02/08/2014
2 Aug 2014

Crowd culture

2 Aug 2014

Crowd culture

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Features
Ross ClarkRoss Clark
The rise of crowd culture – a generation scared to do anything alone

[audioplayer src="http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_31_July_2014_v4.mp3" title="Ross Clark and Lara Prendergast discuss the demise of individualism"] Listen [/audioplayer]Hell, as one of Jean-Paul Sartre’s characters said, is other people. Unless, that is, you happen to be British and born after about 1980, in which case hell is the opposite: being alone for more than about five minutes.

The rise of crowd culture – a generation scared to do anything alone
Melanie Phillips
What our leaders would say if they really cared about defending Britain’s Jews

The mask has been torn away. Supposedly anti-Israel protests over the Gaza war have convulsed Europe in the worst scenes of open Jew-hatred since the 1930s. In Paris, predominantly Muslim mobs screaming ‘death to the Jews’ have repeatedly tried to storm synagogues, torched cars and burnt Jewish-owned shops to the ground. In Berlin, demonstrators shouted ‘Gas the Jews’ while an imam beseeched Allah to ‘count and kill Zionist Jews to the very last one’.

What our leaders would say if they really cared about defending Britain’s Jews
Antonia Oettingen
The war that we Germans really don’t mention

In 1912 Kaiser Wilhelm had an ambitious task for my great-great-great uncle Karl Max von Lichnowsky. He sent him to London to be our ambassador there, with orders to try to ensure Britain’s neutrality (at the very least, in cases of conflict with Russia and France). Although Lichnowsky already had a sympathetic relationship with Britain’s foreign minister, Edward Grey, who also hoped to avoid a war, his mission failed.

The war that we Germans really don’t mention
Jane Kelly
In our hard-pressed NHS, must sympathy be rationed too?

Sometimes I have a quiet time as a voluntary hospital visitor. But recently I’ve witnessed a lot of distress from people of all ages and types. The other week I saw an elderly Middle Eastern man bent over a bin in a ward corridor, crying almost uncontrollably. I asked him the problem and he stuttered out that he had been watching his daughter sleeping, and he believed she was going to die. I went off to find a nurse as I felt I didn’t know enough about his situation or hers to help.

In our hard-pressed NHS, must sympathy be rationed too?
Matt Ridley
Now remember August 1714

The centenary of the start of the first world war is getting much more attention than the tricentenary of the accession of George I, which also falls this week. As far as I can tell, no new biographies of the first Hanoverian king are imminent, whereas books on the great war are pouring forth. You can see why. The replacement of a plump, if benign, queen by an ‘obstinate and humdrum German martinet with dull brains and coarse tastes’ (Winston Churchill’s words), who presided over a huge financial scandal and died unlamented after a short reign, need hardly detain us.

Now remember August 1714
Martin Gayford
From the Elgin marbles to Carl Andre’s bricks: the mistakes that have made great art

One day in 1959, the Minimalist sculptor Carl Andre was putting the finishing touches to an abstract sculpture in wood. The work, entitled ‘Last Ladder’, was carved on only one side. When he had finished, Andre’s friend the painter Frank Stella walked in, ran his hand down the smooth reverse side and remarked, ‘You know, Carl, that’s sculpture too.’ For Andre it was a eureka moment. In a flash, he realised that he did not need to carve his sculptures at all.

From the Elgin marbles to Carl Andre’s bricks: the mistakes that have made great art
Cosmo Landesman
Porn-agains: meet the middle-aged men - and women - warped by internet porn

I met a nice, middle-aged, middle-class mother at a dinner party who told me  that she was very worried about the effects of internet porn on adolescent males. What, she wondered, was all this internet porn doing to the young? Did we really want a generation of teenage boys whose idea of emotional intimacy was anal sex? Weeks later we ended up in bed and it left me wondering: what is all that internet porn doing to nice, middle-aged mums you meet at dinner parties? Do we really want a generation of forty/fifty-something women whose idea of emotional intimacy is anal sex? Society’s anxiety about internet porn has been so focused on how it affects the young that its impact on the older generation has gone largely unnoticed.

Porn-agains: meet the middle-aged men - and women - warped by internet porn
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