Quote of the day

"A market is a place set apart for men to deceive each other"
— Anacharsis

Hell Sucks

“Very possibly the greatest war story ever published in Esquire“, says Esquire — and why stop there; Michael Herr’s reports on America’s war in Vietnam, compiled later as Dispatches, are some of the greatest war stories of all time. “We are not really a particularly brutal people, certainly no more brutal now than we’ve been in other wars, but our machine is devastating. And versatile. It can do almost everything but stop” (7,600 words)

Waterloo: A Near-Run Thing

Discussion of books about the Battle of Waterloo by Bernard Cornwell, Tim Clayton and Patrick O’Keefe, published as the bicentenary approaches. The stakes were immense at Waterloo and so was the slaughter. Out of 200,000 combatants, 50,000 died. Napoleon at his best might have won; but he was tired and his staff-work was poor. Even so, as Wellington said, it was “the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life” (1,470 words)

High Gear

Review of Mad Max: Fury Road, a “wild and unrelenting” film which “lies way, way beyond Thunderdome, and marks one of the few occasions on which a late sequel outdoes what came before.” Tom Hardy, who takes over Mel Gibson’s title role, “is more earthed than Gibson, and less wired — indeed, less mad. Max’s deeds rarely strike us as gratuitous. Instead, they seem resignedly brutal, as if there were no other way to live” (1,740 words)

The Insider’s Guide To Westminster

How Parliament operates. “Accountability and transparency are not dead. They just take a little finding.” Most serious argument takes place in committees, not in the chamber. Prime Minister’s question time is “the theatrical centrepiece”, but usually disappoints. “Traditionally, Cameron answers a different question to the one he has been asked, or asks why he hasn’t been asked a question about something he has done well” (5,000 words)

Mad Men And The Coke Jingle

Remembering Roquel Davis, the African-American advertising genius who came up with the most admired commercial of all time, “I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke”, attributed to Don Draper in the final episode of Mad Men. Davis had an amazing life, far eclipsing Draper’s. He deserves better. “We have a long tradition in the United States of erasing the creative work of black Americans” (2,720 words)

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