Trumpocalypse Now: Musings on what lies ahead

Vicki Madden | 9th January 2017.

Admittedly, it’s been a while since I considered the US home. I’ve always felt as American as apple pie, but there’s just something about “going home” that scares me these days. An uncanny feeling of estrangement hits me every time I’m driving around unfamiliar roads in my hometown, getting lost amongst cookie cutter suburban houses. But it’s not just the topography that’s alien to me now. It’s the entire “feel” of the country. The mere fact that my foreign service dad feels it’s necessary to point out all the exits in the cinema lest a gunman should walk in makes me feel like I could never live in the States again.

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Barbaric Terrorists, Nazi Savages, Inhuman Racists, and Lousy Zombies

28th November 2016 ¦ Adam Clay.

Violent crimes and massacres perpetrated by individuals or terrorist groups are frequently referred to as ‘barbaric’ or ‘savage’ (1). But what exactly is meant by that? If you turn to a dictionary, you will find that these words refer to ‘wild,’ ‘uncivilized,’ even ‘animal (non-human) behaviour.’ In other words, not only is it tempting to draw a line between ‘them’ and ‘us,’ but this line also usually deprives ‘them’ of their humanity – if not completely, certainly to a significant extent.

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Under the Shadow: Never-Ending Nightmares of Bogeymen

14 November 2016 | Erden Göktepe.

Watching a powerful horror film like Under the Shadow is weirdly timely considering the alarming result of the 2016 US Elections. I do not know about you, but I am confronted every single day with nauseating media images of an unrelenting system filled with inconsistent and fallacious political promises. Maybe it’s due to my Middle Eastern background, but the potentially devastating repercussions of the US elections are haunting me like my childhood nightmares. I dream of faceless ghosts coming down from the cracks in the walls just like the ones used by Babak Anvari, the British director of Iranian descent responsible for Under the Shadow. This film is the first to depict the Iran-Iraq War in a horror genre, and it’s Anvari’s first feature-length movie.

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Keep Calm and Stay Tolerant: Engaging with Trump Supporters

16 October 2016 | Scheherazade Khan. ‘Tolerance’ is one of those words that gets thrown around frequently. But what does it really mean? At the risk of sounding overly academic, I refer to the Oxford English Dictionary definition of tolerance: “the disposition to be patient with or indulgent to the opinions or practices of others.” While tolerance to the “practices of others” is highly emphasised in day-to-day discourse, I feel as though the significance of being “indulgent to the opinions” of others has diminished in our current understanding of tolerance. Instead, there is a tendency to force an ascription to what appears to be the morally correct viewpoint, particularly in a university environment where the majority leaning is decidedly liberal. Yet isn’t this a form of intolerance against the morals and opinions of others?

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Social Media Strikes Back

Maria Elena Torres-Quevedo | 17 October 2016

Social media empowers individuals who usually lack epistemic power, and hence suffer systemic testimonial injustice (people who are rarely listened to or considered credible by society at large: women, people of colour, trans people, etc.), to testify in meaningful ways. By posting on the internet, they can complicate and undermine state sanctioned narratives in a way that mainstream media cannot.

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Cultural Appropriation: From Seinfeld to Shriver

17 October 2016 | Richard Elliott

In ‘The Yada Yada’ episode of Seinfeld, dentist Tim Whatley announces to Jerry and George that he has become a Jew, and immediately begins to crack jokes based around his new-found identity. When Jerry goes to a Catholic confessional to express his suspicion that Whatley has “converted to Judaism purely for the jokes,” the priest asks him “And this offends you as a Jewish person?” to which Jerry replies “No, it offends me as a comedian.”

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Donald Trump: Psychopath?

August 27, 2016 | Vicki Madden

To say that the run-up to the 2016 United States presidential election has raised some serious questions would be a gross understatement. For many, this election has felt less like a battle for office than a battle for the American soul, thanks in large part to the non-stop demagoguery of one Donald J. Trump. As someone who spends a significant amount of time reading about history’s most famous psychopaths, the biggest questions on my mind as I scroll through the internet’s ubiquitous election coverage are these: 1). Is Donald Trump a certifiable psychopath, and 2). Would such a diagnosis jeopardise his bid to become the next American president?

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Refuge and Asylum: A Gardener’s Guide

February 15, 2016 | Sarah Stewart.

Gardens are a cultural staple the world over. You would be hard put to find a major world religion in which gardens do not feature; the sheer multitude of garden-related metaphors you hear everyday are testament to our language’s continuing reliance on concepts born in gardens, not to mention the prevalence of the garden in literary and artistic traditions. For millennia, gardens have been reflections of divine order on earth; spaces to display status, but, fundamentally, they are places where people negotiate with the land, and other people, in order to thrive. Given their global relevance, what potential do gardens and gardening have to bridge barriers between cultures and people of vast differences in background and experience? Between, say, established British citizens and asylum seekers and refugees?

[tw: discussions of torture]

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