On Applied Ballardianism.

Is it J.G. Ballard's world? Bunga talks Ballard with Simon Sellars, author of a new book on the great British sci-fi novelist J.G. Ballard. Urban decay, social breakdown, consumerism as social control and the Interzone. 

Opening passage is taken from Ballard's 2000 novel 'Super-Cannes'. 

Reading:

Applied Ballardianism, Simon Sellars, Urbanomic 

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On pandemics, panics, and China.

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus is yet another new epidemic to appear on the scene this century. What accounts for their increasing frequency, and who decides if an epidemic is classed as a pandemic? More importantly, what governs that choice? The WHO and the whole intergovernmental management of health has 'securitised' these questions. Are they privileging the free flow of capital over public health? And what of China's draconian response and lockdown of Wuhan - is it effective? And who will bear the blame if things go wrong? Might Coronavirus become a threat to Xi Jingping and the Chinese regime?

Readings

Guests' books:

Mark Honigsbaum: The Pandemic Century: One Hundred Years of Panic, Hysteria and Hubris

Lee Jones (& Shahar Hameiri): Governing Borderless Threats: Non-Traditional Security and the Politics of State Transformation

Running order:

  • (00:44) Introduction
  • (06:21) Mark Honigsbaum
  • (38:48) Lee Jones

 

 

On Ireland's elections.

With Sinn Fein riding high in the polls, are we looking at an upset? Is this a populist upsurge in Ireland, finally, more than a decade after the start of the crisis? We discuss what Ireland's 'end of history' was like and how the 'Celtic Tiger' economy sustained it; and look at how the country was the EU's "model prisoner" of austerity. Are there new stirrings? And what are the prospects for unification?

Readings

On film in 2019/20. 
 
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We saw yet more sequilitis the past year, the endlessness and onwardness of contemporary cinema. So what were the worst films of the year and did their badness represent something wider? If 2018 saw the arrival of Trumpian cinema, what did 2019 bring? Has there been a backlash against 'woke' cinema criticism centred around representation? And are streaming services having an effect on how we view cinema?