From Index on Censorship, just as Russia's economic growth has obviated talk of democracy, the media's financial successes leave no place for ethical debate. A review of Making Prehistory: Historical Science and the Scientific Realism Debate by Derek Turner. A look at how natural disasters often prompt political reforms — and, sometimes, revolutionary changes. From Transit, Mykola Riabchuk on how he became a Czech and a Slovak. From Gelf, an interview with Daniel Radosh, author of Rapture Ready!; and Paul Collins on how he used statistics to understand the true power of amicus curiae briefs on the Supreme Court. An interview with Matt Taibbi, author of The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire (and a review). From The Atlantic, a lawyer discovers that making ethics entertaining is the right thing to do. Thomas Frank on our great economic u-turn. From Nextbook, an article on the rise and fall—and rise—of “Jewess”. As the country turns 60, novelist Arnon Grunberg reconsiders Zionism amid revealing encounters with the Israeli military. Why the world would be a better place if women ruled. More on The Roads to Modernity by Gertrude Himmelfarb. An easy out when you don’t want to read the book: An excerpt from The Solitary Vice: Against Reading by Mikita Brottman (and a review).
From National Journal, President Bush has been taking a beating from the Right lately, with members of his own party heaping abuse on his administration — has Bush gone wobbly? Maybe We Can't: Cinque Henderson on the black case for Obama-skepticism. Jeffrey Goldberg interviews Barack Obama on Zionism and Hamas; and an interview with Joseph O'Neill on The Great Gatsby, post-9/11 New York, and his new novel, Netherland (and more and more). An interview with Keli Goff, author of Party Crashing: How the Hip-Hop Generation Declared Political Independence. Just give peace a chance? Christopher Hitchens reviews Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker (and an interview). From Colorlines, Kai Wright on her high school sex life; and an article on the rise of street literature. From Portfolio, depending on who's talking, the Fed's Tim Geithner either kept the financial world from collapsing or did Goldman Sachs' bidding. An interview with Ophelia Benson, co-author of Why Truth Matters and The Dictionary of Fashionable Nonsense. The supernatural frogs falling from the sky, mysterious airships, spontaneous human combustion — it all fascinated Charles Fort, whose appetite for the paranormal lives on today in sci-fi, conspiracy theories and that quirky chronicle of the unknown, The Fortean Times. More on Ron Paul's The Revolution: A Manifesto.
John Holbo (NUS): Twelve Twists in Euthyphro’s Case. If Hillary Clinton does not become the first female president of the United States, where should we look for her successor? A look at what Hillary Clinton’s candidacy has taught our daughters. In background and in character, Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain present as stark a contrast as their husbands. A review of Blood Matters: From Inherited Illness to Designer Babies, How the World and I Found Ourselves in the Future of the Gene by Masha Gessen. From Writ, what's so special about genetic discrimination? Congress passes a revealing bill; and a look at how one subgroup of evangelical Christians is attempting to redefine the very term "evangelical". A review of Mysticism and Architecture: Wittgenstein and the Meanings of the Palais Stonborough by Roger Paden. A review of Ecce monstrum: Georges Bataille and the Sacrifice of Form by Jeremy Biles. An interview with Howard Zinn on why anarchism is often ridiculed as violent and chaotic. How far left has Latin America moved? Immanuel Wallerstein investigates. From Vanity Fair, the Italian police may have had their reasons for holding 20-year-old American Amanda Knox in connection with the “extreme sex” murder last November of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher. Alberto Manguel writes about finding a place to keep his library of some 30,000 books.
From Wired, a special issue on Inconvenient Truths: Cutting carbon is the only thing that matters (and a response: It's not just carbon, stupid!) Creating cheap, clean energy is a huge problem; so, how's this for a big solution. From The Atlantic Monthly, James Fallows on why smoggy skies over Beijing represent the world’s greatest environmental opportunity. From First Science, there have been three great revolutions which have shaped our view of the heavens and our place in the Cosmos, and we are currently living through the turmoil of the third period of astronomical breakthrough. Jon Chait on why everything Obama and McCain say about foreign policy should be ignored. From Harper's, an article on democracy and deference. From Jewcy, an article on Atlas Shrugs Blog, where sociopathy gets confused with Zionism. Jeffrey Goldberg on Israel's "American problem". Leave Hitler out of it: The craze for injecting the Nazis into political debate must end. From The New Yorker, an article on Chinua Achebe and the great African novel. From Magazine Rack, a look at the Battle of the Gossip Rags: Us vs. In Touch. A review of The Politics of Our Selves: Power, Autonomy, and Gender in Contemporary Critical Theory by Amy Allen. The book business may be flat, but there's at least one bright spot: the booming sales of books for teens—and no, it's not all Harry Potter.
Daniel Drezner (Tufts): Public Intellectuals 2.0. Testosterone is not to blame: Why Hillary Clinton's loss has nothing to do with sexism. End of Empire? This could be the beginning of the end for the world's last superpower. Michael Hirsh on an unnatural disaster: America bears much of the blame for its waning global clout. Send in the latrines: Human excrement is a weapon of mass destruction, transferring diseases such as cholera, meningitis and typhoid. Why are so many Iraq vets committing suicide? And why isn't the Pentagon doing anything to help? Hans Kung on a key ethical question for George Bush's successor: Should a president lie? An excerpt from The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder by Vincent Bugliosi. What’s so scary about evolution? For both Left and Right, a lot. Teaching evolution: Legal victories aren't enough. Why the California Supreme Court did more than legalize gay marriage. Norman Levitt reviews John Alan Paulos’ Irreligion. From Doublethink, kid speechwriters: The Beltway’s best and brightest never stop working — and never take credit; from escort to White House correspondent, the self-styled “Voice of the New Media” Jeff Gannon abides; why a small band of upstart filmmakers is spending six figures on a short film no one will see; how the tale of a girl who bears a shockingly located set of fangs upends the revenge-film formula; and don’t free Hawaii!
From Dissent, Israel at Sixty: An interview with Mitchell Cohen; banned in Red Scare Boston: The forgotten story of Charlie & the MTA; an interview with Pico Iyer, author of The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama; and more on The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. Is Barack Obama cynical enough to take on the Republican Machine? Vote like thy neighbor: Why the American electorate is more politically polarized than ever. Ryszard Legutko investigates. From Chronicles, Chilton Williamson, Jr. on liberalism as addiction. From Modern Age, what’s wrong with liberalism? Kindred Spirit: A willful optimism links Obama with "crossover" giants before him. A review of books on World War I. Here's an idea for an alumni magazine: Dig up what your classmates are really doing. To protect sovereignty, or to protect lives? The new notion of global responsibility to alleviate suffering has struggled to win acceptance—and Myanmar will not be the place where it comes of age; but yes, peacekeeping makes sense. From New York, a cover story on the affairs of men: The trouble with sex and marriage. James Cramer, on how to profit from the stock market no matter which candidate wins in November. In the Basement of the Ivory Tower: The idea that a university education is for everyone is a destructive myth; an instructor at a “college of last resort” explains why.
From Wired, Peter Thiel makes down payment on libertarian ocean colonies. Electric Kool-Aid Conservatism: How cloning Tom Wolfe can save right-wing journalism. From The New Yorker, George Packer on the fall of conservatism: Have the Republicans run out of ideas?; Jeffrey Toobin decodes McCain's judicial speech; and is there any hope for the hung over? Joan Acocella investigates. From Boston Review, this ecstatic nation: Learning from Emily Dickinson after 9/11. From Scientific American, a cover story on the ethics of climate change: Pay now or pay more later?; and a look at why grassroots initiatives can't fix climate change. James Wood has some serious blind spots about fiction, writes Delia Falconer. Little League, huge effect: How youth sports shape the economic, academic, and social prospects of Americans. There is a game Americans like to play and a title they like to confer: It's called Worst President of All Time; and more and more and more and more and more and more and more on Rick Perlstein's Nixonland (and an excerpt at Bookforum). Chalmers Johnson reviews Sheldon Wolin's Democracy Incorporated. The Holy Guide to Coital Positions: The Church was OK with sex in the Middle Ages, so long as it was done in a very particular way. A review of New Pragmatists. Why nations fail to act: Loss of feeling after first victim can allow atrocities to occur.
From Telos, a special issue on Culture and Politics in Carl Schmitt, including Benjamin Arditi (UNAM): On the Political: Schmitt contra Schmitt; David Pan (Penn State): Carl Schmitt on Culture and Violence in the Political Decision; Hans Sluga (UC-Berkeley): The Pluralism of the Political: From Carl Schmitt to Hannah Arendt; Christian J. Emden (Rice): Carl Schmitt, Hannah Arendt, and the Limits of Liberalism; Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky (Bochum): Nothing is Political, Everything Can Be Politicized: On the Concept of the Political in Michel Foucault and Carl Schmitt; and Theo W. A. de Wit (Utrecht): Scum of the Earth: Alain Finkielkraut on the Political Risks of a Humanism without Transcendence. From TLS, a review of Michael Howard's Liberation or Catastrophe? Reflections on the history of the twentieth century; a review of Seeing the Face, Seeing the Soul: Polemon’s “Physiognomy” from classical antiquity to medieval Islam; and Austrian politicians want to distance their country from the Fritzl case: literary historians find it harder. More and more on Common Wealth by Jeffrey D Sachs. Richard Morgan on steampunk: Remembering yesterday's tomorrows (and more). From Jewcy, comedy writer Ben Karlin and memoirist-cum-lawyer Elizabeth Wurtzel discuss love, marriage, and getting dumped. Are greatest hits albums just the best, are retrospective compilations really such a bad thing? From TAP, Matt Yglesias argues that Democrats need to embrace liberal internationalism wholeheartedly; a panel of foreign-policy experts responds (and an interview).
From Skeptical Inquirer, the frontal assault on religion by Richard Dawkins in his book The God Delusion, and by others, may mark a new chapter in the warfare of science with theology. From TNR, here's the exclusive story of Hillary's fall, as told by the high-level advisors, staffers, fundraisers, and on-the-ground organizers who lived it. From Scientific American, an article on the orgasmic mind and the neurological roots of sexual pleasure. A review of Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003 by William N. Eskridge Jr. If we really want to explore space, maybe we should sell it off to the highest bidders. From TNR, Jed Pearl remembers Richard Rauschenberg; and Cynthia Ozick reviews The Journey Abandoned: The Unfinished Novel by Lionel Trilling. From Radar, they're naive, self-important, and perpetually plugged in — this is a call to arms against Millennials; and Joel Derfner wants to be the Gayest Person Ever. IQ levels rocketed in the last century, but argument still rages about how our brain power should be tested, and the roles played by genetics, social conditions, culture and even race: Why are some people smarter than others? From LRB, Terry Eagleton reviews Anonymity: A Secret History of English Literature by John Mullan. A review of Patrick Cockburn's Muqtada: Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq (and more).
From The Atlantic Monthly, how an early gaffe and an excruciatingly long primary season helped Barack Obama find a distinctive voice on foreign affairs; how Silicon Valley made Barack Obama this year’s hottest start-up; and how would Obama’s success in online campaigning translate into governing? Why aren't there more women in science and engineering? Controversial new research suggests: They just aren't interested. More on The Sexual Paradox by Susan Pinker. David Rieff on why he had to lie to his dying mother, Susan Sontag. From New Humanist, as "Sex and the City" totters on to the big screen, Sally Feldman celebrates the agony and the ecstasy of the stiletto; and as festival season begins Andrew Mueller counts off the reasons to avoid them. From IHE, just because China and the Middle East are increasingly important is no reason to drop study of French and German; and looking for an affordable word processor that will also help you stay focused? Scott McLemee goes low-tech. Is our obsession with sincerity in politics a good thing?: David Runciman on why politicians shouldn't always strive to be sincere. Negotiating isn't appeasement: Bush, McCain and other conservatives are on the wrong side of history when they dismiss Obama's foreign policy. The McCain Doctrines: Senator John McCain’s support for the war in Iraq, informed by his experience, is lonely but unwavering.