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America’s integrity on trial

“I will never apologize for the United States — I don’t care what the facts are… I’m not an apologize-for-America kind of guy.” – George H.W. Bush

To say that America has something of a PR problem would be an understatement. The supposed bedrock of freedom, democracy, and all things good and holy has, with the release of the torture report, found itself again in a decidedly awkward position. Yet the activities outlined in the report were not, for the most part, a revelation. Certainly, having it laid out in detail reveals the horrifying scale of the torture, a project which doesn’t even have efficiency to allow for some limp-wristed apologism. Yet the fact that the US had been carrying out this sort of ‘Enhanced Interrogation’ has long been part of our consciousness – you only need to look at 24 to see America’s enemies being ground to a pulp by Kiefer Sutherland “for the greater good”. Perhaps the scale of international cooperation is shocking, but the willingness of America to commit these acts long ago was a well-known fact. (more…)

BBC Music Awards
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Mediocrity, misogyny and malcontent at the BBC Music Awards

Last Thursday, almost 5 million people watched the Inaugural BBC Music Awards, the aim of which seemed to be to show exactly how dire British music has been in the past 12 months. Among the 22 artists performing at the ceremony, only three actually won awards: Ed Sheeran won British Artist of the Year, Pharrell Williams won International Artist of the Year and Song of the Year for ‘Happy’ and the BBC Introducing Award went to Catfish and the Bottlemen.

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Five easy ways to turn a great book into a crap film

So you’re a hotshot studio executive looking to churn out the next big thing (you’ve got that mortgage on your second LA beach house to be thinking about, after all), and, as usual, you’re flat out of ideas. And then one day it hits you: scripts have words in them. Books have words in them. So all it would take to make a book into a script is some slightly different words, in size twelve Courier font. Right?

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Wheeldon’s Wonderland is curiouser and curiouser

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It is the story we all know and love: rabbit holes, caterpillars and playing cards. Christopher Wheeldon’s new ballet brings Alice’s adventures vividly to life. Beginning with the musical ticks of multiple clocks, we are led to the normality of Alice’s family garden party where the children are being told a story by Lewis Carroll, while Alice and the gardener, Jack, share coy looks. However when a white fluffy tail bursts through the suit trousers of Lewis Carroll, Alice jumps down the rabbit hole to follow him. In Wonderland the characters at the Victorian garden party reappear in new guises. (more…)

The Oxford Student

One Step Ahead Since 1991