More Celebrity Thinkers …
Updated: Jun 23, 2020
Unsurprisingly, I have received a number of suggestions regarding the most exciting thinkers of our world today. Here are the ones I have enjoyed researching most and I think you may too.
I had my wrists slapped by a number of people for overlooking documentary filmmaker, journalist, broadcaster, and author Louis Theroux who definitely is a universally recognised public intellectual. If you missed them, Theroux’s investigative documentary series ‘Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends' covered everything from evangelism to porn though, at this point in his career, Louis did appear to milk the sensational a tad too energetically. His following work 'Different Brain' definitely sees Louis mature as a thinker and presenter and it could prove one of the most difficult videos you will ever view.
I was also chastised for not mentioning John Rawls, who is a little old for our list (born 1921), but as I frequently play with the ‘the veil of ignorance’ when in conversations I have to include him. Next dinner party, present the hypothetical ‘if you ruled the world and you had to make every important decision based on the well-being of the youngest female child of the single mother of the most impoverished village in your world, what would you change’? This is a bit of a customisation of ‘the veil’ but it produces some illuminating answers!
Rich Arnold suggests the following three writers:
“Robin Diangelo, whose book ‘White Fragility’ exposes entirely new dimensions to the concepts and workings of racism. Daniel Kahneman for his incredible exposé of how human judgement and reasoning works in his book ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’, and Seth Abramson who is showing the world how Twitter Journalism may be the saviour of a free press, which our world so desperately needs.” Abramson, would appear to have configured the New Journalism of our millennium.
David Browman has put forward Satoshi Nakamoto – pseudonym for the credited father of blockchain, a technology that is “immutable, decentralized, and secure”. Satoshi is just as well known as the daddy of bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that has proved the concept that an asset can exist purely on a digital platform.
A friend pointed me towards “that guy who photographed a black hole”. It was in fact Shep Doeleman and he was the astrologist responsible for daisy-chaining extraordinarily powerful telescopes ‘The Event Horizon Telescope’ so they could captured the first-ever image of a black hole in the galaxy M87.
Now to our younger generation. Isabel Prior suggested Jia Tolentino, staff writer at The New Yorker whose recent work includes an exploration of youth vaping and essays on the ongoing cultural reckoning about sexual assault. Academic and essayist Mary Beard is also on her list. Beard is covered nicely by The Guardian’s ‘The Cult of Mary Beard’.
Young ones have also pointed to comedians, performers and conceptual artists, Ginger Edmiston suggesting Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) and Tim Jonson suggesting ‘The Legend' Mark Gonzales who finds the perfect balance in Fine Art and skateboarding!
One young lady who is a little too shy to have her name used, noted that her entire social media network have a serious case of leader envy, thinking Jacinda Ardern should rule the world.
Many others have been thrown at me including Marlon James (novelist) and his magnificent tome ‘Brief History of Seven Killings’ about the attempted assassination of Bob Marley. Brandon is a notable contemporary social media voice on gay rights, race and other hot button topics.
Again, in general we haven’t quite fit the criteria of celebrity thinkers who are household names except, maybe Theroux and Beard (thank you Issy:) but I for one have had a wonderful time learning more about the above individuals. I hope you enjoy their brilliance as much as have I :)
(*The High Low has been featured in The Financial Times, The Sunday Times, Elle, Man Repeller, Refinery29, Grazia and The Guardian and was named one of The Sunday Times’ Top 50 podcasts in both 2018 and 2019.)
Finally, the demise of the chanteuse Vera Lynne, responsible for the soundtrack of the entire allied war generation. RIP to you (all).