Newsletter 1040


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

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Best of the Moment

The Sopranos

Clive James | Telegraph | 20th June 2013

Classic appreciation from 2004, republished with a new introduction by the author. "In the dark night of the soul, it is often three o'clock in the afternoon on the pool terrace of a mobster's house in New Jersey. The rule of law exists only to be flouted; power to be flaunted; any scruple to be parodied. It's appalling. I love it. Love it more, in fact, than the Godfather movies, which are supposedly the superior cinematic achievement"

Prison Of The Mind

Ian Buruma | New Yorker | 24th June 2013

Review of Liao Yiwu's "extraordinary" prison memoir, For A Song And A Hundred Songs. Liao's offence was to write and perform a poem mourning the dead of Tiananmen. "Liao is a literary man, and this actually makes his prison memoir even more compelling. He is ruthlessly candid about his weaknesses, and his fears." Much harrowing detail of torture, violence, hardship. "One ravenous inmate caught a rat, skinned it alive, and ate it raw"

Does Life Have A Purpose?

Michael Ruse | Aeon | 24th June 2013

Let nobody say that Aeon ducks the big questions. This brief history of teleological thought, from Aristotle to Nagel, by way of Darwin, arrives at the answer: No. "There’s no sense for most scientists that a star is for anything, or that a molecule serves an end. But when we come to talk about living things, it seems very hard to shake off the idea that they have purposes and goals, which is served by the ways they have evolved"

Where Don Draper Ends, D.B. Cooper Begins

Lindsey Green | Medium | 23rd June 2013

A fan's inspired suggestion for ending the final series of Mad Men. Let Don Draper's trajectory morph into that of D.B. Cooper, the enigmatic and unruffled hijacker who jumped off a plane over Washington state in 1971 with a bagful of money and was never caught. "They share an emptiness of motive and morals, wrapped in an odd, isolating kindness, and the need to do something drastic to feel alive"

Video of the day: Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas In One Minute

Thought for the day:

"Most ideas that are successful are ludicrously simple"— Sol LeWitt

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