Ballard predicted the rise of the selfie

jgballardinterviews

Upon the release of High-Rise in cinemas, Tom Hiddleston read out chunks of an interview with JG Ballard to highlight the man’s prescience. Here are the excerpts from Jon Savage’s interview with Ballard from 1978. Note Ballard more or less predicts the coming age of social media, digital news and selfies: “I think the biggest developments over the next twenty, thirty years are going to be through the introduction of VHS systems, and I don’t just mean the cassette thing, playback gadgets – that in itself would be quite revolutionary – but when, say, every room in everybody’s house or flat … Continue reading

Was George Orwell a Marxist?

OrwellBurmaPassport

In short, George Orwell was a socialist but not a Marxist. One does not always follow the other. Here is an account from Isaac Deutscher on the specific gap between the Anglo-Saxon Left and Marxism: Like most British socialists, Orwell had never been a Marxist. The dialectical-materialist philosophy had always been too abstruse for him. From instinct rather than consciousness he had been a staunch rationalist. The distinction between the Marxist and the rationalist is of some importance. Contrary to an opinion widespread in Anglo-Saxon countries, Marxism is not at all rationalist in its philosophy: it does not assume that … Continue reading

WB Yeats: Easter, 1916

I have met them at close of day Coming with vivid faces From counter or desk among grey Eighteenth-century houses. I have passed with a nod of the head Or polite meaningless words, Or have lingered awhile and said Polite meaningless words, And thought before I had done Of a mocking tale or a gibe To please a companion Around the fire at the club, Being certain that they and I But lived where motley is worn: All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born. That woman’s days were spent In ignorant good-will, Her nights in argument Until her … Continue reading