Abduction, William Merritt Chase, Companies, Architecture, Oxfam, Gay Bars

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They Called Her Mrs Sherlock Holmes

Brad Ricca | Narratively | 11th January 2017

Gripping account of the 1917 New York abduction case which turned Grace Humiston, America’s first female District Attorney, into a national hero. “For the work she was about to do on the sensational Cruger case, facing off against corrupt police, an unseen criminal society, the insatiable media, and a mysterious pale man, reporters called her ‘Mrs. Sherlock Holmes’. In two months Grace would become the most famous female detective in America. In less than a year, she would disappear” (3,650 words)

William Merritt Chase At The Museum of Fine Arts

Franklin Einspruch | New Criterion | 12th January 2017

Think John Singer Sargent, but nimbler. William Merritt Chase’s 1884 self-portrait “may be the best dry-medium drawing in the history of nineteenth-century American art”. Against a golden background, “the artist is holding his oil palette, which is a curveball for the viewer since this is not an oil painting, though it could pass for one at first blush. His suit is oaken and crisp. His gaze is restful and assured. His mustache soars like a triumphant osprey. The artist was thirty-five” (1,100 words)

Corporate Governance

John Kay | 16th January 2017

The old distinctions between public and private equity markets have collapsed, and regulators need to adjust. Companies used to go public because they wanted to raise money for capital investment. Now, companies are already self-financing when they reach the stock market; they sell shares to reward early investors who want to cash out. Public markets “play virtually no role in the allocation of capital for investment and are more or less entirely devoted to secondary market trading” (4,200 words)

Beautiful Nightmare

Daniel Wright | The Beauty Of Transport | 16th November 2016

Can one love the architecture of Santa Maria Novella railway station in Florence, knowing that it was designed to embody the fascist ideology of Benito Mussolini? “I want to rave about Santa Maria Novella. It’s a Modernist classic full of geometry and light, and enhanced by stylish details. But I find I can’t. I just can’t muster the will to really enthuse for a building born of despotism and cruelty. Should we demolish buildings associated with oppression regardless of their intrinsic qualities?” (1,400 words)

Oxfam And Inequality

Felix Salmon | Fusion | 16th January 2017

How Oxfam loads the math to produce its headline-grabbing claim that the eight richest people in the world are richer than the bottom 50% of the world population combined: “If you use Oxfam’s methodology, my niece, with 50 cents in pocket money, has more wealth than the bottom 40% of the world’s population combined. As do you, assuming your net worth is positive. You don’t need to find eight billionaires to arrive at a shocking wealth statistic; you can take just about anybody” (1,040 words)

A Good Bye To Gay Bars

The Economist | Medium | 25th December 2016

Gay bars are vanishing from Western cities for reasons inconceivable a generation ago: They are less needed, because gays are less marginalised. “Views on homosexuality have become markedly more tolerant. Many gay men and women, particularly youngsters, do not feel the need to congregate in one spot.” Gay neighbourhoods are dissolving for the same reason. “The vast majority of gay men and lesbians with partners live in neighbourhoods where gay and straight people live side by side” (2,070 words)

Video of the day: L’Illusion de Joseph

What to expect:

The moving-picture illusion of the 19C phenakistoscope recreated in stop-motion animation (2’11”)

Thought for the day

Technology is the knack of arranging the world so that we need not experience it
Max Frisch

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