UnHerd picks: August’s best Substacks
Featuring: Afghanistan, Nike adverts, and Apple
August is often derided as the month of ‘silly season’ in UK media, with serious journalism being replaced with lighthearted, often farcical pieces about stories like an infected alpaca. This last month was different — the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the subsequent fall of the country to the Taliban has kept the newspapers busy covering events on the ground. But what of those outside of the media mainstream? UnHerd staff have collated a selection of what we think are the best and most important Substack posts this August.
The unmissable story this month was Afghanistan, and the reactions to it from our elite classes. Antonio García Martínez writes on why the Democratic media establishment seemed incapable of covering the reality of the conflict:
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Richard Hanania also gave his thoughts on the Afghanistan disaster, focusing in on the incompetence of supposed policy ‘experts’:
Michael Tracey takes aim at British media responses to Biden’s withdrawal:
Sports writer Ethan Strauss discusses the downfall of Nike ads, from internationally-acclaimed cultural touchstones in the 1990s to uncomfortable social-engineering projects:
Edward Snowden drew attention to Apple’s latest invasion of privacy:
With regard to the Michael Tracy article, I dug out an interesting little memento from 2003 this week: a cutting from a newspaper (possibly The Times), depicting Tony Blair as an eager little poodle before its master, George W. Bush, dressed up as a cross between a chicken and a bald eagle.
Blair is saying: “Oh, mighty chicken hawk – what does the future hold?”
Bush replies: “Bricks of solid gold are gonna fall outta my ass!”
Now, I tend to look upon my 21-year-old self and think that I was clueless and as daft as a brush. Looking at this little cutting from 18 years ago, I think my misgivings about Britain being so subservient to the US were spot on. Maybe I wasn’t so stupid after all.
We are all clever, after the fact.
We are also very good at selectively fitting the opinions that support the present facts and discarding those that don’t. And just because we might have been right in the past, it doesn’t always mean we were right for the right reasons, we might, in all probability, have just lucked out.
If divining the future, occasionally even in, what might appear to be, the simplest of circumstances was easy then we’d all be rich little financial investors, would we not ?
This was hardly the prediction of the century. It is possible to have been right about this at the time and for the right reasons while not having a clue about stock market investments
I think at that time, it was a case of having certain gut feelings about stuff that I felt instinctively strongly about – without having the breadth of knowledge or the maturity to really explain why. Which opinions I still have and which ones have been jettisoned over the years as I acquired more structured knowledge about the world and experience has been quite random. So, the learning experience, more than anything, was that gut feeling can be an important factor in decision making and you ignore it at your peril.
My gut usually tells me I am right too. Your feelings toward Bush and Blair at the time echo mine.
”It’s as if Wernher von Braun had been given all the resources in the world to run a space program and had been beaten to the moon by an African witch doctor.”
good line from Richard Hananiaanania
You omit one of the most important substacks of all – on the vaccines. This guy has just been removed from Twitter. Make of his arguments what you will, but he should be part of the conversation.
These day anyone who has been removed from Twitter is a magnet for me. In fact I think Unherd should publish some on his writing.
I must not understand this link – not knowing substack – all it gives is a few comments….I am always interested in the vaccines as all the global covid response pivots on them, seemingly irrationally.
I figured it out – the one I clicked on ‘Muzzled’ was for paying members only – most of the rest open, very fascinating, really gets it across that it appears conspiracy is the reality.
Apple gets to decide whether or not their phones will monitor their owners’ infractions for the government, but it’s the government that gets to decide what constitutes an infraction… and how to handle it.
Worrying indeed. I wonder if the proverbial will hit the fan over this one.
Not sure what’s happening at Unherd today. Normally there are three full-length pieces and three short articles. Today there are two long pieces, but they’re both reviews. One of a novel and one of a Welsh philosopher. One of the two short pieces is an original contribution by Mary Harrington while the other is this summary of interesting substack articles. Is it just a slow day at Unherd? Is this the new format going forward?
Of today’s articles, I find the summary of Substack pieces most interesting. I was introduced to Substack by Unherd (thank you). My attention is shifting there because the authors deal with the pressing issues of the day and take the approach Unherd claims for its own–think differently from the crowd.
I hope today’s edition is a just minor glitch in the Unherd matrix and we can look forward to more incisive journalism tomorrow.
Why don’t you email them to find out? I have my hands full with trying to ascertain which malign individual is disagreeing with me and simply flagging my comments for moderation.
My sense is they don’t want that type of inquiry. The only way to contact them I’m aware of is the link they provide in the membership section where they ask you to send any questions you might have about your account. There’s no general inquiries email or a ‘suggestions box’. So I will gripe in the comments section secure in the knowledge that Unherd management pays no attention to the comments.
Good luck with your mole hunt. It sounds like a version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. 🙂
You can contact them on [email protected] – the Community and Commercial Manager is Sophie Muscat.
Back to my sleuthing….
Do you lose many posts? I virtually never return to old posts so do not know If mine do the same, I post here just for my own entertainment because I find typing out stuff is fun – but their robot moderator gets me all the time on the most inane things. How will you do your sleuthing? Sounds tough, what sort of trap can you lay, what for bait?
I guess you can tell what kind ideologue it is by which bait it goes for….
In addition to these pieces from substack I recommend warmly the following interview: https://www.mintpressnews.com/decline-us-empire-lawrence-wilkerson-afghanistan-pull-out/278326/
Isn’t this a rehashed article?
“in the year 2021, the cream of American society and the flower of its finest universities, can only understand the world as projections of the country’s own domestic neuroses.”
This is top notch stuff…..
Unherd has collected a few more gems to throw our way. This seems a second pointer to new material. I appreciate the ointers, substack organization leaves a lot to wander through.
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