Video games are worth your time

Like many young men during faced with months at home with only a girlfriend and regular shipments of craft beer for company, I returned to video games during lockdown. Our Nintendo Switch became among the most-used objects in the flat, while my dormant Steam account was re-awoken.

I never exactly left video games, but when I became a journalist I had less time for them (indeed, less time for everything). What had been a daily habit became an occasional pastime, as less important but more financially pressing matters took over.

My return to gaming has coincided with an outbreak of anti-gaming sentiment. This time it is not the anti-violence, anti-sex agenda of Jack Thompson, but – in keeping with our times – concerns about whether video games could be confining young men to their mum’s basements.

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Defending the schooling racket

It feels as though the government’s decision to reverse its grading policy for the A-level exams in England was inevitable. Then again, many things look inevitable once they’ve happened.

It probably didn’t help that the moderation of grades annoyed so many people. Columnists across the spectrum decried it. Stories of tearful students having “had their futures destroyed” abounded. It was so jolly unfair, everyone agreed.

And, well, I have to laugh.

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Comedy should punch up and down

The story is at this point cliched. A comedian makes an offensive joke. The clip circulates online months since its telling. Outraged viewers barrage the offender with vitriol as noxious as the original gag. A sponsor loudly disassociates itself. We move on to the next outrage.

Such an intro could have been written anytime in the last five years. There is a political movement afoot that believes that comedy and other art forms should only be be used to campaign against injustice and improve society. Comedians, in there view, should never ‘punch down’ against weaker groups. I believe these people are wrong.

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Michael Lewis’s first risk is he’ll be conned by lying bastards

There’s rarely been a bad time in American history to write about dysfunctional government. The country harbours a distrust towards authority that has little purchase in Britain, despite its grounding in ill-feeling towards London governments.

The rancour of Donald Trump’s presidency has done nothing to stop this, although it has entrenched a split between pro-government liberals (in Yankee terms) and their conservative opponents. The divide is well attested by Michael Lewis’s The Fifth Risk, released back in 2018, but not with any subtlety.

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Podcast Ep. 161: The Irish Job

This week on the podcast we are discussing perfidious Albion’s habit of claiming Ireland’s best actors, Scotland’s exam grading crisis, and the unfortunate export of Eurovision to the New World.

Joining us are Richie and Steve of What Am Politics? – a rival podcast based in Ireland.

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