Communism, Murder, Refugees, Amish, Marlon James

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

How Long Was China Communist?

Andrew Batson | 21st June 2017

Not for all that long, at least compared to Russia, which may help explain why China took so much more easily to capitalism. Central planning in Russia lasted for 74 years, or two generations, from the 1917 revolution to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Central planning in China lasted 29 years from the 1949 revolution to the start of economic reforms in 1978. When central planning collapsed in China there was still a generation that remembered how the private economy worked (1,600 words)

The Monster Of Florence

Douglas Preston | Atlantic | 1st July 2006

From the archives, enthralling true-crime account of bungled investigation into grotesque Italian serial killings. Thomas Harris borrowed elements for his Hannibal Lecter novels. All possible trigger warnings for violence. “Between 1974 and 1985 seven couples were murdered while making love in parked cars in the hills of Florence. The case was never solved. There have been suicides, exhumations, poisonings, body parts sent by post, séances in graveyards, lawsuits, and prosecutorial vendettas” (10,800 words)

The Tamarind Is Always Sour

Keane Shum | Granta | 19th June 2017

Shocking account of the sufferings endured by Rohingya refugees as they flee persecution in Myanmar. “The business model was to get as many passengers to Malaysia alive as possible, but crews were not shy about shooting or beating people to maintain order. The murdered would be thrown overboard, along with the handful who perished from starvation or sickness. We think about twelve of every thousand passengers died at sea, almost all from abuse or deprivation” (8,400 words)

Slow Time Is God’s Time

Donald B. Kraybill | Vestoj | 21st June 2017

How the Amish dress. “An Amish catechism manual devotes nine pages and forty-three questions and answers to dress – second only to the topic of heaven. Amish women and men have a wardrobe for each of three occasions: work, dress up (public occasions), and church. The most traditional, plainest and most conforming garb is worn to church. Men who might, for example, wear jackets with buttons for dress-up occasions will wear suits with hooks and eyes for church services” (2,200 words)

Smaller, And Smaller, And Smaller

Marlon James | Facebook | 17th June 2017

You can be a world-famous novelist, but at home in Minnesota you are a “big black guy”, with all the risk that entails. “I have a big global voice, but a small local one, because I don’t want to be a target. I have a rule of leaving the party as soon as I see five white people drunk, because the only person who will remember that moment when everybody got hella racist will be me. I have a self-imposed curfew of when to ride my bike home. I avoid police, because I don’t know how to act around them” (1,625 words)

Video of the day: Jeff Koons

What to expect:

Short documentary commissioned by MOCA Los Angeles and narrated by Scarlett Johansson (8’25”)

Thought for the day

If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you
George Bernard Shaw

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