Culture

Thomas Cromwell, Liberal?

Meritocracy, technocracy and cosmopolitanism in the court of Henry VIII: an unlikely ‘patient zero’ of modern liberalism. Historical fiction can do two things for contemporary readers. It can exhibit the strangeness of the past, show how thought and action was driven by mindsets fundamentally different from our own, and act as a portal for the modern reader onto an alien world. Or…

Pesach

At the Passover Seder each year, Jewish people ask why this night is different from all other nights. The question continues to find meaning; the circumstances we celebrate this year fill us with doubt and despondency. But there is an answer – for thousands of years we have been the people of the book. Texts and commentaries have informed our people’s direction.…

Faith and the Left in the 21st Century

    A few months ago, I found myself debating with some politically like-minded friends whether or not religion could be ‘compatible’ with socialism.  The broad consensus went something like this: individual religious belief is fine, provided it’s confined to the private sphere, some of the great socialists of history were also people of deep faith, but ‘Organised Religion’ –– like, say,…

A Better Broadcasting Corporation

In Max Brooks’ popular zombie novel ‘World War Z’, there is a class of zombie-like creatures called ‘Quislings’. Quislings (who presumably take their name from the Nazi-installed wartime Prime Minister of Norway) look and act like the undead, but are actually entirely human. The shock of the dead rising and the fracturing of society’s norms simply broke them, and now they act…

The Social Review Podcast Episode 24: Capitalist Superheroes with Dan Hassler-Forest

Have you ever thought that superheroes are a bit capitalist? That the movies you go and see all have weird political undertones? This week, Jasper sits down with Dr Dan Hassler-Forest, an academic whose work focuses on the overlap between politics and pop culture to talk Disney, balancing being a fan with being a critic and the uneven ideologies of Batman movies.…

We Need to Talk About Lionel

It’s a truth universally acknowledged – if rarely stated – amongst limpid-eyed indie kids everywhere that it would probably have, on balance, been best if Morrissey had died some time in the early 90s. Anywhere between the 1988 release of Viva Hate and his infamous union-flag draped Finsbury Park appearance in 1992 would have been fine. That way the strange, sad figure…