Fire in the water: ‘Pacific Rim’ and tectonic geopolitics

Guillermo del Toro is a remarkable film director. From Pan’s Labyrinth to The Shape of Water del Toro has delighted viewers and critics alike with spectacle, intrigue, and (for want of a more precise word) humanity. So when he made a science fiction blockbuster about great big beasts (Kaiju, from the Japanese, ‘giant beast’) emerging … Continue reading Fire in the water: ‘Pacific Rim’ and tectonic geopolitics

Nicki Nicole is the Drake of Latin pop music, and this is a good thing

I have criticised the Hamlet of hip hop, Drake, for borrowing excessively from hip hop’s Shakespeare, Kanye West. Kanye has many worthier successors, such as Jon Bellion in pop production, Billie Eilish and Finneas in alternative pop, and more recently Lisa from Blackpink, taking after Nicki Minaj and Rihanna. But K-Pop is not the only … Continue reading Nicki Nicole is the Drake of Latin pop music, and this is a good thing

Time of Terra: The medieval foundations of modern politics

In my previous writings about modernity, theory, philosophy, art, and evolution, I have somewhat obscured the key to the world in which we live: its origins in medieval Europe. This idea occurred to me, paradoxically, in reflecting on science fiction, such as the tabletop game Warhammer 40,000, which follows influences both from high fantasy (notably, … Continue reading Time of Terra: The medieval foundations of modern politics

A hypothesis for slower ageing

Many hypotheses have been offered for why people age slower than they used to — in other words, why people look younger than they used to. It is sometimes said among those of a reactionary political inclination that the relative decline in violence among great powers means that usual rites of passage for ageing are … Continue reading A hypothesis for slower ageing

Why Lisa from Blackpink is the next queen of hip hop, but it may take a while for her to break free

K-Pop is paradoxically encaged by its global popularity. Breaking through to the American audience at the beating heart of global capitalism is key to success in modern music. For with commercial success can come the freedom to make truly artistic music. This happened most recently with hip hop, which transformed through its late ‘90s and … Continue reading Why Lisa from Blackpink is the next queen of hip hop, but it may take a while for her to break free

Heidegger, Being, and Tenet

I have previously analysed the film Tenet, written and directed by Christopher Nolan to lukewarm reviews, from the perspective of political economy. I would like to now approach the art film from the perspective of philosophy. From Tenet (2020). Much has been written about the theme of time in Tenet, a theme which animates Christopher … Continue reading Heidegger, Being, and Tenet

On the origin of societies: Towards a theory of social evolution

The following is also available as a YouTube talk, here, after I presented these tentative findings as a "three-minute thesis" at Selwyn College in the spring of 2022. Darwin's 1859 On the Origin of Species speculated that traits are more likely to be passed on from organism to organism if they aid the organism's survival … Continue reading On the origin of societies: Towards a theory of social evolution

Principia Musica: The art of politics

I have some claims I would like to defend. These are claims I cannot possibly defend in one blog post. But here are some, which I will elaborate at a future date, subject to revision. Classical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, writing at the birth of commercial society in the musical eighteenth century. I. Class conflict … Continue reading Principia Musica: The art of politics

How Billie Eilish turned popular music upside down

Several recent biopics have shown how much popular music owes to rock influences, from Elvis Presley to Freddie Mercury. But popular music also emerges from the genres of jazz, soul, and, more recently, hip hop. According to actress Elizabeth Taylor, the ‘King of Pop, Rock and Soul’ was Michael Jackson. As Forbes recently noted: ‘Perhaps … Continue reading How Billie Eilish turned popular music upside down

Darwin, Marx, Mearsheimer: Towards a theory of social evolution

I have an interest in the connection between two theories. At school, I developed an interest in theories of international relations, including Mearsheimer’s structural realist theory of great power politics. At university, I developed an interest in political economy, particularly Marx’s theory in that field. My tentative thesis title was: ‘Darwin, Marx, and the evolving … Continue reading Darwin, Marx, Mearsheimer: Towards a theory of social evolution