Britain

Who Are the London Rioters—And Why Can’t the Media Find Out?
August 11, 2011

These days, with any mass movement, from terrorist organizations to student protests, you almost immediately have a sense of who is involved. Given the ubiquity of social media and the generally elevated level of surveillance, no modern day gathering, whether for legitimate protest, mass violence, or the shades in between, should be difficult to minutely dissect and analyze. Indeed, we have come to expect knowing everything there is to be known about an event’s main actors, their shared characteristics, and how they came to behave in the way they did.

The Norway Attacks Reveal the Parallels Between Islamists and Islamophobes
July 25, 2011

Last week’s heart-breaking massacre of teenagers and others in Norway makes it dismayingly clear that the religious warfare at the heart of Al Qaeda’s crusade against the West and its supporters has now found its mirror-image not in the random act of a deranged lunatic, but in a meticulously planned execution of the anti-Islamic ideology that has been spreading like a poison throughout European political culture for at least a decade.

Why The British Media Drives On the Wrong Side Of The Road
July 22, 2011

I've never thought of it this way before, but Dan Balz pithily explains that the culture of newspapers versus television news in the U.K. is essentially the reverse of the American arrangement: Unlike in the United States, newspapers in Britain still wield enormous power. Television networks are constrained by law in what they can do and say. The BBC is required by charter to ensure balance.

London Dispatch: How the Murdoch Scandal is Changing Britain
July 20, 2011

Two weeks ago, Britain was a nation lost, permanently ill at ease, with a mutant, hybrid government and an air of meekness and gloom. There wasn’t anything to distract us, to feel particularly ashamed or proud of—everything was just a bit depressing. Nine out of ten news stories were about Kate Middleton’s hats (too Canadian?) or clavicles (too pointy?). In Europe, we would have just looked insensitive if we had complained about our dull, entrenched problems, given the exuberant sleaziness in Italy and chaos in Greece.

Stop Blaming Wall Street
July 14, 2011

p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }span.Italic { font-style: italic; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; } As the U.S. economy fails to recover, there is a growing fear that the United States has entered a phase of long-term decline. Conservatives blame “big government” for throttling entrepreneurship; liberals tend to take aim at Wall Street.

Stop Blaming Wall Street
July 13, 2011

As the U.S. economy fails to recover, there is a growing fear that the United States has entered a phase of long-term decline. Conservatives blame “big government” for throttling entrepreneurship; liberals tend to take aim at Wall Street.

Do Britain’s Strict Press Laws Actually Encourage Bad Behavior?
July 08, 2011

And just like that, the News of the World is gone. Never mind that Rupert Murdoch’s racy tabloid was the best-selling and most profitable weekly in Britain, with a circulation of some 2.6 million.

David Thomson on Films: ‘The Trip’—A New Film from an Underrated Director
June 14, 2011

Here’s another “movie” from Britain that without a touch of pomp or pretension seeks to ask us, “Well, why in hell do you think you know what a movie is, or has to be?” Since nearly anything could serve and function within the gloriously loose structure of The Trip, I found myself hoping that its two guys might find one of their conversations leading into a lugubrious consideration of what Terrence Malick thought The Tree of Life was really about.

Poetry and Reason
June 09, 2011

The Essential Tagore By Rabindranath Tagore Edited by Fakrul Alam and Radha Chakravarty (Harvard University Press, 819 pp., $39.95) In his book Raga Mala, Ravi Shankar, the great musician, argues that had Rabindranath Tagore “been born in the West he would now be [as] revered as Shakespeare and Goethe.” This is a strong claim, and it calls attention to some greatness in this quintessentially Bengali writer—identified by a fellow Bengali—that might not be readily echoed in the wider world today, especially in the West.

English Breakfast
June 09, 2011

English conservatives don’t really take to the streets, at least not with dispatch. In the United States, only eight weeks elapsed between the passage of the 2009 stimulus bill and half the country erupting into Tea Party-themed protests. In Great Britain, the first noteworthy rally in opposition to excessive spending and debt took place this spring, and the offending government, the Labour Party under Gordon Brown, had already been voted out of power a year ago.

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