On Photography: imprisoning reality, possessing the past

Dexter Yim | 03 June 2019
Human beings are nostalgic animals. We cannot really help looking at photos we took from time to time in order to revisit our past or see how much we have changed over the years. I bet everyone understands this as the ten-year challenge craze sweeps the world. Without photography, we have no choice but to rely on our hazy memories, which are not reliable and verifiable. The art and usefulness of photography unarguably and gradually became indispensable in our daily lives as photography can help us imprison reality and revisit the past at any time. This short article attempts to look into the usefulness and limitations of photography.

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Mary Queen of Scots: a new kind of Period Drama

Eva Dieteren | 29 April 2019
As a fan of period dramas, I was ready to sit back and enjoy what one can typically expect from a big-budget period drama: beautiful cinematography and gorgeous costumes accompanied by dramatic music. And whilst the film certainly ticks all the boxes, its depiction of female sexuality provides a new – and literal – perspective on the term period drama.

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Shakespeare vs. Pushkin – On Not Reading National Poets, or: A Tragedy in Two Acts

Anne Liebig | 4 February, 2019
To be or not to be – who has not heard, used, or abused this phrase, written down over 400 years ago? Who cannot conjure up a spontaneous image of the Bard, or name at least one of his plays? Shakespeare has performed a feat that few other writers have achieved across the globe: he has been elevated to a symbol of national culture. But when did you last stop and ask yourself what the point of having a so-called national poet really was?

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Decoding the linguistic jiggery-pockery of Brexit

Chris Jardine | 10 December, 2018
It has been two and a half years since the United Kingdom’s referendum on EU membership. While this decision has dominated the political landscape ever since, less attention has been paid to the linguistic innovations, reincarnations and clichés this event has had on and within the English language. Given that the wider Brexit debate has been hijacked by a failed Tory leadership candidate, whose choice in language has been met with disdain by even his allies, and a bizarre anachronism from North East Somerset, a linguistic decoding of some of the key terminology is long overdue.

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Whither Truth? An Ode to Fargo, or How Russia Stole the Limelight  

Anne Liebig|10th June 2017.

‘This is a true story.’ Every connoisseur of the Coen brother’s timeless classic Fargo and its equally cult-like series spin-off about small-town megalomania will appreciate the tongue-in-cheek quality of so blatant a lie. The sentence is repeatedly dangled in front of the viewer at the beginning of each episode as a propitious prop for make-believe, calling viewers to rejuvenate their sense for a suspension of disbelief and jump right into this mellifluent maelstrom of snow storms, ice deserts, and funny accents. If it is only popular entertainment, what does it have to do with our current post-truth political climate? 

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City of Literature? Opposing Cuts to Edinburgh City Libraries

Aran Ward Sell | 20 March 2017.

In a recent Inciting Sparks article, Tess Goodman writes that libraries are hubs of intellectual community. ‘In libraries,’ she writes, people ‘find anchors on the great sea they must navigate.’ Goodman’s article concludes: ‘P.S. We all need books. Support your local library.’ The article you’re reading might be considered a regretful postscript to this postscript:

P.P.S. Public libraries in the UK are dying.

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A Carnivalesque Turn of Events

Alberto Nanni | 20 February 2017

Politics have always been full of buffoons and this is no news. In America currently, being allegedly rich and charismatically outrageous seem more important than intelligence and integrity for political success. But is this something new? The newly elected president of the United States is not an isolated case. As an Italian expat, I can’t help but think that Trump has at least one renowned precursor: Silvio Berlusconi. And I don’t just limit their similarities to their orange complexion.

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Marvel’s America: Living in an Age of Oversimplification

Dylan Taylor | 6 February 2017

In 1835, Alexis de Tocqueville observed that Americans have “a lively faith in the perfectibility of man…They all consider society as a body in a state of improvement”. Such descriptions help explain our common stereotype as pragmatic idealists with a penchant for exaggerated emotions and an uncomfortable awkwardness in the face of negative, or even ambivalent, sentiments. Studies [1] have implied what many introverts could readily describe: America is a land where being quiet or reflective can induce strange looks or even pity. Being slow-to-judge—a trait so often honored by moral philosophers throughout history—is, to that subset of Americans which subscribes to a masculine, red-blooded vision of our tenets, seen instead as a sign of weakness and naiveté. This diluting of issues into binaries—weak or strong, moral or immoral, right or wrong—is a cultural tendency that has seemed to reach its apotheosis in the theatrical build-up to the new presidency and its traumatic fallout.

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