Thursday 23 September 2021 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Thursday. 23/9/2021

The Monocle Minute

Image: Kohei Take

Opinion / Josh Fehnert

Turning the page

At a time when the pace of the news cycle can feel dizzyingly quick, we’d like to borrow a moment to tell you about Monocle’s bold, bright and carefully refreshed October issue – and why it matters. Our continuing belief in giving good journalism room to breathe and committing it to the printed page is one reason why the October issue, which is out now, has a new look. Yes, we’ve instituted some subtle tweaks to improve legibility, added some fresh regular features and commissioned some longer reads – but that’s not all.

Our editors have also pushed themselves to offer more comment, bite and analysis to cut against the cookie-cutter narratives that quick headlines can create, and to look beyond the Anglosphere for those answers by investing in new correspondents, illustrators and shutterbugs along the way. The line-up includes nuance and common sense, from a piece by an Indian author weighing up the complexity of cultural appropriation in her work to an architecture professor unpicking how Milan learned to live with its fascist-era architecture. Taking down a statue, it seems, is rather simpler than tearing down half your city’s housing – and then the train station.

Elsewhere in the issue, you’ll read the diary of one brave writer who chose to stay in Kabul as the city fell to the Taliban and hear from the CEO of Mercedes for a steer on the automotive industry’s future – and don’t miss a report from one Monocle staffer taking a spin in the sidecar of a Ural motorcycle (pictured). There’s also our interview with the prime minister of Estonia about opportunities for statecraft in the Baltics and a feature on the folks rebuilding Beirut (good luck getting all that into a tweet). You’ll also be heartened to hear that, while we’ve changed a few things, we’ve kept all the quirk as well as our recommendations on everything from the best new hotels to small, honest and interesting businesses. Be it diplomacy or design, our global take on the world remains undimmed and we’ve stayed curious.

The news cycle might be about speed but we believe that some stories take time and investment to understand and deserve to be read on paper. We hope that you find a few reasons to linger longer and enjoy the new issue too.

Monocle’s redesigned October issue includes a dedicated menswear special, autumn culture preview and plenty more besides. Subscribe today so you don’t miss an issue.

Image: Getty Images

Elections / Canada

Promises to keep

Canada’s snap federal election, which was narrowly won by Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party on Monday, isn’t quite over. Some 1.2 million ballots sent by mail are still being counted and verified. That process could take until Friday and, in some races that remain too close to call, those postal votes really matter. For Trudeau, the question now is how he intends to govern when the new parliamentary session begins in October. He will require the backing of another, smaller party – presumably the left-wing New Democratic Party (NDP), who supported the government after the last election in 2019. The NDP’s popular leader, Jagmeet Singh, has said that his support for Trudeau’s next minority government is conditional on boosted health spending and more generous coronavirus relief measures. Given that the campaign was a tighter and more volatile contest than many expected, the expectation by voters for Trudeau to deliver on his election pledges will be acute. The other parties, all of whose levels of support also stayed largely the same, must now consider what they will need to do to appeal to more voters next time around.

Image: Shutterstock

Politics / Japan

Representative democracy

In Japan, elections for the new leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) – and by extension the country’s next prime minister – are shaping up to be an interesting contest. The race includes two male candidates, Taro Kono and Fumio Kishida, and two women: Sanae Takaichi and Seiko Noda (pictured, right, with Kono, Kishida and Takaichi).

The chances of a woman winning are slim but the fact that they are running does represent progress. The only time Japan has ever seen a woman bidding for the ruling party leadership was in 2008 with Yuriko Koike, who is now governor of Tokyo. This is symptomatic of a wider imbalance: just 9.9 per cent of lawmakers in the House of Representatives are women, making Japan 165th in the global ranking of women in national parliaments. Takaichi and Noda have been open lately about the challenges they’ve faced over the years as female politicians in a conservative, male-dominated society. The extent of their support from LDP members in next week’s election will reveal just how far away real change might be.

Image: Getty Images

Media / UK

Mark our words

UK media regulator Ofcom has added to its list of potentially offensive terms, with “boomer” and “Karen”, a slang term for a demanding or entitled white woman, now included. The last time the list was reviewed was five years ago and, while its existing compilation of potentially upsetting terms concentrated on racial, anatomical and religious lines, the prevailing theme among these new additions is political divides.

To avoid causing undue offence, TV and radio broadcasters should be cautious in their use of the words “remoaner”, describing someone lamenting Brexit, and “gammon”, used to characterise red-faced male ministers on the political right. But derogatory political terms are still, thankfully, considered milder than those describing inherent characteristics and epithets linked to historic oppression. The review suggests that Britons are less tolerant of racist, homophobic and transphobic language than before, while also being more relaxed regarding swearing. Boomers and snowflakes can, at least, agree on that.

Image: Shutterstock

Cinema / Switzerland

Real to reel

The 17th Zürich Film Festival, which is the second-biggest in the German-speaking world after the Berlinale, opens today. Artistic director Christian Jungen has overseen a resurgence of Hollywood in the line-up this year, featuring films such as Ridley’s Scott’s The Last Duel. “The festival is a springboard to the Oscars,” says Jungen. “Six out of the past 10 best picture winners were in our programmes.” But he also prizes domestic talent, having included 24 Swiss films in the festival including the opening film, hostage thriller And Tomorrow We Will Be Dead. That is in part thanks to the location of the awards. “Two thirds of the Swiss film industry is based here in Zürich,” says Jungen. To add a glamorous touch, Sharon Stone will be on hand to receive the golden icon award. With its mix of Hollywood glitz and Swiss creativity, it seems the Zürich Film Festival is gaining more relevance by the year

Listen to the full interview with Christian Jungen in the latest episode of ‘Monocle on Culture’ on Monocle 24.

Image: Alamy

M24 / Tall stories

Sitting-out areas, Hong Kong

James Chambers visits a traditional Hong Kong pocket park to observe the daily comings and goings at these essential public spaces.

Monocle Films / Sweden

Sweden’s Arctic: green innovation

Norrbotten in Sweden is blessed with natural resources but more recently has been turning heads because of its growing roster of innovative start-ups. We bear witness to the region's effort to change heavy industries into clean businesses.


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