Repuitation, Daniel Ellesberg, Lady Chatterley, Sinology, Chateaubriand

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

The Reputation Game

Ian Leslie | New Statesman | 14th January 2018

Discussion of recent books about reputation. “It is you, because it derives from your actions, and also not you, because it is composed of other people’s opinions. It is a portrait of you that you didn’t commission and don’t own. Reputation is a second-order phenomenon. It is not constituted merely by what people know about the person or entity concerned but by what people know about what other people know. Reputations are maintained by a circulation of true or false opinions about opinions” (2,500 words)

The Nuclear Worrier

Thomas Powers | New York Review Of Books | 14th January 2018

Review of Daniel Ellsberg’s ‘Doomsday Machine’, about planning for nuclear conflict during and after the Cold War, with a particular focus on the Cuban Crisis of 1962 “War couldn’t possibly make sense in Khrushchev’s position. But then Ellsberg’s eyes opened to the thing that has obsessed him ever since: the Executive Committee had chosen a course of action that they believed risked a one in ten chance of a nuclear war that would kill hundreds of millions of people” (4,200 words)

Chatterley On Trial

Peter Hitchens | First Things | 14th January 2018

‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ was wildly over-praised by defence lawyers and witnesses seeking to overturn on principle a charge of obscenity in 1960. Try reading it now. “This frankly rather terrible book was, for a few weeks, so important [that] it changed the country forever. Just how terrible it was could not be admitted, for to do so would have destroyed the argument that its greatness justified its explicit crudity. The intellectual fashion of the time said that ‘Lady Chatterley’ was a great work” (4,500 words)

Morrison Of Peking

C.P. FitzGerald & Linda Jaivin | China Heritage | 13th January 2018

On the life of G.E. Morrison, Australian-born correspondent for The Times of London, who arrived in Peking in 1897 and stayed for the Boxer Rebellion. “Peking was still a Ming-dynasty town with broad avenues and hutong alleys, its central north-south axis commanded by the Forbidden City. No building stood taller than the walls of the palace, though atop the city walls, where Morrison often strolled, it was possible to view the sea of golden tiles that decorated the palace roofs” (12,700 words)

A Society Dissolving

Alex Andriesse & François-René de Chateaubriand | Paris Review | 11th January 2018

Notes on life in the immediate aftermath of the French revolution. “There were many duels and love affairs, prison liaisons and mysterious trysts among the ruins, under a tranquil sky, in the peace and the poetry of nature; many far-flung, silent, solitary walks punctuated by undying oaths and unutterable affections, to the dull tumult of a fleeing world, to the distant noise of a crumbling society, which threatened to fall and crush every chance for happiness placed at the foot of events” (1,700 words)

Video of the day Alan Watts Animated

What to expect:

Trey Parker and Matt Stone introduce the thought of 1960s new-age Zen thinker Alan Watts (9’28”)

Thought for the day

Live your questions now, and you will live some distant day among your answers
Rainer Maria Rilke

Podcast of the day The Gun Man | Planet Money

Elizabeth Kulas and Noel King talk to Cody Wilson, liberatarian pioneer of gun-making on 3D printers

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