Welcome to the written world of RDN.

I am a complicated - a nuanced - conservative and a Civilised Right-winger (if that isn't too much of an oxymoron). I am bit hippy and arty around the edges. I am currently working on poems, a memoir, and vaguely cultural essays. I have not altogether given up on doing a one man show. Over all that is an increasing interest in the idea of spirituality.

Page 2 of all posts

“The Favourite” is misogynist

It is possible that my title is one tad too strong, if nicely economical. At more and milder length I would say The Favourite is disobliging to women and in particular to the interesting women it purports to portray. Read more...

Published

19 January 2019

Filed in

On movies, Politics & campaigns

Edith Stein: A first look & some leads

This is a premature account of my attempts to discover and understand Edith Stein. It includes (listed below) what I hope are fruitful leads (those I intend to follow-up myself). It is impertinent of me to write this without (at the very least) having bought and read the philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre's short intellectual biography of the saint and philosopher, not least because his journey to and within Catholicism parallels Stein's. What's more, I have only glanced at her most obviously pertinent philosophical book, The Problem of Empathy, and know even less of her spiritual and theological writing. However, writing these preparatory words cleared my head, and they may be useful to other newcomers to this martyr, hero and thinker - and the culture of her world. Read more...

Published

01 March 2018

Filed in

Mind & body, On books

Valencia: Top Five

A recent, wet, windy winter day in the city of Valencia confirmed and more the wonderful experience we had one September day a few years back. Here are my Top Five attractions, in the order I would prioritise for a fleeting visitor who wanted the very special nature of the city. Read more...

Published

01 March 2018

Filed in

Mind & body

“Darkest Hour” is quite bad

The latest Darkest Hour movie is enjoyable and has high production values. It is, as lots of people say, rather a good flipside to the blockbuster Dunkirk. But whilst Dunkirk had merely a few absurdities amongst its conceits, Darkest Hour is, I declare, positively unethical in important parts of its story-telling. Read more...

Published

26 January 2018

Filed in

Mind & body, On movies, Politics & campaigns

Six brilliant TV proposals

I have made one rather feeble and unuccessful attempt to "sell" these ideas for TV shows. I would like to present, write, mentor or research any of them. But I don't really mind. It would be nice to see them on-air, whoever and however it happens. Read more...

Published

29 December 2017

Filed in

Mind & body, On TV & Radio

The Empathy Delusion

This piece argues that we do not have much empathy, and that even if we had more it would still be a very imperfect engine of moral or ethical behaviour. Read more...

Published

27 December 2017

Filed in

Mind & body

RDN on BBC Scotland on ads’ gender stereotyping

I had a lively outing on BBC Radio Scotland's morning phone-in on the ASA/CAP's crackdown on gender stereotyping. Without much thinking about the Quangos' specific motives and proposals (I will maybe devote time to that exercise) I said quite boldly that whatever stereotypes advertisers promoted, I had never seen any that were more harmful than the culture-crimping, the dreary campaignitis - and, yes the PC Gone Mad element - of the Bossy Liberals who want to censor them. Read more...

Published

14 December 2017

Filed in

Mind & body, Politics & campaigns, RDN's media outings

Jews and design in post-war Britain

The Jewish Museum in Camden Town, London, has put on a revelatory exhibit: Designs on Britain. It’s about the works of Jewish émigré designers who escaped Hitler’s Reich to settle here. Their images and inventions contributed to the upbeat, the witty, the bright - and also sometimes the edgy -  in the day-to-day experience of British people. By the way, the show does not feature the most famous Jewish designer of the period: Abram Games was born in the UK (and has had his own one-man show at the Museum). Hardly anyone, I think, realised or realise just how many Jewish people produced the designs which populated our lives back then. Because I can find no one-stop online bringing-together of this story, here's my rather casuual and amateur attempt... Read more...

Published

14 December 2017

Filed in

Mind & body, On art

Poem: Catching the light

Here, four moments from the 1980s and the 2010s provide the vignettes which I hope convey how an auto-didact skips and slithers, in a hungry sort of way, amongst the wit and wisdom of his betters. Read more...

Published

22 October 2017

Filed in

RDN's poems

Jack Reacher: Mythic hero who travels by bus

This has been been the sunny season when I lay on a lounger and read something like three-quarters of the 20-some Jack Reacher thrillers produced by the Englishman in New York, Lee Child. I think Reacher is a rare - possibly unique - type in the detective thriller, though it is quite common in Marvel comics and movies. In written form it is a story from over 3,000 years ago. It deploys the epic manner in telling stories about a mythic, and partly divine, figure. Read more...

Published

17 September 2017

Filed in

Mind & body, On books, On movies
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