Media

A South African link to Trump’s inner circle

People are trying to figure out Donald Trump’s real agenda. There are big clues in the people around him. Trump appointed Steve Bannon as his campaign manager last year and Bannon is now his chief political advisor and strategist. Bannon is a multi-talented (journalist, naval officer, investment banker and Hollywood producer) white nationalist Islamophobe who…

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Far more than a thriller writer

It is easy to misjudge a writer, particularly if the blurbs on the cover of his or her books proclaim something like: “Impossible to put down. Another mind-blowing story!” Or: “Wow…Blockbuster perfection. An exhilaratingly brainy thriller…” Not that these blurbs are inaccurate regarding the novels I have in mind; up to a certain point they…

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The biggest cover-up of all time?

After seeing the film based on Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, and not having read the novel, I was somewhat prejudiced against his work as being just another kind of thriller, spruced up with a high-art context in which the action unfolds. Until I read his novel, Inferno, named after the first part of…

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‘The Faith of Christopher Hitchens’ and how ‘intellectuals’ miss the point

It is always an excellent time to write a sensational, controversial memoir about a public figure after his death, not before. The person is not there to defend himself. Larry Taunton is an avowed Christian and his book, The Faith of Christopher Hitchens is elegantly written and immensely readable. But, as compelling and compassionate as the book’s argument…

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Which “South Africa” do you live in?

People sometimes ask me, ‘Don’t you miss South Africa?’ ‘No,’ I reply – but in the same heartbeat that  answer is given comes my silent question, which South Africa? ‘You’re criticising South Africa Rod, the country you grew up in, that fed and clothed you, gave you an education, everything you have. Not cool.’ The same question rises….which…

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Tim Noakes vs Dr Ferdinantus Booyens – the curious machinations of the Health Professions Council of South Africa

It’s astonishing how much effort the Health Professions Council of SA has put into pursuing Tim Noakes, even to the extent of announcing a victory before judgment is handed down. They’re not usually that dedicated though. Take a look at the bizarre case of Dr Ferdinantus Booyens, who dominated the front page of Durban’s newspapers…

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Remembering Howard Preece

Remembering Howard Preece 16.09.1939 – 07.09.2016 Oxford-educated and incredibly sharp, Howard Preece for a time dominated economics journalism in South Africa. The former editor of the Rand Daily Mail’s finance section won the economics section of the Sanlam Awards for Financial Journalism often, and the overall award four times, starting in 1975. He was editor…

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News media should decolonise

Journalists Adrian Basson and Mohammed Jameel Abdulla offer important insights into the difficulty of working as a journalist in volatile contexts where protesters, private security and the police may harass, threaten or assault journalists. Abdulla speaks to key themes we touch on in our Media Studies lectures at UCT. I think that his account of…

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What ‘decolonisation’ means: E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India

With all the talk about “decolonising” university curricula (see http://thoughtleader.co.za/bertolivier/2016/03/23/decolonisation-the-new-ideology/), which has again cropped up among the demands of the protesting students, I thought it might be productive to remind students and academic staff alike of one of the most eloquent – in fact, together with Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, exemplary – critical literary…

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Sophie’s Choice

Fathers’ Day is fast looming and for this first-time grandfather the excitement is overwhelming. Surely grandfathers deserve grand presents? How will little Sophie know what to get me? Will it be a loathsome pair of socks or a new laptop computer? If I’m disappointed, how should I react to avoid a repeat next year? Do…

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