Monthly Archives: August 2013

Is God Dead in Harry Potter?

 ‘There is no good and evil; there is only power and those too weak to seek it.’ The average philosophy student could be forgiven for attributing these words to the incendiary philosopher and author of Beyond Good and Evil, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. They may not guess the quotation’s true orator: a hammed up CGI sorcerer […]

Resisting Arrest: The UK Home Office’s Tweets

The UK Home Office’s tweets of arrests of (suspected) ‘immigration offenders’ (with the all-important ‘suspected’ clause being left off the hashtag itself, which presumably was designed to trend as just ‘#immigrationoffenders’), and the now-notorious racist ‘Go Home’ van, which was driven round targeted ‘ethnic’ areas of London, have rightly come under heavy criticism in recent […]

What Debt is “Due to Today’s Wet Weather’”?

On rainy days in British stations, commuters can be seen to frown slightly as the inevitable pre-recorded edict sounds out: DUE TO TODAY’S WET WEATHER, PLEASE TAKE CARE WHILE ON THE PLATFORM: SURFACES MAY BE SLIPPERY     Performed in an office cafeteria or during an after-work drink, parodies of its uncanny android intonation will be […]

The Knavery of David Cameron, The Foolery of the Coalition: A note on Political Engagement

‘Whether dost thou profess thyself, a knave or a fool?’ is a question is asked by Lafeu of the Clown in Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well. Jacques Lacan discusses the distinction in The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, and, in a move similar to Freud’s essay ‘The Antithetical Meaning of Primal Words’, finds a trajectory towards […]

yeh no but

In the public places of the United Kingdom, but somehow especially those of the south, you’ll find it pretty common to hear the response to some statement: ‘yes no but’, or just ‘yes no’. ‘Yes no’ (like its individual parts) is always a response. The ‘yes’ must always come first, meaning ‘yes you are right’, and […]

Viral Video Awkwardness

In Adam Kotsko’s book Awkwardness he sets out three categories of awkwardness in the modern world. ‘Everyday awkwardness names the violation of a relatively strong norm, cultural awkwardness the general malaise that accompanies a relatively weak norm, and radical awkwardness the panic brought on by the lack of any norm at all.’ Into these categories […]

Fail is the Ghost of Success

Language, as usual, is in crisis, and one symptom of this is an accelerating tendency in various areas of discourse to use verbs as nouns. A television writer might promise a big “reveal” in a forthcoming episode, a manager will demand a “solve” for a problem in the company, and many of us have become […]