BBC Two’s Posh People? Tatler and other cultural intermediaries

By Daniel Smith

BBC Two have a new series covering the everyday realities of the high-society magazine, Tatler, the periodical which dates back to the 18th century and so chronicles the goings-ons of British ‘upper class’ life. The series is entitled Posh People: Inside Tatler. For some critics, notably Hadley Freeman of The Guardian, the whole idea of the series is tedious; the whole obsession with social class, especially dramatic polarisations of class in British society, is itself an aberration – not the people included in the documentary. Continue reading

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Gardening Arcadia: racial and national identity at Sting’s The Lake House

Daniel R. Smith

I remember reading somewhere that the political economists of the nineteenth century, on whose reading we owe Marx’s labour theory of value, considered England as one big farm. While I forget who said this, the significance of the statement couldn’t be more telling of how we conceptualise ‘labour’ or human creative practices in general. When we are creating we are bringing something into being, but we are doing so from the raw materials we have been granted: on the one side is person, on the other the materials they builds their life out of, human species being as Marx liked to say. Going on this fashion, Marx writes:

“The taste of porridge does not tell us who grew the oats, and the process we have presented does not reveal the conditions under which it takes place, whether it is happening under the slave-owner’s brutal lash or the anxious eye of the capitalist.” (Marx, 1994:280)

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