One index [of US decline] is vetoes at the United Nations. Until the mid-’60s the world was so much under US control that the US didn’t veto a single resolution at the Security Council. Since the mid-’60s the United States is far in the lead in vetoing Security Council resolutions. Britain, which is a client state, is second. Nobody else is close. That’s a reflection of the decline in capacity and power, meaning ability to influence and control.
Via ABC’s Big Ideas:
This is an analysis of ‘the culture of surveillance’ by the director of the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University in Canada, Dr David Lyon. He’s very good on the strength of what he describes as the cooperation between surveillance and the surveilled!
There’s a grudging but inevitable acceptance of what happens now in surveillance through government, policing, intelligence and commerce but it’s also now hardwired into streets, smart phones and the internet. And we’re absolutely complicit with our huge uptake of social media. Lyon describes this as the “democratisation of surveillance”.
He speaks here at the University of Sydney.
Length: 48 minutes 56 seconds.
To commemorate the 2011 International Day of Peace, I thought it would be a nice idea to create a playlist that features all the songs of PJ Harvey‘s latest album Let England Shake. Its theme is war, so that makes it quite apposite for this day.
The album has generally garnered critical acclaim as well as PJ Harvey’s second Mercury Prize. Recorded in a 19th Century church in Dorset with long time collaborator Flood who co-produced the album with PJ Harvey, John Parish and Mick Harvey. Let England Shake was also mixed by Flood.
It was also accompanied by twelve videos for all the songs which were made by photographer and filmmaker Seamus Murphy. The playlist below contains all those videos in the order in which the songs appear on the album.
The songs are, in order (the links open up the lyrics for each song from pjharvey.net):
Let England Shake
The Last Living Rose
The Glorious Land
The Words That Maketh Murder
All And Everyone
On Battleship Hill
In The Dark Places
Hanging In The Wire
Written On The Forehead
The Colour Of The Earth
The titles in bold above were released as singles and contained the ‘B-sides’ The Nightingale and The Guns Called Me Back Again respectively.
Via ABC’s Big Ideas:
The wartime memoirs of Charles de Gaulle open with a celebrated evocation of his native land: “a certain idea of France”. The words express the widely-held view of the nation as the most significant focus and resonant form of collective human identity, the end point to which the whole of history was inexorably tending, initially in Europe, and eventually throughout the whole world.
In the course of his lecture at Melbourne University’s Festival of Ideas, British historian David Cannadine looks at the evidence for such a proposition and the evidence against. He also explores the part historians themselves have played in the creation and the undermining of national identities. Will the notion of the nation survive in an increasingly globalised world where boundaries are more porous and less defined than ever before?
Sir David Cannadine is the Whitney J Oates Senior Research Scholar within the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University. He is also a history lecturer and author working within the university. Cannadine is the author of twelve books, including “The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy”, “Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire”, “Mellon: An American Life” and “Making History Now and Then”.
Palestinian doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish‘s three daughters were killed by an Israeli rocket yet he vowed not to succumb to bitterness and hate, even as he poured out his grief live on an Israeli television program. He tells his incredible story in his book, “I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity
At this Sydney Writers Festival session, he’s speaking with magazine journalist David Leser.
Izzeldin Abuelaish is a Palestinian doctor and infertility expert who was born and raised in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. He trained in Egypt, London, Israel, Italy, Belgium and the US, and spent most of his working life working in Israel. Abuelaish worked as a researcher at the Gerner Institute at Sheba Hospital in Tel Aviv. He now lives with his remaining family in Toronto.
David Leser has been a journalist for 32 years, working as a feature writer in North America, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. He has been nominated four times for the Walkley Award, winning it in 1999. He has won the Magazine Publishers Association award for feature writing three times. Since 2000 he has been writer-at-large for the ‘Australian Women’s Weekly’. He is the author of four books.
Length: 53 minutes 48 seconds
How TV Ruined Your Life is 6-part comedy series by the BBC in which Charlie Brooker uses a mix of sketches and jaw-dropping archive footage to explore the gulf between real life and television:
Ever wondered why life doesn’t measure up to those youthful lofty expectations?
From love and money to fear and progress, Charlie Brooker explores a different universal theme each week as this six-part series attempts to explain where it all went wrong and just how wildly the TV and movie ideal differs from life’s grim reality.
Marking the point where the mad daydreams of TV and the sorry reality of real life collide, the series employs a mixture of archive footage, sketches and interviews that will have you wiping away tears of laughter while nodding in recognition, which means you’ll probably have your eye out if you’re not careful.
The episodes explore the following themes:
- Fear: From public information films to crime dramas, Charlie explores TV’s approach to fear.
- The Lifecycle: From kids shows to Countdown, Charlie explores how TV can infuriate anyone of any age.
- Aspiration: From Dallas to Grand Designs, TV continually rubs desirable lifestyles in your face.
- Love: From Blind Date to rom-coms, TV has warped our expectations of romance.
- Progress: Charlie Brooker argues that television has warped our relationship with technology.
- Knowledge: Tracing how TV’s notion of knowledge has sunk to celebrity presenter drivel.
Science and religion came together to help shape the attitudes of the British and Europeans towards the rest of the world, whose inhabitants were increasingly regarded as socially inferior and spiritually ignorant. This lecture looks at how these ideas framed the growth of overseas Empire in the latter part of the nineteenth century, how Britain and those European states that possessed colonies governed them and what were the consequences for politics and ideology at home, above all in the growth of the Social Darwinism, racism and extreme nationalism that led to the end of the ‘Victorian’ era in the First World War.
Other lectures in this series, The Victorians: Culture and Experience in Britain, Europe and the World 1815-1914, include:
Time and Space
Art and Culture
Life and Death
Religion and Science
Gender and Sexuality
It exposes the Citizens for a Free Kuwait campaign as public relations spin to gain public opinion support for the Gulf War. As well, it reveals that Nurse Nayirah was in fact Nijirah al-Sabah, the daughter of Kuwait’s ambassador to the United States Saud Nasir Al-Sabah, coached by Hill & Knowlton to forge her infamous testimony about Iraqi soldiers removing babies from incubators, which was widely reported and repeated throughout the media.
The story that Iraqi troops murdered 312 babies in hospitals by removing them from their incubators broke at a time when American public opinion was wavering over President Bush’s call to arms to defend Kuwait. It tipped the balance and helped persuade the Americans and their allies to go to war against Saddam Hussein.
On-screen participants include John MacArthur (Publisher, Harpers & Queen), Nasir al Sabah (Kuwaiti Ambassador to the US), Congressman John Porter (Co-Chair, Human Rights Caucus), Dr Ibrahim Behbehani (Red Crescent, Kuwait), Dr David Chiu (World Health Organisation, British Columbia Institute of Technology), Dr Ian Pollock (Physicians for Human Rights), Sean Stiles (Amnesty International), Andrew Whiting (Middle East Watch), Dee Alsop (Wirthline Group).