Best of the Moment
David Free | Atlantic | 3 January 2013
"Cleese and Chapman took another pass at the car-salesman idea. It had possibilities, Cleese felt, that they had failed to exploit. What if they shifted the action to a pet shop? What if the malfunctioning car became a dead animal? A dog, say. Or a parrot"
Anders Sandberg | Practical Ethics | 4 January 2013
Two patients with dementia seem to enjoy keeping company and cuddling. But one of them has a wife on the outside, who disapproves. "What to make of romances that come about due to dementia. Are they authentic? How do they relate to the interests expressed earlier in life?"
Kevin Dutton | Scientific American | 4 January 2013
Psychologist researching psychopathic personalities visits Broadmoor, hospital for criminally insane, talks to doctors and patients to test hypothesis that psychopathic traits may be good for us in small doses, as a defensive framework, but damaging in larger quantities
David Thompson | New Republic | 20 December 2012
For: Terrific read. Full of gossip about Burton himself, John Gielgud, Lucille Ball, and "my adorable difficult fractious intolerant wife", Elizabeth Taylor. Against: Does not, in fact, demonstrate that Richard Burton was a great writer
Joan Acocella | New Yorker | 7 January 2013
Engaging essay, reviewing books about medieval saint's life and work — even if it does go on a bit. Came from a rich family, debauched in youth, went to war, year in jail, changed man, worked with lepers, gave away everything. Church annexed him, suppressed his doctrine of poverty
John Gray | Times Literary Supplement | 2 January 2013
Comparing communism and fascism. Both espoused mass killing, ostensibly as a means of social engineering. If we think the better of communism, that is because we are still more prone to believe the lies that Soviet communism told about itself. A hard read, but how could it be otherwise?