Streisand, Expletives, Biological Clocks, Erik Satie, Monopolies


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

A Jew Becomes A Star

Neal Gabler | Tablet | 18th May 2016

Funny Girl propelled Barbra Streisand “from entertainment into history”. The show was scrappy when it opened in Boston; but critics loved Streisand so much that Jerome Robbins rebuilt it around her. By the time Funny Girl reached Broadway, Streisand was on stage for 111 of the 132 minutes and sang the entire score. Time put her on its cover and declared: “Her clear, elliptical gaze is beyond resistance. People watching it can almost hear the last few ticks before Barbra Streisand explodes” (3,200 words)

Language Shrapnel

Lucy Ferriss | Lingua Franca | 17th May 2016

Status update on bellwether publications’ policies regarding the printing of very rude words. OK in quotes; rarely OK in the writer’s own voice; may be redacted to spare the blushes of grandees. Thus Joe Biden quoted in the New York Times: “Mr. President, this is a big [expletive] deal.” New Yorker copy editor Mary Norris “does not query” the use of four-letter words, but does worry about styling the euphemism: “Shall it be ‘f’-word, f word, f-word, ‘F’ word, F word, or F-word?” (880 words)

The Biological Clock

Moira Weigel | Guardian | 10th May 2016

The metaphor of the biological clock, counting out the days of a woman’s fertility, gained currency in the 1970s after a sharp fall in the American birth rate. The media “glamourised professional women who decided to have children while pursuing demanding careers”. Women who delayed childbearing were told that their bodies would yearn for children, and by waiting too long they risked ending up embittered and alone. “This may have sounded like a description. It was an order” (4,650 words)

A Musician’s Day

Erik Satie | Paris Review | 17th May 2016

From the memoirs of Erik Satie, pianist and composer. “An artist must organize his life. Here is the exact timetable of my daily activities: I rise at 7:18; am inspired from 10:23 to 11:47. I lunch at 12:11 and leave the table at 12:14. A healthy ride on horseback round my domain follows from 1:19 P.M. to 2:53 P.M. Another bout of inspiration from 3:12 to 4:07 P.M. From 4:27 to 6:47 P.M. various occupations (fencing, reflection, immobility, visits, contemplation, dexterity, swimming, etc.)”

The New Monopolies

Joseph Stiglitz | Project Syndicate | 13th May 2016

Many modern industries – telecoms, cable TV, internet platforms, health insurance, pharmaceuticals, agro-business – tend more obviously towards monopoly than towards competition. The reasons are a mixture of technological, managerial, regulatory and commercial. The traditional free-market argument is that monopolies are by nature temporary; they get competed away. But today’s monopolies are increasingly robust and profitable. Have the fundamentals changed? (960 words)

Video of the day: Nihilism

What to expect:

Philosopher Raymond Guess talks to the camera about what nihilism is, and whether we should be worried about it (10’30”)

Thought for the day

No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader
Robert Frost

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