-Chuck Thompson How did rescue dogs become status symbols? Why are luxury brands losing their cachet? What’s made F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous observations obsolete? The answers are part of a new revolution that’s radically reorganising the way we view ourselves and others. Status was once easy to identify—fast cars, fancy shoes, sprawling estates, elite brands. But in place of Louboutins and Lamborghinis, the relevance of the rich, famous, and gauche is waning and a riveting revolution is underfoot. Chuck Thompson sets out to determine what “status” means today and learns that what was once considered the low life has become the high life. In The Status Revolution, Thompson tours the new world of status from a small community in British Columbia where an indigenous artist uses wood carving to restore communal status; to a Washington, DC, meeting of the “Patriotic Millionaires,” a club of high-earners who are begging the government to tax them; to a luxury auto factory in the south of Italy where making beautiful cars is as much about bringing dignity to a low-earning region than it is about flash and indulgence; to a London lab where the neural secrets of status are being unlocked. Full of revelations and with his signature wit and irreverence, Thompson explains why everything we know about status is changing, upends centuries of conventional wisdom, and shows how the new status revolution reflects our place in contemporary society.
-Melanie Saward, Associate Lecturer, Creative Writing, Queensland University of Technology Early in the pandemic, I looked after my niece because she had conjunctivitis and couldn’t go to daycare. Despite my best efforts, I caught it. My infection morphed into tonsillitis and I became very sick. I couldn’t read or watch TV properly – which everyone knows are the only pleasures of being sick. So I downloaded the audiobook of Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams and listened in bed with my eyes closed. Before long, I found myself pausing the book to leave myself croaky, semi-lucid voice notes as I fell in love with Queenie Jenkins. (I should have known, in the middle of my PhD on rom-com, I’ll never read commercial fiction solely for pleasure again.) Bridget Jones meets Americanah Popularly billed as “Bridget Jones meets Americanah”, Queenie is the story of a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, working at a national newspaper, and navigating life after a messy breakup with long-term boyfriend Tom. Queenie opens in a gynaecologist’s office with a nurse performing an internal exam. It’s got a real chick-lit feel to it – for two paragraphs. But when the nurse brings a doctor into the room for a second opinion, you can feel the shift that indicates this isn’t just another fluffy, formulaic rom-com. Queenie is written by Candice Carty-Williams, a British writer of Jamaican and Indian heritage. Carty-Williams comes from a publishing background. She started out with internships that led her to HarperCollins UK, where she worked as a marketing assistant at the 4th Estate imprint. She was then promoted to marketing executive and started a short-story program for Black, Asian and minority ethnic writers to help them get published and/or represented by agents. She went on to work at Penguin, where she was a mentor for the Write Now program, a […]
(By Cariola Carabel) We live in a world of pesticide-drenched food, polluted air, water containing all sorts of unnatural chemicals and drug residues, poisonous homes… Pesticides are biocides and will quickly kill you in large doses, and slowly and accumulatively over time. We also live under dubious medical regimes – even untested and coercive gene therapy, some say, that will irredeemably alter our health and perhaps even our genes. But surely no one is actually trying to poison us, are they? Is this a necessary trade-off for having enough food? There is no historical reason to think that small farms cannot produce enough food for the population. In capitalism, scarcity is artificially maintained for economic reasons. In an important 4-decade-long study done on US farming, organic small-scale farming was in fact found to be more profitable that industrial farming, and had similar yields. During times of drought, yields were even 40% higher. Other long-term studies have found similar results. Additional findings are that organic soil has bacteria and fungi that keep plants healthy and able to defend themselves from pests, and that soil becomes progressively healthier, unlike the soil depletion that results from industrial farming. India’s massive famines from the 18th Century onwards occurred at a time when England was importing foods from India, and at times even stockpiling in order to increase prices. The English government at the same time prohibited other regions in India from helping those where hunger was rife, a custom that dated back more than 2000 years (the Kautilya treatise), sustaining in Parliament that aid would in the long term make India weaker and less able to fend for itself. In the mid-19th Century, it was common economic wisdom that government intervention in famines was unnecessary and even harmful. The market would restore a proper […]