Browser Newsletter 1169

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

Best of the Moment

Three Thrown Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

Alan Bellows | Damn Interesting | 18th November 2013

Fantastic story of Michigan psychiatrist's 1959 experiment bringing together three men claiming to be God and letting them argue it out. "Clyde squared his reality with the others' by concluding that the other men were actually dead. Leon explained away the others' assertions as lies from attention-seeking imposters. Joseph observed that the other claimants were, in fact, patients in a mental hospital, which proved that they were insane"

Delinquent, Champion, Felon, Penitent

Paul Beston | City Journal | 22nd November 2013

After the gruesome first paragraph, an entertaining account of Mike Tyson's autobiography, Undisputed Truth. "The nearly 600-page book is compulsively readable and sometimes hilarious. It’s also repetitive, serially profane, moving, and ultimately exhausting, a bit like listening to a troubled friend talk through the night". Bonus fact: "Tyson the fighter is born when an older tough takes a pigeon from him and rips the bird’s head off"

Storybook Plutocracy

Thomas Frank | Public Books | 21st November 2013

George Packer’s The Unwinding is a "masterpiece of the social-disintegration genre", cataloguing the "slow-rolling economic transformation" of the past 30 years that has made a few Americans astonishingly rich and reduced the rest to commodities in the labour market. But a thousand such books have been written in the past decade, to no effect. Have words and arguments lost their power to bring about social change?

Kennedy And After

Hannah Arendt | New York Review Of Books | 26th December 1963

A treasure from the archives. Highly perceptive about Kennedy's character, if waffly about his politics. "He went after the job, knowing its dangers and its solitary responsibility, because it was to him the most desirable thing on earth. He was impatient with convention and protocol because they tended to raise him so high above the common rank of men that he could no longer remain what he intended to be — primus inter pares"

Obituary: Olivia Robertson

Telegraph | 22nd November 2013

Archpriestess and hierophant of the Fellowship of Isis, an "order devoted to the worship of the Divine Feminine", which she ran with her brother from their haunted castle in Ireland. Visitors included Van Morrison, Hugh Grant and Mick Jagger. The Fellowship of Isis was flexible on doctrinal matters: “The only thing we don’t like is people being boiled alive or burned or having their heads chopped off" (Metered paywall)

Video of the day: Scroogle

Thought for the day:

"Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment" — Robert Benchley

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