OXFORD MEDIA SOCIETY
We might not be back at Oxford this term, but what is back are Media Soc’s ‘Committee Recommends’. From free speech to virtual social media influencers, make the most of home comforts by getting a cup of tea and taking a look at our selection of this week’s top reads.
“The assault on the Capitol was a horrible week for Big Tech because it raised their prominence, it raised their visibility – not simply as commercial institutions, but as political institutions”
In the wake of one of the most dramatic weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency, this article looks at the scrutiny surrounding choices made by Big Tech companies and what alternative options we might have. And remember – if you’re an Oxford student, you get free FT access – so get reading.
“Ignorance of history serves many ends. Sometimes it papers over the crimes of the present by attributing too much power to the past. Perhaps more often, it covers up past crimes in order to legitimise the way society is arranged in the present.”
Co-founder of the Rhodes Must Fall moment and current associate professor at Oxford University, Simukai Chigdu, takes a look back at the inception of the movement and a look forward to its future.
“In its variety, the Substack corpus resembles the blogosphere. It is produced by a mix of career journalists, bloggers, specialists, novelists, hobbyists, dabblers, and white-collar professionals looking to plump up their personal brands.”
Substack, a newsletter service with thousands of different publications, seems the dream for a world that can’t get enough of choice – but is it?
IN THE NEWS
Another look at the events at the Capitol dismantles the buzzword of the day – ‘Orwellian’ – and shows why those who love to use it should stop.
Following a WhatsApp update that led many users to believe that they must allow it to share data with its parent company Facebook if they wished to continue using it, they simply didn’t – and crossed over to Signal, another free-to-use encrypted messaging app.
Drill music is being increasingly blamed for fuelling violence and even used as evidence in court – but is it fair?
There’s nothing like a good conspiracy thriller to pass the time, and now that we’ve got too much of it, this might just fit the bill.
If you haven’t already heard of Miquela, I’ll leave that for you to discover – and if you have, watch this if you didn’t think it could get stranger. It’ll leave you weirded out, maybe a bit scared, and definitely thinking about the future of influencers in the age of technology.
A BIT OF LISTENING
An American philosopher cutting through a lot of political noise what’s not to like right now?
From Watergate to Bill Clinton to Tupac, this show has it all – and with four series to get through, what better way to spend lockdown?
This episode features vaccination, Britain’s royals and South Korea’s obsession with hiking – try it for variety’s sake if nothing else.
NEED A BIT OF CHEERING UP?
I know taking an extra-curricular course probably isn’t top of our priorities right now, but if it’s one that teaches you to be happy and has had a 97% thumbs-up rate from over 25,000 people, it might just be worth a look.
David Attenborough and fluffy white Arctic hares. That’s all. And on that note, if you’re not already watching A Perfect Planet, start.
That’s all for this week. Interested in writing for us? Contact us to chat about submissions.