Newsletter 1030

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

Best of the Moment

Ayatollah Khamenei Is Iran’s Supreme Investor

Meir Javedanfar | Bloomberg View | 12th June 2013

A model for thinking about Iranian governance. Supreme Leader Khamenei operates like an investment manager — Warren Buffett, say. His "shareholders" are the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and conservative politicians. Every so often, he chooses a leader or policy in which to invest their political capital. An error — such as the choice of Ahmadinejad — erodes his authority. Too many bad choices, and he loses his job

Dragon Ladies

Karen Shepard | The Millions | 12th June 2013

Grand-daughter remembers love-hate relationship with Han Suyin, who died last year. Han eulogised Mao and communism while living a life of luxury in Switzerland. "In a 1969 letter, she wishes me a happy fourth birthday, encloses some stamps for my collection, and then adds: 'The little Chinese girls and boys are preparing to defend themselves in case they too are attacked and killed by American soldiers and burnt alive with napalm'"

What Are We Going to Do About The New Philip Larkin?

James Fenton | Threepenny Review | 10th June 2013

Review of Complete Poems. Perceptive both on Larkin's poetry (of course), and on the question of whether collected works in general are a good thing. "Painters are known to curate their oeuvre by means of occasional bonfires of botched canvases, and experience has taught us that the better the painter, the better advised he is to stand over that bonfire and make quite sure that what he wants burnt does indeed go up in smoke"

Tell Me What Is Being Done In My Name

Charles Pierce | Esquire | 11th June 2013

"Let us persist in the notion that I am an American citizen. Let us persist in the notion that I have a say — an important and equal say — in the operation of my government here and out in the world. Let us persist in the notion that, in America, the people rule. If we persist in these notions there is only one question that I humbly ask of my government this week: Please, if it's not too damn much trouble, can you tell me what's being done in my name?

An Elite Deserving Of The Name

Chrystia Freeland | Democracy | 10th June 2013

Review of Mark Mizruchi's Fracturing of the American Corporate Elite. Big business in the 1950s and 1960s wanted strong government, for "steering the economy and underwriting the well-being of the middle class". But in recent years business has treated government almost as an enemy. Why? Perhaps because of the cultural shift in the 1960s. "The personal liberation the left fought for also liberated corporate elites to become more selfish"

Video of the day: An Exercise In Time Perception

Thought for the day:

"One of the symptoms of a declining social order is that its members have to give most of their time to politics"— Bernard Crick

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