Barack Obama, Short People, Paris, Poetry Regulation, Iran

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Man Of The Year: Barack Obama

Bill Simmons | GQ | 17th November 2015

Interview. Very good on the presidency, though the small-talk struggles. "The challenge of Ferguson and all issues related to police shootings, race, and the criminal-justice system is that in order to get something done, you have to build consensus. Expressing outrage without follow-up is often counterproductive. What was different in Charleston was the clarity of what happened. That allowed everybody to be open to it" (4,840 words)

How China Shortchanges Short People

Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore | Foreign Affairs | 16th November 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

Chinese companies want taller workers. If Deng Xiaoping were young today his 4'11" frame would make it hard for him to find a job as a waiter, though he might pass muster as a kitchen hand. Diplomats "must be tall enough to match their foreign counterparts". Height is part of your CV. "For each additional centimeter of height, earnings increase an average of 4.5 percent for Chinese men and 7.3 percent for women" (1,650 words)

Who Is The Enemy?

Jeremy Harding | London Review Of Books | 17th November 2015

"Parts of the French press and the public were genuinely puzzled when, in a war involving more than a thousand sorties and hundreds of air strikes, the enemy responded by inflicting casualties. Until last week the battle zones seemed far away. It was as though the sinister missions of Isis had no more to do with France’s actions in the Middle East than a freak flood or an unfortunate fire in a hostel" (640 words)

Towards Drug-Free Poetry

Editorial | PN Review | 2nd November 2015

"As poetry becomes more of a competitive art, with substantial purses, it is time to consider regulation. Regular blood and urine tests of those poets who declare themselves and regularly enter the competitive field can be organised. Attention to the moral character of the art at its most public is long over-due. There is an ugly history of substance abuse that needs to be acknowledged and put behind us" (755 words)

Memoirs Of A Revolutionary

Neda Semnani | Baffler | 16th November 2015

A daughter remembers her father, who rejoiced at the revolution in Iran and returned from America, but became disillusioned with Ayatollah Khomeini and conspired against him. "On January 25, 1983, at about nine o’clock in the evening, my father and twenty-one of his friends were led onto a snowy soccer pitch in Amol, a small town by the Caspian Sea. There, the Iranian government executed them by firing squad" (5,690 words)

Video of the day: Dan Krugman, Guitar Maker

What to expect: Documentary. Brooklyn-based craftsman Dan Krugman talks us through the making of a guitar (3'30")

Thought for the day

You have to decide whether to give the masses what they want, or something much better
Ricky Gervais (

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