Newsletter 964 (copy 01)

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

Best of the Moment

Apologies for the earlier version of this newsletter, which was sent with broken links. This was a technical error, not a change of policy

Gay Marriage Hits The Supreme Court

Jonathan Rauch | Brookings | 26 March 2013

Court will, in effect, have to make a political decision: "Gay marriage doesn't fit any existing judicial template. It doesn't neatly fit civil-rights decisions overturning, for example, racial discrimination, because society has always (rightly or wrongly) viewed male+female as intrinsic to the nature of marriage in a way that white+white is not"

Will The Chinese Be Supreme?

Ian Johnson | New York Review Of Books | 26 March 2013

Edward Luttwak thinks not: "Only a fully democratic China could advance unimpeded to global hegemony, but then the governments of a full democratic China would undoubtedly seek to pursue quite other aims". Besides which, other countries would unite against it. Roundup of books on China's future by Luttwak, Arvind Subramanian, and Odd Arne Westad

Anthony Lewis — The Paul Krugman Of His Time

Michael Kinsley | New Republic | 26 March 2013

Short, sweet obituary note for Anthony Lewis, who "more or less invented Supreme Court coverage". NYT columnist "back when being a Times columnist was not unlike being a Supreme Court justice in terms of prestige, tenure, exclusivity and supporting infrastructure". Relentless critic of Vietnam war: "You read him twice a week to top up on fury"

Google No Longer Needs The Media

Paul Ford | FT | 26 March 2013

On the closure of Google Reader. "This is the downside to apps: Your ability to labour along in familiar ways is contingent upon money coming to the app provider. This works when we remain consumers. But when we work inside these systems we increase our levels of risk. Users of free services get what they pay for" (Metered paywall)

Is Wagner Bad For Us?

Nicholas Spice | London Review Of Books | 26 March 2013

"If there is a common denominator to the attacks on Wagner’s work as bad for us it is the idea that it causes a loss of self-control or volition in the listener: that, in representing emotional states beyond normal bounds, it lures us into these states so that we lose what Auden called our ‘dream of safety’." But how does Wagner achieve this?

Video of the day: Richard Dawkins Dies

Thought for the day:

"Just as the market for automobile repair will work poorly if the average customer blames his grocer for engine trouble, local elections will work poorly if the average voter blames the president for the quality of public schools" — Bryan Caplan

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