The comparisons between Britain’s Jeremy Corbyn and the US’s Donald Trump have ranged from hand-wringing to lightly amused to downright derisory. But with Corbyn, once the 100-to-1 outsider, now looking set to win the Labour leadership this weekend (though he might still not), it no longer seems absurd that Trump could bag the Republican primary.
All the two men really share, of course, is that they’ve gained a following by emerging as “authentic” voices in an era of manufactured politics. Aside from being political opposites, they’re also in quite different roles vis-a-vis their respective parties. Corbyn is a sincere and consistent dissident—a lot more like the US’s Bernie Sanders than like Trump, who is mainly a provocateur. And the notoriously thrifty Corbyn can fairly claim to represent a lost ideal of Labour values—while Trump, though perhaps a bit less rich than he claims, is about as far removed both from Republican working-class voters and from his party’s own core beliefs (paywall) as can be.
Superficial as the Trump-Corbyn parallel may be, however, it speaks to a broader commonality. Each man embodies a crisis, both in his party and in his country’s broader politics. Like all such crises, these schisms present opportunities. They’ll spur the parties to seek out fresh blood and ideas and rediscover what voters want. In other words, this is healthy. The main question is how much upset it takes for a party to truly grasp that it has lost its way. Judging by its responses to Trump, the Republican party hasn’t grasped it yet. Judging by Corbyn’s impact, Trump may yet win the nomination before it does.—Gideon Lichfield
Five things on Quartz we especially liked
Mapping the movement of Syrian refugees. The refugee crisis now roiling Europe has several causes, but the biggest is the exodus of civilians from the years of fighting in Syria. This set of interactive maps by Keith Collins shows how the refugee flows have built over time, where they’ve gone, and how many asylum-seekers each country has accepted. (And read our other coverage on how countries are treating the refugees, from Hungary to the US to Venezuela to Finland and beyond.)
The man who stood up to Singapore’s rulers. After a young blogger asked awkward questions about the fate of billions of dollars’ worth of taxpayers’ pension savings, prime minister Lee Hsien Loong tried to silence him. Gwynn Guilford digs into the island nation’s murky finances and a scandal that will have posed a severe challenge to the ruling party in Friday’s election.
A day in the life of a Chinese app addict. You don’t have to live in the San Francisco Bay area to have apps rule your life from morning to night. Richard Macauley asked a 31-year-old resident of the megalopolis of Chongqing to chronicle her day. You might be horrified—or just pick up a few tricks.
How to spot America’s most gifted students. A new study has found that referral programs for gifted children discriminate systematically against poor and ethnic-minority kids—but, reports Max Nisen, that’s easily fixable. And Kate Groetzinger examines universities’ attempts to retain the students who are so bright that they prefer to start companies than finish their degrees.
Farewell to the fitting room. Marc Bain looks at the various companies working on technologies that scan your body, create a 3D model of it, and then match it against the stored measurements of thousands of items of clothing. Soon, you won’t even need to leave your home to get the perfect fit, first time, every time.
Five things elsewhere that made us smarter
Obscenity’s caped crusader. Edward Docx in the Guardian profiles Myles Jackman, a British lawyer of Rabelaisian proportions and tastes, who wears Batman socks and t-shirts, “drinks espressos… with the appalled expression of a man repeatedly confounded by the minuscule size of the shots,” and campaigns for the ultimate repeal of all obscenity laws. A terrific portrait of an extraordinary character.
Pennsylvania’s littlest newshound. Hilde Lysiak is the chief and only reporter of her small town’s monthly newspaper. It has hundreds of subscribers. Advertisers are starting to take an interest. And she’s eight years old. Joe Pompeo in the Columbia Journalism Review has a heartwarming little tale about how local journalism isn’t quite dead yet.
Sentence structure was modified while facts was lost. Vijith Assar in McSweeney’s takes a simple, straightforward sentence and, by means of “exonerative” grammar, dismantles it step by step into a meaningless mush, in one of the most brilliant and acerbic critiques we’ve seen of how official jargon destroys clarity, agency, and ultimately truth.
Where the bodies are no longer buried. Around the world, global warming is bringing to light the bodies of climbers lost for decades in glaciers and mountain crevasses—as well as much older artifacts. Imogen Foulkes for the BBC on the emerging science of glacial archaeology.
The rise of American victimhood culture. An influential recent sociology paper argued that the US is moving from “honor culture” (when someone insults you, you fight them) to “dignity culture” (you ignore them) to “victimhood culture” (you kick up a stink and involve everyone else). Conor Friedersdorf ponders the implications—and some caveats—in the Atlantic. (Jonathan Haidt, co-author of The Coddling of the American Mind, has more detailed thoughts on his own blog).
Our best wishes for a relaxing but thought-filled weekend. Please send any news, comments, defenses of obscenity laws, and official jargon to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.