Phyllis MacRae

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Jon Hamm: Don Draper's Gonna Die!

Well, maybe not die exactly. But when the final season of Mad Men draws to a close, that cocky, depressive adman that Jon Hamm made—and that made Jon Hamm—is going to disappear. Which means two things: It's time to sit down and savor that character's closing notes, and then it's time to get excited …

TV

The future of loneliness | Olivia Laing

As we moved our lives online, the internet promised an end to isolation. But can we find real intimacy amid shifting identities and permanent surveillance?<p>At the end of last winter, a gigantic billboard advertising Android, Google’s operating system, appeared over Times Square in New York. In a …

Loneliness

Red River Women

<b>On the trail of the murdered and missing - why have so many of Winnipeg's Aboriginal women and girls been killed?</b> Enter<p><b>This is an immersive story told through text, images and video, best viewed on an up-to-date browser.</b><p><b>BBC News App users click</b> HERE<b>.</b><p><i>Subscribe to the</i> BBC News Magazine's email …

Inside the Mad, Mad World of TripAdvisor

The Koryo Hotel does pretty well on TripAdvisor, all things considered. The Internet never—and I mean never—works. The towels are “thin,” the sheet thread count low, and the milk powdered. Watch out for the “giant mutant cockroach snake hybrid“ in the shower. Guests even have to pay for the …

All hail Her Majesty, the last silent celebrity in the land

Wherever you stand on Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, although actually standing on her is obviously treasonous, she is the last silent celebrity. In an age where the drive has been toward ever more extreme and frequent acts of self-disclosure, she has always grasped that silence is the most …

The myth of religious violence

The popular belief that religion is the cause of the world’s bloodiest conflicts is central to our modern conviction that faith and politics should never mix. But the messy history of their separation suggests it was never so simple<p>As we watch the fighters of the Islamic State (Isis) rampaging …

How to talk to terrorists

Terrorism can never be defeated by military means alone. But how do you go about negotiating with people who have blood on their hands? Britain’s chief broker of the Northern Ireland peace deal explains how it can – and must – be done (for a start, always shake hands)<p>In 1919, the British government …

The western model is broken

Photograph: Tony de Marco<p>An empty billboard site in São Paolo, Brazil. Billboard advertising has been banned there since 2007.<p>276<p>http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/10/14/1413282705310/885b83f4-a20b-4df8-bc3f-2f1da4263ba8-460x276.jpeg<p>460<p>Photograph: Tony de Marco<p>An empty …

The truth about evil

Our leaders talk a great deal about vanquishing the forces of evil. But their rhetoric reveals a failure to accept that cruelty and conflict are basic human traits<p>When Barack Obama vows to destroy Isis’s “brand of evil” and David Cameron declares that Isis is an “evil organisation” that must be …

Yasser Arafat: why he still matters

He neither looked nor sounded like a natural leader. Yet Yasser Arafat dominated Palestinian politics for a generation before his death 10 years ago. How did he do it, and how much of a shadow does he still cast?<p>Hated and venerated in equal measure, Yasser Arafat dominated the Palestinian …

What kind of King will Charles III be?

On 15 September, while President Obama was meeting with his advisers in the White House and deciding how to unleash the world’s most powerful military machine on the Islamic State in Iraq, his ambassador to Britain, Matthew Barzun, was spending the day in a field in Gloucestershire, learning about …

The case against human rights

In July 2013, Amarildo de Souza, a bricklayer living in a Rio de Janeiro favela, was arrested by police in an operation to round up drug traffickers. He was never seen again. De Souza’s disappearance was taken up by protesters in street demonstrations, which were met with a ruthless police …

How do you sell God in the 21st century? More heaven, less hell

A couple of years ago, a Chicago-based corporate-identity consultant Chris Herron gave himself the ultimate challenge: rebrand hell. It was half gag, half self-promotion, but Herron took the project seriously, considering what it would take for a place like hell to become a premier destination in …

Isis: the inside story

In the summer of 2004, a young jihadist in shackles and chains was walked by his captors slowly into the Camp Bucca prison in southern Iraq. He was nervous as two American soldiers led him through three brightly-lit buildings and then a maze of wire corridors, into an open yard, where men with …

The real story of the Scottish referendum: Britain on the brink | Severin Carrell, Nicholas Watt and Patrick Wintour

Photograph: Ellie Foreman-Peck<p>On the Andrew Marr show, David Cameron offers an independence ballot (with strings attached) to Scottish leader Alex Salmond. Illustration by Ellie …

The real story of the Scottish referendum: the final days of the fight for independence

In a quaint ritual of Britain’s political calendar, the prime minister repairs to the Queen’s Balmoral estate in the Scottish Highlands for a weekend break at the end of every summer. The atmosphere is meant to be relaxed: the prime minister is treated to an annual barbecue served up by the Queen …

After the Paris attacks: It’s time for a new Enlightenment | Pankaj Mishra

We must move past the tired debate that pits the modern west against its backward other and recover the Enlightenment ideal of rigorous self-criticism<p>The perpetrators of the unconscionable massacre of Charlie Hebdo’s journalists, and the gratuitous killing of French Jews at a supermarket, were the …

Religion

British capitalism is broken. Here’s how to fix it | Will Hutton

The country is heading towards a social and economic crisis marked by desperately high levels of inequality. But it’s not too late to create a fairer society in which most people flourish<p>We live in a country whose banking system seven years ago was only saved by a £1tn intervention, and that …

Stop calling for a Muslim Enlightenment

A party of school-age swimmers takes to the waters of a municipal pool in north London. Among her peers, one Muslim girl stands out – nine or 10 years of age, brown face and eyes under a yellow cap, sliding gingerly into the water in a cotton salwar kameez that prevents the male attendants, the …

Religion

What scares the new atheists | John Gray

The vocal fervour of today’s missionary atheism conceals a panic that religion is not only refusing to decline – but in fact flourishing<p>In 1929, the Thinker’s Library, a series established by the Rationalist Press Association to advance secular thinking and counter the influence of religion in …

Atheism

The East India Company: The original corporate raiders | William Dalrymple

For a century, the East India Company conquered, subjugated and plundered vast tracts of south Asia. The lessons of its brutal reign have never been more relevant<p>One of the very first Indian words to enter the English language was the Hindustani slang for plunder: “loot”. According to the Oxford …

India

The battle to be Israel’s conscience | Eve Fairbanks

For 25 years, the human-rights group B’Tselem has diligently catalogued the violations of its own government. Can it convince Israelis to listen?<p>On 15 August last year, five weeks into the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Hagai El-Ad, the director of B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights …

Israel

Vietnam 40 years on: how a communist victory gave way to capitalist corruption

After the military victory, Vietnam’s socialist model began to collapse. Cut off by US-led trade embargos and denied reconstruction aid, it plunged into poverty. Now its economy is booming – but so is inequality and corruption<p>Early one morning in February 1968, when the fighting in central Vietnam …

Time, gentlemen: when will the last all-male clubs admit women? | Amelia Gentleman

The Garrick Club in London is preparing for a bitter struggle over whether to admit women members. How long can the British establishment fend off modernity?<p>Just before one o’clock on a Tuesday lunchtime last summer, about 30 men and three women were mingling at the bar of the Garrick Club in …

Tony Blair

Syria’s truth smugglers | Julian Borger

A team of Syrian investigators have risked their lives to collect secret government documents that provide evidence of war crimes by Bashar al-Assad and his regime. Will an international court ever hear their cases?<p><b>One day in February 2014</b>, a dusty and dented pick-up truck approached an Isis …