I am probably a target of such criticism. I’m somebody who takes up (a tiny) space in the refugee movement, though I myself am not a refugee. I do what I can as a lawyer, writer and campaigner. It is ridiculous to think that in the first of those roles I take up space that others should fill: as a lawyer my job is to stand in and make arguments on behalf of others. But I also reject this concept more generally, as a writer and campaigner.
Sunday Assembly looked like church, sort of. There was a band on stage, crammed in next to a projector screen framed with twee paper bunting. It reminded me of the Anglican Girls’ Friendly Society meetings I went to as a pre-teen, except we were singing ‘Tiny Dancer’ instead of ‘God Rules’.
Just recently, the Spanish government announced it was passing legislation to grant citizenship to Sephardic Jews expelled from the country during the Spanish Inquisition. Before that time, religious minorities had been generally tolerated and allowed to follow their own laws and customs in private.
In recent years, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl of every other romantic comedy has been displaced as pop culture’s dominant female fantasy figure by another type: the she-sleuth with people problems. The character differs in degrees; in The Killing, say, or Zero Dark Thirty, she’s obsessive, unable to maintain much semblance of a life outside work, while in The Bridge, or Homeland, our hero is certifiably on the spectrum, and there’s a dubious implication that her condition – exhausting as it may be for her colleagues – gives her insights others aren’t privy to.
These days it can be pretty hard to tell a Brooklyn hipster from a Sydney hipster. Beards have crept down Sydney’s jowls, and incongruous tattoos – rearing vipers and ‘Day of the Dead’ skulls and fantastic flying machines – have crept up the forearms of our bike mechanics and baristas.