Mohsin Hamid , Sport, Mozart, Self-Storage, Trademarks

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In The Land Of The Pure

Mohsin Hamid | Guardian | 27th January 2018

On the dangers of ethnic and religious nationalism in Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Britain and elsewhere. “In the land of the pure, no one is pure enough. No one can ever be sufficiently pure to be lastingly safe. No Muslim is Muslim enough. And so all are suspect. All are at risk. And many are killed by others who find their purity lacking, and many of their killers are in turn killed for the same reason. And on and on, in a chain reaction. The politics of purity is the politics of fission” (2,400 words)

Learning From The Olympics

David Papineau | Vox | 19th February 2018

The Olympic Games encourage rivalry between nations; they also teach respect. You support your country, but you recognise your opponents as moral equals. “Sporting contests are essentially equitable. Both sides can see that the other is equally entitled to succeed, and that the right result is victory for the more skillful team. It might be America First, but at least it is first among equals, primus inter pares. By competing you recognize the standing of the others” (1,890 words)

Advice On Playing Mozart

Alfred Brendel | New York Review Of Books | 27th June 1985

“What is it that marks Mozart’s music? An attempt to draw a dividing line between Haydn and Mozart could perhaps help to answer the question. Mozart sometimes comes astonishingly close to Haydn, and Haydn to Mozart, and they shared their musical accomplishments in brotherly fashion; but they were fundamentally different in nature. From tranquillity, Haydn plunges deep into agitation, while Mozart does the reverse, aiming at tranquillity from nervousness” (2,700 words)

My Self-Storage Hell

Gaby Del Valle | Outline | 22nd February 2018

“Much like gyms, which make the bulk of their profits off people who sign up for memberships but never work out, self-storage facilities profit off people who think they’re going to store some old junk while they get their life together, before ultimately realizing it’s easier to throw $87.15 at their local self-storage corporation each month than it is to actually sort through all their stuff. Self-storage facilities thrive the most when people are getting divorced, dying, or fleeing hurricanes” (2,200 words)

Are We Running Out Of Trademarks?

Barton Beebe & Jeanne C. Fromer | Harvard Law Review | 9th February 2018

“American trademark law has long operated on the assumption that there exists an inexhaustible supply of unclaimed trademarks that are at least as competitively effective as those already claimed. However, popular media has lately begun to make the opposite empirical claim: that the supply of good trademarks is, in fact, exhaustible and that we have very nearly exhausted it”. The argument for depletion seems closer to the truth: Most of the good words have already been claimed (3,170 words)

Video of the day The Blue Marble

What to expect:

A Rube Goldberg mechanism, with more than its share of narrative tension (1’32”)

Thought for the day

We have convictions only if we have studied nothing thoroughly
Emil Cioran

Podcast of the day Red Famine | RNZ

Anne Applebaum talks about Stalin’s starvation of Ukraine, the subject of her book “Red Famine”

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