Image for post
Image for post

That boxing is a sport that sits at odds with pre-eminent Enlightenment cultural values rooted in a revulsion of violence — or at least violence other than that sanctioned by the state in service to the state — is a contradiction that many writers and public intellectuals have pondered with varying degrees of success through the years.

None has been more convincing in unravelling this contradiction than Joyce Carol Oates. …


Image for post
Image for post

Once in a generation, if that, there appears in the world of sport an athlete whose greatness is more than what can be measured on a football pitch, inside a boxing ring, or on a running track.

In the world of that most international of sports, football, Diego Maradona was greatness tout court. He played the game like a man whose genius existed to serve his team, not as someone for whom the team existed to serve his genius. It’s the difference between the ideals of the collective and those of the individual. …


Image for post
Image for post

In a 1992 interview with Arthur Miller, Charlie Rose asked him what quality the great playwrights have shared in common, distinguishing them from the not so great ones in any given age?

After a pause to gather his thoughts, Miller replied that the “big ones share a fierce moral sensibility” and that “they are all burning with some anger at the way the world is.” “The littler ones,” Miller continues, “have made their peace with it. The bigger ones can’t make any peace.”

Oliver Stone is an artist whose work (his early work especially) is, as with Miller’s and all…


Image for post
Image for post

As only he can, Albert Camus in his classic 1947 novel The Plague mines the human condition in the midst of a crisis in which solidarity, selflessness and mutuality are the means of survival, and in which individualism, selfishness and self regard are death itself.

Camus:

This whole thing is not about heroism. It’s about decency. It may seem a ridiculous idea, but the only way to fight the plague is with decency.

The personal and social struggle of a public health emergency, such as we are experiencing now, is unprecedented in its human toll and revelatory in what it’s…


Image for post
Image for post

A new BBC documentary on the rise and fall of Lance Armstrong, the former poster boy for sporting excellence who suffered a vertiginous fall from grace over revelations that his spectacular achievements as a racing cyclist were underpinned by extensive doping, reminds that there remains a vast gulf between knowledge and understanding in human affairs.

In this respect, the furore that was whipped up over his exposure as a ‘drugs cheat’ in 2012 reflected more the mass ignorance that surrounds the issue of drugs in sport than it did the integrity (or lack thereof) of Lance Armstrong. …


Image for post
Image for post
Neil Clark

If it is only in a crisis that we find out who we truly are then the diseased soul of the West, the rampant and fanatical selfishness and individualism that forms its essence, has been exposed as never before in the midst of Covid

Free market capitalism is a value as well as an economic system. Those values amount to the cult of the individual, wherein society exists to advance the rights, status, and self-importance of the individual rather than the individual existing with a social obligation and duty to advance the common good. In normal times this distortion and…


Image for post
Image for post

Donald J. Trump is America’s Nero. His elevation to the office of president in 2016 was not the aberration his liberal detractors argued. Rather it was a symptom of US imperial decline, the first seeds of which were planted with the evacuation of the US Embassy in Saigon in 1975, setting in train a process that was deferred by the demise of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, after Moscow’s own Vietnam in Afghanistan in the 1980s ended in similar fashion.

The invasion of Iraq by US military forces and its UK ally came over a decade into America’s…


Image for post
Image for post

Brexit and Covid, Covid and Brexit, both will forever be entwined in a toxic embrace in any social history of the UK covering this period going forward, revealing in equal part the very worst and best of British society at the start of the third decade of the 21st century.

As we move into 2021, that we still have something that can be described as a society at all is in no small part down to the country’s National Health Service. As someone who was forced to rely on its care in late September, spending three nights at the Edinburgh…


Image for post
Image for post

It is hard to decide what was more abhorrent: the booing of players at The Den, home of Millwall FC, when they took a knee prior to the match against Derby County in solidarity with Black Lives Matter recently, or the squalid defence of the booing by such as Paul Embery, someone on the left in Britain who’s gained himself a deserved reputation in recent years for defending the indefensible.

Let us not pretend. Support for an entity in Britain referred to as the ‘white working class’ is support for a politics rooted in ethno-nationalism. It is pandering to nativism…


Image for post
Image for post

If words could be transmuted into gauntlets, Boris Johnson mightily threw one down at the feet of the SNP leadership with his claim that devolution in Scotland had been a “disaster in Scotland” and was “Tony Blair’s biggest mistake” while in office.

Aside from the fact that one million dead Iraqis would no doubt take issue with the fatuous claim that devolution constituted Blair’s biggest ‘mistake’, from Johnson’s mouth has just spilled the truths which hitherto dared not speak their name.

Those truths are that in the eyes of the British Tory establishment Scotland’s rightful status is more that of…

John Wight

Writing on politics, culture and whatever else. You can support my efforts: https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=VDTA87R4SYKZS

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store