Wonder Woman, Music, Colonialism, Mongolia, Headaches


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God’s Gift To Men

Zoe Heller | New York Review Of Books | 30th July 2017

Review of Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, starring Gal Gadot. “She adores babies and ice cream and snowflakes. She is sweetly oblivious to her own beauty and its devastating effects on those around her. She has absolutely no problem with men. She loves men! The imperative to eradicate any hint of bossiness or anger from her character weighs heavily on the film, threatening to turn it into one long, dispiriting exercise in allaying male fears about powerful women” (2,011 words)

The Ideal Collaborator

John Supko | Nautilus | 27th July 2017

How to teach a computer to compose music in the same way that a human might do. “Human composers have multiple components of information — melody, harmony, rhythm — at their fingertips. But composers don’t normally don’t write the melodies, harmonies, and rhythms of a piece sequentially. These elements tend to implicate each other and emerge together from the composer’s imagination. I wanted to emulate this organic emergence of interrelated elements in the computer” (3,700 words)

Colonialism And Nazi Europe

Branko Milanovic | Global Inequality | 29th July 2017

We tend to see World War Two as a resumption of World War One after a bungled peace. But doing so “cannot account for the most distinctive character of the World War Two, namely that it was a war of extermination in the East, including the Shoah”. In Hitler’s Empire, Mark Mazower takes a much longer historical view, and shows persuasively how “the key features of Nazi policy represented an extreme form of European colonialism, as it existed from the 15th century onward” (1,100 words)

Tartar Princesses And Mongol Khans

Ivan Franceschini | China Heritage | 30th July 2017

Enthralling interview with Igor de Rachewiltz, Italian scholar of Mongolian history and literature, who died last year, prefaced by two tributes. Topics include Ezra Pound, Chinese grammar, Chinggis Khan, modern Mongolia. “Chinggis Khan had no notion of what an empire was. He sought to punish, to take revenge on his enemies — tribes that did not want to help him, or had betrayed him. His life was not about the conquest of an empire, no, it was simply the pursuit of vengeance” (5,300 words)

When All This Is History

Iona Sharma | Catapult | 25th July 2017

Lawyer describes living with cluster headaches — “an innocuous name for something that has been described as the worst pain known to humans”. The headaches come “two or three times a day, so regularly you can set your watch by them”. That’s one of the two key diagnostic features. The other is the pain. “I bang my head against the wall and shriek and cry. I tell my partner to buy white paint. He’ll need it, I explain, to paint over the spattered mess of my frontal lobes” (1,600 words)

Video of the day: Chemia SQ03

What to expect:

Imaginative representation of a mastectomy, by Nadia Micault (1’13”)

Thought for the day

I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork
Peter De Vries

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