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Category: word power

Word power: Afrikaans and Afrikaners

Most commonly-held notions about this southern African language are simply wrong.

Ironically, those notions are the fruit of prejudice.

Many who sneer at the language do so because they believe Afrikaans is somehow “tainted” –  a “white” tongue, still stubbornly clung to by a “racist” minority.

In fact, in South Africa today, the majority of “first language” speakers of Afrikaans are not white people, not Afrikaners.

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Word power: Soros skewers Facebook & Google

Something very harmful and maybe irreversible is happening to human attention in our digital age. Not just distraction or addiction; social media companies are inducing people to give up their autonomy. The power to shape people’s attention is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few companies. It takes a real effort to assert and defend what John Stuart Mill called “the freedom of mind.” There is a possibility that once lost, people who grow up in the digital age will have difficulty in regaining it. This may have far-reaching political consequences.

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Revelatory covers (9th in series): Andy, Mike & Roger tackle George

and Ira.

George Gershwin wrote this song’s music, his brother Ira the words, for a 1932 opera. A flop on debut, it is now a landmark.  Its most tender number – Summertime – is probably the best-loved 20th century song. Its sardonic song is less popular; I have heard only several hundred covers of It Ain’t Necessarily So! 

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The Sacklers: which cap fits?

(a): One of America’s great philanthropic dynasties.

(b) The initial author and a prime beneficiary of the epidemic. (the epidemic of opioid addiction. Purdue Pharma – the Sacklers’ family company – developed and agressively marketed OxyContin, which they misrepresented as a “safe” painkiller)

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