One of the biggest talking points during this pandemic has been about the reopening of hairdressers and the greater beauty industry. Beauty is important to Irish people. But what is beauty? As beauty ideals constantly evolve and change, has our time in lockdown- staring at ourselves on zoom calls -changed our perception of how we relate to these ideals? And even if we think we reject these beauty ideals, is that a moral statement in itself?
So often the subject of beauty and its industry is overlooked by philosophers, but what greater definition of self is there than the visual one we project to the world? So we were extremely happy to be joined by Heather Widdows who is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham and Co-lead of the Beauty Demands Project and #everydaylookism activist. She is also the author of Perfect Me.
This week’s episode is about how Ireland is racist, how and why it’s up to white people to sort that out, and how constantly asking black people and people of colour to hand-hold, educate, and “help” white people do that work is part of the problem. D.I.Y.
We also discuss the impact of the Black Lives Matter protest in Dublin, the generational shift in visibility, solidarity, and anti-racist activism, how young black people and people of colour in Ireland have become the backbone of contemporary Irish pop culture, and the tensions in Insta-activism.
Una initially planned to speak with the actor Jonny Beauchamp (Penny Dreadful, Katy Keane) about the impact of lockdown on the film and television industry. A Puerto Rican New Yorker, Jonny is a rising star in television. So what happens when production stalls? But as New York became the epicentre of the covid-19 pandemic and Jonny’s family was impacted, and then the Black Lives Matter protests took hold of the city, this conversation grew into a snapshot of what it’s like to be an artist in NYC right now. It’s hot outside, and tensions are rising. Here’s Jonny’s view from Washington Heights.
Curtain twitchers, lockdown Stasi, narcs and snitches; the lockdown has caused many people to internalise surveillance, compete for social capital through rule abidance, and assert themselves by shaming others. But where does surveillance capitalism fit in all of this? Should we be worried about contact tracing apps – and not in a tinfoil hat kinda way? We’re joined by the mighty Liz Carolan to talk about tech and tracing.
Byline is a new bonus series from United Ireland, where we speak to journalists working on important stories. We take a deep dive into those stories, and the journalists’ working processes, and tack how they brought the issue into the public sphere, and the impact it had.
The covid-19 pandemic has created a huge appetite for quality breaking news, reporting, and investigative journalism, but it has also caused advertising revenue to collapse, leaving many media outlets in precarious positions.
At a time when trust is at something of a low in media, and where tech companies that participate in undermining democracy, promoting misinformation and disinformation and benefiting from advertising that previously went to newspapers and other traditional media outlets, and where mainstream media outlets are often subjected to attacks from several quarters, we want to get back to the story and highlight the decent work and hard graft that often goes uncelebrated.
Byline is about good journalists doing the hard yards in the public interest.
First up, is a young reporter in the Irish Times, Jack Power, who has earned the respect of his colleagues and the industry for his diligence, tenacity, and the seriousness with which he pursues stories. Jack is a reporter almost in the classic mould. Today, Una talks to him about his work investigating and reporting on the sexual abuse of children in scouting organisations in Ireland.
With the iconic Grafton Street cafe unable to afford its rent and closing, what does this say about how businesses and retail are coping with rent, landlords, and survival in the pandemic? We’re joined by Irish Times Business Editor Ciarán Hancock for the lowdown on the landscape of retail rent in Ireland, and Rosie from Hen’s Teeth gives her perspective as one of those involved in running a small but vibrant creative space in Dublin. Plus, Una finally coins a JLo-related republican slogan, and Andrea is ragin about Boris.
You’ve probably heard a lot about how Sweden approached the covid-19 pandemic differently, and it’s an approach that is providing media and amateur covid-commentators with a rake of hot takes and opinions. But what’s really going on in Sweden, and what can the rest of the world learn, positively or negatively, from their approach? On this bonus podcast, Una talks to journalist Philip O’Connor in detail about the Swedish pandemic experience. This is a fascinating conversation, and we learned A LOT.
This week, Una and Andrea assess how the lockdown has impacted how they think about the world and are sharing some lockdown learnings. Are you seeing the world differently? What has lockdown brought up for you. Meanwhile, the Greens are running in the burning building otherwise known as the It’ll Be Grand coalition, Leo Varadkar thinks handing out food parcels is Trumpian, SOUND, and every teenager’s dream comes true as the Leaving Cert is cancelled.
Sean Byran aka Seany B of Cut & Sew joins us to discuss the drama of blokes having to forgo haircuts in lockdown, as well as assessing the impact on the barber industry as a whole. If you’ve ever thought of giving yourself a DIY fade, this episode is for you.