Recent links of note:
Will the Pollsters Get It Right On The Referendum?
Oliver Wiseman, Standpoint
It has been a difficult stretch for British pollsters. First was the Scottish independence referendum, which the pollsters had right, until they didn’t. Nobody remembers that the polls all showed “no” would take the day until very late in the contest; the only impression that remains is the foolish “yes” call made in the days immediately before the vote. The situation only worsened in the 2015 elections, which showed parity between Labour and the Tories, only to see a landslide win for the Conservatives. As Oliver Wiseman shows in this month’s Standpoint, opinion polls can have a large economic effect (£17B worth of U.K. stocks were sold in the days leading up to the Scotland referendum); so with another referendum in sight, will the pollsters reverse trend and get it right? For the sake of Britain’s economy we can only hope so.
For the record: 18th-century drawings of Palmyra on show in Cologne
Emily Sharpe, The Art Newspaper
It was last October that the Syrian city of Palmyra—the home of significant classical ruins and also a continuing symbol of the ancient Western world’s reach—was much in the news. At that time Islamic State had just taken the city, appending to their human conquest a horrific abnegation of what makes the city so historically important. I speak of the destruction of the ruins and the murders within them. This briefly energized the West but soon enough the city was off of the front pages, written off as a sad, but fairly minor loss. Now that the Syrian regime has retaken the city, Palmyra is again making headlines (though the Russian air assault that aided the counter-attack is sure to have done more damage to the ruins). While cultural officials debate the merits of a rebuilding effort, a museum in Cologne has put on an exhibition of over thirty drawings by the French architect Louis François Cassas that detail the ancient buildings. If a restoration is attempted, the architects would do well to start here.
Forget digital recreations. Palmyra’s own future must come first
Ross Burns, Apollo
On the very subject of what’s to be done in Palmyra, Ross Burns offers his take. While some might seek to engage in virtual recreations, Burns plainly shows that this is misguided: “It is sad the extent to which, for example, those who have access to copious funding want to prioritise the ‘re-creation’ of Palmyra using ingenious technology well away from Syria. Those efforts are misguided. The regeneration of Palmyra must . . . restore Palmyra’s real lesson for humanity: that cities can survive for millennia only by building on the memories of their past.”
From our pages:
Give sorrow words
Kevin D. Williamson
On the many stagings of Macbeth.