No Complaints #74: Fleabag, Facebook and Flashing

Have you watched FleabagYou should. Here’s why.

Things to read

“Formerly Deng Wen Ge – she was named after the cultural revolution, born to parents with strong ties to the Communist party – Deng grew up around Guangzhou, the daughter of a factory director. The details of her early life, which didn’t surface publicly until well into her marriage to Murdoch (much to his extreme discomfort) place her early on as a medical student and a competitive volleyball player.”

Wendy Deng has had a fascinating, horrifying life. Email to Pocket.


“Readers who clicked through to the story were led to an external website, called Make America Great Today, where they were presented with a brief write-up blended almost seamlessly into a solid wall of fleshy ads. Khan, the story said — between ads for ‘(1) Odd Trick to ‘Kill’ Herpes Virus for Good’ and ‘22 Tank Tops That Aren’t Covering Anything’ – is an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood and a ‘promoter of Islamic Shariah law’. His late son, the story suggests, could have been a ‘Muslim martyr’ working as a double agent. A credit link beneath the story led to a similar-looking site called Conservative Post, from which the story’s text was pulled verbatim. Conservative Post had apparently sourced its story from a longer post on a right-wing site called”

If you aren't already scared of Facebook, now would be a really good moment to get going with that. Email to Pocket.


—You should definitely read this series of tweets about why there's no such thing as “just joking”, and the way this intersects with Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric.


“Nathan was conceived in the early noughties as a snapshot of a small and ludicrous slice of east London. He wasn’t supposed to last. But he hasn’t just survived; he’s metastasised. The startups and creative consultancies of every other digital hub from Silicon Roundabout to Silicon Alley resemble nothing so much as Nathan’s world of office juice bars, indoor scootering and open-plan thinkpods, plus vast injections of venture capital cash (the haircuts and low-slung denim are certainly the same). Vice, which provided at least part of the inspiration for Nathan’s odious button-pushing style magazine Sugar Ape, is now a multi-million dollar Murdoch-backed business that carries genuinely dangerous warzone reportage while hanging on to its Barleyite roots. A sample headline: “There’s More To The Duke Of Burgundy Than Lesbians Pissing On Each Other”.”

How Nathan Barley came true. Email to Pocket.


“Maria and her husband come from an impoverished neighbourhood of Manila and had no regular income before agreeing to become contract killers. They earn up to 20,000 Philippines pesos ($430; £327) per hit, which is shared between three or four of them. That is a fortune for low-income Filipinos, but now it looks as if Maria has no way out.”

Assassins on the front line of the Philippines’ war on drugs. Email to Pocket.


Things to listen to

I’ve been quite busy and stressed out this week, and at such times I always turn to Agatha Christie. The BBC Radio iPlayer app never lets me down – they’re always running some adaptation or other in the middle of the night that you can pick up each morning to calm you down before work. I think I find old-fashioned murder mysteries so comforting because they represent the triumph of order over chaos. The side of right always prevails. Unlike in real life, logic and hard work always win in the end. This time, I've been relying heavily on this version of Evil Under the Sun, a Poirot story. Who could resist a synopsis like this: “Zut alors! Can't Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot have a Devon holiday without getting embroiled in a murder?”


Things to watch


Compulsory medieval thingamabob

“Don’t look now, but I think there are some demons hovering over our heads copying everything we do...”

The guest gif

Have a magical weekend.

THE END. See you next time*!
*Next time will probably be next Friday. If you want to suggest things I should include in the next one of these, please do reply and send me links.