It’s Comfy Between Dystopias!

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale reminded me how much I love dystopias.  In fact, this list of dystopian films serves well as a jumbled-up 50 Greatest Films of All Time.   It’s got it all: Orwell, Vonnegut, Dick… WALL-E.

In The Handmaid’s Tale the ingredients for the dystopia seem to have been picked from two different places: the past, which provides sexism and theocracy, and the future, for its abundance of leaky chemicals and annoyingly meltdownable nuclear power plants. Obviously the present (which means the 1980s for Atwood) must still feature holdovers from the past (e.g. Iran, Catholicism, and also sexism, racism and homophobia in the work place) and some ominous glimmers of the future (e.g. DDT, Agent Orange, and nuclear accidents such as Three Mile Island). But it would make little sense for someone to read about one dystopia from within the context of another.

Or would it? Continue reading “It’s Comfy Between Dystopias!”

Philosophy is Dead! Long Live Philosophy

It made me choke on my breakfast this morning to read the declaration from Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow that the subject I’ve taught for the last two years, and which I intend to study this coming year, is dead:

“[On questions concerning the nature of the universe]: Traditionally these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics.” (‘The Grand Design’, 2010)

I hope that tomorrow I don’t discover that psychology has fallen too, or that mathematics is suffering from an upset stomach. Continue reading “Philosophy is Dead! Long Live Philosophy”

Meyer Spoonbridge’s Diary Entry on Reading Festival

This week I was given the opportunity to see how a different social stratum live, by the accidental procurement of a ticket to Reading Festival.  Not a working class congregation exactly – not with tickets at those prices – but perhaps less upper-middle class and more middle-middle class. The bands (nouveau riche) had wonderfully colourful names like Guns N’ Roses and This is Hell, but I soon realised that these names had little to do with the content of their shows, which was probably for the best.

Continue reading “Meyer Spoonbridge’s Diary Entry on Reading Festival”

Launch Party! Update

Sadly the Launch Party! has been cancelled. Instead, why don’t you read about Jam?

Fruit preserves are fruits, or vegetables, that have been prepared and canned for long term storage. The preparation of fruit preserves traditionally involves the use of pectin as a gelling agent, although sugar or honey may be used as well. The ingredients used and how they are prepared will determine the type of preserves; jams, jellies and marmalades are all examples of different styles of fruit preserves that vary based upon the ingredients used. (From the all-knowing Wikipedia).