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The SpectatorThe Spectator

The Spectator

May 18, 2019

Every week The Spectator is packed with opinion, comment and analysis about politics, arts and books. We lead the way on the great issues of the day, from political scandals to social trends. What you read in The Spectator today becomes news elsewhere in the weeks to come. We have the best columnists on Fleet Street, from Charles Moore, Rod Liddle, Matthew Parris and Alexander Chancellor to James Forsyth, the best-con

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51 Números


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Karen Yossman is a journalist and former lawyer who has written for newspapers in the US and UK. On p18, she looks at social justice mobs’ new target: fantasy fiction.Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, who writes about Letitia Elizabeth Landon on p30, is a fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford and author of Becoming Dickens.Sarah Perry is the author of The Essex Serpent and Melmoth. She reviews Sandra Newman’s new novel The Heavens on p32.Simon Kuper writes on p38 about the use, or otherwise, of psychic powers in sport. He’s a sports columnist for the FT and author (among others) of Soccernomics and Football Against The Enemy.Jean McNeil is Reader in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. Her most recent book is Ice Diaries: an Antarctic Memoir. She writes about W.G. Sebald…

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There are many places where a gay Jewish couple wearing yarmulkes wouldn’t feel comfortable walking down the street. I didn’t think west London was one of them. Ambling along Edgware Road to a wedding at the West London Synagogue, however, my partner feels something land on his jacket. At first, he believes it is bird dropping. Closer examination reveals the white gob to be human spittle. Later, we tell a friend, Harry Cole of the Mail on Sunday, who tweets about it. The Sky News presenter Adam Boulton replies: ‘No excuse but it is a Middle Eastern quarter.’ He later apologises. Perhaps we should have known better than to don yarmulkes on a street with so many kebab shops, hookah bars and women in chadors.Table conversation at the wedding reception…

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america’s war games

Washington, DCDonald Trump has an itchy trigger finger, and his name is John Bolton. The President’s national security adviser is a lifelong war hawk who, unlike Trump, was a diehard supporter of the Iraq War. Now Bolton has Iran in his crosshairs. He’s not the only member of the administration drawing a bead on the mullahs. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is also a throwback to the mentality of the George W. Bush years of high misadventure in the Middle East. But Trump, believe it or not, is smarter than the last two presidents, who started fires they couldn’t extinguish in Iraq and Libya. As his manoeuvres with North Korea show, war is not the way he expects to win.To understand what Trump is up to, one has to forget…

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rilke on the place de la concorde

Rereading Rilke’s letters on Cézanne,it’s the rain that stays, October rain,day in, day out, lavering pavements,choking sewers; Rilke wearing galoshes,stepping around puddles, acrossgutters, walking upstairs to the Salonwhere all he could see were the Cézannes –card players and chestnut trees flaringbetween these gentlemen in frock-coats,these ladies in the latest Paris fashions –keeping a part of the world safe, no,not safe, seen, like a glass of rain water.…

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his dark materials

If you have heard of Alexander Nix, you probably think he’s a villain. He is the former head of Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics company that helped Donald Trump win the presidential election. Nix and his colleagues have been accused of all sorts of other dastardly deeds: conniving with the Kremlin to hack democracy, ‘dark messaging’ people with racist ads on Facebook in the run-up to Brexit, and more and worse. Nix lost his job after a Channel 4 investigation into Cambridge Analytica in March last year — the exposé won a Bafta last weekend. By May, Cambridge Analytica and its parent company SCL had gone into administration, and Nix had been widely condemned as a Machiavellian crook.A year has passed, and Nix is ready to talk. I meet him…

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writers blocked

It was Lionel Shriver who saw the writing on the wall. Giving a keynote speech at the Brisbane Writers Festival three years ago in which she decried the scourge of modern identity politics, Shriver observed that the dogma of ‘cultural appropriation’ —which demands no less than complete racial segregation in the arts — had not yet wrapped its osseous fingers around the publishing industry. But, she warned: ‘This same sensibility is coming to a bookstore near you.’ Reader, it has come.Next month a young, Asian-American author called Amélie Wen Zhao was due to celebrate the publication of her debut novel Blood Heir, the first in a three-part fantasy series for which Zhao was reportedly paid a six-figure sum by Delacorte Press, a children’s imprint of Penguin Random House. Set in…