The hobbit spirit

…he was reminded of the brave little group of Bilbo, Frodo, Sam and the rest, who left the quiet Shire “to shake the towers and counsels of the Great”. They were small, shaggy-haired and barefoot, usually unarmed and often frightened. But they lived, and eventually triumphed, by their wits. Every problem had a solution, and every battle could be won, if you thought hard and fast enough.

—The Economist, in ‘Obituary: Steve Sawyer died on July 31st

Race traitor: Oxford dictionary word of the year?

Instead the protesters are at best dupes, and at worst foreigner-loving race traitors, ashamed of being Chinese.

—The Economist, in Why Chinese officials imagine America is behind unrest in Hong Kong

Continue reading Race traitor: Oxford dictionary word of the year?

Sex vs warmth

No amount of money or sex could take the place of friendship, loyalty and a girlie heart-to-heart. “Sex [you] could, and did, get everywhere,” she once wrote. “Warmth was rare.”

—The Economist, in ‘Obituary: Judith Krantz died on June 22nd


(Also: why I believe that sexual infidelity is immaterial. Emotional infidelity is what really matters. Yet, the society considers them the reverse.)

Why women prefer cities…

Women leave in greater numbers than men, says Hiroya Masuda, the author of an alarming report on rural depopulation. “There is a glass ceiling for women everywhere, but in rural areas it tends to be made of thick steel,” he says.

—The Economist, in ‘Rural areas bear the burden of Japan’s ageing, shrinking population

It’s not just in Japan.

Word magic…

Cavers and miners of the future will spot the Anthropocene as a stratified layer of plastic, which he finds strewn on beaches in the farthest points of the Lofoten Islands. His book is suffused with sadness for this. He finds comfort where he can: in the innocence of children, the company of friends, the light-drenched vividness of surface life, which cries out to be cherished—and in the astronomer who, confined to the dark, patiently turns towards the stars.

—The Economist: ‘Into the underland with Robert Macfarlane

India – nationalism, colonialism, history and the future

Narendra Modi, the prime minister, controls the story of Indian nationalism these days, and has little use for the history of the anti-colonial struggle (which his own heroes, the first Hindu nationalists, largely sat out).

The Congress party, now in opposition, would traditionally stoke the embers of the anti-British campaigns, which it led. But it is trying hard to appeal to new voters, desperate for jobs and otherwise far from the memory of the freedom struggle.

— The Economist, in ‘The politics of apologising for Amritsar