Giraffe Edition 33

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

The Old House At Home

Joseph Mitchell | New Yorker | 13th April 1940

It's true that Joseph Mitchell didn't write often. But when he did, it was enough to make lesser talents weep over their typewriters. This profile of a New York bar and its late departed owner is poetry dressed as prose. "It is a drowsy place; the bartenders never make a needless move, the customers nurse their mugs of ale, and the three clocks on the walls have not been in agreement for many years" (6,530 words)

Military Culture Versus The Robotics Revolution

Paul Scharre | War On The Rocks | 29th July 2014

How service culture dictates the way that weaponry is used. US Air Force drones are flown remotely from US bases by a pilot officer in a flight suit, with a joystick, sitting in a mock cockpit. US Army drones are flown by enlisted men using computer screens, but located within the theatre of battle. Why? Because Air Force culture centres on pilot skills; Army culture centres on deployment to war (2,440 words)

Liberals Are Killing Art

Jed Perl | New Republic | 5th August 2014

Nice people like you and me are the modern audience for highbrow art — and we are killing it by requiring it to serve socially useful, or at least, socially explicable, purposes. We have no appetite for art's "irreducible mystery and magic". We want "to bring art’s unruly power into line with some more general system of social, political, and moral values". This is reasonable; but art is not reasonable; a tragic contradiction (4,700 words)

Sleepwalkers And The Germans

Andreas Wirsching | Inside | 5th August 2014

Christopher Clark's Sleepwalkers, an account of the Great War, is a best-seller in Germany. Why? Because Clark does not blame the war primarily on Germany, but on the European political system as a whole. "The German trajectory looks very much like that of the others." Clark's book thus gratifies "a subcutaneous feeling in Germany of being unjustly held to blame by history in general and by Europeans in particular" (1,770 words)

August The Fourth 1914

Desmond MacCarthy | New Statesman | 4th August 2014

Diary of a literary critic on the eve of World War One. A walk through night-time London. The air is full of excitement. The streets are buzzing. The public is thrilled. "I caught the idea which had been peeping at me, and the irony of it was enough to make one cry: few people experience so genuinely the sense that life is worth living which a feeling of brotherhood gives as when they are banded together to kill their fellow men" (1,100 words)

How Times Square Works

Adam Clark Estes | Gizmodo | 31st July 2014

Billboards plus property development have transformed Times Square from a Tenderloin thirty years ago to a Disneyland now; with, admittedly, a nudge from Mayor Giuliani. The billboards are programmable LED displays with the functionality of gigantic cinema screens; think of the Square as one great computer. The utility bills total $368m a year. But the neighbourhood provides 11% of New York City's GDP (3,500 words)

Video of the day: Logorama

What to expect: Cartoon in the manner of South Park. PG: Language

Thought for the day

"Every fear hides a wish"
— David Mamet

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