(Because you seem to be prioritising profits over public health.)

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Photo by Paul Bienek on Unsplash

To American Airlines, which — during a global pandemic which we still don’t yet have a vaccine for — insists on packing flights as full as possible.
To the American pilot who walked past me after security, coffee in hand, with his mask resting below his lower lip.
To Philadelphia airport, which urges travellers to practice social distancing over the loudspeakers but where security officials cram people into queues like cattle going through a dipping pen (I overheard one saying: “Don’t worry about social distancing — you’re about to board a flight!”). …


24 hours of being totally unplugged feels like a mini-vacation

Photo by Gerrit Vermeulen on Unsplash

During this eternal sped-up slo-mo spring, I’ve been oscillating between feverish bursts of productivity and glassy-eyed inertia. I’ve managed (just about) to stay on top of deadlines, but with a media diet that has left precious little energy or inclination to tackle Worthwhile Things during the time that’s become available because both travel and travel writing (previously, a not insignificant portion of my output) have both evaporated.

Instead: feeling guilty. Guilty at how my novel-in-progress has foundered on the quicksands of digital distraction. Guilty that I’ve devoured hundreds of articles online, but haven’t been reading Crime and Punishment or Emma. Guilty that I haven’t yet started trying to learn Portuguese again (for the eighth time). …


A shocking lack of diversity at “The Economist” is damaging the publication’s credibility

Edited in London, The Economist’s coverage of business and politics spans the globe. Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash

Of the many things that stand out in Pankaj Mishra’s masterful New Yorker review of Alexander Zevin’s Liberalism at Large, a history of The Economist since it began publishing in 1843, was this:

The staff, predominantly white, is recruited overwhelmingly from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and a disproportionate number of the most important editors have come from just one Oxford college, Magdalen.

It got me thinking about exactly how much racial diversity there was. A bit of digging showed that after the activist Ahmed Olayinka Sule wrote an open letter in February complaining about The Economist’s lack of black staff the publication admitted that, as of August 2018, less than 1% of employees were. (Scrolling through its media directory, I actually didn’t manage to spot a single black face.) In a letter in response to Sule, The Economist’s editor-in-chief Zanny Minton-Beddoes partly justified this shocking stat as being the result of the publication needing “to hire from the deepest talent pool possible”. …

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Alexander Matthews

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