What’s Been On My Mind This Week

Question Mark1. If you read my regular Sunday update last week, you’ll remember that I mentioned the the dispute between the TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists), other feminists, and the trans population. Well the argument exploded over the internet and social media this week when Caroline Criado-Perez posted this about the term cis, about how she defines (or doesn’t) her own identity, and about her definition of feminism. Her post caused something of an outcry, and there’s a lot to read, if the argument interests you. But I would recommend reading this essay by Juliet Jacques in the New Statesman.

2. In other news, the Economist published a series of articles on how the internet is changing the sex industry, arguing that governments should stop trying to ban it. You can read them here and here.

3. The Economist also published a lengthy interview with President Obama this week. Much of the focus is on Africa, but the President also discusses China, Russia and Obamacare, among other things.

4. Also in American news, there was an interesting article in Politico about religion (or, more specifically, about the number of atheists) in that country, and why there are far fewer than in, for example, the UK and Europe.

5. There’s been quite a lot going on in UK politics this week, too, with the debate between Alex Salmond and George Osborne on STV, Boris Johnson announcing his intention to run in the next election, and Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader, also announcing his intention to run as an MP in the Kent constituency of Thanet South.

6. The Tricycle theatre in North London came under fire this week for banning the annual Jewish Film Festival, on the grounds that it receives funding from the Israeli embassy and the theatre feels accepting such funding is inappropriate given the scale of the current Gaza conflict. There was a good blog in the Spectator about the theatre’s decision.

7. The question of why female sanitary products are not considered ‘essential’ items, and are therefore subject to tax, has long been talked about. This week there was a new and worthwhile article on the subject in the Independent.

8. We live in a world where everyone can have an opinion and share it; here I am, blogging and tweeting fairly regularly. No one doubts that the internet is changing the way we interact with others and the way we share our opinions. The New Statesman was running a series of articles this week on social media, and Juliet Jacques wrote a particularly good one on Twitter and its relationship with journalism, among other things.

9. There was a really interesting article in the Independent this week about the gap between the public acceptance of abortion in the UK and how it is portrayed in film and on television.

10. I am a huge Roald Dahl fan. I loved his books as a child (I think Danny the Champion of the World was my favourite, closely followed by the story collection The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More) and also his very creepy stories for adults (‘Lamb to the Slaughter’, anyone?). A writer I know alerted me to this article, written last year by Dahl’s American editor about what it was like editing and publishing his book, The Witches.

11. This week I read an incredible collection of short stories by the French writer Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt. It’s called Invisible Love and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s a short collection of five or six tales linked – as the title suggests – by the theme of love. The translation (by the renowned Howard Curtis) is impeccable and the stories are heartbreaking and gripping and full of surprises. I’m planning on reading Schmitt’s backlist as soon as possible.

12. This week I’ve been listening to Stay Gold, the third album by Swedish sisters First Aid Kit. Their lyrics are dark and quite melancholy, but the folk-inspired music and really rather wonderful harmonies mean it’s not hard to keep listening to them at all.

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Categories: On My Mind . . .

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