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First the Six Nations, next the World Cup?

Culture | The sports pageFrance and Ireland could end up dominating both rugby competitions Feb 3rd 2023RUGBY UNION’S Six Nations tournament can sometimes be a parochial affair, but not in a World Cup year. The European contest, which starts on February 4th, should show which northern-hemisphere nation will offer the greatest challenge to the southern-hemisphere...

Shania Twain took country music to the world

Culture | She’s still the oneOnly her heroine, Dolly Parton, has done as much to widen the genre’s global appeal Feb 3rd 2023THE TWO biggest crossover superstars in the history of country music—hitmakers who have become equally famous in the wider world of pop while remaining country artists first and foremost—are both women. Both had to overcome tough...

Look closely at Peter Doig’s paintings. Then look again

Culture | Contemporary artHis new show opens at the Courtauld Gallery on February 10th Feb 2nd 2023Born in Scotland, then brought up in Trinidad and Canada, Peter Doig had a childhood of sharp contrasts: big northern wintry skies and the bright Caribbean sunrise, icy cold and humid tropical heat. These formative years inspired a distinctive body of...

Released 50 years ago, “Soylent Green” is an eerie prophecy

Culture | Home EntertainmentIt features Charlton Heston as a sweaty cop in the New York of 2022 Feb 2nd 2023In his later years, Charlton Heston was known as the Reaganite president of the National Rifle Association. But as a younger actor he was a Democrat and a civil-rights activist. He starred in three dystopian science-fiction films, the messages...

Explaining Chinese amnesia over the Cultural Revolution

Culture | Bad memoriesIn “Red Memory” Tania Branigan looks at how and why China chooses to forget Feb 2nd 2023Red Memory. By Tania Branigan. W.W. Norton; 288 pages; $29.95. Faber & Faber; £20At first glance Zhang Hongbing is deserving of pity. In the 1960s, while still a teenager, he watched his father being beaten until his urine ran red. The older...

Martin Wolf’s new book analyses the West’s malaise

Culture | Democracy and its discontents“The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism” is bleak but oddly comforting Feb 2nd 2023The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism. By Martin Wolf. Penguin Press; 496 pages; $30. Allen Lane; £30For anyone old enough to remember the fall of communism, recent history has been something of a shock. The triumph of liberal political...

Some well-known etymologies are too good to be true

Culture | JohnsonBut lots of genuine ones are fascinating and entertaining Feb 2nd 2023SALARY, AS THE classically minded know, is a salty term. Not that it is unfit for company, but because it comes from the Latin for “salt”: Roman soldiers were given an allowance of salt, or paid in it entirely. It is a tale made for a cocktail party, memorable, revealing...

As Europeans went west, indigenous people travelled the other way

Culture | Transatlantic historiesCaroline Dodds Pennock remembers their stories and impact in “On Savage Shores” Feb 2nd 2023On Savage Shores. By Caroline Dodds Pennock. Knopf; 320 pages; $32.50. Orion; £22In recent decades indigenous people around the world have fought to rebuild cultures wrecked by colonialism, invoking a common phrase: “We are still...

A wave of films and television shows is exploring psychotherapy

Culture | Read my mindSome therapists are concerned about the fictionalisation of their work Jan 31st 2023IN 1924 A Hollywood producer offered Sigmund Freud $100,000 (around $1.7m today) to work on a project about great love stories in history. Freud declined. He ignored an Austrian director, too, who wanted psychoanalysts to help with a silent movie...

Tom Lehrer was midwife at the birth of modern satire

Culture | Songs of insolenceThe musical comedian has surrendered the rights to his work. It is a particularly rich archive Jan 30th 2023FEW ACHIEVEMENTS in comedy are as impressive as the catalogue of Tom Lehrer. Although it amounts to only 37 songs, each one is brilliant and timelessly funny. (It is easy to verify this by streaming his work on Spotify.)...

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