Rorty, who died in 2007, was one of our most compassionate philosophers. You can gauge his worth by the fact that he seemed to get under the skin of just about everybody, occupying a transient between-space in a manner off-putting to commentators who spend careers building conceptual fortresses behind which to protect their worldview.
In Ta-Nehisi Coates’s powerful polemic Between the World and Me, racism in America is seen as the equivalent of a physical law of the universe, a cosmic injustice with tenacious gravity. When a cop kills a black man, Coates explains, the officer should be understood as ‘a force of nature, the helpless agent of our world’s physical laws.’ Society is equally helpless against this natural order because in America, ‘it is traditional to destroy the black body – it is heritage’.
The words come from another time, but they spoke to the real significance of Corbyn’s appearance on Glastonbury’s mainstage. Shelly wrote The Masque of Anarchy to mark the occasion of the Peterloo Massacre. An occasion when, on another summer day 198 years prior, a rally of between 60,000 and 100,000 English workers was violently attacked by a local militia, while peacefully protesting for the right to elect their MPs.
From 6pm, Monday 24 July
A new anthology reflecting on violence against women. Editor Jane Caro will launch the book alongside readings from and discussions with contributors Rebecca Lim and Overland editor Jacinda Woodhead.
Who, I wonder, will play Elon Musk in the inevitable biopic? Were such a film made tomorrow, it would be easy to imagine John Barrowman in the lead role. Beyond the obvious physical similarities – square-jawed and Hollywood B-list handsome – both are around fifty, and exude that slight exoticness that comes from having attained US citizenship after being born elsewhere (Musk in Pretoria, Barrowman in Glasgow).