Tag: politics (page 1 of 11)

Culture is in a state of constant flux

My parents, the son of a factory worker and assistant baker and the daughter of domestic servants, were both the first in their families to go to university. As such, they wanted to ensure that their children, my sister and I, knew our way around ‘culture’.

Hence, for me, a childhood punctuated not only piano lessons and visits to National Trust properties but visits to the cheapest seats at the theatre to see ballets and plays. In their mind, at least back then, there was ‘Culture’ (with a capital ‘C’) to which we had to be introduced.

As Kojo Koram from the School of Law at Birkbeck, University of London, writes, however, culture is something that is continually remade by the people living it. These different conceptions mark the boundaries of the culture wars currently being played out in British politics and society.

In the 1960s and 70s, when [Stuart] Hall was writing, most British intellectuals dismissed the new mass culture taking hold in the country as a passing fad that did not deserve the attention given to Shakespeare, Elgar or Hogarth. But Hall recognised how it offered an increasingly multicultural British population the opportunity to interpret and experience life as it was lived on the ground. Rather than seeing culture as something fixed and unchanging that needed constant protection, Hall saw it as something that underwent “constant transformation” and was always being made and remade by the people living it, a moving force that perpetually created new identities.

It is no coincidence that so many of the primary battlegrounds where today’s culture wars are being staged are the elite institutions that represent a traditional British hierarchy: stately homes, Oxford university common rooms, the Last Night of the Proms. To culture warriors on the right, these institutions best represent Britain’s national culture as a whole. That they are exclusive is part of their appeal: when culture is defined as something that only a few people can access or control, its preservation is best entrusted to high-ranking authorities.

Source: Here’s what the right gets wrong about culture: it’s not a monument, but a living thing | The Guardian

Lobsters and octopuses are sentient and feel pain

I stopped eating meat in November 2017 but, until February of this year, was still eating fish (including lobster and other shellfish).

That changed when, over dinner, our sporty 14 year-old son, who stopped eating meat just before the start of the pandemic, asked why he and I still ate fish if we didn’t eat animals?

We stopped there and then. Once you’ve seen something like My Octopus Teacher, I don’t know how I ever saw such creatures as food.

Octopus

The Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill recognises animal sentience – which is the capacity of animals to have feelings, including pain and suffering.

It currently says fish, and other vertebrates which feel pain, should be protected as much as possible.

Animals like lobsters and octopus are not currently protected by the bill because as invertebrates, their body is different to ours, so they aren’t thought to have those complex feelings, says a report by the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (CAWF).

The report says arguments against recognising these species focuses on physical differences between these animals and humans – but this fails to understand what it means for an animal to have feelings.

It says those species “undoubtedly experience the world in extremely different ways to ourselves,” but what matters is whether they feel pleasure and pain.

Source: MPs: Octopuses feel pain and need legal protection | BBC News

More US electoral chaos to come in 2024?

Difficult to argue against this scenario.

The scenario then goes like this. The Republicans win back the House and Senate in 2022, in part thanks to voter suppression. The Republican candidate in 2024 loses the popular vote by several million and the electoral vote by the margin of a few states. State legislatures, claiming fraud, alter the electoral count vote. The House and Senate accept that altered count. The losing candidate becomes the president. We no longer have “democratically elected government.” And people are angry.

Source: The Last Free Election in America | Kottke