Soreal it Must be True

Blog Grabs and Non Fiction

Louise Mensch: writing herself out of the Tory story | Obserber profile | From the Observer | The Observer

“I like motivational books, because I like the go-getting American spirit – your destiny is in your own hands, life is what you make it, don’t accept your limitations, jump before you’re pushed, leap before you look.”

via Louise Mensch: writing herself out of the Tory story | Obserber profile | From the Observer | The Observer.


Louise Mensch: writing herself out of the Tory story | Obserber profile | From the Observer | The Observer

This is a fantasy. Money does not give you the power to do whatever you want to do. But without being a fantasist, Mensch could not have written so many books. In order to write like Archer, you have to be able to fantasise like Archer. You have to believe this stuff while you are writing it or you will never get beyond page three.Perhaps the simple truth about Mensch is that she is entirely sincere and has the capacity to believe in something while she is doing it. Her latest venture, which will presumably now receive more of her attention, is the social media site, named Menshn just in case you might forget who runs it.

via Louise Mensch: writing herself out of the Tory story | Obserber profile | From the Observer | The Observer.

The newsonomics of Amazon vs. Main Street » Nieman Journalism Lab

What will cityscapes and shopping centers of all kinds look like if Amazon’s plans succeed? Imagine a cityscape without big box stores, Walmart, Best Buy, and Bed Bath & Beyond? Impossible, you say? How about one without Borders, Tower Records, and Blockbuster Video, all of which have left hulking holes in the American suburban landscape. Nothing is safe from digital disruption; nothing, holy or commercial, is sacred. Optimistically, a couple of dozen communities are creating next-generation uses for these eyesores, as the big box reuse movement good rundown and reuse wiki via Slate has been unexpectedly spawned. Will big boxes, the spirit-sapping, wallet-supporting icons of our age of disenchantment, take the brunt of Amazon’s assault, or will it be smaller stores?

via The newsonomics of Amazon vs. Main Street » Nieman Journalism Lab. – Newspapers From Around the World

WHEN Peter Jukes let it be known last year that he was writing a book called The Fall of the House of Murdoch, a senior Sun editor emailed him to say: “Is this a joke?” But with Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson both now facing charges over phone-hacking, and Rupert Murdoch slowly stepping back from his British newspaper holdings, it looks like a prescient title.

The old adage “never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel” no longer fits. Much ink has been expended on the Australia media baron, from Michael Wolff ’s acidic biography to Tom Watson’s plodding account of the phone-hacking scandal. The Fall of the House of Murdoch is refreshing as it examines the ideas that have driven the modern Western world to its current crisis.

Referencing widely from Adam Smith and George Orwell to the author’s own mentor, historian Tony Judt, Jukes argues that Murdoch managed to elide two seemingly uncontroversial ideas, those of freedom of the markets and freedom of the press, to toxic effect.

The early signs of his freedom-loving spirit were there in 1969. Just after buying the News of the World, Murdoch printed the diaries of Christine Keeler, the call girl at the centre of the Profumo scandal. It marked out Murdoch as an outsider, happy to push the boundaries, in this case to embarrass the Establishment. With the British elite on the wane by the Eighties, he found another closed shop to take on — the print unions — and so became a standard bearer for the neo-liberal agenda of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and, as his international holdings grew, a poster boy for Tony Blair’s globalisation project.

In an ambitious argument, it is this is part of the ideological mist. While he presents himself as a free marketeer, Murdoch’s newspaper and television interests in Britain and Australia have verged on monopolies. And despite his republican stance, Murdoch runs News Corporation as a dynasty, with three children, Lachlan, James and Elisabeth, all at one time groomed as potential successors.

The Fall of the House of Murdoch was written in haste to catch the tail-end of the Leveson Inquiry and, as a result, is a little unpolished. Yet it is an impressive treatise on how media, money and power in the past 30 years became so locked into mutually supporting agendas that they failed to interrogate each other. If that’s not enough, it is worth reading just for Jukes’s account of Rebekah Brooks’s flirtation with him at a party in 2006.

Soul mates: former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and Rupert Murdoch

What makes London different –

Londoners with Jags generally send their children to private schools often extremely mixed. However, most London kids attend the local school. The London author Zadie Smith recalls growing up with girls in headscarves, Jewish boys with yarmulkes and “Hindu kids with bindis on their foreheads … United in the same primary schools, we were neither mesmerised by, nor especially frightened of, our differences.” Even last summer’s riots were multicultural. As Smith writes: “We riot together, and together we clean the streets.”Each ethnicity might have liked to build itself a ghetto, but it couldn’t. London lacked space. People squeezed in where they could. And so the city has no monolithic ghettoes. Tower Hamlets is fairly Bangladeshi, Stockwell fairly Portuguese and South Kensington a bit French, but none of these groups has a local majority. New York, by contrast, has clearer “communities”. A friend once gave me an anthropological tour of Queens. He showed me the block for Indians from a certain state, the Polish bit, the Korean street. “There are unofficial, self-imposed borders in these communities,” he explained. “You will rarely see a south Asian at a Colombian restaurant.” In London you do.Crucially, London is fairly safe. Like New York, it has about eight million inhabitants, but London had 125 murders in 2010, whereas New York – supposedly the safest big American city – had 536. Consequently, London has fewer “gated communities”. You can wander around Knightsbridge at midnight, ogling oligarchs’ mansions unchallenged. Despite fantastic inequality, people mostly rub along.

via What makes London different –

Forget Murdoch: British Journalism Is Still Great – Peter Osnos – The Atlantic

The Economist, the Financial Times, and the BBCs World News operation produce consistently outstanding work and have secured a niche among their elite target audiences that is large enough to be influential and, from all accounts, successful in business terms as well.

via Forget Murdoch: British Journalism Is Still Great – Peter Osnos – The Atlantic.

Iraq war will haunt west, says Briton who advised US military | World news | The Guardian

It has been seen by many Muslims as a war on Islam. Now, we are saying, Weve pulled out of Iraq, we are pulling out of Afghanistan, and its all over now. It may be over for the politicians. But it is not over for the Muslim world. Well over 100,000 Muslims have been killed since 9/11 following our interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, mostly by other Muslims.”We have to ask ourselves, what do we think this has done to their world? And how will they avenge these deaths in years to come? It is not over for the soldiers who have physical injuries and mental scars, nor the families who have lost loved ones.”She added: “The world is better off without Saddam. But nobody has been held accountable for what happened in Iraq, and there is a danger that we wont learn the right lessons, particularly related to the limitations of our power.”Politicians can still claim that Iraq was a violent society, or that Iraqis went into civil war because of ancient hatreds, or the violence was the inevitable result of the removal of Saddam, or that al-Qaida and Iran caused the problems. They distract from our own responsibility for causing some of the problems by our presence and the policies we pursued.”

via Iraq war will haunt west, says Briton who advised US military | World news | The Guardian.