A history of alienation By Sally Davies 

The fear of ‘alienation’ from a perceived state of harmony has a long and winding history. Western culture is replete with stories of expulsion from paradise and a yearning to return, from Adam and Eve’s departure from the Garden of Eden to the epic journey of Odysseus back to Ithaca. In the modern era, ‘alienation’ really came into its own as a talismanic term in the 1950s and ’60s. At the time, the United States was becoming increasingly affluent, and earlier markers of oppression – poverty, inequality, social immobility, religious persecution – appeared to be on the wane. Commentators and intellectuals needed a new way to characterise and explain discontent. Google’s Ngram viewer, which tracks the incidence of words in English-language books, shows ‘alienation’ rising spectacularly from 1958 to its height in 1974. But since then it has dropped like a stone. Why? Does the lexical decline of alienation suggest that the condition itself has been conquered – or merely that the context in which it made sense has now changed beyond recognition?


Marea minciuna

The art of the big lie: the history of fake news By  Phil Tinline

We still don’t know exactly who forged the “Zinoviev Letter”, even after exhaustive investigations of British and Soviet intelligence archives in the late 1990s by the then chief historian of the Foreign Office, Gill Bennett. She concluded that the most likely culprits were White Russian anti-Bolsheviks, outraged at Labour’s treaties with Moscow, probably abetted by sympathetic individuals in British intelligence. But whatever the precise provenance, the case demonstrates a principle that has been in use ever since: cultivate your lie from a germ of truth. Zinoviev and the Comintern were actively engaged in trying to stir revolution – in Germany, for example. Those who handled the letter on its journey from the forger’s desk to the front pages – MI6 officers, Foreign Office officials, Fleet Street editors – were all too ready to believe it, because it articulated their fear that mass democracy might open the door to Bolshevism.



The Future of Leisure By Stuart Whatley

Commercial leisure and entertainment industries are undergoing a technological transformation that will be just as profound as the changes in work. But if the prevailing market incentive is to manufacture addiction, then the future of leisure could be bleak indeed. It remains to be seen if those designing social-media platforms, video games, virtual- and augmented-reality applications, and other technologies will feel pressured to do so responsibility.

Jazzmen, one, two, three… (93)

Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles – Why Don’t Cha/Get Up


Carlos Henriquez- THE BRONX PYRAMID


Mehliana (Brad Mehldau & Mark Guiliana) – Just Call Me Nige


Freddie Hubbard- Little Sunflower 


Billy Joel – Scenes from an Italian Restaurant


Booker T. & the MG’s – Melting Pot