World War One, William Empson, Healthcare , Michael Herr, Pears, Iceland


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

Help Me To Die, O Lord

David Hargreaves | Century Magazine | 28th June 2016

Remembering the Battle of the Somme, which began one hundred years ago with a massacre that the British brought upon themselves. Troops were ordered to walk towards the German trenches and told that the enemy had already been bombed into submission. “The Army suffered 57,470 casualties that first day, of whom 19,240 were killed. It remains the bloodiest day in British military history and the totals exceeded the losses in the Crimean, Boer and Korean Wars combined” (3,200 words)

William Empson Was A Genius

John Gray | New Statesman | 28th June 2016

Famed as a critic and a poet, William Empson shambled through life with “a weird, sordid nobility”. When scandal drove him from Cambridge, he taught in China. He wrote his “lost masterpiece”, The Face of the Buddha, about Buddhist art, while wandering through Asia in the 1930s. The manuscript, which vanished one drunken night in Soho, has surfaced 60 years later. We may hesitate now to talk of genius, but “it is hard to know how else to describe Empson’s astonishing originality of mind” (2,300 words)

Cost Of Living

Emily Maloney | VQR | 31st March 2016

An American hospital technician, working to pay off her own medical bills from a failed suicide attempt, explains the intricate and often repugnant practices used for billing patients. “There were rules in charging patients for emergencies, unique explanations for one billing code instead of another. Patients who died flashed up on our screens occasionally, but those were easy to bill: level five, the most expensive, as we would have performed ‘heroic measures’ to try to save them” (3,640 words)

Michael Herr And New Journalism

Robert Stone | Literary Hub | 28th June 2016

The late Michael Herr’s Dispatches is one of the best books ever written about war, and “one of the greatest nonfiction works of its time”. An early work of new journalism, already it transcended the genre. Herr told an “unrelenting tale like the Ancient Mariner” with the same “stricken urgency” and spellbinding power, “moving like a magician over the unlucky country of Vietnam and in one blinding shell-burst after another revealing some new field of sorrow, disfigurement, or death” (2,000 words)

The Push For Pears

Taryn Phaneuf | Atlantic | 27th June 2016

Finding a perfectly ripened pear is “harder than winning the lottery”. Pears don’t fit well into the food chain because, unlike apples, they don’t ripen on the tree. They have to be stored in a cool place for a month or two after picking. More research might produce faster-ripening strains — but why bother, when shoppers can get everything that they want from apples? “The pear market has been flat for the last 30 years. Pears just aren’t that popular among consumers in the first place” (2,370 words)

Iceland Topples England

Amy Lawrence | Guardian | 27th June 2016

Exuberant celebration of an upset result in the European Cup football championship. “Takk fyrir Island. Thank you Iceland for blowing our minds. Thank you for your co-manager’s other job in dentistry, your class and determination, your exemplary coaching system, your comradeship within the team, your inspired hothousing of young talent in a weather-beaten place. Thank you for showing us that imaginative ways of doing things can bring extraordinary achievements” (880 words)

Video of the day: An Etiquette Guide To GO

What to expect:

Cartoon. How to behave on Ontario’s inter-regional transit system. Don’t rest your feet on other passengers

Thought for the day

Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking
H.L. Mencken

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