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…


Think British football and the names that instantly spring to mind are men who transcended the sport to achieve the status of working class heroes and icons.

Messrs Shankly, Stein, Clough, and Ferguson were cut from the same granite in terms of their working class roots, as were many of the game’s top players in the same era. These were men who understood the importance of football to working class communities, its crucial role in providing excitement, pride and the opportunity for temporary escape from the banality of life lived as an appendage to the machine. …


Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse in this post-Brexit, post-colonial husk of a sinking ship otherwise known as the UK, it does.

The death of Prince Phillip at 99 has produced a veritable flood of servile paeans to the most regressive, archaic, anti-democratic institution in Europe, the British Monarchy. The BBC in particular has lost its mind, devoting an entire’s day’s programming to sanctifying the legacy of an open racist whose life was spent living in the lap of luxury at the UK taxpayer’s expense.

You could be forgiven for thinking Prince Phillip fought and won the…


Amid the pages of Bertolt Brecht’s classic collection, The Svendborg Poems, you encounter the following verse:

In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times.”

Brecht, who came of age during the First World War and who lived through two abortive German revolutions on the back of which was born the beast of fascism, carried in his head a creative brain of inordinate force. …


Really really fine piece of writing, James.

Agree with every word.


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…


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. …


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. …


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. …


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…

John Wight

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