a well-read man will at once begin to yawn with boredom when one speaks to him of a new “good book,” because he imagines a sort of composite of all the good books that he has read, whereas a good book is something special, something unforeseeable, and is made up not of the sum of all previous masterpieces but of something which the most thorough assimilation would not enable him to discover.
(Proust judging us all)

Hi everyone! I work for English PEN, part of the global network of PEN centres defending free speech.

I'm very interested in the freedom of expression implications of Mastodon - in the sense that 1) it's a distributed network that might be harder for authoritarian regimes to shut down...

... but also 2) in the sense that it might enable the freedom of expression of those who feel attacked and bullied on other platforms.

Follow recommendations welcome.

- The federated timeline is eye-opening. All the messages in OTHER LANGUAGES!

Of course there is... Welcome to earth. But it's something we easily forget while living inside our own curated Twitter timeline.

Content Warning: Daily Mail front page ( but don't worry, it's only about school holidays, not the usual racism) 

Hard to disagree with the Daily Mail on this. The only reason parents take kids out of school in term time is because school holiday prices are exploitative.

BUT there is another aspect to this market failure - school holidays are too long. 6 or 7 weeks in the summer is ridiculous. Keep the same number of weeks but break up the terms into thirds, not halves.

Farringdon, : Interesting 'shadow' of a demolished structure left on the wall of the adjacent building.

Comment on Trump and unilateralism 

It sounds shrill to say that a 'Rubicon has been crossed' but it is noteworthy that Trump is happy with unilateralism. As I say, it was probably the best course of action in this case but it probably means more unilateralism in the future.

The undermining of the EU. The undermining of NATO. The undermining of the UN. All of these things have long term consequences that probably play into the hands of Russia and China, not liberal democracies.

Show thread

Comment on Trump and Syria 

The chat about Trump and his airstrikes on Syria seems to be generally in favour. I am too: the gas attacks by Assad cannot be allowed to stand.

But these strikes should be supported EQUIVOCALLY. Before the election there was much fear mongering about what Trump would do with the 'nuclear button'. He hasn't pressed it here, but he has eschewed UN multilateralism. That does usually not bode well.


The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!