Your Morning Cup of Links

Did Jane Austen die of arsenic poisoning?

Is American culture rotten? (Spoiler: Yes.)

How lemonade helped Paris fend off plague

Breaking ground – and betting big – on a doomsday community for the rich.

The rise, fall, and lonely death of Benny Hill

I stopped watching “Girls” after season 2, but if it ended up being an indictment (albeit unintentional) of postmodern feminism and millennials maybe I’ll go back and watch.

This:

What followed was a toxic culture of conservative celebrity, where the public elevated personalities more because of their pugnaciousness than anything else. Indeed, the fastest way to become the next conservative star is to “destroy” the Left, feeding the same kind of instinct that causes leftists to lap up content from John Oliver, Samantha Bee, and Stephen Colbert. Liberals use condescending mockery. Conservatives use righteous indignation. That’s not much of a difference. The cost has been a loss of integrity and, crucially, a loss of emphasis on ideas and, more important, ideals. There exists in some quarters an assumption that if you’re truly going to “fight,” then you have to be ready to get your hands dirty. You can’t be squeamish about details like truth or civility or decency.

The message sent when conservatives rally around the flag to defend the indefensible is exactly the message the Democrats sent so loudly as they continued to prop up the Clinton machine through scandal after scandal. Only winning matters. Ambition is everything. Political movements are about personalities, not ideas — so you’re left with the political equivalent of warring mafia families in which the highest value is loyalty, and the ends always justify the means. But ambition isn’t everything, and the single-minded quest for winning ultimately creates a class of losers.

The conservative movement includes some of the best and most admirable people I’ve ever met. It also includes its share of grasping, ambitious fame-hounds, people who live for the next Fox hit and angle to write this year’s version of the “liberals are sending this country to hell” bestselling book. But bad character sends a country to hell just as surely as bad policy does, and any movement that asks its members to defend vice in the name of advancing allegedly greater virtue is ultimately shooting itself in the foot. O’Reilly’s fall can be an important act of public hygiene, but only if it represents the beginning of the end of a conservative culture that makes us behave like the cultural enemies we purport to despise.

The return of Beowulf

The forever young Percy Bysshe Shelley

Scientists find footprint of unknown ancient reptile

Good piece on the deep generational divide on the right

“The problem with connecting everyone on the planet is that a lot of people are assholes.”

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