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How Rodin made a Parthenon above Paris

The sculptor never made it to Athens but that didn’t stop him obsessing over the art of ancient Greece, as a dazzling new British Museum show demonstrates<p>‘My Acropolis,’ Auguste Rodin called his house at Meudon. Here, the sculptor made a Parthenon above Paris. Surrounded by statues of ‘mutilated …

Art

Kim Jong-un could play Trump like a $10 fiddle. Here’s how

Last year, Donald Trump called Kim Jong-un a ‘little rocket man’ and tweeted a photo boasting that his own nuclear button was larger and more effective than that of the North Korean leader. Yet sometime over the next six weeks the two men will confound those who saw them as warmongers intent on …

North Korea

Why is the National Trust trying to downplay its established purpose?

Hilary McGrady, the new director-general of the National Trust, sent me (and no doubt other journalists) a nice email hoping we can meet. I wish her well, and whenever I find myself criticising the Trust, I am conscious of the fact that, compared with its equivalents abroad, it is a miracle. But I …

National Trust

Why Britain is lucky to have Meghan Markle

The former actress has more in common with the Queen than the entitled minor royals<p>The wedding of Prince Harry, sixth in line to the British throne, and Meghan Markle, actress and former star of the legal drama <i>Suits</i>, is almost upon us. The cake has been commissioned from a Hackney bakery — ‘a lemon …

Social Media

Fascism isn’t rising, but bien-pensant hysteria certainly is

Benito lives! The Blackshirts are here. Fascism is on the march — at least according to Madeleine Albright, secretary of state under Bill Clinton and in my book, having allowed Albanian gangsters to win power in Kosovo, the worst American foreign minister ever. She attacks Hungary and Poland, the …

Bill Cosby

Books and Arts

London

Portrait of the Week: Allied air strikes on Syria and the Windrush scandal

Home<p>Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, apologised in Parliament for the treatment of immigrants from the Commonwealth from before 1971, known as the ‘Windrush generation’ (after the <i>Empire Windrush</i>, the ship that brought West Indian workers to England in 1948). The 1971 Immigration Act allowed …

Middle East

The wrong Brexit: what happened to ‘Global Britain’?

The party hierarchy still fails to understand the true motives of those who wanted out of the EU<p>A few months ago, Britain’s most senior ambassadors gathered in the Foreign Office to compare notes on Brexit. There was one problem in particular that they did not know how to confront. As one …

United Kingdom

Pathos and humanity in pictures of abject misery

Linda Nochlin sensitively analyses images of the extreme poverty that crippled the 19th century<p>In 1971 the late Linda Nochlin burst onto the public scene with her groundbreaking essay, ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’ Unlike other apologists, she made no claim that there were, in fact, …

Aesthetics

I love this Pep-mania, but don’t forget Klopp

Fittingly, it took a dire performance from a dismal and dreary United against the worst team in the Premier League to push Guardiola’s magnificent project over the line. And fittingly, too, Mourinho greeted it with one his most awful displays: lashing out at his players and painfully recalling his …

Soccer

Not one of my Harvard students thinks Brexit is a good idea

My wife laughs that my love of gadgets is a remnant of my Communist upbringing, when western toys were objects of veneration. A couple of days ago, I found myself on a Lufthansa flight over the Atlantic indulging precisely that love: using an app, I could see live pictures of our house in rural …

Michael Jackson

Tilting laws to advance the feminist agenda

The icy grip of feminism on our key institutions has been exposed in a series of alarming stories emerging over the last month. Last week the <i>Daily Telegraph</i> announced UTS in Sydney has introduced special committees to judge other students accused of sexual assault or harassment. These …

Domestic Violence

Jaw-dropping: My Year with the Tribe reviewed

What this BBC crew discovered in Western Papua was far stranger and more surprising than what they intended to find<p>For a while now, the Korowai people of Western Papua have been the go-to primitive tribe for documentary-makers. The Korowai were unknown to the outside world until the 1970s — but …

Stone Age

Heather Mitchell

This probably is a bad idea; I mean writing a column about a transgender person. Even Germain Greer got herself into hot water with comments on the subject. Indeed she ‘dug herself further into a hole’ by repeating some of her views on <i>Q&A</i> in April 2016. So if she got into trouble, caution is needed.<p>…

High Level

Some fairly rich people rip off some very rich people. Who are we rooting for? Quiz reviewed

Plus: Congreve’s wit too often expresses mere nastiness in Way of the World<p><i>Quiz</i> by James Graham looks at the failed attempt in 2001 to swindle a million quid from an ITV game show. Jackpot winner Major Charles Ingram was thought to have been helped by strategic coughs emanating from Tecwen …

Coronation Street

For the man who has everything, only a space rocket will do

Our own planet’s too limited for today’s billionaires. It’s space exploration that now galvanises them<p>Today’s VHNWI wants a PRSHLS. That’s Very High Net-Worth Individual and Partially Reuseable Super Heavy Lift System. Or, in the demotic, the rich want space rockets.<p>‘It’s not rocket science’, …

SpaceX

Why do British charities want to shut down private schools in Africa?

They are putting ideology before education<p>Why would anyone who claims to care about the world’s poorest children try to shut down their schools? It’s strange and sad, but several British charities, in cahoots with some British unions, are making a concerted effort to close down hundreds of schools …

Africa

Business/Robbery etc

Trump’s mid-west farmers need our TPP<p>Whacko! American farmers have now joined the Australian economy in being seriously at risk of collateral damage from ‘friendly fire’ in Donald Trump’s trade war with China. Sharing the pain means we could end up getting the benefit of President Trump having to …

Pacific Ocean

Why it’s bad for potters to think of themselves as artists

This new Fitzwilliam show demonstrates that it’s much better if potters make items in which – at least theoretically – you might place flowers, soup or coffee<p>A friend of mine once owned a vase by the potter Hans Coper — until, that is, her teenage son had his friends around for a party. It wasn’t …

Art

Patchwork power

Reliable electricity supply is so 20th century<p>The Australian summer has passed with only the occasional blackout, although a possibly grim winter, once unseasonably warm weather in NSW has passed, may be a tough test of an electricity market where almost all new investment is flowing into …

Living Rooms

Racism and the RSC: why I was a sitting duck for the arts mob

Our ducks are back. Two wild mallard have spent the last five springs on the brook which gurgles past us in Herefordshire. Each year they produce a paddling of chicks; each year most of the ducklings are killed by predators. Our friend Becky thinks she spotted an otter, more likely stoat or mink, …

Black Culture

Books and Arts

London

What the Windrush scandal reveals about Theresa May

Everyone speaks about the <i>Windrush</i>. The boat was actually called the <i>Empire Windrush</i>. The full name reveals what the story was about. The boat was one of a series called <i>Empire X</i>, X being the name of a British river, as if each were a tributary to a common stream. Mass coloured immigration to Britain …

United Kingdom

Texas: the myriad contradictions of the Lone Star state

It legislature may consist of finger-wagging Bible Belters, but the red state with a blue majority is surprisingly tolerant and cultured<p>The subtitle of Lawrence Wright’s splendid <i>God Save Texas</i> (‘A Journey into the Future of America’) would be alarming if I found it entirely convincing. It’s hard to …

Dairy Queen

How to get your child into the best state school: an insider's tips

Monday was ‘national offer day’, which means that more than half a million parents across England were notified about which primary school their child got into. For most, the news was good, with nine in ten parents securing a place at one of their top three choices. But for some — particularly in …

Primary Elections

Brexit for eight-year-olds

A week ago I plucked my eight-year-old grandson Oscar from the bosom of his rumbustious young family and took him on an orange aeroplane to Nice, and from there up into the hills of the upper Var to spend 11 days in our breeze-block shack. His second visit. On his first, last August, the …

Dining Rooms

The joy of University Challenge

One programme that still shines out as a beacon of intellectual rigour among the sea of dross on television is <i>University Challenge</i>. As always, teams of four students from Britain’s best universities battle it out for the series championship. Rather than assuming the viewer is an idiot, like most …

High School

The Church of England must be robust with its snowflake congregants

Sit the snowflakes down<p>Sir: I was surprised to read Theo Hobson’s article about ‘snowflake’ Christians in the C of E (‘Holy snowflakes’, 14 April). What most struck me was the timidity of the clergy, who instead of explaining Christian teaching to their gay and other ‘snowflake’ parishioners, …

Church of England

Drill, the brutal rap that fuels gang murder

‘Drillers’ have turned death into a money-­making industry<p>A young man in a grey tracksuit and silver mask looks straight at the camera. He is flanked by others in black anoraks, heads jabbed sideways, moving to the beat. The young man raises his hand and curls it into the shape of a gun. ‘Bang, …

Sociology

Packing away my 35,000 books was like writing my own obituary

It was a huge wrench for Alberto Manguel to leave his spacious house in France and downsize to a New York apartment<p>Alberto Manguel is a kind of global Reader Laureate: he is reading’s champion, its keenest student and most zealous proselytiser, an ideal exemplar of the Reader embodied. And reading …

Books