I thought this said something important about the risk to old fashioned democracy that the internet is posing:
By contrast, in an age of limitless bandwidth and ubiquitous data capture, the challenge for politicians (or anyone else) is to get noticed and exert influence. This calls for a very different set of political and personal talents: confrontation, wit, defiance, spontaneity and rule-breaking. The politician who wants to target the swing voter via television tries to seem as normal as possible. The politician who seeks to mobilise support online will do precisely the opposite. While it’s true that Farage has made mileage out of his ‘ordinary’ cultural habits (‘a fag and a pint’), a Trumpian refusal to play by the rules is his more potent quality.
The internet is an anti-hegemonic technology. It grants far more power to the consensus-breaker than to the consensus-maker. As the data analytics industry understands, it is a brilliant machine for mapping unusual clusters of feeling and behaviour, but far less suited to establishing averages and generalities. The internet fragments the ‘middle ground’ as a space of political argument, and grants a disproportionately loud voice to the niche and the crank. There are illusions galore here, but no sanctuary for the crucial synecdochal one on which representative democracy depends. Notions of ‘common sense’ and ‘the average voter’ lose their sway.
It’s from an excellent and – given the wretched Johnson’s current race for leadership of the Tory party – timely piece in the London Review of Books by William Davies:
It’s my birthday this week and birthdays mean family days out! So J, C and I visited Tewksbury.
The abbey is quite small – but properly old, dating from the years after the Norman conquest.
The Norman pillars are massive.
I love the way colour is being reintroduced to our ancient churches so that we have more of a sense of the glamour they held in the Middle Ages:
It’s Holy Week this week and, amidst all the splendour of the building, all of the crosses were shrouded in purple, waiting for the miracle of the resurrection on Sunday:
Fascinating little essay about the changing ways that colour in general and blue in particular – has been associated with culture, class and feeling through the ages:
Blue was once little-known in the Western palette. Homer’s sea was “wine dark”; blue would not be used as water’s color until the seventeenth century. It has evolved from its original association with warmth, heat, barbarism, and the creatures of the underworld, to its current association with calm, peace, and reverie. Like the unruly green, the Romans associated blue with the savage Celtae and Germani, who used the woad herb’s rich leaves for their blue pigments. These northern barbarians also painted themselves blue before war and religious rituals. The ancient Germans, according to Ovid, even dyed their whitening hair blue.
The Romans, in contrast, preferred the color red—the Latin word, “coloratus” was synonymous with that for red, ruber. The Romans and Greeks did import lapis lazuli, the exquisite blue rock, from exotic locals such as China, Iran, and Afghanistan. But neither used the barbaric blue for important figures or images, saving it for the backgrounds for white and red figures. Even the Greek words for blue, like the names of colors in the Bible, largely were meant to evoke certain states or feelings as opposed to exact visual colors. Blue, like green, was the color of death and barbarism. The nobler colors—white, red, and black—were preferred.
Now read on www.claremont.org/crb/basicpage/the-colors-of-our-dreams/
At least we go to British Summer Time this weekend. That’ll show ’em.
I was sorry to hear that Agnes Varda had died. I first fell in love with her films when I saw The Beaches of Agnes a few years ago. I’d never seen anything quite like it before – playful and serious, funny and fully prepared to tease at and dismantle boundaries.
I thought this tribute – put together when Agnes was still alive – caught a lot of my feelings about her films:
It was good to see the same spirit at work last year in Faces Places – all the mischief was there, but was I imagining a different vulnerability too?
Great post on SocImages about gendering of play beyond pink and blue:
SocImages authors and readers love pointing out pointlessly gendered products, especially children’s toys in blue and pink. Since gender is about what we do in the world, all the things we use for work and play can give weight to assumptions about gender differences that aren’t true. Critics of pointlessly gendered products emphasize that small differences in design—from color to function—can ultimately add up to big differences in how people learn to act in the world.
Gendering toys isn’t just about the color, it is also about what we teach kids to do with them. That’s why I got a huge kick out of this video: a compilation of old commercial shots of “white boys winning board games.” Of course, I haven’t done a systemic sampling of old commercials to see if girls win too, but this compilation makes an important point about how we can miss tropes that only show one outcome of social interaction over and over, especially competition.
— Read on thesocietypages.org/socimages/2019/03/26/i-win/
This is the you tube video…I win!