Like Boris Johnson, Margaret Thatcher once fought it out over Britain’s place in Europe. It ended badly.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the Conservative Party Conference, October 1989 (Getty Images)

Even after ten years at the top, Margaret Thatcher was still Britain’s apex predator. The jackals around her, wait for her to slip up, were mere scavengers.

If her support had diminished, that only made her a wounded, but still deadly, animal, ready to lash out with vicious ferocity and desperation. …


BREXIT

With the ascension of Boris Johnson, the final act in the Brexit saga may be close, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be bloody.

Until her resignation, Theresa May was the main villain for anti-Brexit protesters in London (photo by Alexander Andrews)

The denouement of the Brexit soap opera began with a woman standing alone, in tears, in the middle of a lonely London street. It will likely end the same way, except Theresa May will have more company. The streets of London with be awash with tears by then.

On television, the Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street looks deceptively accessible. Only a podium stands between the PM and the press and, by extension, the people. Behind her, the famous black door and the serene street scene. It all seems so out in the open, so calm, so egalitarian.

It…


BREXIT

London is burning in the flames of a catastrophic response to Brexit. All that is left is the search for the ideal metaphor.

Photograph: Johannes Plenio

Halfway through the British period piece The Favourite, Baroness Abigail Masham, played by Emma Stone, realizes her courtly machinations have painted her into a corner. Only extreme measures will allow her to spite her fiercest rival while gaining an unearned sympathy in the process.

Desperately out of options, she does what any narcissistic, entitled English aristocrat would. She reaches for a heavy leather-bound book and smashes herself repeatedly in the face, producing black eyes, a broken nose, a torrent of blood, and the perfect visual metaphor for Brexit.

The Brexit result was decided by Little Englanders who would swap the…


One of the Vatican’s most senior figures has been jailed for child sexual abuse. But Cardinal George Pell still has powerful supporters back home.

(Photo by WenPhotos/Pixabay)

Like most predominantly white, notionally Christian nations with a historic British influence, Australia has a hard time talking about sex.

By the time the country finally recognized same-sex marriage in December 2017, it was one of the last Anglo-Christian countries to do so, lagging behind the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and New Zealand. Even the United States, considered far and away the most socially conservative among them, had settled the issue in 2015.

It wasn’t that the people themselves were conflicted. Polls had shown for years that an undeniable majority of Australians would say yes to marriage equality.

Instead, a…


Bettie Page and the moral panic that ended the golden age of the American pinup

Photo: Arthur Fellig/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

Quietly and without fanfare, Bettie Page blew into New York City in the fall of 1950. Seven years later, at the height of her fame, the Queen of Curves abdicated her throne and left the same way.

Her timing was perfect. A decade earlier, her images would have been hidden under cigar shop counters while the wartime wholesomeness of Betty Grable dominated the display stands. A decade later, Page’s provocative poses seemed almost prudish. By vanishing at her beauty’s peak in 1957, Page achieved immortality. Like James Dean, her image remains frozen in time. Forever beautiful, forever young.

During her…


Fernand Cormon’s Cain and the endurance of a French masterpiece

There is a persistent Left Bank legend that, when President François Paul Jules Grévy first set eyes of Fernand Cormon’s new work at the opening of the 1880 Paris Salon, he immediately ordered the artist be taken to the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur to receive France’s highest order of merit.

Certainly, Cormon became an Officer in the National Order of the Legion of Honour that year, but the details seems too perfect, too utterly French, to be so precise.

But when you stand in front of Cain for the very first you believe, without a shred of doubt, it…

Jack Faulkner

A writer and essayist with an eternal fascination for the convergence of history, politics, and pop culture.

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