Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.


The Obama Doctrine

“For all of our warts, the United States has clearly been a force for good in the world. If you compare us to previous superpowers, we act less on the basis of naked self-interest, and have been interested in establishing norms that benefit everyone. If it is possible to do good at a bearable cost, to save lives, we will do it.” If only that were completely true, the 'acting less on the basis of naked self-interest' part: even a great power with great responsibility like the US never acts out of altruism; it always puts itself first. (Hence the alarmingly eager redirection towards drone-based interventionism.) But the quote demonstrates that Barack Obama is the most human president the US has had in years, and for all of his warts -- and there are many -- he is one of the most important. #link


Japan's women wrestlers fight to win

High-brow re-acceptance of wrestling as an idiosyncratic art form takes its inevitable detour through the Japanese puroresu underground with this beautiful photo essay. #link


On ‘The New Day and Being Black in WWE’

There’s a problem with this article on Vice Sports, editorially speaking. It sets up a kind of straw man argument: that The New Day, as singin’ and dancin’ black folk, are perpetuating a decades-old racial stereotype befitting an unfortunate longtime trend in wrestling. The fact of the latter, that wrestling has a problem with race and “being black is the gimmick”, is inarguably true, to varying extents. But that intro doesn’t credit Xavier Woods, Big E and Kofi Kingston with any agency in the way their characters, as they are now, are portrayed. I mean, the quotes from their own voices confirm that they know exactly what they’re doing, and always did.

More…


‘A Front-Row Seat. To Misery.’

The NYT caught up with some of the Mets fans whose anguish its photographer captured during the play that cost their team -- our team -- the World Series last year #LetsGoMets #link


How drug laws aimed at pregnant women penalize their children

Lawmakers in the US have created a catch-22 whereby women are punished for doing the right thing. Probably done by the same moralising arseholes who think it ain't no thing for a woman who doesn't want to be pregnant to carry their child to term because adoption exists. #link


Dublin Rising 1916-2016

Easily the best thing to come out of the Rising commemorations is Google's audio-visual time-travelling tour of the sites and events of that tumultuous time. #link


The Deactivation of the American Worker

When even office cubical staff are essentially remote employees, and entries in a database, it's even easier to treat them as numbers rather than people. It's funny, while I'm thinking of it, why the concept of corporate social responsibility doesn't seem to extend to human resources beyond recruitment and morale. #link


Twitter's missing manual

Does exactly what it says on the tin. The search instructions are particularly useful for digging into my own tweets. #link


Notes from Japan

As a fellow anxious traveller, this kind of pre-prep guide is exactly my thing. So when we eventually get to Japan this decade or next, I'll be keeping this in mind. The best advice here? Not to over-plan: you will be more tired than you expect, best to schedule maybe a couple of things each day and let happenstance fill in the rest. #link


The Night Gallery

Metal scribe and screenwriter Jeff Treppel's Pinterest collection of classic movie posters. (Wish it wasn't on Pinterest, though: I don't want to log in or sign up, I just want to browse FFS.) #link


All Politics Is Local

"Local is very different things to each of us. A short walk around town is enough to see nothing but parallel lives and contradictions." It's also so easy to compartmentalise these experiences so that individual 'tragic circumstances' never comprise a greater, more overwhelming whole that requires immediate response. #link


Photos old and new

Seagull in the sky

I spent a day or two over my mid-March week off trawling through my photo archive, going back quite a few years, looking for things worth posting to my dormant Flickr account. It turns out there were quite a few, and they’re not half bad.

I’ve grouped them into albums as I’ve done before to make things easier. Keep an eye on my smartphone shots, which I expect will be the one most regularly updated going forward.


Weeknotes #759-761

There goes March without much fanfare and, apart from the day job, little to show for it in terms of productivity. Not compared to my busy February, at any rate, when I ploughed through freelance work and the words flowed from my fingertips.

More…