In 1940 Charlie Chaplin wrote and starred in The Great Dictator, a feature-length satire directed at the awful absurdities of fascism.
In the last month, both the European Commission and U.S. president Barack Obama have pledged to give billions of dollars to fund two separate projects geared towards creating a working model of the human brain.
The irony was delicious. The Mail runs a story headlined “Kate puts her baby bump on parade”, mixing an attack on Hilary Mantel’s alleged literary offensive against the Duchess with incessant cooing over Middleton’s “gently swelling stomach”.
The Bullingdon Club is back in the news. The Oxford Student recently ran a story about a student who was admitted to the club only after an initiation ceremony which allegedly included burning a £50 note in front of a tramp. The publication of the story generated a lot of huffing and puffing about its reliability and its source (a third party). More generally, toff-bashing seems to have lost its allure. It is felt to be in political bad taste, an expression of the ‘politics of envy’.
A transition in the MENA region towards greater human rights protection and democracy may not happen soon. But it will happen.
With cuts threatening to plunge state-subsidised arts institutions into crisis, how should they respond?
As we expand the list of psychiatric classifications and criteria, are we pathologising normal human behaviours and damaging ourselves in the process?
University divestment from fossil fuel companies will not solve the climate crisis. But the fact remains that universities, especially those with the largest endowments, are implicated in the climate crisis in a particularly self-contradictory way.
A fortnight ago Eric Schmidt took to the stage in Cambridge to preach hellfire and brimstone. He opened by describing a dystopian society shut off from the world – one whose population is kept in ignorance by an all-powerful state.