Memory, Stalin, Netherlands, Star Wars, Tickets


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

The Sense Of An Ending

Tim Harford | Undercover Economist | 31st May 2016

Our memories of prolonged events — concerts, medical procedures, restaurant meals — are dominated by what happens at the end. Film-makers have always known or sensed this: rare is the film that does not end on a high. For restaurants, this weakness is so easily exploited, and the returns so consistent, that it’s amazing all places don’t take the trouble. Give customers a happy surprise — a free glass of grappa, say — after they have paid the bill, and your Yelp rating will go shooting up (880 words)

Stalin’s Curse

David Mikics | Tablet | 31st May 2016

Stalin was “not noticeably anti-Semitic” until 1948, when Golda Meir visited Moscow representing the new Jewish state. “Thousands of Russian Jews crowd rapturously around her.” Stalin concluded that “their loyalty was now suspect”. For five years his regime stepped up anti-semitic policies and propaganda. In January 1953 a new Terror seemed imminent.Pravda claimed that Jewish doctors were murdering patients. Fortunately, Stalin died, and Russia changed course (2,600 words)

In A Traumatised Netherlands

Joris Luyendijk | Guardian | 6th June 2016

The Netherlands is a “traumatised, angry and deeply confused nation”. A “Dutch turn” towards reaction is underway. Can Nexit be far behind? “What if the European project is an edifice with fatally flawed foundations? How does an open society based on equality survive, when every year it takes in hundreds of thousands of immigrants from countries with no tradition of openness, equality or democratic debate? Especially when those immigrants have more children than the native Dutch?” (1,060 words)

Star Wars, Jefferson And Jesus

Cass Sunstein | Bloomberg | 31st May 2016

Six readings of Star Wars. The Christian: “Anakin Skywalker is the product of a virgin birth. He has no human father. He turns out to be a Christ-like figure, dying for humanity’s sins, which he incarnates and symbolizes. Star Wars is an imaginative reconstruction of Jesus’s life, in which the Jesus figure is the sinner — unable to resist Satan until the very end”. The Freudian: “Star Wars is best understood as a deeply Oedipal story about fathers, sons and unavailable mothers” (1,350 words)

You Will Never Get A Ticket To The Final

Nathan Hubbard | The Ringer | 6th June 2016

On average, less than half the tickets for a top sporting event or rock concert ever go on sale to the general public; and when they do go on sale they get hoovered up by scalpers’ online bots. The majority of tickets — including all of the best tickets — are either reserved for friends and celebrities, or sold by the promoter straight into the secondary market at inflated prices via ticket brokers, enabling the players or performers to make much more money while the scalpers take the blame (2,400 words)

Video of the day: You Are Two

What to expect:

CP Grey on the brain’s two hemispheres. If they split, there would be two of you (4’51”)

Thought for the day

Superstition is the poetry of life
JW von Goethe

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