Giraffe Edition 39

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

Chinese Shadows: Bureaucracy, Happiness, History

Simon Leys | ChinaFile/NYRB | 9th June 1977

Pierre Ryckmans, writing as Simon Leys, was one of the great China-watchers of the later Communist era. He died on August 11th. This extract comes from his 1977 book Chinese Shadows, which he wrote after serving at the Belgian embassy in Beijing. Leys blamed the Ming dynasty for plunging China into despotism, and the "barbarians" of the Qing dynasty for making it worse. Mao continued the tradition (9,500 words)

A Brit in Gaza

Paul Mason | Channel 4 | 4th August 2014

Reporter's notebook. "It's all your fault", say older Palestinians — and, in a way, they are right. ish1917 the Britain government pledged support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine, while promising that "existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine” would be protected. It defaulted on that promise. "That’s why my British face and accent do not go down universally well here, among those who know their history" (803 words)

Celebrating Greenspan’s Legacy Of Failure

Barry Ritholtz | Bloomberg View | 11th August 2014

Alan Greenspan enjoyed "one of the most interesting and, to be blunt, weirdest tenures ever for a Fed chairman." At the time he was treated as a genius. With hindsight he seems to have got all his most important decisions wrong. "He was a free marketer who loved to intervene in the markets, a chief bank regulator who seemingly failed to understand even the most basic premise of bank regulations" (780 words)

BuzzFeed’s Business Model

Felix Salmon | Medium | 12th August 2014

BuzzFeed is worth at least its latest $850 million valuation, and probably much more. It's a media company, but it's not (primarily) a content company; its core competence is the technology of marketing. BuzzFeed proves with its content that it knows how to reach huge, young, mobile audiences. Then "it can then sell that secret sauce to advertisers, and help them reach the same audience, using the same tools" (1,320 words)

Who Was Ernest Hemingway?

Edward Mendelson | New York Review Of Books | 12th August 2014

Review of The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, Volume 2: 1923–1925. "In these three years, living mostly in Paris, he fathered his first child, grew disenchanted with his first wife and took up with his second, quit his first job as a reporter, published his first three collections of stories and poems, wrote his first two novels [and] saw his first bullfight" (3,400 words)

Video of the day: Robin Williams With Johnny Carson

What to expect: Just what the title says. From 1981

Thought for the day

"You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it"
— Robin Williams

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