From The Believer, “an original adventure”: Elizabeth Hardwick eluded domesticity and became a pioneer of New York women intellectuals; an article on Freud, Dora (no, not that Dora), and surfing's secret Austro-Hungarian roots; and American black metal bands specialize in a uniquely brutal, homegrown sound, but they don't actually kill people; so why should they be taken seriously? Why implausibility sells: An article on the strange quest to write history in the absence of evidence. A review of Rousseau's Platonic Enlightenment by David Lay Williams. More and more and more and more on Hammer & Tickle: A History of Communism Told Through Communist Jokes by Ben Lewis. Why female South American leaders succeeded while Clinton’s run sputtered to a halt. An excerpt from Bill Bishop's The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart (and more). Meet the Council of Conservative Citizens — a group that offers a biblical defense of slavery and laments the survival of African babies. We can measure eyesight and hearing — so why not smell? A review of books on the highs and lows of covering the war. From FP, an article on the world's dirtiest cities: Arsenic-laced drinking water, lead-contaminated soils and choking air pollution are sadly just the start in some of the world's dirtiest places; and a list of the world’s lost environmental causes.
From Harvard Magazine, an article on the causes and consequences of the wide—and growing—gap between rich and poor. A review of We Shall Overcome: A History of Civil Rights and the Law by Alexander Tsesis. A review of First Stop in the New World: Mexico City, the Capital of the 21st Century by David Lida. Stalin was right? More on Slavoj Zizek's In Defense of Lost Causes. A review of The Importance of Being Trivial by Mark Mason and Real Men Eat Puffer Fish by Robert Twigger. A review of The Populist Vision by Charles Postel. Who needs the humanities? Steve Fuller wants to know. What the authors of the Second Amendment did not foresee is that when people own a gun, they unwittingly raise their risk of getting hurt and killed — because the odds that they will one day use their gun to commit suicide. Mark Krikorian on The Real Reconquista—Mass immigration and American sovereignty. The first chapter from Identity and Control: How Social Formations Emerge by Harrison C. White. Scientists in popular culture are inevitably mad, bad and dangerously keen on bubbling vials of ghastly liquids — should this bother them? Battle for the 'burbs: An excerpt from Reihan Salam and Ross Douthat's Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream (and more and more).
James H. Fowler (UCSD): The Colbert Bump in Campaign Donations: More Truthful than Truthy. Secrets of married men: Men, especially married men, are at a disadvantage in relationships, both verbally and emotionally. What do Beavis and Butthead have in common with Nietzsche? Susan Neiman wants to know. The Tao of Chuck: The far-right Constitution Party redirects the Ron Paul rEVOLution. The uses of hyperbole: Exaggerated doomsday forecasts are false, regrettable, inevitable, and possibly necessary. Is it safe now to admit Jimmy Carter was right? If it bleeds, it shouldn't lead: Years of sensational coverage haven't rescued TV news from ratings freefalls, and a new study suggests a quick application of quality might help patch things up. Is it time to mess with Mother Nature? Global warming could force preservationists to become zookeepers and gardeners. A review of The Social Atom: Why the Rich Get Richer, Cheaters Get Caught, and Your Neighbor Usually Looks Like You by Mark Buchanan. A review of The Flight from Reality in the Human Sciences by Ian Shapiro. Courage of the flip-flop: It's easy to be a conviction politician; real bravery consists of changing tack according to the evidence (and more). From Open Source, an interview with Dan Ariely on confronting irrationality; and an interview with Russell Banks on what novelists are for.