6 items from 2013
The TV show that proves there's more to Danish foreign policy than taking selfies with Barack and Dave
• Best TV of 2013 from 30-21
• Best TV of 2013 from 20-11
• Best TV of 2013 number 10: The Fall
The Scandi-backlash is settling in for the season. We've had it with detectives in Fair Isle jumpers and wellies, with forage-based cuisine and Hobbit-themed Lego play sets. We're smörgås-bored. But it's unfair to trash Copenhagen's equivalent of The West Wing in the process, even though ratings are down for the third season and its now become the go-to show for sneery TV blogs. At the very least, Borgen suggests there's more to Danish foreign policy than taking selfies with Barack and Dave at Nelson Mandela's memorial service like Birgitte's real-life homologue, Staatsminister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
Borgen is counterintuitively on trend. Think of it this way. While The West Wing had the liberal wish fulfillment of »
- Stuart Jeffries
The pope depicts art as an enterprise as important as prayer. Does he see the church – or himself – reflected in his top picks?
The wide-ranging and audacious interview given by Pope Francis to 16 Jesuit journals worldwide is already making waves for its frank talk about social issues and its argument that the church should be a "home for all". But Francis's big interview has another important component: it features extensive discussion of culture, as it figures in Francis's own life and as a portal into Christian thought.
The first Jesuit pope turns out to be a voracious cultural aficionado – "a Jesuit must be creative," Francis says at one point – but do his literary and artistic inclinations reveal anything about his religious orientation? Well, there's no overarching link among the many cultural touchstones – art, music, literature, cinema – that Francis drawn on in the interview. That pluralism is in itself a statement, »
- Jason Farago
Comedian Russell Brand was kicked out of the 2013 GQ Men of the Year Awards after he made jokes about one of the event's sponsors, Hugo Boss, and the brand's connection to the Nazi party as he accepted the Oracle Award. In light of the event, and his subsequent boot from the rest of the evening, Brand is opening up about his side of the story ... and it's an interesting, highly intelligent, at times hilarious, and most times brutally honest long-read.
"It must have been a while since I've attended a fancy, glitzy event, because as soon as I got to the GQ awards I felt like something was up," Brand says in his essay on The Guardian. "The usual visual grammar was in place -- a carpet in the street, people in paddocks awaiting a brush with something glamorous, blokes with earpieces, birds in frocks of colliding colours that if »
Pope Movies (photo: Anthony Quinn in ‘The Shoes of the Fisherman’) [See previous post: "Pope Francis Movie in the Works?"] Now, do we need another Pope Movie? Well, actually there haven’t been that many. Most notable among the Pope Movies of decades past are Michael Anderson’s widely lambasted The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968), with Anthony Quinn as what one pundit called "Zorba the Pope," and Nanni Moretti’s widely acclaimed comedy-drama We Have a Pope, with Michel Piccoli as a cardinal who reluctantly is elected chief of the Catholic Church. Here are a few more: Rex Harrison hammed it up as Pope Julius II to Charlton Heston’s equally risible Michelangelo in Carol Reed’s The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965); Liv Ullmann played the title role in Michael Anderson’s critically massacred Pope Joan (1972), about the alleged medieval female pope; and Finlay Currie reverentially incarnated the official first pope, St. Peter, in Mervyn LeRoy’s dreary (and »
- Andre Soares
Us punk rocker Patti Smith shook hands with Pope Francis at a general audience in St Peter's Square on Wednesday, saying afterwards she found the new pontiff "very interesting" and "liked him a lot".
Wearing a black beanie hat and an oversize brown coat, Smith and the pope appeared to exchange a few words in the square and the pope was seen laughing.
Smith, who is not a Catholic but followed the conclave in the news, said the pope had shown courage in naming himself after St Francis of Assisi.
The singer, who is in Rome for a series of concerts, said the saint represented humility, the renunciation of materialism and a love of nature.
Smith became a leading member of the New York punk rock movement following the release of her debut album "Horses" in 1975.
She is well known also for her social activism, as well as her work »
- Agence France Presse
Ken Loach's film The Spirit of '45 looks at how the postwar Labour government sought to address the relationship between capitalism and poverty – principles that politicians today seem to have forgotten
In Ken Loach's new documentary about the postwar Labour government, The Spirit of '45, a few witnesses to the 1930s recall how hard life was. "Everything was run by rich people for rich people," says a retired Gp. "We slept five to a bed [that was] full of vermin," says an old Liverpool docker. "Bugs, fleas … behind the wallpaper, inside the skirting boards … at school we got the cane for dirty knees." Someone else remembers that they didn't have a carpet on the floor, and another that all they had to eat was bread and jam.
Until they were beaten into silence by mockery or cut short by mortality, memories such as these were once a commonplace in British family life, »
- Ian Jack
6 items from 2013
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