Brexit, Sport, Muhammad Ali, Klein Blue

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

Ernst Jünger: Born Soldier

Karl Malantes | New York Review of Books | 29th May 2016

Jünger’s diaries are “factual, nonjudgmental, noneditorialized” accounts of war which contain “almost no political, moral, or philosophical commentary”. He was a born warrior. Such people “experience war not as something to endure but as something meaningful to them, something they want to engage in more than anything else. Think about a born musician who gets clinically depressed if she is unable to play her instrument, and how differently she experiences a string quartet from the rest of us” (1,914 words)

Dear Britain: Don’t Brexit

Elena Ferrante et al | Guardian | 4th June 2016

Open letters to Britain from European writers offering advice on the Brexit referendum. Uneven, but many interesting points, and a disconcerting amount of nostalgia and sentimentality. All say “stay”, which suggests some unacknowledged rigging of the selection process. Cees Noteboom thinks it has something to do with the Congress of Vienna. Elena Ferrante argues that “a broad, true identity must open itself up to all identities”, which comes oddly from a pseudonym (4,270 words)

The Future Of Sports

Jason Gay | Wall Street Journal | 31st May 2016

“The course was visually staggering. It ran more than the length of a football field and was filled with ropes, bars, pools and Rube Goldberg contraptions. It resembled a steroidal combination of a kiddie playground and a hamster maze. It struck me as one of the most ridiculous and awesome things I’d ever seen.” The show in question, American Ninja Warriors, is a pastiche of sport; but it is also a throwback to older sporting values. It is not the winning that matters, but the taking part (3,200 words)

The Outsized Life Of Muhammad Ali

David Remnick | New Yorker | 4th June 2016

“He was the most fantastical American figure of his era, a self-invented character of such physical wit, political defiance, global fame, and sheer originality that no novelist would dare conceive him. While he eventually became an Olympic champion, he did not so much impress boxing writers as bewilder them. The only thing ordinary about the boxing career of Muhammad Ali was that he stayed too long and ended up damaged. Everything else was outsized” (Metered paywall) (2,880 words)

Bright Earth

Philip Ball | Penguin | 26th November 2015

Yves Klein saw a “pure energy” in his pigments which was somehow always lost when the pigments were turned into paints. So he partnered with a Parisian chemist to produce a new colour which would be “truly extraordinary”. The trick was to change the fixative resin. The result, International Klein Blue, was a near-ultramarine of such “unnerving vibrancy” that Klein never used any other colour again. See it on canvas and it shimmers. No reproduction comes close (1,800 words)

Video of the day: What If People Disappeared?

What to expect:

“Imagine that all people suddenly disappeared from the planet. The reason is irrelevant, just imagine the result” (4’28”)

Thought for the day

We must not tire of repeating what is true
JW von Goethe

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