“Lord of the Rings is racist about orcs” is not an important new front in the Culture War (New Statesman)

“Lord of the Rings is racist about orcs” is not an important new front in the Culture War

Call the police, a nerd has said something about Lord of the Rings on a podcast. Excellent news for everyone who thinks “political correctness has gone mad” can be considered a hot take in 2018, a group that apparently includes several national newspapers.

Are budget airlines really charging families to sit with their own children? (New Statesman)

Are budget airlines really charging families to sit with their own children?

Are algorithms trying to steal our children? That’s the question at the heart of the latest airline ticket pricing scandal. Are budget airlines trying to squeeze more money out of families by deliberately allocating them seats in separate parts of the plane, then forcing them to pay a fee so that children can be seated next to their responsible adult?

A celebration of 70 years of Walkers trying to sell you crisps in truly bizarre ways (New Statesman)

The New Statesman asked me to write about crisps, so I went on YouTube instead:

A celebration of 70 years of Walkers trying to sell you crisps in truly bizarre ways

2018 marks 70 years since Walkers, a butcher’s firm from Leicester, decided to beat post-war rationing by slicing potatoes instead of meat, and ended up creating the most popular brand of crisps in the UK. And while there have been dozen of variations of flavour and tweaks to the recipe, they’re still basically just the same old crisps.

How a 17th century war, the Queen and a desperate Swiss TV executive led to Eurovision (New Statesman)

The story of the origin of Eurovision, via Talented Mr Ripley fan-fiction for some reason:

How a 17th century war, the Queen and a desperate Swiss TV executive led to Eurovision

Did you know: there’s a scene in the film The Talented Mr Ripley where, if you squint, you can see the Eurovision Song Contest being born? Admittedly you to have squint really very hard indeed, because it was made by Anthony Minghella, and not say, me.