From Reason, scenes from the Ron Paul revolution: An article on the rise of an eclectic anti-statist movement (and more). Pimp My Ride: Tucker Carlson goes on the road with Ron Paul's merry band of misfits and his hooker fan club. Oh, to be young and in love with Ron Paul. Young and in love: The congressman from Texas has the race's best batch of student volunteers. Rick Perlstein on how Republican Party leaders are basically acknowledging that they have been relying on tricking working class voters into not voting on economic issues. By trying to help John McCain recapture the independence of his 2000 run while retaining the panders of his 2008 campaign, Joe Lieberman chips away at the authenticity of both.
From Truthdig, a review of Flying Close to the Sun by Cathy Wilkerson; Ravens in the Storm: A Personal History of the 1960s Anti-War Movement by Carl Oglesby; and America's Child: A Woman's Journey Through the Radical Sixties by Susan Sherman. Todd Gitlin on how to remember 1968. The 40-year itch: Can America ever escape from the shadow of 1968? A review of The Great Funk: Falling Apart and Coming Together (On a Shag Rug) in the Seventies by Thomas Hine. From Counterpunch, remember the 80s: An article on social movements between Woodstock and the Web. A review of The Time of the Rebels: Youth Resistance Movements and 21st Century Revolutions by Matthew Collin.
From The American Interest, Borderline Insanity: Thinking big about Afghanistan; and an article on drugs and development in Afghanistan. Joschka Fischer on Afghanistan and the future of NATO. Next-Gen Taliban: Pakistan’s younger Islamic militants are bringing the jihad waged in Afghanistan back home: breaking with senior mullahs, renouncing elections and killing police officers, soldiers and, perhaps, Benazir Bhutto. From The Economist, a cover story on Pakistan, the world's most dangerous place (and more). From Time, an article on why Pakistan matters. A review of The Nuclear Jihadist: The True Story of the Man Who Sold the World's Most Dangerous Secrets...and How We Could Have Stopped Him by Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins.
From Eurozine, "normality" has been close to the hearts of eastern Europeans during transition; yet a comparative history of the concept in eastern and western Europe reveals meanings that are multiple, changeable, even oxymoronic. From Monthly Review, from borderline to borderland: An article on the changing European border regime. From Cafe Babel, a look at the traditions and ideas which caused a rupture in vulgarity in Europe. A review of Where Have All the Soldiers Gone? The Transformation of Modern Europe by James J. Sheehan. The real fissure, it seems, runs not across the Atlantic, but across America between urban and rural spheres; those who argue that the transatlantic alliance is irreversibly drifting apart are doing little more than blowing smoke.
From The New York Times Magazine, can you count on these machines? After the 2000 election, counties around the country rushed to buy new computerized voting machines. But it turns out that these machines may cause problems worse than hanging chads — is America ready for another contested election? Our voting system is a loser: An interview with William Poundstone, author of Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren't Fair (and What We Can Do About It). Does the mass-media have political influence? It is not clear that the media imparts a bias; it could be that improving access to any media informs voters and prompts them to turn against an embattled incumbent. Vance Packard’s 1957 The Hidden Persuaders showed how sinister advertising techniques were being imported into politics.
The rise of bibliotherapy: The idea that literature can make us emotionally and physically stronger goes back to Plato, but now book groups are proving that Shakespeare can be as beneficial as self-help guides. What is the nature of memory, and can it be captured in literature? Craig Raine considers the most successful attempts at doing so, from Wordsworth's "spots of time" to Proust's tea-soaked madeleines. A review of Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob by Lee Siegel. The great unread: Is your New Year's resolution to read more? You could always bluff it, argues Pierre Bayard (and more and more and more on How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read). More on My Unwritten Books by George Steiner.
Luis M. Garcia Mainar (Zaragoza): Authorship and Identity in the Cinema of Clint Eastwood. Usame Tunagur (Ohio) and Thomas R. Britt (George Mason): Business As Usual: Exploring the Other from Arabia to Appalachia. An interview with Alice Kelikian on film studies in the age of YouTube. Film’s new anxiety of influence: Hollywood still sets the agenda, but increasingly relies on the innovation and cultural input of foreign-born filmmakers. From The Hindu, filmmakers need to grow beyond screening constraints and liberate the rigid frame that has regulated film viewings so far. A review of Hollywood and Crime: Original Crime Stories Set During the History of Hollywood. A review of Sleaze Artists: Cinema at the Margins of Taste, Style, and Politics.
From The New York Times Book Review, a special issue on Islam, including a review of Juan Cole's Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East; a review of The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam’s Threat to the Enlightenment by Lee Harris; a review of Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy by Peter Gottschalk and Gabriel Greenberg; Tariq Ramadan on reading the Koran; Fouad Ajami on his mistake of doubting Samuel Huntington when he predicted a struggle between Islam and the West; and Lorraine Adams on how Muslim women’s voices are being heard as never before — but which ones? A review of The Politics of the Veil by Joan Wallach Scott. A review of God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215 by David Levering Lewis.
To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the launch of Sputnik, The New Atlantis revisits Hannah Arendt’s classic 1963 essay about modern science and the human meaning of our forays into space — five commentators respond to her argument and discuss its relevance today; "Americans will not like it": Michael Griffin on the global space economy; a review of Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age by Matthew Brzezinski; and a review of Rocketeers: How a Visionary Band of Business Leaders, Engineers, and Pilots Is Boldly Privatizing Space by Michael Belfiore. A review of Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War by Michael J. Neufeld.
From CJR, Todd Gitlin on eight questions reporters should ask Obama. The Bogarting Candidate: Barack Obama's past drug use is no major sin, but his recent dissembling about it is. Drug use and the candidates: Barack Obama might have used drugs; so have a lot of other people. Ask Not: Why Obama is no JFK. From TNR, Noam Scheiber on the story of Obama's victory;.Hope Inc: John Dickerson on how Obama's message found its mark. From Newsweek, a cover story on Obama’s Dream Machine. EJ Dionne on how Iowa exposes why Democrats are in great shape for November. From Vanity Fair, First Lady in Waiting: Who needs a warm-up campaign? Michelle Obama says "it’s now or never" for the couple to take the White House.