Sam Kriss

Grey, gloomy, and utterly joyless: Ripley reviewed

If you’ve spent any time gawping at Netflix over the past half-decade or so, you’ll already know that human culture has reached its final, perfect form. We made a good effort with cave paintings, epic poetry, theatre, literature and the rest of them, but the apex of culture is the bingeable, episodic rabbit-hole Netflix documentary

How depressing when people over-identify with their ethnicity

I am a Jew. I live in a council estate in London where considerably more than half of my neighbours are Muslims. These people aren’t my friends, but we get along fine: I pick up their parcels; we coordinate complaints to the council about the strange, blue-tinged fluid that sometimes drips from everyone’s ceilings, as

The problem with podcasts

A few months ago, a clip from a podcast went mildly viral online. A lightly dressed woman sits in front of a microphone, explaining her sex life in pedantic detail to an offscreen interviewer. It was strange and unpleasant, which was why people couldn’t stop looking at it. What kind of podcast is this, exactly?

Why ASMR is evil

In 1954, the psychologist James Olds made a few ordinary rats the happiest rodents that had ever lived. He had directly wired an electrode into the rats’ brains, plugging into the septal area, which he believed might have something to do with the experience of pleasure. When he passed a small electric current through the

War games do something seriously unpleasant to our brains

Three years ago, I killed several thousand people over the course of a single weekend. Late into the night, I ran around butchering everyone I saw, until by the end I didn’t even feel anything any more. Just methodically powering through it all, through the wet sounds of splattering heads, bodies crumpling, shiny slicks of

Why I admire Saudi Arabia’s monstrous new city

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia wants me to know that it is building a new city. Its adverts follow me around the internet. ‘Imagine a traditional city and consolidating its footprint, designing to protect and enhance nature.’ I’m imagining. Their city ‘will be home to nine million residents, and will be built with a footprint

Rishi’s mad dash

47 min listen

In this week’s episode:Can Rishi catch up?Katy Balls and Kate Andrews discuss Rishi Sunak’s mad dash to catch up with his rival, Liz Truss in the polls (0.55)Also this week:Is it time the UK severed ties with Chinese-made tech?Charles Parton argues this in the magazine this week. He is joined by Dr Alexi Drew, a

In defence of country-pop

I am aware that the music I enjoy is widely considered to be the worst ever produced in human history. Worse than a roomful of children with recorders, cymbals and malice; worse than a poultry abattoir. Every so often, someone will ask me what I listen to, and I’m forced to tell them the truth.

The art of extinction

In one of Italo Calvino’s fables, a single dinosaur survives the extinction of his kind. After a few centuries in hiding, he comes out to discover that the world has changed. The ‘New Ones’ who have taken over the planet are still terrified of dinosaurs; they tell each other terrifying stories about the time when

Schlock: Everything Everywhere All At Once reviewed

We’re doing multiverses now. Last weekend, a friend dragged me to see Marvel’s latest product, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. For two hours I watched characters earnestly talk about their trauma, and then fly around firing jets of coloured magic at each other, and then more pompous trauma talk, like five-year-olds playing at