18/07/2020
18 Jul 2020

The lost boys

18 Jul 2020

The lost boys

Featured articles

Features
Christopher Snowdon
The lost boys: the white working class is being left behind

You can argue about the merits of pulling down statues, but it’s hard to make the case that mass protests serve no useful purpose. At the very least, they provoke debate and draw attention to uncomfortable topics that it might otherwise be easier to ignore. The recent protests have forced everyone to have difficult discussions about race, class, poverty and attainment. Any serious examination of the statistics shows that we’re pretty far from equal, but what the figures also show is that it’s wrong-headed and damaging to lump very different groups together.

The lost boys: the white working class is being left behind
Kevin Myers
Welcome to the world you created, J.K. Rowling

Why does the most important writer in English, J.K. Rowling, haunt the sewers of the Twittersphere? Why try to deal with the many complexities of transgenderism in a medium that has bizarrely reinvented the brevity of the telegram, but without its Victorian culture of complexity, courtesy and calm? Indeed, Twitter prizes a quite different Victorian moral order, namely that of Jack the Ripper, as the baying muezzins of social media hourly pronounce the end of someone’s reputation in the merciless perpetuity of the internet.

Welcome to the world you created, J.K. Rowling
Lara King
Home advantage: not going to school was the making of me

At last, school’s out for summer — although this might be a strange concept for children who have not set foot in a classroom for months. If social media is anything to go by, home-schooling is hell. Since March, the internet has been awash with panicked parents sharing mock timetables with slots for ‘mum quits’ and ‘dad starts drinking’. And who’s to say the madness will end after the summer? A recent survey showed that a quarter of parents don’t intend to send their children back to the classroom in September, and one in ten of those plans to home-school permanently — which at least offers certainty.

Home advantage: not going to school was the making of me
Lynn Barber
Trick or treat: the pros and cons of being hacked

The phone rang at 9 a.m. on Monday, with an old friend from Italy saying: ‘Of course I’ll do you a favour, my dear, but you don’t say what it is.’ I thought he’d finally lost his marbles (always a possibility with friends my age) but he said I’d just sent him an email asking if he would do me a favour. I hadn’t sent any emails that morning so I was mystified. As soon as I put the phone down, another friend rang saying of course he would help, but he was on Hampstead Heath and it would have to wait till he got home.

Trick or treat: the pros and cons of being hacked
David Butterfield
What would it mean to ‘decolonise’ the Classics?

We classicists peering into the past can sometimes be blindsided by the present. 2020 brings the charge that our discipline promotes racism. Last month, America’s Society for Classical Studies announced ‘the complicity of Classics as a field in constructing and participating in racist and anti-black educational structures and attitudes’. A pre-doctoral fellow at Princeton has enjoined ‘white classicists’ to ‘unlearn white supremacy in themselves’.

What would it mean to ‘decolonise’ the Classics?
Michael Nazir-Ali
There is no justification for turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque

It is official: Hagia Sophia, for a thousand years the world’s largest cathedral, and since 1934 a museum, is to be turned back into a mosque. Ever since I heard of the possibility, I have been praying it would not be so because of the impact it will have on Muslim-Christian relations in Turkey, the Middle East and beyond. A suitably purged and compliant judiciary, however, has bowed to the wishes of the authoritarian President Erdogan that Turkey should become more Islamic and less secular.

There is no justification for turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque
Harry Mount
Why would anyone want to work from home?

I’ve been having an office romance. Not with anyone in the office — but with the office itself. I’ve been going into the office every day during lockdown and I love everything about it: the bike ride from my Camden flat to work in Fitzrovia; the professional feeling that comes from being in a place dedicated to work; a chance to see more life than the limited activities that go on in your sitting room. I even like office furniture, the soft hum of the photocopier and the stationery box, with its neat cellophane packs of Post-it notes and extensive range of envelopes.

Why would anyone want to work from home?
Next up: The Week