Elon Musk, Leonardo, Centenaries, Ireland, Dargahs

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Elon Musk: Architect Of Tomorrow

Neil Strauss | Rolling Stone | 15th November 2017

Lively if somewhat disconcerting profile of Musk as emotionally fragile, tormented by childhood memories, liable to burst into tears, and in thrall to a seemingly complex love life. Not much here of interest about Musk’s companies, only boilerplate flattery, but no end of glimpses into Musk’s personality. “I find one learns lessons in the course of life. One lesson I’ve learned is, don’t tweet on Ambien. That’s on the record: Tweeting on Ambien is unwise. You may regret it” (7,000 words)

They Say It’s By Leonardo

Jerry Saltz | New York | 14th November 2017

The argument here is that Salvator Mundi has been so heavily restored that barely 10% of the original painting survives — and that it was never even by Leonardo da Vinci in the first place. “I’ve looked at art for almost 50 years and one look at this painting tells me it’s no Leonardo. The painting is absolutely dead. Its surface is inert, varnished, lurid, scrubbed over, and repainted so many times that it looks simultaneously new and old. A two-dimensional ersatz dashboard Jesus” (1,700 words)

Reinstall The Footlights

T.J. Clark | LRB | 15th November 2017

Incoherent but always interesting account of exhibitions in London marking the centenary of the Russian revolution. “Centenaries are strange institutions, but this year’s commemorations of the Bolshevik Revolution have been wonderfully simple-minded. How could it matter, after all, that a failed state calling itself socialist, its last paroxysm almost three decades behind us, began in revolution one hundred years ago? How is the passing of a century meant to alter anything?” (4,650 words)

Bordering On The Absurd

Fintan O'Toole | Irish Times | 14th November 2017

Reflections on the return of a post-Brexit border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. “It’s like smoking. If you smoke for decades, you don’t notice how disgusting it is, don’t smell the acrid tang from your clothes and furniture. But if you’ve long since broken the habit, you can’t bear the thought of going back to the raking cough and the clinging odour and the nicotine-stained fingers. After 25 years without the Border-crossing rituals, they will, if they return, seem impossibly absurd” (920 words)


Madhavi Menon | Indian Quarterly | 16th November 2017

Notes on visiting a neglected tomb of astonishing beauty in Delhi. “The inside is magnificent in its rich blues and deep golds, entirely unexpected in the midst of overgrown grass, abandoned courtyards and haunted mosques. Often described as the gay Taj Mahal, Jamali-Kamali’s tomb commemorates a same-sex attachment as intense as the one that inspired Shah Jahan. Unlike the Taj Mahal, Jamali-Kamali’s dargah is not open for public viewing for fear of being defaced like the mosque next door” (3,300 words)

Video of the day Wěndìng Fánróng

What to expect:

Mesmerising and often dizzying aerial views of Hong Kong, by Mariana Bisti, with sound by Jan Jelinek (8’00”)

Thought for the day

How we feel about the nature of existence is largely determined by what we have to do in the next few hours
Alain de Botton

Podcast of the day Ta-Nehisi Coates | Bill Simmons Podcast

You may want to skip the first two minutes of promotional chat, after which you get Ta-Nehisi Coates talking money, reading, LeBron, Obama, Kaepernick, OJ, and The Wire
(1h 25m)

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