Publishing, Bernard Lewis, Taleb, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Carla Bley


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

Peter Stories

Mark Krotov | n+1 | 18th May 2018

Nicely turned memoir of Peter Mayer, emblematic publisher and chairman of Penguin Books. “Peter was always late and usually injured. The first time I met him, he shambled into a lunch meeting after everyone else had already eaten, a big but wobbly man with two pairs of glasses on his face and a cane under one hand. The glasses, like the cigarettes, were purchased in bulk. Not much of a cook, his idea of a meal was a hot dog sliced up into a microwaved bowl of pasta” (2,300 words)

The Roots Of Muslim Rage

Bernard Lewis | Atlantic | 1st September 1990

The late Bernard Lewis’s presciently pessimistic Jefferson Lecture in 1990. “Islam is one of the world’s great religions. It has brought comfort and peace of mind to countless millions of men and women. But Islam, like other religions, has also known periods when it inspired in some of its followers a mood of hatred and violence. It is our misfortune that part of the Muslim world is now going through such a period, and that much, though again not all, of that hatred is directed against us” (7,450 words)

Skin In The Game

Arnold Kling | Foundation For Economic Freedom | 20th May 2018

Useful discussion and summary of Nassim Nicolas Taleb’s “Skin in The Game”. Taleb argues for a sort of flipped utilitarianism: The purpose of action should not be to do the greatest good, but to do the least harm. Doing the least harm is a more modest and more achievable goal because it is generally much easier to see what is bad for others than what is good for them. A corollary: Risks should managed so that the adverse consequences fall upon the risk-taker (1,170 words)

The Afro-Pessimist Temptation

Darryl Pinckney | New York Review Of Books | 20th May 2018

Reflections on Ta-Nehisi Coates, Cornel West, and the struggle for racial equality in America. Obama’s election felt like a step-change: “His presence on the international stage decriminalized the image of the black man”. It was not. “White supremacy isn’t back; it never went away, though we thought it had become marginal or been contained as a political force, and maybe it has, which only adds to the feeling that this should not have happened, that the government has been hijacked” (4,050 words)

An Interview With Carla Bley

Ethan Iverson | Do The Math | 19th May 2018

Composer and bandleader talks about jazz and jazz legends. On Thelonious Monk: “I thought he should run everything, be named king of the world. Everything he did or said, the way he moved, the way he played, was perfect. He didn’t ever make any mistakes. That’s so weird. I never heard him like grumble, and stop playing or anything, which is something I do all the time. I thought he was another person in the galaxy of great jazz people. And I understood him from note one” (13,100 words)

Video of the day Venom Superman

What to expect:

Animated explainer. How to set up a film shoot with 30 venomous snakes (2’52”)

Thought for the day

Most musicians get applauded for sounding like someone else
Brian Eno

Podcast The Stuff Of Life | American Innovations

Steven Johnson tells how Francis Crick, James Watson and Rosalind Franklin decoded DNA
(43m 13s)

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