Conservatism, Iconoclasm, Herbs, Burroughs & Bowie, Metaphors

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

Plodding Desires And Private Choice

Janan Ganesh | Financial Times | 11th January 2016 | | Read with 1Pass

"Dizzying choice in our private lives could actually heighten our craving for static institutions where we can find them. We fear structural reform of the state because of, not despite, the great lifestyle upheaval brought about by geniuses at the nexus of technology and commerce in recent times. We are creatures of balance, not masochists for endless change and ever greater atomisation" (782 words)

A Short History Of Statue-Toppling

Martin Gayford | Spectator | 9th January 2016

Should Rhodes fall? There is plenty of historical precedent for toppling statues, dating from ancient Egypt when Tuthmosis III obliterated Hatshepsut. Few are missed, as works of art, with at least one signal exception. Michelangelo's life-size bronze of Pope Julius II may well have been his masterpiece, but we shall never know. Three years after its completion in 1508 the Pope's enemies took Rome and smashed the statue to bits (1,200 words)

The Science Of Herbs And Spices

Harold McGee | Lucky Peach | 11th January 2016

"Herb and spice flavors are chemical weapons. Their role is to repel insects and snails that try to eat them, and to kill microbes that try to infect them. The flavor chemicals also sometimes serve as a form of birth control. When the leaves of a thyme plant drop to the ground, thymol prevents the plant’s seeds from germinating, so the plant won’t have to compete with its offspring for nutrients from the same patch of soil" (1,250 words)

Beat Godfather Meets Glitter Mainman

Craig Copetas | Rolling Stone | 28th February 1974

David Bowie in conversation with William Burroughs: "I don't believe in proper cinema, it doesn't have the strength of television. People having to go out to the cinema is really archaic. I'd much rather sit at home ... Libraries of video cassettes should be developed to their fullest. You can't video enough good material from your own TV. I want to have my own choice of programs. There has to be the necessary software available" (5,700 words)

A Great Heaving Portion Of Pleasure

Chelsea Summers | Hazlitt | 8th January 2016

On the imagery we use when describing sex. (Some adult language, obviously.) "Electric sustains sex’s unknowable nature, yet turn on and turn off render erotic desire both robotic and simplistic. Unlike a light switch, human desire doesn’t always turn on at the flip of a toggle, and the expectation that bodies should be able to turn on is troublesome. Human bodies and human desire generally need some stoking" (1,450 words)

Video of the day: David Bowie — Starman (1972)

What to expect: David Bowie and the Spiders From Mars — Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder, Mick Woodmansey (3'30")

Thought for the day

The impossible has a kind of integrity to it which the merely improbable lacks
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