Poverty, Philip Larkin, Susan Sontag, Scottish independence, Jack The Ripper


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

Poverty And Inequality

John Lanchester | Guardian | 5th September 2014

Poverty in rich countries is not the same as poverty in poor countries. The first is relative, the second is absolute. What we call poverty in rich countries is really inequality, and to remedy the problem we first have to call it by its name. "Rising inequality is not a law of nature – it's not even a law of economics. It is a consequence of political and economic arrangements, and those arrangements can be changed" (2,290 words)

Philip Larkin: Life, Art And Love

Roger Lewis | Financial Times | 5th September 2014

Lovely short review of a new biography. Larkin was "the greatest poet of the 20th century". He "rather enjoyed drab lodgings and bad food". He was "unable to share his life with others". There was a mean streak in his personality, but there was much nobility too. And in any case: "When was it necessary to be a nice person if you wanted to be a creative genius? Wagner was horrible. Orson Welles was difficult" (1,050 words)

Regarding Susan Sontag

Emily St John Mandel | Humanities | 8th September 2014

Reflections on Susan Sontag, provoked by a "fascinating, moving, and often gorgeous" new documentary film, Regarding Susan Sontag. "It’s a given that Sontag was possessed of an extraordinary mind". But her brilliance sometimes "curdled into arrogance"; she never much understood others, including her husband, who said: “I think what I wanted was a large family, and what she wanted was a large library” (2,660 words)

Wrestling With Smoke

Chris Deerin | Medium | 8th September 2014

If Scotland votes for independence next week, as it looks ever more likely to do, the outcome will be a pyrrhic victory for imagination over common sense. "Where Britain is real, and attacking it is no harder than hitting a cow’s backside with a banjo, an independent Scotland is a fantasy. Every Yes voter projects his or her own desires on to it, whether they be green, socialist, Nordic, atheistic-rationalist, whatever" (1,622 words)

Jack The Ripper Unmasked

Russell Edwards | Daily Mail | 6th September 2014

Interesting if true. Armchair detective claims to have identified world's most notorious serial killer, with help from a Finnish forensics expert. DNA testing of a shawl allegedly found at the scene of an 1888 Ripper murder implicates Aaron Kosminski, a 23-year-old Whitechapel hairdresser, always a prime suspect for the Ripper crimes. Kosminski was "seriously mentally ill, probably a paranoid schizophrenic", and died in a lunatic asylum (2,995 words)

Video of the day: The Silly B Next To The Bed

What to expect: Trivial but charming glimpse of President John F. Kennedy

Thought for the day

The trouble with history is that there are too many people involved
Nick Hornby (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1938073053)

A Talk in London

Come and see Browser favourites Felix Salmon (ex-Reuters) and Izabella Kaminska (FT) discuss art, 3D printing and Bitcoin on September 24th. Tickets are £5, and include a glass of wine (or two). Tickets are available here (http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/myevents) .

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