Newsletter 1043

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

Best of the Moment

Banks’ Barely Believable Behaviour

John Lanchester | London Review Of Books | 27th June 2013

Short history of scandals in the British banking industry since the 2008 crash. Short in proportion to the scandals, that is, which were many and colossal, most recently the mass selling of insurance to people who couldn't claim on it. As Lanchester says, it may be fortunate for the banks that so many scandals came in such a short period, defying attempts to grasp the scale and folly of any one of them individually. Read this and weep

Social History With A Smile

Mark Damazer | New Statesman | 27th June 2013

Another highly entertaining review of Modernity Britain, by David Kynaston, covering the years 1957-59 (Charles Moore's review ( was also recommended). "The Kynaston method of compiling a vast array of sources and applying them with equal zest to the momentous and the ephemeral guarantees a rattling read. This is social, cultural and political history, more or less in that order, with a smile on its face"

Huey Lewis’s Old, Weird America

Steven Hyden | Grantland | 25th June 2013

He was huge in the 1980s, and he's still touring. Eighty shows this year, the 30th anniversary of Sports. No longer a star, very much a working musician. "Lewis hasn't been a fixture on pop radio for nearly 25 years, but he remains a reflexively mainstream artist. It's not in his nature to upset the applecart. He's still wired to give the public what it wants, however the public wants it, many years after the public has moved on"

There Are Many Ways To Shear A Pig

Christopher Howse | Telegraph | 26th June 2013

Glorious fugue provoked by Vladimir Putin's verdict on the Edward Snowden affair — “It’s like shearing a pig; plenty of squealing but not much wool”. If international affairs are to be conducted in proverbs, world leaders should stock up on gnomic statements. "The fire is never without heat. A quiet conscience sleeps in thunder. There’s no sun without shadow. Acorns were good till they found bread. Ah, yes, how true"

Ambivalence Is Awesome

Ian Leslie | Slate | 13th June 2013

I missed this when first published, for which, shame on me. Fine short essay on the virtues of ambivalence — as distinct from indifference, or simple confusion. Ambivalence means you can see, and find some value in, both sides of a question. Which, a lot of the time, is a good thing. A pity there is not more room for it in public life, where politics is increasingly polarized, and uncertainty or willingness to compromise is taken for weakness

Video of the day: Bob Mankoff On Cartoons

Thought for the day:

"Not only do we want freedom of choice, we also want a guarantee that whatever we choose will be exactly as we envisioned it"— Renata Saleci

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