Orwell Prize longlist announced

Books by Andy Beckett, Tristram Hunt and Michela Wrong are all in the running.

The Orwell Prize for political writing has announced this year's longlist. Among those nominated in the blogs category was Laurie Penny, who contributed a piece to Cultural Capital earlier this week -- and below is the books list, with links to the ones we've reviewed.

Beckett, Andy When the Lights Went Out (Faber)
Chikwava, Brian Harare North (Jonathan Cape)
Cohen, Nick Waiting for the Etonians (Fourth Estate)
De Bellaigue, Christopher Rebel Land (Bloomsbury)
Edwards, Ruth Dudley Aftermath (Harvill Secker)
Gappah, Petina Elegy for Easterly (Faber/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Gardner, David Last Chance (I. B. Tauris)
Gillies, Andrea Keeper (Short Books)
Hunt, Tristram The Frock-Coated Communist (Allen Lane)
Kampfner, John Freedom for Sale (Simon & Schuster)
Malik, Kenan From Fatwa to Jihad (Atlantic Books) -- Read Malik on the burning of Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses
Maric, Vesna Bluebird: A Memoir (Granta Books)
O'Toole, Fintan Ship of Fools (Faber)
Peel, Michael A Swamp Full of Dollars (I. B. Tauris)
Wheeler, Sara The Magnetic North (Jonathan Cape) -- one of our 2009 Books of the Year
Wilkinson, Richard & Pickett, Kate The Spirit Level (Allen Lane)
Wilson, Ben What Price Liberty? (Faber)
Wrong, Michela It's Our Turn to Eat (Fourth Estate)

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Why a Keeping Up with the Kardashians cartoon would make genuinely brilliant TV

The Kardashians are their own greatest satirists.

You’ve seen Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kourtney and Kim Take Kyoto, and Kylie and Kendall Klarify Kommunications Kontracts, but the latest Kardashian show might take a step away from reality. Yes, Kartoon Kardashians could be on the way. According to TMZ, an animated cartoon is the next Kardashian television property we can expect: the gossip website reports that Kris Jenner saw Harvey Weinstein’s L.A. production company earlier this month for a pitch meeting.

It’s easy to imagine the dramas the animated counterparts of the Kardashians might have: arguments over who gets the last clear plastic salad bowl? Moral dilemmas over whether or not to wear something other than Balenciaga to a high profile fashion event? Outrage over the perceived betrayals committed by their artisanal baker?

If this gives you déjà vu, it might be because of a video that went viral over a year ago made using The Sims: a blisteringly accurate parody of Keeping Up with the Kardashians that sees the three sisters have a melodramatic argument about soda.

It’s hysterical because it clings onto the characteristics of the show: scenes opening with utter banalities, sudden dramatic music coinciding with close-ups of each family member’s expressions, a bizarre number of shots of people who aren’t speaking, present tense confessionals, Kim’s ability to do an emotional 0-60, and Kourtney’s monotonous delivery.

But if the Kardashians, both as a reality TV show and celebrity figures, are ripe for ridicule, no one is more aware of it than the family themselves. They’ve shared teasing memes and posted their own self-referential jokes on their social channels, while Kim’s Kimoji app turned mocking viral pictures into self-depreciating in-jokes for her fans. And the show itself has a level of self-awareness often misinterpreted as earnestness - how else could this moment of pure cinema have made it to screen?

The Kardashians are their own greatest satirists, and they’ve perfected the art of making fun of themselves before anyone else can. So there’s a good chance that this new cartoon won’t be a million miles away from “Soda Drama”. It might even be brilliant.

Anna Leszkiewicz is a pop culture writer at the New Statesman.