Why Sabrina Carpenter’s ‘emails i can’t send’ is a breath of fresh air for pop music

‘We bonded over Black Eyed Peas and complicated exits. […] I got death threats filling up semi trucks.’ I could end the review right there, but honestly, never mind. There is more to unpack than two ingenious lyrics on this tango for two of a pop album. The music video promo for the bravely balanced … Continue reading Why Sabrina Carpenter’s ‘emails i can’t send’ is a breath of fresh air for pop music

Northrop Frye and the divine majesty of ‘The Lord of the Rings’

Twelve years after reading J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings literary trilogy of high fantasy, I find myself revisiting the elegant film trilogy which was completed before I set eyes on the books. But I also find myself taking interest in Northrop Frye’s framework for literary criticism, which distinguishes the mythic transcendence … Continue reading Northrop Frye and the divine majesty of ‘The Lord of the Rings’

A world in crisis: The revenge of the 1920s, the rise of China, and the tragedy of the Titanic

In the new year of 1912, few would have thought that, within a few months, an Olympic-class ocean liner would be sunk by an iceberg, killing over half of its passengers. Even fewer would have thought that, within three years, the European great powers would descend into the largest military conflict the world had ever … Continue reading A world in crisis: The revenge of the 1920s, the rise of China, and the tragedy of the Titanic

Magical materialism: A new theory of reality

I've recently been involved in two discussions that seem different but have something in common. On the one hand, I've been thinking about magic, the idea that the laws of physics can be bent to the will of social actors in response to traumatic experience. This is the philosophy behind The Magicians, the TV show … Continue reading Magical materialism: A new theory of reality

The moral mystery of Kendrick Lamar

The name Kendrick Lamar goes hand-in-hand with some of the most prominent names in hip hop: Eminem, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Tupac Shakur, Nas. But we know who most of these people are, right? Kanye West is an eclectic genius, pioneer of hip hop production, and all-round mastermind of modern music, with his fair share of … Continue reading The moral mystery of Kendrick Lamar

Conservatism against capitalism: A realistic manifesto

One of the most prominent philosophers in the conservative canon is Edmund Burke, critic of the French revolution and its high-minded ideals. This Burkean critique of revolution is then applied to left reform policies today to justify maintaining a crumbling status quo. But this move is illegitimate, for reasons that lie in Burke’s own Reflections … Continue reading Conservatism against capitalism: A realistic manifesto

Climate, China, Capital: The triple crisis of the twenty-first century

The world is undergoing a period of profound instability. At such a time it is easy to distract ourselves with frivolities. But underneath the froth of our moral malaise is a deep conflict of interests, along ecological, geopolitical, and economic lines. Let me explain. Planet Earth: There is only one. The first issue is climate … Continue reading Climate, China, Capital: The triple crisis of the twenty-first century

The philosophy of life: Arendt, Heidegger, Foucault

In the late 1920s, Hannah Arendt helped fellow philosopher Martin Heidegger on a book that took the intellectual world by storm. Being and Time (or Sein und Zeit in the original German) contended that the human being, Dasein, was a being that took its own being into question. But this constant act of Socratic questioning … Continue reading The philosophy of life: Arendt, Heidegger, Foucault

Nietzsche, Foucault, and the bridge of power

Mass culture has ironically deemed the central ill of western civilisation as ‘the lust for power’. The alternative is human affection and interpersonal love, in the form of familial or friendly ties, or, alternatively, transactional commercial deals. Power, however, is dangerous because it is impersonal, abstract, and therefore a potential alternative to the ruling abstraction: … Continue reading Nietzsche, Foucault, and the bridge of power

Students of Socrates

The Socratic method is renowned as the foundation of western philosophy. Through asking questions and critiquing implicit assumptions, Socrates destroys the value foundation of Homeric Athens, bringing about a new age of ideas. This age, German philosopher Hegel argued, paved the way for our own time, free from felt values or thought ideas. ‘The debate … Continue reading Students of Socrates