Joey Essex and the Culture of Political Snobbery

Ioan Marc Jones

There is an underlying snobbery running through our democracy. The political class – roughly defined as those that think they know better – seem to believe that there is a right way, and a wrong way, to access politics. Watching the televised debates is, of course, the right way. Attending a party conference is another. Listening to the revolutionary ramblings of a dishevelled ex-drug addict, however, is the wrong way. And don’t you dare watch the interviews of a well-meaning yet credulous Essex boy. That, apparently, is not what politics is about.

We all want potential voters to engage in politics. We constantly beguile the politically apathetic – and indeed antipathetic – with stories about the struggles of our ancestors. We perpetually praise the inviolable nature of democracy. Yet the political class, as crudely exemplified in a recent Telegraph article about the ‘idiot’ Joey Essex, seem to denounce those…

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George Orwell: The Lion and the Unicorn

George Orwell and the socialist imperative.

Ioan Marc Jones

During his Etonian days, long before the publication of his 1941 essay, The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius, George Orwell claims to have developed particular socialistic tendencies. He remarks, however, that this early attraction to socialism was due to a certain youthful rebelliousness rather than a thorough understanding of society. During the course of his life, and his writings, Orwell’s socialism developed from a sort of prototypical middle-class heterodoxy into a coherent politicized doctrine. The coherent form of Orwellian socialism, as explored in this article, was primarily influenced by two aspects that Orwell explored in works published prior to The Lion and the Unicorn.

George Orwell George Orwell

The first aspect that informed Orwellian socialism, documented in Down and Out in Paris and London, was his own experience living in poverty. In this work, Orwell chronicles his time spent living from shelter to shelter, with…

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Preventing Cyberbullying

Ioan Marc Jones

I joined Reddit the other day. That was a mistake. I foolishly published a blog that I wrote about Platonic morality in J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Patrons of the Fantasy subreddit didn’t take too kindly to my interpretation. Apparently, I’m a terrible human being because I overlooked Samwise Gamgee’s supposedly superior ethical position.

A harmless personal attack concerning the absence of Samwise doesn’t constitute cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a spiteful, often unnecessary, attack on an individual in the hope of triggering an emotional response. It’s the act of creating discord with extraneous, pointless and hurtful remarks.

Cyberbullying is a negative side-effect of some of the greatest aspects of the internet. By its very nature, the internet is dialogic, decentralised and democratic. Unlike monologic and centralised cultural mediums – television, radio and newspapers – the internet offers a greater forum for debate and interaction. It is, in many…

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Reading Lolita in Public

Ioan Marc Jones

Every day I take the same journey home. I travel from Mornington Crescent to Tottenham Court Road where I switch from the Northern Line to the Central Line. I am fairly content on this journey, for I know that just after Oxford Circus the carriage will empty somewhat and, if I am patient and stand near the centre, I will eventually get a seat.

Lo and behold, a seat usually appears, and I take my bottle of water from my bag, place my bag between my knees and begin reading. All alone, fully captivated by my book, with one eye on the tube map and one ear listening to the occasional announcement, I am as comfortable as one can be on London’s Underground during that foreboding rush hour.

In the last few weeks, however, I haven’t been quite so comfortable. I have been reading Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita.

It’s not…

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A Reluctantly Pessimistic Interpretation of Moby Dick

Ioan Marc Jones

In an episode of American TV show Parks and Recreation, Ron Swanson, the no-nonsense head of the Parks Department, presents his unique interpretation of Herman Melville’s classic: ‘Does the white whale actually symbolize the unknowability and meaninglessness of human existence? No… it’s just a fucking fish.’ Due to the surfeit of philosophical allusions and the constant existential ponderings, Moby-Dick rarely provokes such a straight-forward reaction. Rather, the book invites all sorts of allegorical and symbolic interpretations that range from the disturbingly dark to the wonderfully crazed.

Unlike other allegorical novels – Animal Farm, for example – there is no accepted consensus on what Moby-Dick actually means. When an individual reads Moby-Dick, therefore, the individual’s interpretation can often seem entirely unique and thus reveal something about that person’s character or, better still, their conception of the world.

Influenced by the typically Swansonian interpretation, I decided to read Moby-Dick to…

View original post 580 more words

A Reluctantly Pessimistic Interpretation of Moby Dick

Ioan Marc Jones

In an episode of American TV show Parks and Recreation, Ron Swanson, the no-nonsense head of the Parks Department, presents his unique interpretation of Herman Melville’s classic: ‘Does the white whale actually symbolize the unknowability and meaninglessness of human existence? No… it’s just a fucking fish.’ Due to the surfeit of philosophical allusions and the constant existential ponderings, Moby-Dick rarely provokes such a straight-forward reaction. Rather, the book invites all sorts of allegorical and symbolic interpretations that range from the disturbingly dark to the wonderfully crazed.

Unlike other allegorical novels – Animal Farm, for example – there is no accepted consensus on what Moby-Dick actually means. When an individual reads Moby-Dick, therefore, the individual’s interpretation can often seem entirely unique and thus reveal something about that person’s character or, better still, their conception of the world.

Influenced by the typically Swansonian interpretation, I decided to read Moby-Dick to…

View original post 580 more words