When my brother persuaded our dad to take him to see George Best and Manchester United for the first time, I was three years old. As I pottered about on that September day in 1969, I was unaware that Paul had managed, at the age of 12, to break through into another world altogether: one where colours were more vivid and the romance of life was transformed into something extraordinary […]
The Lonely Old Bitcoin Miner is a playful experiment in critical making. He is a pitiful amalgam of stolen Disney intellectual property and low-end computer hardware. He is powered by dreams of distributed peer-to-peer networks: first, of striking it rich through Bitcoin, and now, of contributing to the blockchain, a permanent infrastructure of collective memory. Are both dreams equally hopeless? The Lonely Old Bitcoin Miner invites us to ask: what does it really mean to be a peer?
Mark Greif is Professor of Literary Studies at the New School, NY, and a founding editor of the magazine n+1. His collection of essays “Against Everything” offers a sustained critique of contemporary consumer culture, and asks questions about our assumptions concerning ‘the good life’. King’s Review editors Johannes Lenhard and Chris Townsend spoke with Greif about Romanticism, hipsters, and universal basic income.
Despite the fact that Amanda Coker has now cycled further in a year than any other human, she has been dogged by critical voices on social media. This in part relates to her methods —she has ridden in circles around the exact same seven-mile loop for the past 365 days, and she often rides a relaxed ‘recumbent’ bike. Chris Townsend explores the excessive nature of her achievements, and attempts to make sense of the claim that what she has done is “not real cycling”.
If the Norfolk Broads are a landscape woven on the loom of history, then the Anthropocene could represent the age of its unravelling. Drawing on both his research experiences in the Broads, as well as the mythological and folkloric significance of that landscape, Jonathan Woolley asks why, when our darkest nightmares are becoming ecological reality, we find ourselves so paralysed to act.
With measures of subjective well-being on the rise, what role does happiness have to play in politics? Should it inform our judgements about who receives welfare payments? Might the government try to direct society towards a particular notion of ‘happiness’? Sam Dalton explores these questions and more, and argues that a public, deliberative politics of happiness might indeed be a good thing.
In politics, ‘I deeply regret’ is not the same as ‘I am sorry’. Ahead of the French elections, Christopher Prendergast considers the relation of François Fillon’s campaign to the political language of regret.
This week, on the 8th of March, thousands will renounce their daily demands to strike for International Women’s Day. Women are calling upon women to act, or not act, in any way they can: to ‘put a broom outside the front door or a banner in the window; bang pots and pans, change your facebook profile to the image of the Strike, refuse to do the washing up or the shopping, charge double for sex work’.
Despite its mainstream success at the box office, ‘La La Land’ resists fulfilling the usual Hollywood romance narratives. Reading the film alongside Roland Barthes’s ‘The Lover’s Discourse’, Rebecca Liu suggests that the message of both is that “to love, sometimes, means to know when it is time to let go”.
While the left-leaning media bemoan the rise of a “post-truth” political culture, might not the left wing be just as easy to caricature as “post-factualist” as is the right? Natalie Morningstar examines the figure of the hipster, as liberal consumer par excellence, and argues that a moralising language of truth and reality – of factualism – spans the full breadth of the political spectrum.
‘Second-Hand’ is a series of alternative book reviews. Traditional reviews, with their emphasis on the latest and greatest novels, risk leaving the reader behind. This column offers a breathing space, by focusing each time on a single second-hand book. The focus of this column is on chance encounters, revisionary readings of classic novels, and on the margins of the literary canon. It is a celebration of the book as physical object, in an […]
What can contemporary art tell us about the reality in which we’re living? Through a reading of “Liquidity Inc.” by the German artist Hito Steyerl, Gary Zhang reflects on 2008 as a technological, economic and aesthetic turning point — and on its consequences for representing realism in a ‘post-truth’ world.
As is now tradition for presidential candidates in the United States, Donald Trump committed many of his key policies to print ahead of the 2016 election, in the campaign book “Crippled America”. Now, after Trump’s campaign was proven successful and at the end of 2016, Chris Townsend turns to the book for some answers.
‘Second-Hand’ is a series of alternative book reviews. Traditional reviews, with their emphasis on the latest and greatest novels, risk leaving the reader behind. This column offers a breathing space, by focusing each week on a single second-hand book. The focus of this column is on chance encounters, revisionary readings of classic novels, and on the margins of the literary canon. It is a celebration of the book as physical object, in an […]
At the end of 2016, Zadie Smith’s Swing Time feels both apposite and timely, as a story about “the failure of liberal thought”. Rebecca Liu details the ways in which the novel deals a blow against the myth that individuals from any background can, with the right attitude and enough effort, achieve their dreams — and the notion that wealth is an indicator of success.