Best of the Moment
Anonymous | Economist | 26th July 2013
Drug kingpin, pillar of the Burmese economy. Sold China white heroin under the brand-name 'Double UO Globe' Made a first fortune trafficking drugs to American soldiers during the Vietnam war. Fought with the Shan State Army. Friend and financier of the junta. "His wealth was so vast, by repute, that no one could guess it. Small wonder, when exports of his main product equalled all Myanmar’s legitimate exports put together".
Gary Shteyngart | New Yorker | 28th July 2013
Around and about New York wearing Google Glass. "Before I leave, Aray and I have a Google hangout. We essentially swap identities. I see what she sees through her Glass, which is me. She sees what I see through my Glass, which is her. We bring our faces closer, as if approaching a mirror, but the feeling is more akin to being trapped in an early Spike Jonze movie or thrust into an unholy Vulcan mind meld"
Anonymous | Spiegel | 26th July 2013
On the decline of Europe. Laqueur at 92, is sunk in pessimism. "Freedom, human rights, social justice are all wonderful, and I don't want to minimize the achievements of European societies. But a role model? Europe is much too weak to play a civilizing or moral role in world politics. Nice speeches and well-intentioned admonitions carry little weight when made from a position of weakness"
Duncan White | Telegraph | 26th July 2013
Five-star review of the third and latest volume of Berlin's letters. Here is Berlin on John F. Kennedy: “He is frightened of erosion: one must act: one must perform: one must live carefully & dangerously: life is a war and one must live under continual shadow of death: very romantic, rather terrifying: I see why Joe [Alsop] & Phil [Graham] love him so: to them he is Alexander the Great in a plumed helmet ready for the barbarians"
Jorge Luis Borges | New York Review Of Books | 28th July 2013
From 1966, newly translated, and published in English for the first time. As wonderful as you might expect, given author and subject. A lecture on the art of biography, as seen through the example of Boswell's Life of Johnson. Boswell shaped his biography as a dramatist does a play, developing his minor characters as foils to Johnson. "Boswell gives himself the role of the ridiculous one, and he maintains it throughout the entire book"
Thought for the day:
"Freedom for the republican consists not in being free from coercion in respect of some action, but rather in being free from the possibility of coercion" — Quentin Skinner