Best of the Web minus Snark
March 26, 2010 4:17 AM   Subscribe

Give us 15 minutes of your time, and we will give you everything that matters in the world: "In our Best of the Moment section, we recommend journalism online which we judge likely to be of lasting value to the intelligent general reader." Also featuring interviews with experts recommending the best five books on everything.

Robert Cottrell (Financial Times, The Economist) is the editor, the Browsings section is put together by a bunch of contributors.
posted by lucia__is__dada (24 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
So i guess this is what MetaFilter would look like if I had the comments disabled. The Best of the Web seems somewhat less interesting without the hive mind available to tell me what I think of it. The Five Books section is pretty cool though.
posted by wabbittwax at 4:58 AM on March 26, 2010

posted by infini at 5:06 AM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's slick looking (with a professional white background), but the lack of comments actually puts me off. How many times are links posted on MeFi that end up being debunked or exposed as horribly biased by people who are familiar with the issue at hand? It seems that just presenting links without critique is more "link farm" than "best of the web." In fact, some of the links that are visible on their front page at this moment are broken or point to a pay wall.
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:41 AM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

There's also something a bit weird about the fact that three of the "five books on how to win elections" are American Gods, Cryptonomicon and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

I mean, I'm pretty sure that Obama always knows where his towel is, but still...
posted by lucien_reeve at 5:49 AM on March 26, 2010

I like the Five Books section, although I've got my quibbles with how it's layed-out. Some of it is inane, like the how to win elections guy. He basically listed books he likes, which isn't really the same thing.
posted by OmieWise at 5:58 AM on March 26, 2010

Well, I like it: interesting content, clean no-fuss/no-muss layout.

I suspect your comparison to mefi is gonna sink the comments on this post, though.
posted by smoke at 6:00 AM on March 26, 2010

The intersection between Mefi, 'The Browser', Kottke, Reddit/Digg, and ... take your pick, will be an interesting one.
posted by From Bklyn at 6:01 AM on March 26, 2010

The links are great, more (but not suspiciously more, ) than a couple have appeared here. Ironically it is really hard to browse by date and see how the site appeared on a particular date.

As to intent, this from a link above. "We provide links to Amazon in our books section for buying these recommended books, and also books by our interviewees. We stand to make commission from books sold in this way. That aside, there is no commercial component to our site. We do not, for the time being at least, seek advertising or sponsorship."

The editor, on his above-linked page says that his main source for links are the 250 odd RSS feeds he subscribes to and that "I live now in Riga, Latvia, where I have a second-hand-book shop."

So thanks (Poster and Editor). I love it when people give me free stuff.
posted by vapidave at 6:04 AM on March 26, 2010

What's with all the negativity? This site is awesome. There isn't a single article on there that I didn't find interesting (though I may have to pass on the one about zoophilia). And of course the comments are turned off. Otherwise there'd be moronic comments on every article that read "why is this here?"

And the comparisons to Metafilter are inappropriate. While many of these topics do make it here, many don't or haven't. And there is a lot that makes it here that personally, for me, isn't at all interesting. There have been more than a few fpp's about some hipster's collection of kitschy shit that frankly I could live my whole life without ever knowing about, but you don't hear me complaining (okay, now you do, but not in those threads).

You don't like this, move on. I love it. Thanks, lucia_is_dada!
posted by Pastabagel at 6:29 AM on March 26, 2010 [6 favorites]

Looks like they actually include the links in the feed, unlike bookforum, for example. Nice.
posted by The Mouthchew at 7:10 AM on March 26, 2010

Both are worth looking at. The Browser looks like a much less annoying version of The Daily Beast and Five Books is like an internet version of The Saturday Review of Literature.

the lack of comments actually puts me off

Not me. I wish more publications would forgo comments. 90% (or more) of the comments at most publications are like bathroom grafitti, only less funny and not as smart.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:14 AM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

I found this link on the North America regional page. It is easily the best article I've ever read about Andre the Giant*. What a great piece.

*It is the only article I've read about Andre the Giant.
posted by pencroft at 7:23 AM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

In the link about the best investigative journalism books, Phillip Knightley's classic A Hack's Progress gets a rave (everyone should read it).

Back in the 1970s/1980s, Knightley was a god to most young wannabe journalists (like me) - one of those deadly clever Australians who had made it huge in British journalism - and I was stunned when my then boyfriend told me that Knightley and his own dad were great friends & neighbors.

So I met the "god" a few times at my boyfriend's house - and boasted about the fact to my own stepdad (an ex-journalist-turned publisher), mentioning that Knightley was terrifyingly brilliant - he was friendly but you got the impression he didn't suffer fools very long. My own stepdad was - still is - very smart himself, so I was being a bit of a brat bragging about a contemporary of his who was even more formidable (and famous).

My boyfriend's parents kindly arranged to have a drinks party inviting Philip Knightley and his wife Yvonne, and my parents too. Yvonne Knightley had been born in India - and was a tiny, very pretty woman who often wore a sari but also happened to be an incredibly potty-mouthed, extremely fierce social London worker. (She was adorable).

So we are all having drinks (at my boyfriend's parents nice Notting Hill home), and Philip Knightley is holding forth about something incredibly smart and I suddenly see my stepdad very slightly overcome with nerves at approaching the famous man directly - instead he sidles over to Yvonne, who is sitting prettily alone on the sofa in her pretty sari.

For some insane reason, my normally sophisticated & lovely stepdad decides to open a chat with Yvonne as if under the impression she is fresh off the boat from the sub-continent - asking her in a loud, carrying, speaking-to-a-foreigner-voice: "So Tell Me, How Do You Like This Area Of London?".

Yvonne looks startled for a second then leans forward with an evil grin and shouts back: "I fucking love it - but traveling tube is often a fucking cunt, I find."

My stepdad was so taken aback he jolted his drink straight into her lap.

(Actually the rest of the drinks party didn't go very well either. And to this day, my stepdad stills gets a glassy look in his eye if anyone mentions famous Philip Knightley.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:39 AM on March 26, 2010 [5 favorites]

*It is the only article I've read about Andre the Giant.

Well then, lets keep it going for you!
posted by adamdschneider at 7:43 AM on March 26, 2010

Really interesting stuff there.
I suspect the overall tone may be a little more conservative than what I am used to. (or maybe just a little more balanced!)

Thank you Lucia is Dada
posted by SLC Mom at 7:45 AM on March 26, 2010

Hmm, I wonder what their thought process was when they decided to use to shorten the best of the moment links? It seems completely unecessary (and annoying) to me.
posted by jzed at 7:46 AM on March 26, 2010

Pastabagel--> What's with all the negativity?

posted by notyou at 8:00 AM on March 26, 2010

Ungrateful brats!
I love it too.
Thank you Lucia_is_dada!
posted by joost de vries at 8:24 AM on March 26, 2010

In fairness, several of the articles seem pretty interesting - this one on an architect who lost the ability to picture things in his mind, for example, is fascinating. And it's hard not to be charmed by a manatee.
posted by lucien_reeve at 8:35 AM on March 26, 2010

Much like its mascot, I expect that this site will be largely ignored by the fun-seeking populace and its back scarred by personal watercraft on their way to TMZ. But, unlike the manatee, this site has moved into an already destroyed habitat and I hope that it sticks around. It's already taught me 2 things today, and that just about beats the last week of Metafilter. Thanks, l_is_d.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:44 AM on March 26, 2010

Nifty, thanks.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:57 AM on March 26, 2010

Great reveal. Slotted it into my top 20 bookmarks. Thanks.

I'm with Pastabagel. Fucking chill out, brats.
posted by zenpop at 11:48 AM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is cool. It also makes me think that EVERY elementary, middle and high school should have a learning how to communicate your emotions and listen to people and be heard class.
posted by edbles at 1:23 PM on March 26, 2010

There isn't a single article on there that I didn't find interesting (though I may have to pass on the one about zoophilia).

Funnily enough, that one made it to Mefi today. Oh the irony.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 5:46 PM on March 26, 2010

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