From Jacobin, Ian Williams on geek culture: What is Superman in the twenty-first century but a corporate mascot, albeit one with a lavish backstory? (and a response by Jase Short: “Geeks are more than passive consumers of corporate media”); and Gavin Mueller on how no act of consumption is completely passive, but even the most active types of consumption form a shaky ground for serious left politics. David Sessions on the scourge of liberal moralism. From Column F, why would anyone actively choose not to be a liberal? Here are ten possible reasons (and more). Colonialism though is not just about race, it is also about that great unmentionable, class: Deirdre O'Neill on the gentrification of the Left. Adam Puchejda interviews Zygmunt Bauman on the future of the left. Nudge nudge, drink drink: Joe Thorogood on the prosaic geographies of libertarian paternalism. David Brin on libertarianism, creativity and Silicon Valley and on how "neo-reactionaries" drop all pretense: End democracy and bring back lords. Geeks for monarchy: Klint Finley on the rise of the neoreactionaries. Welcome to the century of the Trotskyite monarchists, the revolutionary reactionaries, and the fringe politics of the paradoxical. An excerpt from The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine and the Birth of Right and Left by Yuval Levin (and more and more). Your genes influence your political views — so what? Larry Bartels on how genetic “explanations” of political attitudes and behavior are neither impossible nor illegitimate; they are just not very interesting (and why biology belongs in the study of politics: Scholar of genopolitics John Hibbins defends the field).
T. Michael Perrin (Leicester): A Brief Consideration of Psychogeography: Archaeological Applications and Possibilities. From The Humanist, a special section on Humanists of the Year. One does not normally think of ancient Hawaii when thinking about the early societies of Egypt and China, Mesopotamia and Mesoamerica, the Indus Valley and the Incas — but a new scholarly work argues that pre-contact Hawaii should join the recognized list of "cradles of civilization", primary states from which "all modern nation states ultimately derive". From Wonkblog, a series on Graphs of the Year 2013. Everyone with a nagging sense of self-doubt induced by finding themselves procrastinating over this or that writing assignment will find a 1990 article about Saussure’s time in Leipzig immensely therapeutic. From Nautilus, a special issue on Waste: Endings and beginnings. Roy Edroso on the 10 dumbest Rightblogger ideas of 2013. Evangelical church’s ugly truth: Brittney Cooper on “Duck Dynasty” and Christian racists. Felix Salmon on the new era of the New York skyscraper. Philip Roessler on why South Sudan has exploded in violence: South Sudan has fallen prey to the "coup-civil war trap". Brian Lehrer is going unseen, but asking the tough questions for almost a quarter-century at WNYC. The NSA's TAO hacking unit is considered to be the intelligence agency's top secret weapon; it maintains its own covert network, infiltrates computers around the world and even intercepts shipping deliveries to plant back doors in electronics ordered by those it is targeting.
Walter E. Block (Loyola): The Natural Rights of Children. Ori Friedman (Waterloo): How Do Children Represent Pretend Play? From The Hedgehog Review, Diane M. Hoffman (Virginia): Raising the Awesome Child; and Carl Desportes Bowman (Virginia): Holding Them Closer. Growing up poor changes children’s brains and may even shorten their lives: A new study adds to the evidence that poverty has lingering effects on young minds (and more). Big Mother is watching you: Judith Shulevitz on the creepy new technology of spying on your kids (and a response). Rewild the child: A week in the countryside is worth three months in a classroom. Jake Johnson on fostering the entrepreneurial spirit in your kids. Apps for brats: American parents snap up apps to make their children less horrible. Children today are cossetted and pressured in equal measure — without the freedom to play they will never grow up. Marlena Graves on raising Christian kids in a sex-filled culture. Inside the outrageous world of child cage fighting: Tiny boys who are trained to attack each other in America’s baby MMA arenas. Should we be allowed to choose the sexual orientation of our children? Alice Dreger wonders. Hilary Levey Friedman on parents' scary trust in after-school programs: How much do you really know about that soccer coach or piano teacher? Parents, don’t panic about your kids’ social media habits: Danah Boyd tries to puncture some myths about teenagers and the Internet. The opium is our children: Rory Stewart believes we have gone from ancestor worship to descendant worship. Get your kicks: No wonder adolescents jump off cliffs and fall in crazy love — they are constantly stifled by school and society alike.
Murat Cem Menguc (Seton Hall): AKP's Religious Conservatism vs. Neo-Liberalism: A Divide That Doesn’t Exist. Kaya Genc on the political color wheel: In Turkey, different colors have long been associated with particular beliefs — most recently, a rainbow coalition has spread across the country. Halil Karaveli on Turkey: A capitalist history. Piotr Zalewski on Istanbul's Big Dig: Is there a dark side to Turkey's glittering array of multi-billion-dollar massive infrastructure projects? Andrew Arato on ten theses on constitutional change in Turkey. Richard Falk on two forms of lethal polarization: Egypt and Turkey. Smells like Gezi spirit: Meyda Yegenoglu on democratic sensibilities and carnivalesque politics in Turkey. Christopher de Bellaigue on Turkey: “Surreal, menacing, pompous”. An imperfect model: Kemal Kirisci on how a high-profile corruption scandal has aggravated the growing instability in Turkey. At the center of Turkey's corruption scandal is a "gas for gold" scheme that the Obama administration dragged its feet on stopping. Brent E. Sasley on how Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has reshaped Turkish politics, and what it means for current corruption scandal. Will Turkey's Erdogan cause his own downfall? Dexter Filkins investigates. Suzy Hansen goes inside the movement of Fetullah Gulen, a guy who lives in Pennsylvania qho may be taking down the entire Turkish government. With a combination of the kitsch of Eurovision and the lofty sentiments of pan-Turkic brotherhood, the Turkic-speaking world’s first international song contest, Turkvision, made its debut.
Todd K. Platts (Missouri): Locating Zombies in the Sociology of Popular Culture. From Cyborgology blog, Sarah Wanenchak on drone sexuality, part 1: Knowledge and consent; and part 2: Boundary conditions. What is a brand? Slavoj Zizek on how marketing redefines our lives in strange new ways. Brad Plumer on seven things you should know about the expiration of unemployment benefits. Deadly mix in Benghazi: The reality behind the attack on American outposts in Libya is murkier and more complex than initially believed, but months of investigation turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda had any role in the assault. JFK conspiracy theories at 50: David Reitzes on how the skeptics got it wrong and why it matters (and more at TNR). Is JFK in hell? Joseph Pearce wonders. Robert J. Joustra on the “Crack-Smoking Mayor of Toronto” and the politics of middles. George J. Marlin on the moral dilemmas of Obamacare. Technology for the elderly grows more ambitious and, arguably, more adventurous — the paper “Development of Anal Position Detecting System for New-Toilet System” sets a new standard. Who cares if we wreck that million dollar painting? JP Morgan's $19m-a-year boss Jamie Dimon under fire for “opulent” Christmas card of him hitting tennis balls around palatial home. George Monbiot on materialism, a system that eats us from the inside out. It has been neither the best of times nor the worst of times, but it has been Robert Paul Wolff’s time.
From Salon, one liberal, three GOP strongholds: Eric Lutz on what a drive through Ryan and Bachmann country says about America right now; and Paul Rosenberg on how to beat GOP on inequality: Key reforms that don’t involve Congress. Don’t call it a class war: A top Democrat is ready to go on offense over economic inequality, if not to speak those words — “there’s no way [the GOP] can sort of escape it”. Michael Lind on how to beat libertarians on the economy: While the right is united economically behind one main agenda, the left lacks such a consensus — here's the solution. Have hope — conservatives rationalize Leftist stuff they like: The Alaska Permanent Fund (APF), it is the most socialist government program in the country, but it earns conservative acclaim. Why the Left sucks at trolling: Alan Grayson trash-talks as well as a tea-party Republican, but his progressive colleagues would rather take a high road (and sit on the sideline). There won’t be a liberal Rush: Jeffrey M. Berry and Sarah Sobieraj on the economics of conservative media. Beck is back: Chris Lehmann on what Glenn Beck and Malcolm Gladwell have in common. Michele Bachmann as William F. Buckley’s spawn: Jeffrey M. Berry and Sarah Sobieraj on how right-wing media spiraled out of control. Why can't Democrats be more like Rick Santorum? Molly Ball on th battle within the Democratic Party: A schism between moderates and liberals over economic inequality is the first front in defining a post-Obama platform.
Haider Ala Hamoudi (Pittsburgh): The Paradoxical Success of the Iraq Constitution. Fanar Haddad (NUS): Sunni-Shia Relations After the Iraq War. George Emile Bisharat (Hastings): Re-Democratizing Palestinian Politics. From Reuters, a special investigation on the Assets of the Ayatollah: The economic empire behind Iran’s supreme leader. An intimate profile of a mass murderer: Annia Ciezadlo on how Syria's polite, genocidal dictator Bashar Al Assad won. On Monsterphilia and Assad: Muhammad Idrees Ahmad on the problems with the “anti-imperialist” position on Syria. Jordan Chandler Hirsch reviews Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation by Yossi Klein Halevi. Ralph Langer on Stuxnet's secret twin: The real program to sabotage Iran's nuclear facilities was far more sophisticated than anyone realized. Where are the good guys? The rise of jihadists and the worsening sectarian strife in Syria have put Western backers of the rebel opposition in a quandary. Is a Third Intifada in the offing? Khalid Amayreh on how a worsening Palestinian economy, peace process stalemate, and Israeli expansion could lead to new uprising. Mitchell Plitnick on Obama of Arabia. "The near future of Iraq is dark": Patrick Cockburn interviews Muqtada al-Sadr. The desert of Israeli democracy: Max Blumenthal on how a trip through the Negev Desert leads to the heart of Israel’s national nightmare. Is Dubai the future of cities? As instant boomtowns compete with ancient metropolises, the Middle East debates what makes a true urban center.
A new issue of the Journal of Social Inclusion is out. J. Bryan Hehir (Harvard): Nonproliferation: A Global Issue for a Global Ethic. S.N. Balagangadhara (Ghent): Some Theses on Colonial Consciousness. Gina Apostol on Borges, politics, and the postcolonial. From LARB, a review essay on post-financial crisis spiritual reading by Jeffery Atik. Jeffrey Morris reviews An Historical-Legal Analysis of the Impeachments of Presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and William Clinton: Why the Process Went Wrong by Arnold H. Leibowitz. Leah Price on when doctors prescribe books to heal the mind: Can you read your way to psychological health? The introduction to Jews and the Military: A History by Derek J. Penslar. Katie Heaney on the silly science of near-death experiences: There's no way to prove whether or not someone's had an out of body experience, but that hasn't stopped scientists from trying to study the phenomenon. From FDL, a book salon on The Public Bank Solution: From Austerity to Prosperity by Ellen Brown. James Gustave Speth on why prioritizing growth is bad policy. Mark Nevitt on defending the environment: A mission for the world's militaries. The Army goes green, but not to save the Earth. When “life hacking” is really white privilege: Jen Dziura on how personal development gurus can get away with whatever they want, so why can’t you? Glenn Greenwald's new media company is a bespoke firm — and we may be about to see a lot more like it. Jake Heppner 39 test answers that are 100% wrong but totally genius at the same time.
Danielle Keats Citron (Maryland) and Mary Anne Franks (Miami): Criminalizing Revenge Porn. From Technology Review, Tom Simonite on the decline of Wikipedia. Is Wikipedia for sale? Martin Robbins wonders. How much is Wikipedia worth? Rose Eveleth investigates. Going global: As connectivity balloons, so does Wikipedia’s diversity. Dariusz Jemielniak on why Wikipedia needs paid editing. Miles Klee on Wikipedia Zero: All the world's information, no Internet access needed. Joe Kloc on the death and life of great Internet cities. Top nine things you need to know about “listicles”: Steven Poole on the crucial facts about the internet phenomenon of written lists. John Herrman on how Internet chain letters took over the media. The Biggest Little Site in the World: What does Imgur, one of the most highly-trafficked sites on the web, want to be when it grows up? Television. Noreen Malone how Instagram's new feature shows how the Internet is embracing intimacy. The internet mystery that has the world baffled: For the past two years, a mysterious online organisation has been setting the world's finest code-breakers a series of seemingly unsolvable problems, but to what end? Welcome to the world of Cicada 3301. Jay Yarow on why Facebook is a fundamentally broken product that is collapsing under its own weight. David A. Banks on very serious populists: The point of online voting systems like Reddit is not to highlight the best content, but to build and maintain hegemony. Daniel D’Addario on why 2013 was the Internet’s worst year ever.
Steven W. Bender (Seattle): Run for the Border: Vice and Virtue in U.S. Mexico-Border Crossings. Kevin R. Johnson (UC-Davis): The Beginning of the End: The Immigration Act of 1965 and the Emergence of Modern U.S./Mexico Border Enforcement. David Kortava interviews David Neiwert, author of And Hell Followed With Her: Crossing the Dark Side of the American Border. Cesar Diaz on the effects of the Rio Grande Valley on a scholarship boy. Zalfa Feghali reviews Why Walls Won’t Work: Repairing the US-Mexico Divide by Michael Dear. Brad Plumer on how Mexico is upending the U.S. auto industry. Greg Grandin on history’s sinkhole: How did the US-Mexican border become the place where the American past chokes on itself? Noam Chomsky on how the U.S.-Mexico border is cruel by design. Stefan Falke’s ongoing project, La Frontera: Artists from the U.S. Mexican Border, examines the borderland’s flourishing arts communities with photographs of more than 170 painters, muralists, art promoters, museum directors and musicians. Mohammed Elnaiem on neo-liberal performativity of the US-Mexico border. Another benefit of immigrant workers — shock absorption: In continuing to address the chicken-and-egg question of jobs and population, it seems that Mexican-born workers are quick to relocate to greener pastures. The first chapter from When I Wear My Alligator Boots: Narco-Culture in the U.S. Mexico Borderlands by Shaylih Muehlmann. The Deported: John Stanton on life on the wrong side of the border. Alexei Anisin reviews Two Nations Indivisible: Mexico, The United States and the Road Ahead by Shannon K. O’Neil (and more).