Defence, DAU, Biden, Species, Parents

Editor's note: Martin Vander Weyer, business editor of The Spectator, legendary Daily Telegraph obituarist, poet, amateur actor and reformed banker, is our guest in this week's Browser Zoom conversation on Sunday 24th January at 10am PT; 1pm ET; 6pm GMT. Please email for a link if you would like to join us

The Acting Defence Secretary Takes His Leave

Chris Miller | Defence Department | 14th January 2021

From the transcript of US defence secretary Chris Miller's final press briefing. On his Pentagon colleagues: "A lot of people just want to continue doing the same old thing again and again. I think that’s the definition of insanity, isn’t it? Oh, did I say that out loud?" On the F-35: "We have created a monster, but you know that". On his own future: "I cannot wait to leave this job, believe me" (1,400 words)

Nihilism For Oligarchs

Sophie Pinkham | New Left Review | 1st September 2020

A Russian oligarch bankrolls an enfant terrible director to shoot the life-story of a Soviet scientist. Madness ensues on a closed set in Ukaine, including "the killing and torture of animals, the use of orphans and prisoners, unplanned sex scenes with intoxicated participants [and] the presence of neo-Nazis". The result is DAU, one of the most deranged attempts at art since Nero burned Rome (7,500 words)

Joe Biden's America

Fintan O'Toole | Guardian | 16th January 2021

On Joe Biden's star-crossed life and Irish heritage. Interesting throughout. "Biden the Irish pol is a revenant from a dead era. His skills as an operator, a problem-solver, a fixer, are finely honed, but redundant. He is a horse-whisperer who has to deal with mad dogs. He has the paradoxical freedom of knowing that nothing that lies ahead of him is likely to be as bad as what lies behind him" (2,500 words)

Loving Animals

Joanna Bourke | Notch | 7th January 2021

An historian asks why sex with other species is such a taboo. "While all other arguments about human exceptionalism have been dismantled, bestiality remains off-limits. It is only in very recent years that some people have begun to undermine the prohibition on zoosexuality. Are their arguments dangerous? What does it mean to love animals? More pertinently: What does it mean to love?" (990 words)

The Parent-Child Relationship

John Danaher | Philosophical Disquisitions | 15th January 2021

Who owes what to whom in a parent-child relationship? Is it ethical for people to become parents in the hope that doing so will make them better people? Should parental love be unconditional even if one's child becomes a serial killer? "The potential harms of parenthood seem to outweigh the potential benefits. If there are other paths to a flourishing life, why not try those instead?" (3,400 words)

Video: How To Restore A Book | Shuri Bakaseru. A Japanese craftsman restores a battered dictionary to near-mint condition (10m 37s)

Audio: How Cultures Think | Parlia. Julian Baggini talks to Turi Munthe about schools of philosophy outside the Western tradition, and what they can tell us about the universality, or cultural specificity, of human nature (48m 56s)

"No one wants a lecture. Everyone wants a story"
Morgan Housel

As a completely independent publisher, the Browser showcases fascinating, under-appreciated writing from around the world. It's only possible thanks to our wonderful paid subscribers, who get a daily dose of fascinating reading with no ads and no fuss. We'd love to have you with us.

Join the Browser

Join 150,000+ curious readers who grow with us every day

No spam. No nonsense. Unsubscribe anytime.

Great! Check your inbox and click the link to confirm your subscription
Please enter a valid email address!
You've successfully subscribed to The Browser
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in
Could not sign in! Login link expired. Click here to retry
Cookies must be enabled in your browser to sign in