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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Sarah Topol follows the trade routes used by arms smugglers, Eric Foner explores the hidden history of the Underground Railroad, Karl Ove Knausgaard recounts a humiliating episode from grade school, and more
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“The best coming-of-age stories have a hole in the middle. They pretend to be about knowledge, but they are usually about grasping, long after it could be of any use, one’s irretrievable ignorance.”
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“‘It’s open shopping,’ he said. ‘A warehouse. The whole of Libya.’”
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“The Vigilance Committee survived until the eve of the Civil War, and over the course of its several incarnations it propelled the plight of fugitives to the forefront of abolitionist consciousness.“
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“Just so you motherfuckers know, I’ll be spending Christmas with my family, eating a good meal, and you’ll all be here, right where you belong.”
Photographer unknown. Artwork courtesy Alyse Emdur

Amount that President Obama has added to America’s “brand value” according to the Nation Brands Index:

$2,100,000,000,000

A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.

A former New York City police officer who had been arrested in 2012 for exchanging online messages about cooking women alive and eating them, and for illegally accessing data about potential victims in law-enforcement databases, was sentenced to time served.

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I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

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