Quote of the day

"History is the study of other people's mistakes"
— Philip Guedella

Why The Oldest Person In The World Keeps Dying

Many more people are living beyond 100, but the limit of human longevity has held fairly steady. Only two people in recorded history have ever lived beyond 118, while the average age of the oldest-ever living person people has crept up from around 112 to around 114 in the past 40 years. So if you do get to be the oldest person in the world, you are probably not going to hold the title for very long. “It’s getting crowded at the top” (1,190 words)

The Words We Wear

A small thing, but it needs saying. There are too many tags on clothes. “A pair of grey jeans from Zara looked like a collision between a wardrobe and a filing cabinet. There were two cardboard tags on a string plus one stitched through the waistband; inside were five further labels of fabric. Between them they carried more than 700 words, not counting washing symbols. I bought the jeans for one sort of arse-covering, but got both kinds” (800 words)

Hollywood In China

China’s film market will soon be the world’s biggest. Hollywood tailors its blockbusters for Chinese audiences. American films take half the Chinese market despite policies to protect domestic film-makers. Why don’t Chinese film-makers do better? Because they are pressured to celebrate China and Chinese values. Hollywood sells universal aspirations and tales of individual triumph which go down better, even in China (1,512 words)

Why Baltimore Blew Up

The Baltimore protests were provoked by decades of police intimidation and harassment. Most white Americans have no idea how badly police and courts treat black Americans. The worst of it is that police are never held to account. “From bad arrests to beatings to broken bones, there are enough horror stories to fill a thousand Ken Burns documentaries. But good luck finding any of that misconduct and abuse on an official record” (6,400 words)

The Art Of Running From The Police

Extract from On The Run, Alice Goffman’s acclaimed account of her six years living in a rough neighbourhood of Philadelphia observing relations between young men and the police. Note also this troubling review by law professor Steven Lubet, raising questions about Goffman’s conduct and methodology: “She’s flat out confessed to conspiring to commit murder and could be charged and convicted based on this account right now” (13,000 words)

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