Margalit Fox, Headlines, Klaus Mann, Erudition, Marketing, Disability

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

Margalit Fox On Life, Death And Journalism

Tyler Cowen | Conversations | 24th August 2016

Wide-ranging interview with New York Times obituarist: “If we had to pick a single question that can be asked of every applicant at our gates, it is: Did he or she change the culture?” “We try to have a certain level of preparedness with the major figures. We do indeed have the advance obits written, edited, on file, about 1,700. That said, the vast majority of what my colleagues and I do are daily obits that are reported, written, edited in the space of a single day, like any other article in the paper” (8,400 words)

The Language Of Headlines

Chi Luu | JSTOR Daily | 24th August 2016

Early clickbait headlines tried to make a connection with the reader by positing the reader’s reaction as the essence of the story: “Man bites dog … and you won’t believe what happened next”. Current clickbait relies heavily on “forward referencing” — creating suspense by the use of attention-seeking pronouns which will be explained only when you click through to the story: “This is what racism looks like”. The grammatical term for forward referencing is “cataphora”; usually, English is anaphoric (1,716 words)

Mann’s Inhumanity To Mann

Anna Katherina Schaffner | Times Literary Supplement | 17th August 2016

Thomas Mann despised his son Klaus, declaring him to be “morally and intellectually not intact”. But Klaus was the braver man. An outspoken anti-Nazi, and openly gay, Klaus was forced to flee Germany in 1933. Thomas repudiated him in the hope of preserving his own standing with Hitler’s regime. Klaus wandered the world, served in the US Army, and died from a drug overdose in 1949 at the age of 42. He left behind him a prolific body of work, but only one masterpiece, Mephisto (1,100 words)

In The Attic Of Early Islam

Robert Worth | New York Review of Books | 24th August 2016

In the early 14C an Egyptian clerk called Shihab al-Din al-Nuwayri began writing a “compendium of all knowledge” entitled The Ultimate Ambition in the Arts of Erudition which eventually covered thirty volumes. The work is “full of strange myths and nostrums that hint at what mattered to people in the 14C: sex, money, power, perfume”. Recipes for incense and fragrance that are “so elaborate it is hard to believe anyone really followed them”. Then again, “people and cities must have smelled awful, and olfactory relief made a difference” (1,600 words)

Behavioral Economics Is Really Marketing Science

Philip Kotler | Evonomics | 24th August 2016

Behavioural economics is reuniting the disciplines of economics and marketing after a century of separation — and it is marketing which has prevailed. Economics has traditionally assumed that individuals always make rational decisions aimed at maximising their own prosperity. Marketing treats individuals are persuadable; they want and choose things for quirky and elusive reasons not captured in traditional economic theories. Behavioural economists favour the marketers’ model (770 words)

Writing About The Disabled

Nicola Griffith | Literary Hub | 23rd August 2016

One writer’s guidelines for other writers. Represent the individuality and the agency of a disabled person just as you would any other person. Do not define a disabled person by their disability, and do not assume that you know how they feel about it, or about the world in general. “Don’t use an impairment as a signifier of or metaphor for anything — especially evil, degeneracy, or corruption. Do not magically eliminate or fix the disabled person for narrative convenience” (972 words)

Video of the day: The Hidden Worlds Of The National Parks

What to expect:

Google photographers collect the most spectacular views from America’s national parks (1’02”)

Thought for the day

We’re already being studied by the future
George Murray

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