That paradox just isn’t subversive anymore
Artist Patrick Hughes fills his book Paradoxymoron with self-contradictory gems and enjoyably vicious circles – but are his paradoxes as radical as he thinks?
Calling time on London’s counterculture
London Calling is a riotous recollection of Soho and the West End during a period when London was less sanitised, less regulated and a lot more liberated.
There’s more to being an adult than biology
Kay Hymowitz’s assault on men who seem incapable of growing up is well aimed, but her recourse to human biology as the source of adulthood makes for miserable reading.
The mainstream is so last year
James Harkin’s new book reveals what the rise of niche marketing represents: a growing trend for expressing one’s identity, and superiority, through consumption choices.
Nuclear energy: clean, reliable and powerful
Physicist Wade Allison says he wants to alleviate fears about nuclear. Trouble is, his warnings against catastrophic climate change sound just as alarmist as the nuke panic.
The girl who hated commercialisation
Eva Gabrielsson’s biography, Millennium, Stieg & I, is a bitter invective against profiteers from the ‘Stieg Larsson industry’ – yet it is also guilty of chipping away at the deceased author’s privacy.
Women: equal at work, still unequal at home?
Christina Hopkinson’s sparkly new novel has been read as a privileged mum’s moan about cleaning. In fact it raises more than a few awkward questions about domestic drudgery.
Reason versus emotion? It’s a false dichotomy
With its elevation of intuition over reason and the unconscious mind over rational thought, David Brooks’ new book is an explicit attack on Enlightenment values. It’s time we defended rationalism and passion.
Part One: There’s No There, There
|Monday 4 April 2011|
Killing Bono: on the wrong side of history
However much serious rock critics fantasise that U2 were rebellious rockers, the truth is ‘the kids’ rejected them.
Fukushima: why greens turned on each other
The reaction to events in Japan shows that fear – of climate change or radiation – trumps old solidarities.
Defending libraries against cuts? It’s too little, too late
Where were today’s champions of libraries in the 1990s, when philistine New Labour was emptying those venerable institutions of all their worth?
|Tuesday 5 April 2011|
It’s time to declare war on terroir
Banning anyone outside Cornwall from making Cornish pasties promises to crimp the life out of food culture.
Keeping the poor in the dark
New World Bank rules restricting support for coal-fired power stations will confine millions to poverty.
The other Libyan war looks like a stalemate, too
None of the international players competing for influence in this crisis has the will to run an air war, never mind re-colonise Libya.
|Wednesday 6 April 2011|
Taking easy pops at the English Defence League
The online mockery of a young EDL member speaks volumes about liberals’ contempt for the white working classes.
Frankie Boyle: the bastard child of Ofcom
Ofcom creates precisely the stifling conditions in which an unfunny misanthrope like Boyle can flourish.
Northern Ireland: a zombie IRA and zombie government
The killing of Ronan Kerr exposes both the moral turpitude of republican dissidents and the opportunism of Northern Ireland's rulers.
|Thursday 7 April 2011|
Okay, it's time to put interning in perspective
A former spiked intern has a message for his fellow jobbing students: internships are not a form of slave labour.
A very UN-helpful report on the Gaza War
In the first of her reports from Israel, Nathalie Rothschild explains the implications of the Goldstone saga.
Save our National Health Service? Why, exactly?
Given the contempt with which the NHS treats ordinary people, it’s no wonder they aren’t lining up with the ‘Save our NHS’ lobby.
|Friday 8 April 2011|
Low-ambition comedy for a low-ambition Olympics
New sitcom Twenty Twelve gently mocks London’s preparations rather than taking a satire-shaped cudgel to them.
Rooney swore? So f***ing what
Those fretting over the footballer’s anglo-saxon turn of phrase have clearly never been to a match before.
We should stick up for reason and passion
David Brooks' The Social Animal elevates emotion over reason, instinctive feeling over conscious thought. But today, we must defend both.
|Monday 11 April 2011|
Banning the burqa: an assault on freedom
Unfortunately, both France and some of its critics seem driven by a desire to police people's thoughts.
Why AV won't make for ‘better politicians’
The Alternative Vote system will produce MPs who are even more lame and principle-lite than the current bunch.
The brassnecked hypocrisy of these invaders of privacy
Yes, the News of the World has behaved badly, but for New Labour bigwigs to complain about being snooped on... you couldn’t make it up.
|Tuesday 12 April 2011|
An Observer of the public’s ‘speech crimes’
Why did one of Britain’s oldest liberal papers collude with the state in the arrest of a man for expressing an idea?
Weight loss: the futility of the exercise
If even running a marathon doesn’t shift the pounds, why are the rest of us constantly told to ‘get active’?
Yuri Gagarin’s brave, brilliant leap into the dark
On the 50th anniversary of the first manned spaceflight, James Woudhuysen praises Gagarin’s daring - and says we need more of it today.
|Wednesday 13 April 2011|
The Nakba Law: Israel’s catastrophic bill
A new law preventing criticism of the state is scarily similar to some of Britain's free-speech clampdowns.
Dumbing down the idea of happiness
Under the guise of promoting ‘wellbeing’, the government and advocacy groups are indulging in lifestyle modification.
US budget showdown: the politics of pantomime
For all the attempts to talk up the budget clash as a great historical drama, in truth it revealed the pathetic state of American politics.
|Thursday 14 April 2011|
Students don’t need protection from ideas
A student opponent of the illiberal NUS has a message for its new president: get rid of No Platform.
The busybody war on packed lunches
A US school’s ban on parents giving their kids packed lunches reeks of ‘we know best’ condescension.
Attack on Libya: a war led by no one
As the various bombers of Libya disavow responsibility for the overall military mission, there’s no telling how this will end.
|Friday 15 April 2011|
When a council house was a dream home
A riveting look at the rise and fall of the council estate casts today’s housing policy – or lack of it – in a dim light.
Kick anti-racism out of football
With overt racism a thing of the past, we should show Herman Ouseley and his racial etiquette police the red card.
Nuclear energy: clean, reliable and powerful
Physicist Wade Allison expertly demolishes fears about radiation. If only he was equally as sceptical about the fear-fuelled climate-change panic.
|Monday 18 April 2011|
‘We will sacrifice quality if necessary’
An unguarded comment by the new NUS president shows how denigrated university education has become.
Making a meal of school children’s diet
A survey hailing the impact of healthy school dinners on kids’ capacity to learn is not as smart as it thinks.
Up the Yid Army!
The campaign to cleanse Britain’s football terraces of the Y-word is a patronising assault on Tottenham Hotspur fans’ pride and identity.
|Tuesday 19 April 2011|
Palestine: occupied by Western liberals
How the values of ‘Kensington dinner parties’ are being imposed in the Palestinian territories.
There’s nothing ‘good’ about the war in Libya
An international relations expert says there’s no going back to the so-called ‘good interventions’ of the 1990s.
After the Day of Rage, the months of repression
The leader of the Bahrain Freedom Movement tells spiked that the situation in his country is grim. But is Western intervention the solution?
|Wednesday 20 April 2011|
Overblown fears of fascism on the rise
Hungary’s proposed new constitution owes as much to retrograde Western trends as it does to right-wing nationalism.
Kettling: a ‘naughty step’ for protesters
The rise of police kettling on protests tells us a lot about both aimless radicals and cautious cops.
The strange death of the NATO alliance
Why is the West’s North Atlantic Treaty Organisation squabbling over who should bomb north Africa, 20 years after the Cold War ended?
|Thursday 21 April 2011|
What the undead tell us about the living
New series The Walking Dead makes a good Zombie drama of contemporary society’s fear and self-doubt.
Turning football fans into snitches
It’s time Old Firm fans stopped telling tales on one another and united against the authorities’ behaviour police.
The art of pissing Christians off
By attacking Andres Serrano’s artwork ‘Immersion (Piss Christ)’, French Christian fundamentalists play into the artist’s hands.
This Easter, try to avoid the Gospel of Grayling
The underlying message of the New Atheists’ ‘secular bibles’ is far more soul-destroying than anything in the original Good Book.
|Tuesday 26 April 2011|
‘I haven’t heard of any parties being planned’
Patrick Hayes talks to residents of one London borough on why they won’t be getting the bunting out on Friday.
It’s not 1981 all over again
There might be more cynicism about this royal wedding than Charles and Diana’s – but what’s good about that?
The culture war behind the Will’n’Kate debate
The wedding has exposed big fault lines within the British elite, with defensive monarchists on one side and snobbish cynics on the other.
|Wednesday 27 April 2011|
On the wrong track over iPhone privacy
Campaigners should worry less about gadgets recording our locations and more about why society doesn't value privacy.
Tescophobia: a new middle‑class malady
The chattering classes’ weird hatred of Tesco reveals the elitism of modern-day consumer activism.
The war between fact and fallacy in US politics
When a senator excuses an erroneous comment by saying ‘it was not intended to be factual’, where’s the line between reality and fantasy?
|Thursday 28 April 2011|
Spinning a fascinating tale of cricketing derring do
A loving exploration of the art of spin bowling that, in its attention to detail and breadth of cultural reference, brings an arcane aspect of a sometimes arcane sport to vivid, joyous life.
The revolution will not be tweeted
Evgeny Morozov provides a damning critique of those who believe that social-networking tools are the spark that ignited recent political uprisings.
One year on: learning the lessons of Deepwater Horizon
BP became so obsessed with rebranding itself, adopting irrational management-speak and enforcing petty health-and-safety measures that it overlooked the real safety of its workers.
When commuting to work is a clandestine affair
A chronicle of an 18-hour return trip from the West Bank to Israel shows how the border closures introduced through the Oslo Peace Accords have strangled Palestinians’ access to work.
Bowing down to a new god: the scientist
Peter Atkins delights in telling us that humanity came from nothing and that we're returning to nothing, and he assumes anyone who doesn't share his nihilistic beliefs is an idiot.
A cheap excuse for opposing open borders
A new pamphlet suggesting immigrants should have to fork out £30,000 to enter Britain is giving the state a free-market justification for violating people’s freedom of movement.
Why this novel has rattled the literary elite
The explosive power of Hans Fallada’s 60-year-old novel Alone in Berlin lies in its revelation that some uneducated Germans passionately hated the Nazi regime.
The Malthusians who masquerade as Marxists
Both radical and mainstream authors now frequently attack ‘neo-liberalism’ and ‘free-market fundamentalism’. But their alternative to these largely mythical creeds would be far, far worse.