Saudi Arabia, Jann Wenner, Austin, Mortuaries, Hungary

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An Interview With The Saudi Crown Prince

Jeffrey Goldberg | Atlantic | 4th April 2018

“This much, at least, can be said for Mohammed bin Salman, the putatively reformist crown prince of Saudi Arabia: He has made all the right enemies. Among those who would celebrate his end are the leaders of ISIS, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas, as well as Yemen’s Houthi rebels, and the entire clerical and military leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran. As a bonus, there are members of his own family, the sprawling, sclerotic, self-dealing House of Saud, who would like to see him gone” (5,100 words)

The Man Who Wanted Everything

James Wolcott | New York Review Of Books | 4th April 2018

Joe Hagan’s biography of Jann Wenner delivers a “gossipy, rackety, roller-coaster history of Rolling Stone and its founder”. Wenner, the “Henry Luce of the counterculture” has “a velociraptor appetite for fame, glory, sex, drugs, food social status, cultural recognition, political clout and luxury furnishings”. He is “capable of great strokes of generosity”, but most of the time he is “first at the feeding trough”. He is “a complicated character without being inherently interesting” (3,800 words)

God Save Austin

Lawrence Wright | Austin Monthly | 2nd April 2018

“Austin is divided by the Colorado River, which is dammed to make Lady Bird Lake. The Colorado serves the same purpose as the Seine in Paris, a cultural divide. On the north bank are the state capitol and the University of Texas — anchors of a city historically made up of teachers and bureaucrats. We bought a duplex on the south side, in Travis Heights. Our next-door neighbor sold appliances, and next to him was Terrence Malick, who occasionally walked our kids to school” (2,220 words)

Mortuary Practice And Grief

Claire White-Kravette | OUP | 3rd April 2018

“Human relationships require huge investments and generate massive benefits, and we are not willing to let go of them unless we have unequivocal evidence that the person is dead. This is one reason why it is common for bereaved individuals to demand to see the body. It is now generally accepted in the clinical literature that long-term outcomes are better for those who view the body of a loved one, as doing so is thought to help people come to terms with the death” (800 words)

Viktor Orbán’s Hungary

Matthew Engel | New Statesman | 3rd April 2018

“Communist ways have died hard here, because there was no final catharsis. The benchmark year in Hungary is 1956 when the heroic failed revolution took place. Once vengeance was brutally completed, the new leader, János Kádár, spent his 32 years in power allowing not-too-bad times to roll within Soviet-imposed limits. He is remembered quite fondly. Communism then morphed into presumed democracy, without purges or serious recriminations. This was perhaps a mistake” (2,250 words)

Video of the day Lapland In February

What to expect:

Winter wonderland sceneries from Kolari and Muonio in Finnish Lapland, by Timo Oksanen (3’31”)

Thought for the day

Scared money can’t win
Cormac McCarthy

Podcast of the day A Very Fatal Murder | The Onion

The Onion satirises the earnestly investigative voice of The Serial and its successors
(13m 26s)

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