Best of the Moment
Patrick Cockburn | Independent | 1st September 2013
Strong sensible stuff on the prospects for war and peace in Syria, with a constructive conclusion: "The best interim solution could be a UN-monitored ceasefire, as briefly occurred under in 2012. All sides are dependent on outside backers, and even those who most want to fight need weapons, ammunition and money. Heavy pressure could be put on them to agree to a peace conference and a temporary ceasefire"
John Holbo | Crooked Timber | 29th August 2013
Superb discussion of The Ideology of Slavery: Proslavery Thought in the Antebellum South, 1830—1860. "The tone is concessive, gentleman-scholarly, mild, punctuated by patronizing sighs and arched eyebrows. Of course slavery is … unfortunate; but you can’t expect this old world to be perfect so we must make the best of it together. Abolitionism is so wrong not because slavery is so right – it isn’t! – but because utopianism must always fail"
Mark O'Connell | New Yorker | 29th August 2013
On the proliferation and significance of lists. "In the not too distant future, all human interactions, written or otherwise, might well be conducted in the form of lists. I imagine myself nervously perched on the papered leatherette of an examination bed, and my doctor directing her sad, humane eyes at me a moment before clearing her throat and saying, 'Top Five Signs You Probably Have Pancreatic Cancer'"
Thought for the day:
"Perfectly symmetrical violence never solved anything" — Professor Farnsworth