Fats Domino, Capitalism, Werewolves, Interrogation, David Brooks

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

Ain‘t That a Shame: Fats Domino

Brian Cullman | Paris Review | 26th October 2017

In memoriam. “A date with Elvis would start and end in bed, a night out with Little Richard or Jerry Lee Lewis would probably land you in jail, but a date with Fats Domino would probably just involve pork chops. With his sly, loping piano mixing barrelhouse with boogie-woogie, with those warm, casual vocals, his way of stretching words halfway around the block, his records sounded like nothing else on the radio” (660 words)

Capitalist Triumphalism

Chris Dillow | Stumbling And Mumbling | 25th October 2017

When Khrushchev spoke of “burying” and “overtaking” Western capitalism, nobody laughed. America fought in Vietnam because it believed that communism was in danger of succeeding, not because it thought communism doomed to failure. McCarthyism was aimed “not at rooting out cranks, but genuine threats to American capitalism”. The idea that capitalism would inevitably triumph is a recent phenomenon owing “more to the hindsight bias than to historic fact” (817 words)


Gavin Francis | LRB | 26th October 2017

Psychiatrist reviews the medical and anecdotal history of werewolves. “Lycanthropy” has come to mean any delusion of having been transformed into an animal; early “werewolves” were probably porphyria sufferers. “In severe untreated cases sufferers may have scarring of the skin, and hair may even begin to grow across their faces. People with certain types of porphyria may suffer derangements in their mental health and become socially isolated, breeding distrust in the wider community” (2,070 words)

Persuading Terrorists To Spill Their Secrets

Ian Leslie | Guardian | 13th October 2017

Does conversation work better than coercion for extracting information from terrorists? Psychiatrists interviewed here insist that it does, and they have the ear of the British police, who were obliged to dial down the tough stuff after interrogations of IRA suspects in the 1980s produced forced confessions and false convictions. The Brits no longer “interrogate” suspects, they “interview” them. The aim is to build a relationship. “Rapport is the closest thing interrogators have to a truth serum” (5,900 words)

David Brooks, Hesitant Radical

Jason Cowley | New Statesman | 26th October 2017

Conversation with New York Times columnist David Brooks about politics and morality. Interesting throughout. “Public conversation is over-politicised and under-moralised. We analyse every movement in the polls, but the big subjects — relationships, and mercy, and how to be a friend – these are the big subjects of life and we don’t talk about them enough. Or we have our moral arguments through political means, which is a nasty way to do it because then you make politics into a culture war” (1,020 words)

Video of the day On Nagging

What to expect:

From the School of Life. Wanting to change others for the better is a noble objective. But nagging is a bad way to go about (4’00”)

Thought for the day

Tell me what you fear and I will tell you what has happened to you
D.W. Winnicott

Podcast of the day A Leonardo Comes To Market | NPR

Rick Karr and guests discuss Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi”, soon to be auctioned

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