29 Comments

That picture's not Napoleon. It's Michael Jackson.

Expand full comment

Regarding quotes, Oliver Darkshire says "Neil Gaiman lost my book - he offered to try find it to give me a proper pull quote and I was like no this is much funnier, change nothing, I have everything I need."

https://mastodon.social/@pyperkub/110199847840634002

Expand full comment

But King alfred definitely burned the cakes. I know that because it was in my history book at school. Have you read 'The Plato Papers' by Peter Ackroyd? It's a short philosophical novel about how 'history' happens, I think you'd like it. Thanks as always for your Friday morning thoughts.

Expand full comment

I’ve failed to invent a link to this week’s newsletter but would love to know what Helen (and her readers) think of Good Omens 2. The reviews have been universally glowing but I thought it was an absolute stinker, albeit a stinker with a great cast. I love the book, the R4 adaptation and the original series (in that order!) My son says Neil Gaiman is now so in thrall to his fans that he has started writing Neil Gaiman fan fiction. Or are we missing something?

Expand full comment

I deleted my Twitter account (2nd best decision I made this year) so can only see the one linked post in the reply to her critics from the ‘sugar plantation slaves had their idea stolen’ lady but that was enough, I’ve been waiting for her reply to the well researched and well argued criticism of her conclusions as I was expecting her response to not engage with the actual arguments but to play a variety of social justice warrior cards and it really seems like she didn’t disappoint

You wrote last week Helen about how you used to believe ‘our side believed in evidence, then the gender wars showed you that we have our cranks too’ (paraphrased obv) and I literally clapped after reading it as it’s exactly the realisation I’d made, well if the gender wars were exhibit a, then this woman and her ilk (her many many ilk sadly) are exhibits b c & d

Expand full comment

I love your newsletter and look forward to it arriving in my inbox on Fridays.

Expand full comment

I’m still convinced “tour-de-force” is a misspelling of Tour de France but I can’t figure out why so many book blurbs mention it..

Expand full comment

“The icy hand of death” reminds me of a poem about overdosing I once wrote. I was quite pleased with the line I came up with, although I can't remember the whole thing. There was a bit about the needle's eye winking, giving its sign to start and the silence drowning out the noise. Anyway, I didn't use ‘icy’ originally, but here's an appropriately adjusted version:

“Feel the icy hand of death

The scent of mentholated breath”.

Expand full comment

It is not Autumn. It is late summer. Autumn starts at the Equinox.

Expand full comment

I would argue that history as a compilation of unassailable facts is unlikely and undesirable. What creates a shared culture and society are the myths we all agree to believe. Newton's apple, Washington's cherry tree, and Santa may not be strictly factual, but they will never go away as long as they support our societal feels.

Expand full comment

I do enjoy the breezy nature of the weekly Bluestocking update. Never a chore! And how nice to get a mention.

Expand full comment

I do wonder if comparing to the tobacco industry is the new comparing to the Nazis- seems a common maneuver for beleaguered opinioneers.

Expand full comment

Astral codex is a banger. Your finding is a very sharp eye. Thank you.

Expand full comment

I have a friend who has argued for a while that the downfall of the USA is that the figurehead and the political head are the same person. I would argue that the VP role has room for someone to be a mere spectacle.

Expand full comment

More goodness here in this lovely spot online. Thankyou. It’s a pleasure to see this turn up each week.

Expand full comment

Re the 30 blurber: however did you become acquainted with Lee Child?

Expand full comment