Johnny Depp, Football, Florida, John Von Neumann, America

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

The Trouble With Johnny Depp

Stephen Rodrick | Rolling Stone | 21st June 2018

Car-crash profile of Jonny Depp, drunk, depressed and divorced in addled middle age. “One of the most famous actors in the world is now smoking dope with a writer and his lawyer while his cook makes dinner and his bodyguards watch television. There is no one around him who isn’t getting paid”. How much longer the payroll can run is another matter, since Depp’s accountants say he is broke. “It’s insulting to say that I spent $30,000 a month on wine, because it was far more” (10,500 words)

Bloody Games

Arkady Ostrovsky | TLS | 20th June 2018

“To grasp the place of sport in Russian history, visitors to the World Cup need look no further than the arched walls of Moscow’s Dinamo metro station – constructed in 1938, at the height of Stalin’s terror – where relief medallions of footballers, tennis players, skiers and climbers exemplify the strength of the Soviet Union. Like most empires, the Soviet one saw sport as preparation for war. This ideological contest has morphed into a battle of narratives, with showbusiness playing a dominant role” (3,600 words)

Everything Went Wild

Sarah Viren | Oxford American | 12th June 2018

How writers portray Florida, starting with Susan Orlean and her orchid thief. Florida is extreme America in both senses — edge-case and exaggeration. “We’re like a mirage. You see one thing when you look at the state from a distance, but if you come closer, dig deeper, you always find something else. This probably has something to do with Disney World, but it also relates to the entire construct of Florida — the mythology of the state as a paradise preserved in time just for you”

Passing Of A Great Mind

Clary Blair | Qualia Computing | 21st June 2018

How Life magazine remembered the mathematician and physicist John von Neumann, Einstein’s peer as the most brilliant scientific thinker of the 20th century, on his death in 1957. “At the age of six he was able to divide two eight-digit numbers in his head. By the age of eight he had mastered college calculus and could memorize on sight a column in a telephone book and repeat back the names, addresses and numbers”. Oddly, though, he could never remember the names of people whom he met (4,400 words)

American Imperial History

Cal Flyn | Five Books | 15th June 2018

Interview with British historian Tony Hopkins. “The expansionist imperial history of the United States from 1898 to the close of the 1950s has been erased from the books. It’s quite extraordinary. There is a vast literature on the war of 1898. But as soon as the war finishes, everyone loses interest. Admittedly, the US Empire was small in relation to the British and French empires. Nevertheless, by 1940 the United States ruled about 23 million people in the Pacific and Caribbean” (5,900 words)

Video of the day

What to expect:

Bird life and bird song from Oostvaardersplassen, a nature reserve in the Netherlands. Generally awesome (5’47”)

Thought for the day

You should never doubt something that no one is sure of
Roald Dahl

Podcast Karl Ove Knausgaard | Radio Open Source

Karl Ove Knausgaard talks to Christopher Lydon about the joys and pains of writing about one’s own life
(30m 33s)

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