Links — November 3, 2009, 7:46 pm

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The world almost missed out on the final film clips of Michael Jackson–which some might consider a loss; and wouldn’t it have been better if the “Age of Twee Hipsterdom,” as identified by Harper’s Contributing Editor Christian Lorentzen, was actually over, and the “muscular, bravura” filmmaking of Wes Anderson vanished from the earth? And is it really better to prefer the current films of Lars von Trier, a director who was once described in Harper’s Magazine as having suggested that “gang rape might be a simple girl’s way of gaining entry into heaven”? (subs only)?

The relationship between do-it-yourself funerals and the illicit market for online sperm is complex; to simplify it one might use this equation calculating the “phenomena of association,” but the one thing that is eminently clear is that money is important, particularly in New York, and pretty much everywhere else, too

To find an American shepherd, one must first understand the Basque diaspora, but really, what is being discussed here is not ranching or even dogs, but rather “romantic exoticism” of a sort that is uniquely American, like crypto-Jews or tribal tattoos, or the myriad ways in which one can become a Veblenian “connoisseur in creditable viands of various degrees of merit, in manly beverages and trinkets, in seemly apparel and architecture, in weapons, games, dances, and narcotics,” as discussed by Mark Kingwell in this month’s Harper’s Magazine (subscription only)

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"We all know in France that as soon as a politician starts saying that some problem will be solved at the European level, that means no one is going to do anything."
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Tom Bissell on touring Israel with Christian Zionists, Joy Gordon on the Cuban embargo, Lawrence Jackson on Freddie Gray and the makings of an American uprising, a story by Paul Yoon, and more

Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.

The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.

Artwork: Camels, Jerusalem (detail) copyright Martin Parr/Magnum Photos
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Even if federal gun-control advocates got everything they wanted, they couldn’t prevent America’s most popular rifle from being made, sold, and used. Understanding why this is true requires an examination of how the firearm is made.
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"Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing."
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Percentage of British citizens who say that Northern Ireland should remain part of the United Kingdom:

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In the United Kingdom, a penis-shaped Kentish strawberry was not made by snails.

The Playboy mansion in California was bought by the heir to the Twinkie fortune, and a New Mexico man set fire to his apartment to protest his neighbors’ loud lovemaking.

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