The Daily Show and the Scottish referendum

An encounter between comedian Jon Stewart and Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, underlined both the global appeal of The Daily Show and the performance skills that contributed to the success of the Scottish Nationalist Party in the British general election. This success prompted a jibe from Stewart who, commenting on the fact that the SNP… Continue reading

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Prince and Peace

After weeks of protests and unrest after the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray in police custody, thousands turned out to hear Prince at his Rally 4 Peace concert. Envisaged by the organizers as a ‘catalyst for pause and reflection’, the concert was replete with political statements as well as songs. Prince called for members of… Continue reading

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Why can’t tyrants take a joke?

Writing on the Al Jazeera website today, Hamid Dabashi, Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, asks why politicians and tyrants throughout the world can’t take a joke. ‘Why are powerful generals, murderous tyrants, and stuck-up theocrats so incensed when someone makes fun of them?’ He notes that a Malaysian cartoonist was… Continue reading

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Celebrity Politics and Nuclear Weapons

This week brings another example of prominent figures from the world of entertainment using their power of visibility to influence political outcomes. In an open letter published in the UK’s Observer newspaper, Mercury prizewinning band Young Fathers, Massive Attack and comedian Frankie Boyle are among those who have expressed concern that both main parties have… Continue reading

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Game of Thrones and the Revolution

Every now and then, a film or television series comes along that sparks a slew of papers  and intensive discussion at academic conferences because of what it says about politics and our own world. Game of Thrones is one such cultural phenomenon. Writing in The Guardian recently, journalist Paul Mason – who has famously referred… Continue reading

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