Today in brief: Has foodie culture gone too far? (A leading food critic thinks so.) Is gluten avoidance sensible, or a fad? Five Indigenous writers whose books are must-reads. Windowless planes are coming. And William Gibson predicts the future, again.
Longstanding food critic John Lanchester has committed a professional sacrilege this week by suggesting that the foodie culture he owes a living is overinflated. He traces his own interest in food to that of his mother’s, as she embraced cooking as a form of self-invention – and suggests that same identity-bulding and related anxiety is at the heart of our current obsession with food. And he shares his suspicion of food consumption as a form of political action.
Gluten-free products and diets have boomed in recent years. But is gluten a genuine food no-no (in excess, at least) or just the latest in a long line of foods we’ve been told to avoid, and later advised we can eat again? At the New Yorker, Michael Specter investigates. (And it looks like FODMAPs might be the next thing to avoid.)
The final report into the federal curriculum suggests that too much weight is given to Indigenous writers and history in the subject of English. At the Guardian, book editor and lecturer Sandra Phillips disagrees, and offers a condensed book list of five must-read books by Indigenous authors.
The latest technological innovation to loom large in our future? Windowless planes. Don’t worry, they’re not actually open to the air … they might just look that way, as windows are replaced by giant OLED displays lining the inside of the plane’s fuselage. The screens could be used to display images of the exterior of the plane, as well as the kind of information that’s now projected onto small screens on the back of the seats.
William Gibson is one of those novelists (like Orwell and 1984) who is now seen to have eerily predicted crucial elements of the future we now inhabit in his fiction. For instance, he coined the term ‘cyberspace’ in a short story in the early 1980s. In a fascinating chat on the Inquiring Minds podcast, he talks about his latest novel, how the internet has changed the geography of existence, and our views of the past and future.
What we think about Victorians is nothing like what the Victorians thought about themselves. It would be a nightmare for them. Everything they thought they were, we think is a joke. And everything that we think was cool about them, they weren’t even aware of. I’m sure that the future will view us in exactly that way.
Explore by area of interest