Russian Crime, Trumpism, Las Vegas, Dogs, Paraprosdokia, Concrete

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

Crimintern: Russia’s Criminal Networks

Mark Galeotti | ECFR | 18th April 2017

“Many criminals feared that Putin was serious in his law-and-order rhetoric, but it soon became clear that he was offering a new social contract with the underworld. Gangsters could continue to be gangsters so long as they understood that the state was the biggest gang in town and did nothing to directly challenge it. Street violence was replaced by targeted assassinations; tattoos were out, and Italian suits were in; gangster-businessmen domesticated old-school criminals” (6,700 words)

Trump And The Trumpists

Wolfgang Streeck | Inference | 17th April 2017

“Strange personalities arise in the cracks of disintegrating institutions. They are often marked by extravagant dress, inflated rhetoric, and a show of sexual power. Geert Wilders and Boris Johnson are hairstyle Trumpers. Pim Fortuyn and Jörg Haider were both dandies. Beppe Grillo, Nigel Farage and Jean-Marie Le Pen are each one third of a full Trump. Trumpers appear extraordinary to those who are intimidated but not impressed by society’s machinery of social control” (5,300 words)

Sin City Or Bust

Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr. | ESPN | 13th April 2017

Epic tale of how Mark Davis moved the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas, facing down the NFL and outwitting Sheldon Adelson along the way. “What no one could see then is that, after making good on his word by delivering an American-record $750 million in public funds for the stadium and pledging $650 million of his own money, Adelson would end up furious a year later, feeling that Mark Davis — the goofy Mark Davis — had completely and utterly fleeced him” (7,900 words)

How To Name A Dog

Daniel Wallace | Garden And Gun | 1st November 2008

“The first dog I named myself was Barney. Barney was a basset hound. Like most bassets he was a sad-looking dog, a dog with a worried expression. He didn’t have a worry in the world, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at him. Dogs benefit from being dogs in that we have a good idea of what they’ll look like and the general characteristics they possess before we give them their names. Naming dogs is a kind of blessing, an affirmation; naming people can be a curse” (1,575 words)

Incongruity In Humour, Art, And Science

Julia Galef | 17th February 2017

“One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know.” Groucho Marx’s joke is an an example of paraprosdokia, a figure of speech in which the conclusion forces us to go back and revise the assumptions we made at the outset. Just as in humour, surprise and pleasure go together in music and architecture. Scientific research is the most paraprosdokian of all pursuits, since its pleasures come almost entirely from overturning prior assumptions (1,200 words)

World Of Concrete

Georgina Voss | Atlantic | 3rd March 2017

Report from World Of Concrete, “the concrete and masonry industry’s South by Southwest”, a five-day Las Vegas tradeshow with 60,000 attendees. “Concrete takes many forms here — thick liquid, solid blocks, even slender decorative ribbons. The rink in front of me is poured concrete, and the machines are riding trowels whose whirring blades smooth down concrete floors into a mirrored sheen. I wonder how far I could get if I commandeered one out of the lot and into the Mojave Desert” (3,020 words)

Video of the day: Guadalupe Plata | Qué He Sacado Con Quererte

What to expect:

Almodovar meets Goya with hints of Monty Python, David Lynch, and Breughel (2’13”)

Thought for the day

Believing in progress does not mean believing that any progress has yet been made
Franz Kafka

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