REVIEW: THE CIRCLE, BY DAVE EGGERS

by Eli Lambe

Dave Eggers’ The Circle, both the book and the recent feature-length adaptation, is a dystopia formed around a Facebook/Apple/Google/Amazon-esque corporation, one which hosts and shares almost every aspect of its users lives. The novel does a remarkable job of capturing the subtle ways in which this model is marketed to us, how this format of data-as-product is often shrouded in apparently progressive buzzwords – community, accountability, transparency, participation – whilst the company which operates under this model does so under the same values as every other corporate entity.

There is a veneer of progressivity and respectability that companies adopt in order to retain and gain customers – like Facebook making it easier to harass trans people, or implementing guidelines that protect white men but not black children, and at the same time, for one month of the year, patchily providing a rainbow “pride” react to the users who liked lgbt@facebook. Perhaps not as extreme as Eggers writes in The Circle, but eerily close enough: “Anytime you wanted to see anything, use anything, comment on anything or buy anything, it was one button, one account, everything tied together and trackable and simple, all of it operable via mobile or laptop, tablet or retinal.”Continue Reading

THE REACH OF CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP

by Gunnar Eigener

The exploitation by corporate sponsorship of many different aspects of our lives is so deeply embedded that we barely express any outrage at the sheer audacity and hypocrisy of it all. Yet it is this sponsorship that attempts to deceive us into believing these companies should somehow be part of our lives, that we should embrace them. Integrity and morals are left outside the boardroom, deals are struck, and brands and corporate logos are pushed into our line of vision and within earshot at every opportunity. The sums are vast and are already eclipsing any sense of decency in pursuit of more money.

The problem that we are facing is that those in power adhere to the desires of the corporate sponsors. You just have to look at the TTIP and TISA deals to see how the rights of citizens and any concerns for their health and safety are overridden in favour of advancing corporate globalisation.Continue Reading

PRIVATE SCHOOLS: ARE WE BETTER OFF WITHOUT THEM?

by David Grounds

After Alan Bennett gave his sermon entitled ‘Fair Play’ at King’s College Cambridge, some of the conversations in my school have turned to the issue of private schools, and why we are attending one. The phrase that I have heard more than once, is a line from Tom Lehrer’s song, ‘Selling Out’:

I’ve always found ideals,
Don’t take the place of meals.

Or, put simply, there’s no point in abolishing private schools if it isn’t going to help on anything other than an ideological level. My objection is simple: it would help. Continue Reading