythology, movies, fashion, cars or computer games, are classics. They work no matter how many years have passed since they were originally conceived of and made. …

Red triangles were meant to designate political dissidents in Germany’s concentration camps

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By Adam Jones, Ph.D. — Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Facebook has banned an advertisement for Donald Trump’s campaign to designate “Antifa” as a terrorist organisation. The BBC reports:

Facebook says it has removed adverts for US President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign that featured a symbol used in Nazi Germany. The company said the offending ad contained an inverted red triangle similar to that used by the Nazis to label opponents such as communists.

This is certainly an interesting development. When Twitter first started adding notifications to Trump’s more politically misleading tweets, Mark Zuckerberg disagreed with such editorial policy on social media. …

The COVID-5G tower conspiracy theory and the typography in John Carpenter’s movie

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It a testament to the seriousness of the COVID crisis that both Facebook and Youtube have banned conspiracy theorist David Icke, despite his immense popularity. For platforms like Facebook and Youtube engagement (the depth and time an average user spends viewing their content) means more advertising $$$. Mark Zuckerberg, in particular, has stated that Facebook should not fact-check politician’s claims. While this is seemingly in the service of free speech, there is slight conflict of interest here. Fake, outlandish clickbait and outright lying is a far better source for revenue than boring facts. Our brains are hard-wired to engage more with nonsense, than we do with real information — the same way junk food tastes better than a salad. Google’s Youtube is equally guilty of preferring popular content over social purpose. The platforms, as a consequence, are awash with all kinds of false information, xenophobia and hate speech. …

British Imperialism is every bit a poisonous political ideology as Fascism or Communism

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By the author

Black Lives Matter’s mission cannot be complete without confronting British Imperialism. This is why, in the United Kingdom, the statue of Edward Colson, a notorious slave-trader, is now at the bottom of the Bristol bay. The celebratory scenes that accompanied this event looked similar to Iraq or Libya after the fall of a dictator.

The city of Bristol had been grappling with the unpopularity of Colson for a while. Powerful old money used its influence through the guise of “philanthropic activity” and patronage networks — Colson’s endowments were built into the infrastructure of the city — to prevent the city council from moving the statue as demanded by anti-slavery activists. Instead, a proposal was being negotiated to place a plaque on the pedestal talking about the horrific deaths, especially of 12,000 children, that Colson caused through trafficking and slavery. …

The feudal concept of “political sovereignty” has to be removed from law textbooks

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Excerpted from Daniel Clowes’ Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron

The murder of George Floyd marks a new low, even for the United States of America. As images of the killing spreads around the planet through social media, we are left to grapple with the senseless brutality of what we witnessed: the casualness with which a policeman leans with his full weight on a man’s neck, hands in his pockets, as the victim slowly chokes to death. The voice of the man, despite his bulk, is pleading and full of suffering. He does not deserve this. No one does. There was no let up. He died.

Beyond the shock and horror of this latest atrocity, lies the question: how can this happen? How can this happen again? And, again? …


Neel Dozome

I write about culture, books, and graphic design. Life goals include a graphic novel, and a hand stand.

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