Spain’s right to memory under threat

The politics of public or “collective” memory are alive and well in Spain, where a controversial dictionary of national biography has whitewashed the career of its former dictator, General Francisco Franco. Continue reading Spain’s right to memory under threat

Pirates of the Caribbean

In Life on the Mississippi (1883) Mark Twain wrote, “Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.” It’s every boy’s dream. Continue reading Pirates of the Caribbean

A matter of life and death

The suicide of a friend or a relation is a tragedy, but it is not unreasonable. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote in Beyond Good and Evil (1886) that, “The thought of suicide is a great comfort: it’s a good way of getting through many a bad night.” For some, suicide is anathema. For others, it is a gentle release from suffering. Continue reading A matter of life and death

Buster Keaton meets Samuel Beckett

The first public screening of a film took place in 1895, when Auguste and Louis Lumière hired the basement of Le Grand Café on the Boulevard des Capucines, Paris, to show La Sortie des Ouvriers de l’Usine Lumière (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory). That same year, one of the great comedians of cinema was born in the tiny settlement of Piqua, Kansas, USA. Continue reading Buster Keaton meets Samuel Beckett

Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic: Birds of a feather

“Thousands of men executed and buried in mass graves, hundreds of men buried alive, men and women mutilated and slaughtered, children killed before their mothers’ eyes, a grandfather forced to eat the liver of his own grandson. These are truly scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of human history.” Continue reading Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic: Birds of a feather