Germany, Oscar Wilde, Love, Taboos, Galbraith


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

Germany Must Lead

Anne Applebaum | Spiegel | 23rd August 2017

Germany’s post-war commitment to peace has made it one of the world’s most admirable countries. But as America grows tired and confused about its place in the world, Europe needs to rally behind a new leading military power — and that power can only be Germany. If Germany does not want a bigger army of its own, it should co-ordinate with France in creating a strong and deployable European army. America will still be a friend, but “the era of total dependence on the US military is over” (1,400 words)

Oscar Wilde’s New Play Opens In Manchester

Guardian | 23rd August 2017

Snarky review of Lady Windermere’s Fan, from the Guardian of 1892. “The dialogue is often good. At the end of the first act it is as salt and rapid as good comedy dialogue should be. Elsewhere it is several times forced and tedious beyond expression, and in the third act one long passage of highly worked-up witticisms, during the delivery of which the action makes almost a dead halt, is intolerably artificial in its own substance and still more in the crude and unprepared manner of its introduction” (1,400 words)

Why We Pick The Partners We Do

Tamsin Saxton | Aeon | 11th August 2017

When it comes down to the final choice of mate, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. “Your ideal partner is vanishingly unlikely to be my ideal partner, even if we are matched for gender, age and sexual orientation”. But in general, we tend to favour mates who somewhat resemble our parents or siblings. Why? Perhaps because overlapping genes are a reproductive advantage, so long as the overlap is not so great — so incestuous — as to trigger dangerous recessive genetic disorders (1,200 words)

Unpopular Ideas About Social Norms

Julia Galef | 23rd August 2017

Bullet-point list of claims that have much in their favour — indeed, I think I agree with most of them — but which would be guaranteed to start an argument in a public place. “Divorce should be stigmatized more than it is now, to preserve the significance of marital commitment”. “Incest that doesn’t involve children, coercion, or procreation should be socially accepted”. “We should de-stigmatize suicide, because some people would in fact be better off ending their lives” (813 words)

Reflections On Galbraith’s New Industrial State

Joshua Gans | Digitopoly | 22nd August 2017

John Kenneth Galbraith argued in 1967 that large corporations would soon control the US economy and polity unless government stopped them. He had in mind the giants of his day — AT&T, General Motors, Standard Oil, IBM, Texaco, DuPont, Sears, General Electric, Gulf Oil, and Kodak. So he was wrong on the specifics at least. If he were writing today, in the age of Google and Facebook, he would probably argue that technocrats would do the capturing. Would he be any more right? (1,540 words)

Video of the day: A Trailer For Every Movie

What to expect:

Satire. Generic trailer combining tropes from popular films of the past decade (3’20”)

Thought for the day

What we need are more people who specialize in the impossible
Theodore Roethke

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