Kate Williams says that Tarantino’s reduction of Nazi atrocities to entertainment is part of a dangerous trend in which the great evils of history become show businessOne of this summer’s big screen openings is Quentin Tarantino’s hyperbolic battle movie, Inglourious Basterds. Featuring Brad Pitt demanding his men search for ‘100 Nazi scalps’, this ironic shootfest is bloody, explosive, rowdily entertaining — and a fantasy.
Downloading the Valuation Office Agency’s no-longer-secret £13 million database, I find that having lived in my house for the past 50 years and having, for those five decades, diligently paid my income and council taxes, my home is about to become my misfortune because of so-called taxable amenities. Using the Freedom of Information Act I find that another 94,373 households are listed as having a view of sorts; a further, whopping 777,189 householders have been covertly assessed as having the gall to improve their property by adding on a conservatory and will be liable for a retrospective tax.
Hilary Mantel lives in a lunatic asylum. Admittedly it hasn’t been a lunatic asylum for a while — the site was converted into flats 20 years ago, and Mantel and her husband are up on the top floor in a scrupulously ordered apartment with views over the treetops of Woking. Nonetheless, there’s something apt about her choice of home. It’s not that Mantel herself comes over as remotely mad.
Jonathan Foreman says that the focus upon the death toll in the Afghan conflict obscures the high numbers of soldiers who have suffered catastrophic wounds — and the scandalously inadequate compensation they have been offered once home in a land unfit for such heroesIt is not easy to measure success and failure in counter-insurgency warfare. Modern military establishments have all sorts of ‘metrics’, as they call statistics, but the politicians and the general public tend to focus on one measure alone: fatalities, and our fatalities at that.