Worried About lies and Fake News? Start with the Mainstream Media

A week on from the earthquake of Donald Trump’s election victory attention is being drawn to the influence of “fake news” on social media amid speculation that stories such as Pope Francis endorsing the Republican candidate or opponent Hillary Clinton murdering an FBI agent might have influenced the result. Both Google and Facebook  bosses have had to make public statements on how they are tackling the phenomena and play down the influence such stories might have had on the outcome of the election. Meanwhile Trump himself has been reining in on some of his pre-election pledges, notably the building of … Continue reading

KEN LOACH’S ‘I, DANIEL BLAKE’: A BRIEF NOTE ON TWO ILL FOUNDED CRITICISMS

(1) ‘It’s sentimental‘ . No, it isn’t. ‘Sentimental’ is when you focus on how much you are enjoying your own sensitivity. Sentimentality’s essential object is oneself, and it’s faux, inauthentic, self indulgent. ‘Love Story’, for anyone who can recall it, was sentimental. IDB is emotional: its object is on the people portrayed and yes, it aims to upset you and make you angry – that is, if you are emotionally alive as a human being. This is not ‘sentimentality’. (2) ‘The working class characters aren’t realistic: they don’t swear, scream or drink’. This one says more about the assumptions of the … Continue reading

Desiring and Acting Differently: A Sketch Towards a Critique of Consent

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1. As I write the verdict in the retrial of footballer Ched Evans has just recently been announced. The verdict itself is a shock but what is even more disheartening are the facts of the trial; that the complainant’s personal sexual history was used against her after the judge made a rare exception to allow it as evidence and that the family and partner of Evans was known to have offered a cash reward for information leading to his acquittal. The repercussions of this verdict and the precedent that the judge’s exception may set will undoubtedly be felt for years … Continue reading