Ulysses, Port Harcourt, Pillows, Black Lives Matter, Russia

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


Edmund Wilson | New Republic | 5th July 1922

Wilson reviews Joyce’s masterpiece: “It seems to me great rather for the things that are in it than for its success as a whole. In distending the story to ten times its natural size he managed to burst it and leave it partially deflated. There must be something wrong with a design which involves so much that is dull. Yet, for all its appalling longueurs, Ulysses is a work of high genius, setting the standard of the novel so high that it need not be ashamed to take its place beside poetry and drama” (2,700 words)

Diary: The Company Lawyer

Alexander Briant | London Review Of Books | 11th January 2017

An oil industry lawyer travels to Port Harcourt to investigate allegations of corruption. “Next day the Goods Received Ledger that I have been asking for is delivered. Ideally, the warehouseman would faithfully record the movement of all goods in and out. I have got to it too late. It has been altered. It’s obvious that many of the pages have been removed and new ones, laboriously written out, put in their place. Whose handwriting is this? Who is responsible? None can say. Nobody knows” (4,100 words)

The Preposterous Pillow King

Josh Dean | Bloomberg Businessweek | 11th January 2017

America’s “pillow king”, Mike Lindell, is a born-again former crack addict who was still doing drugs when he started his company and who plugged the early holes in his cashflow by counting cards at blackjack, until the casinos banned him. He sobered up in 2008 after a divorce and a 19-day bender. Sales have since doubled. He says the idea for MyPillow came to him in a dream; now God helps out with business development. “We don’t use PowerPoints. I end up getting stuff in prayer” (4,200 words)

In Praise Of Black Lives Matter

Tyler Cowen | Marginal Revolution | 11th January 2017

“Police in this country kill, beat, arrest, fine, and confiscate the property of black people at unfair and disproportionate rates. I don’t doubt that many policemen perceive they are at higher risk when dealing with young black males. I would respond that statistical discrimination, even if it is rational, does not excuse crime against innocent people. A man is far more likely to kill you than is a woman, but that fact does not excuse the shooting of an innocent man”. (See also the comments) (269 words)

Why We Fight Russia

Paul Berman | Tablet | 11th January 2017

The Republican Party’s enthusiasm for Putin’s Russia marks “a turning point in American civilisation” — a liberal acceptance of tyranny. Hostility to Russia is “the oldest continuous foreign-policy tradition in the United States”, broken only by an opportunistic military alliance in WWII. De Tocqueville captured the difference in 1835 when he said that America conquers “with the plowshare of the labourer” whereas Russia “conquers with the sword of the soldier”. Has that distinction also collapsed? (720 words)

Video of the day: St Vincent — Marrow

What to expect:

Dustbowl noir. St Vincent walks down a mid-western country road lifted from Close Encounters (3’14”)

Thought for the day

Decisions are made by people who have time, not people who have talent
Scott Adams

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