Turkey, Forgetting, Bernard Williams, Gender, Jewish Museums, China

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

Cover Story

Elif Batuman | New Yorker | 1st February 2016

On passing as a Muslim in Turkey. It feels great. "Walking through the city with a head scarf was a completely different experience. People were so much nicer. Nobody looked away when I approached. Men seemed to step aside. It felt amazing. To feel so welcomed and accepted and safe, to be able to look into someone’s face and smile, and have the smile returned — it was a wonderful gift" (Metered paywall) (5,600 words)

The Island Of Lost Words

Jenny Diski | Berfrois | 29th January 2016

We write books to help young children acquire the words they need for the world they have recently entered. Perhaps we should also write books that help the old and infirm to live without the words that they no longer remember, and the meanings they no longer understand. "The child’s book is the book of becoming. The book for the elderly is the book of going. It had better be the most beautiful book ever made" (980 words)

The View From Here And Now

Thomas Nagel | London Review Of Books | 11th May 2006

Bernard Williams "was the foremost representative in our day of the view that philosophical reflection of the highest rational order need not lead to transcendence of the more contingent features of human life". He argued that people and moral codes are conditioned by time and place. We strive to understand distant ideas, not to embrace them but to learn from them. Truths can be useful without being universal (3,130 words)

Feminist Perspectives On Sex And Gender

Mari Mikkola | Stanford Encyclopedia Of Philosophy | 29th January 2016

"In order to distinguish biological differences from social and psychological ones, feminists appropriated the term ‘gender’. Until the 1960s, ‘gender’ was used solely to refer to masculine and feminine words, like le and la in French. The psychologist Robert Stoller (1968) began using the terms ‘sex’ to pick out biological traits and ‘gender’ to pick out the amount of femininity and masculinity a person exhibited" (14,700 words)

The Problem With Jewish Museums

Edward Rothstein | Mosaic | 1st February 2016

"I’ve visited two museums devoted to neon signs and one to ventriloquists’ dummies, a creation-science museum and a science-fiction museum. I’ve seen human mutations preserved in glass jars, and coffee beans sent to Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. But I haven’t seen anything quite so strange as the ways in which various Jewish communities have come to depict themselves in museums" (7,800 words)

China’s Myth Of Competent Autocrats

Minxin Pei | Nikkei Asian Review | 1st February 2016

The Chinese policy process is opaque. Believing in China means believing that the Communist Party can go on producing enough outstanding leaders to steer the country onward and upward. Such confidence has been well rewarded — until now. But prosperity has changed the fundamentals. The best people no longer go into government; they have other options; the result is a declining quality of government (1,400 words)

Video of the day: Qantas Safety Video

What to expect: It's odd, in a way, that airlines can't change the words, but they can change the pictures (5'28")

Thought for the day

People who say ‘Let the chips fall where they may’ usually figure they will not be hit by a chip
Bernard Williams (http://manwithoutqualities.com/2016/01/31/some-bernard-williams-quotes)

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