Newsletter 1027

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

Best of the Moment

Blood Is Their Argument

Napoleon Chagnon | Edge | 7th June 2013

Symposium on the work of Darwinian anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon, renowned for his study of the Yanomamö tribes in the Amazon. His finding that they lived "in a state of chronic warfare" earned him much hostility from colleagues, some of whom felt he was arguing that violence was a necessary and inevitable part of the human condition. With Chagnon, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Pinker and others. Essays, video, transcription

Was Chagall Actually Any Good?

Richard Dorment | Telegraph | 6th June 2013

Popular, certainly. His work ranks among the most pleasurable of the 20th century. But he wasn't an artist of the calibre of Picasso or Matisse. He was a gifted follower of trends and borrower of styles. His genius was for being in the right place at the right time — in Paris for the birth of Cubism; in Russia for the rise of Malevich's modernism; in New York after the war, where he found fame and fortune as a stage designer and a muralist

John Gray’s Godless Mysticism

Simon Critchley | LA Review Of Books | 2nd June 2013

Essay on philosopher John Gray, and his new book, Silence of the Animals. "Gray’s most acute loathing is for the idea of progress. He allows that progress in the realm of science is a fact, but faith in progress is a superstition we should do without. We have to abandon the belief in utopia and accept the tragic contingencies of life. There are moral and political dilemmas for which there are simply no solutions"

Wagner And The Jews

Daniel Barenboim | New York Review Of Books | 6th June 2013

"The entire Wagner debate in Israel is linked to the fact that steps toward a Jewish Israeli identity have not been taken. All concerned continue to cling to past associations that were absolutely understandable and justified at the time. When one continues to uphold the Wagner taboo today in Israel, it means, in a certain respect, that we are giving Hitler the last word. This view is unworthy of Jewish listeners"

Sumo Practice At Oguruma Beya

Ethan Zuckerman | My Heart's In Accra | 6th June 2013

A morning spent at a Tokyo dormitory and training academy where a dozen sumo rikishi live and train. "The dominant sound in the room was men panting for breath, as they recovered from one match and prepared for the next. Matches began with no fanfare, no long stare-downs – both rikishi dropped their fists, exploded into one another with a fleshy smack and quickly fought to conclusion"

Video of the day: This Is Shanghai

Thought for the day:

"If God did not intend for us to eat animals, then why did he make them out of meat?"— John Cleese

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