Category Archives: Sights and Sounds

I’m sorry we spoiled your Catalan vacation

Events Sunday in Barcelona filled me with sadness. Hundreds of foreign correspondents, who had been looking forward to a long day of calmly strolling down one of the nicest cities in Europe, had to endure the sad spectacle of police … Continue reading

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Evelyn Waugh and Sword of Honour’s Ending

In 2001, the then-not-so-famous Daniel Craig was talked into filming a long TV movie based on the most underrated novel of the 20th century, Evelyn Waugh’s Sword of Honour. I recently watched it, and I highly recommend it to all … Continue reading

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Rebellion or Conspiracy?

The Cold War’s Operation Splinter Factor was a properly organized conspiracy, of the more common type: an intelligence sting. As explained here, it involved the U.S. using Noel Field, a well-known Communist mole of the Alger Hiss generation, to wreak … Continue reading

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Singapore’s “Broken Windows” Theory of Morals

This is the kind of thing you see, and you go: only in Singapore. It’s a sign outside a disco near the river: It makes me think: unlike the injunction to enjoy in Sentosa, this one should be rather effective. … Continue reading

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How to conduct a Roman-style conspiracy

That is, in the manner of the ancient Romans; not mine, of course. This post is a followup of this Spanish-language one, on the relevance of conspiracies throughout history, and the absurdity of rejecting all complex explanations for events as “conspiracy … Continue reading

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It’s hard to be a film critic

Film critic Matt Zoller had this wonderful interview last year with Mad Men’s creator Matthew Weiner, just before the series finale: At one point (around the 1 hour 22 minute mark), Zoller shows the audience a clip of a monologue … Continue reading

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Lazy Mao Zedong

The Times Literary Supplement (of which I’ve been a faithful subscriber for over a decade) published my letter about Mao Zedong’s personal cleanliness. After all these years, it’s always a nice surprise to see your name there. The TLS is … Continue reading

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