I still hate football

football

I have hair, which I sometimes get cut. And this week, that meant talking about football.

I hate football. I hate all sport, in fact – at least in its big, jingoistic, corporate-capitalist permutation. But for the first time in my life, I now actually know something about it.

That’s because I’ve ludicrously ended up in the work Fantasy Football league (for the uninitiated, it’s a game where you build an imaginary team using players from around the world, and score points based on how your picks perform in real-world matches).

Knowing I’m about as sporty as a Gregg’s steak bake, a colleague sarcastically asked if I wanted to join in. I said yes just to annoy him. With a squad full of players from Panama and Iran, I was already on -8 points by the end of day one. I’m aiming to do as badly as possible. Continue reading “I still hate football”

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I Dumb Down: ‘The Segregation of Dissent’ by E.P. Thompson

ep_thompson
EP Thompson

Spooky prescience from the author of ‘The Making of the English Working Class’

Historians are classically shit at prophesising anything, but, back in early ‘60s, a Marxist one predicted the future.

The BBC had just aired a three-part lecture series attacking the New Left – the then-emerging movement of radical students and academics calling for a socialist politics beyond Stalinism and watery Western social democracy. And E.P. Thompson, one of the highest-profile New Leftists, set about writing his own talk in response.

Originally, the intention was to get it broadcast on the BBC. If Auntie was happy to transmit three hours of reactionary propaganda, the reasoning ran, it would surely have to give the New Left some sort of right to reply.

But when the Corporation rejected Thompson’s lecture, he turned it into an essay instead. Continue reading “I Dumb Down: ‘The Segregation of Dissent’ by E.P. Thompson”

I dumb down

Dumbo

I am dumb. A plodder. Terminally middlebrow. Incurably unintellectual. I know this, and I made peace with it a long time ago.

But a lot of new generation leftists are anything but. Their cleverness is astounding. Whenever I watch or listen to something from groups like Novara, I’m bowled over by their ability to hold so much information in their heads.

It’s not just facts and figures – it’s complex theoretical understandings. They don’t just know and grasp Derrida and Lefebvre and Bordieu and so many others, but they can effortlessly apply them to everyday situations in a way that makes sense.

I can’t do that. But what I can do is dumb down. Continue reading “I dumb down”

“Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff

fireandfurybooks

It’s been titillating liberal-centrists and topping best-seller lists since January, but Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury is trashy and overrated.

Essentially, Wolff, a provocative columnist for the Hollywood Reporter, spent a year wandering around the White House talking to key members of team Trump.

The result was a book. Trump hoped it would be a flattering one — he’d liked a piece Wolff had done on him during the election, and given him free rein of the West Wing off the back of it. But it isn’t.
Continue reading ““Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff”