No Logo at 20: have we lost the battle against the total branding of our lives?

Twenty years on from the book that analysed the growing political power of superbrands Some political books capture the zeitgeist with such precision that they seem to blur the lines between the page and the real world and become part of the urgent, rapidly unfolding changes they are describing. On 30 November 1999, mere days before the publication of Naomi Kleins debut, No Logo, the epochal Campaign marking the tenth anniversary of the 1997 general election, was perhaps the most brand-savvy political project in British history. No Logo had a global impact far beyond anything Naomi Klein only 29 at the time and unknown outside her native Canada had expected. It became a bestseller in the UK (among numerous other …

Jia Tolentino: I like to write about instincts that are in some way good and in some way dangerous’

Hailed as the Joan Didion of our times informed, funny and fearless the New Yorkers Jia Tolentino is making sense of the world one essay at a time Until recently, one of New Yorker staff writer Jia Tolentinos best-kept secrets was that she spent the summer of her 16th year filming a reality show called Girls v Boys: Puerto Rico. A cheerleader then, she got permission from her school, which was situated in the middle of a Texan megachurch so large they called it the Repentagon, by telling them shed be a light for Jesus, but on television. An essayist who explores what its like to live right now, no now, remains, at 30, rebellious and contradictory in ticklish ways. …

The Twittering Machine by Richard Seymour review escape from dystopia

Twitter, texts, email the psychological needs driving todays vast and risky digital writing experiment The notoriety of postmodernism has waxed and waned over the past 40 years. While a frequent reference point in the identity politics and the chaos of Steven Pinker and a cluster of neoconservatives associated with the online magazine Quillette, the postmodern left has injected relativism and self-pity into liberal democracies, with all of the results we see around us today. Few appear to have any clue what ever referred to, nor any desire to find out. As Paul Klee painting, depicting mechanical birds whose song is manufactured to lure victims towards a pit. Superficially speaking, the book is a critique of digital platforms, screens, algorithms and …

Are millennials really driving cancel culture – or is it their overcautious critics?

Older generations argue that young peoples insistence on equality in all things including books threatens to stifle free speech. But is that always true? I wouldnt normally air my dirty literary linen in public, but here goes. When I finished writing my novel Putney, about a 13-year-old girl who has a love affair in the 1970s with an older man and realises decades later that it was actually abuse, my previous editor at Jonathan Cape chose not to publish it. The reasons emerged this year when described in the Observer as a Lolita for the era of #MeToo. Whether there was any truth in his words or not, Franklins position reveals how much fear now exists in publishing. The balance …

Stan Lee’s business manager charged with elder abuse of Marvel creator

Keya Morgan, the memorabilia dealer who became close to the comics magnate, is accused of false imprisonment, forgery and fraud Stan Lees former business manager has been charged with five counts of elder abuse against the co-creator of The Avengers and Spider-Man, who died last year aged 95. The Los Angeles superior court has issued an arrest warrant against Keya Morgan, a New York memorabilia dealer who became a close companion to Lee, for charges including false imprisonment, forgery and fraud. These date back to June 2018, when He was then arrested and charged with filing a false police report. In the application for the restraining order in June, Morgan was accused of isolating Lee from friends and family, and …

‘Let’s cancel Bret Easton Ellis’: is millennial ‘cancel culture’ really a thing?

The author annoyed young people this week by criticising the practice of withdrawing admiration for offending celebrities The novelist Bret Easton Ellis annoyed young people in an interview this week. I mean, what is millennial culture? he asked. Theres no writing. They dont care about literature. None of them reads books. The only culture they have, he said, is cancel culture. But what is that? Someone said it about me today, Lets cancel Bret Easton Ellis, he explained. The word gets used all the time, Were going to cancel this person, she shouldnt have tweeted that, shes cancelled. Indeed: where once you might cancel a train booking or a TV show, it became possible in 2013 or so to cancel …

Smooth, angry, cool, powerful: how we talk about blackness

Teacher and writer Jeffrey Boakye has encountered endless labels all of which have informed his experience of being black and British today. Here, he unpicks their meanings BLACK Ive been black since about 1988, when I was colouring in pictures of priests at Corpus Christi Roman Catholic primary school in Brixton Hill, south London. I remember it well. We were sharing tables and colouring pencils and I looked up to find that there were no more skin colour pencils available in the pencil pot. By skin colour, I mean a shade of pinkish beige that was a pretty spot-on facsimile of what we can call white, European skin. Caucasian colour. With a hint of tan. Tea with an overgenerous splash …

The Hill to Die On review: Trump, Ryan and a Republican dumpster fire

Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer deliver a deeply sourced tale of ineptitude, cowardice and other common political traits Donald Trump is now going all in for Obamacare repeal. His latest Stephen Moore, a tax-dodging deadbeat dad, and Herman Cain, Kushner is quoted telling the late Senator John McCain, without a hint of irony, that were going to change the way the entire government works. McCain can only reply: Good luck, son. Kushner and Mnuchin come across as Zelig-like creatures, always on camera but with little to show. As it waits for Godot and the Messiah, the world anticipates Jareds much-heralded Middle East peace plan. Paul Ryan, the former speaker and 2012 vice-presidential candidate, emerges as a cautionary tale who inadvertently …

Plagiarism, book-stuffing, clickfarms … the rotten side of self-publishing

Scams are rife, particularly when some authors can rake in thousands each month but high-profile victims of plagiarism warn day of reckoning is coming NSerruyas alleged plagiarism was first exposed by US author Courtney Milan, who found passages from her book The Duchess War in Serruyas novel Royal Love. After Milan went public and after highlighted by authors and readers Serruya pulled her books from sale, blaming the overlaps on a ghostwriter she said shed hired from freelance marketplace Fiverr. A former law professor, Milan was a dreadful choice to lift from as was Roberts, who has never been sanguine about plagiarism, taking her fellow novelist and former friend Janet Dailey to court in 1997. But Serruya is just one …