Salvation Army, Moral Guilt, The Bronx, Autophony, Mastectomy, Confederate Flag


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

The Salvation Army In A Secular Society

Martin Fletcher | New Statesman | 18th June 2015

Terrific portrait of the Salvation Army in Britain, founded 150 years ago to offer “soup, soap and salvation" to the destitute. Soup and soap are still core values, salvation less so. The Army remains "a profoundly conservative organisation", and a very Christian one, but it no longer evangelises: “We don’t run our night shelter as a recruiting tool. We run it because it’s flipping cold outside and we don’t want people to die” (3,100 words)

Oskar Groening And Collective Guilt

Janna Thompson | Critique | 31st May 2015

Oskar Groening was an SS officer at Auschwitz. His job was to keep an inventory of the looted belongings of murdered Jews. He was an "honest accountant". He had no authority. He was "morally sickened" by what was going on around him. He applied for a transfer away from Auschwitz to a combat zone. Now, at 93, he is being tried in Germany as an accessory to murder. Should he be found guilty? (936 words)

The Bronx Is Back

Alexander Nazaryan | Newsweek | 20th June 2015

Before Detroit, the benchmark for dystopia was The Bronx, "the worst slum in America". Now The Bronx is "an ordinary place" — "sometimes squalid but rarely grim". It has rejoined New York. The South Bronx nips at Brooklyn's heels. "Once in a while, you meet some scruffy artist who lives there. A crowd will gather around him at a party as if he’d recently escaped a North Korean prison camp. Everyone wants to know his rent" (3,100 words)

Listening To Your Eyes Move

Anna Harris | Somatosphere | 22nd June 2015

A suggestion of Sir Thomas Browne in this unexpected note on the sounds of the human body. "For most people, sounds from inside the body are screened out, to make the outside world audible. For patients with medical conditions inducing autophony, the internal sounds are dramatically amplified. Patients may be able to hear their eyeballs moving from left to right, the pulsing of blood or the gurgles of digestion" (1,200 words)

I Chose A Life Without Breasts

Lauren Alix Brown | Quartz | 22nd June 2015

"When in the name of health and awareness and courage do we stop lopping off our breasts and take a more realistic approach?” That was what Brown wrote about Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy; then Brown developed breast cancer herself, and faced a decision on having the same operation. "There is a wide gulf between a doctor’s study on survival rates and what a woman needs to do to feel like she can live" (3,300 words)

The Confederate Cause

Ta-Nehisi Coates | Atlantic | 22nd June 2015

The Southern states seceded, and fought the North, to preserve slavery. Their leaders said so plainly at the time. The talk of states' rights came later when the war dragged on and the South needed support abroad. The four million enslaved African Americans were central to the economy of the South and to its political philosophy of white supremacy. The Confederate flag honours that tradition, and dishonours America (4,000 words)

Video of the day: The Trouble I've Seen

What to expect: Documentary. Investigation into three harrowing civil-rights cold cases (16'50")

Thought for the day

What matters is to know something that others don't know you know
Umberto Eco

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