From Conversations with History, an interview with Jane Mayer, author of The Dark Side: How the War on Terror Turned into A War on American Values; an interview with Philippe Sands, author of Torture Team: The Rumsfeld Memo and the Betrayal of American Values. From Reason, Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch on The Libertarian Moment: Despite all leading indicators to the contrary, America is poised to enter a new age of freedom; and are you better off than you were 40 years ago? Government has grown, but freedom has grown faster. The GOP's McCarthy gene: Think Goldwater is the father of conservatism? Think again. Conservatism's hope, the tubes: Republicans need to embrace the same netroots base-building that the left has mastered. An interview with Travis Johnson, the founder of Progressive Republicans. A review of Theodore Roosevelt: Preacher of Righteousness by Joshua David Hawley. Step aside: What does the Obama generation mean for the old heads? Who are the better managers, political appointees or career bureaucrats? The Next FEMA: Barack Obama must begin rebuilding federal agencies fast or risk seeing his entire agenda undermined. Thomas Frank on why government by contractor is a disgrace: Many jobs are best left to federal workers. Danielle Allen on Citizenship 2.0 in the Internet. An article on James Zogby and the politics of perception.
From Arion, Clinton W. Marrs on Paideia in America: Ragged Dick, George Babbitt, and the Problem of a Modern Classical Education; Maria Rybakova on two genders of the soul regarding the love of God; an article on the mystery of Socrates’ last words; a look at the singular circumstance of an errant papyrus. Art and apocrypha: An article on the fraught beauty of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Suketu Mehta on what they hate about Mumbai. From TNR, Joshua Kurlantzick on what's behind the rise of terrorism in India — and why it won't end soon; and why are conservatives heaping praise on Hillary Clinton as Obama's new secretary of state? From The New York Times, a look at Barry McCaffrey’s Military-Industrial-Media Complex. Jacob Weisberg on loyalty, the most overrated virtue in politics. From The Salisbury Review, an article on the suicide of cricket; and there is probably no more damning indictment of British society than the fact that thousands of prisoners each year refuse the offer to be released early from prison. Theodore Dalrymple on the quivering upper lip: The British character, from self-restraint to self-indulgence. We have a f@%king indecency problem — what's the Supreme Court to do? Tim Harford on why it's so hard to predict how bad the recession will be. More and more and more and more and more on Niall Ferguson's The Ascent of Money (and an excerpt and a video).
From The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik reviews books on Samuel Johnson (and more); policing Afghanistan: An ethnic-minority force enters a Taliban stronghold; an article on Naomi Klein and the new new left; the only compelling argument the automakers can make at this late date is that they will not suffer alone; and James Surowiecki on Obama’s economic team. From New York, of all the villains to emerge in the financial crisis, none has been quite so reviled as Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld. UFO enthusiasts call on Obama to release X-Files. He's not black: Unless the one-drop rule still applies, our president-elect is not black. The Hillary Clinton of private schools: Michael Schaffer on what Sidwell Friends says about the Obamas. The gloom that has fallen over the book publishing industry is different from the mood in, say, home building — at least people know we’ll always need houses. A genius guide: An excerpt from Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers (and more). In the unlikely event that Gladwell is stuck for an idea for his next book, perhaps he could tackle the notion of the elastic limit. An article on the dumb, dumb world of Malcolm Gladwell: A guru for the brain dead. From Samar, the terror of the aftermath: As the smoke lifts from Mumbai, skepticism must prevail over those conjectures which support the official state narrative. An article on Tristan da Cunha, the most remote place on Earth.
From NYRB, how historic a victory? Michael Tomasky reviews Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age by Larry Bartels and Red, Blue, and Purple America: The Future of Election Demographics; Michael Massing on Obama: In the Divided Heartland and Joan Didion and Darryl Pinckney on Obama: In the Irony-Free Zone. Cass Sunstein on Obama the Visionary Minimalist: He seeks consensus on "what" to do, not "why" to do it. Here are three reasons why Obamania isn’t just completely ridiculous. Memo to the White House staff: Congratulations on your appointment; here follows a handy list as you begin your duties in the White House. It’s only rock and roll but the Chinese Communist Party doesn’t like Guns 'n Roses' "Chinese Democracy" (and more). From NPR, Junot Diaz, Jhumpa Lahiri and Joseph O'Neill on what it means to become an American (and from Bookforum, a review of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz and an interview with Jhumpa Lahiri). From The Smart Set, when is a world record a sad affair? When it's noted in Guinness World Records 2009 (and more); and palate or palette? A look at the unlikely relationship between modern art and modern cooking. Monks in the charts, exorcisms on TV, a statue of Jesus sexually aroused: Mark Lawson on why artists can't resist the lure of Christianity.
From Policy, Jeremy Shearmur on Popper’s critique of "free-market ideology"; and an article on the past and future of the debate between libertarians and conservatives. From Modern Age, a special issue on the range and originality of conservative reflection, including David Clinton (Baylor): The diplomacy of conservatism and the conservatism of diplomacy; Fatos Tarifa (EMU): The poverty of the "new philosophy"; a review of books on Russell Kirk; and a review of The Way We Argue Now: A Study in the Cultures of Theory by Amanda Anderson. Hear no genes, see no genes, speak no genes: John Derbyshirethe on the jargon of “culturalism”. Ron Rosenbaum on everything you need to know about Hitler's "missing" testicle. Sincerity with a motive: Michael Weiss on what David Foster Wallace taught us about television and fiction (and more from New Statesman). Thomas Kinkade paints erotica — we'll say that one more time, to make sure it sinks in. From Fernand Point to Joel Robuchon: Is French cuisine dead? One war, two fronts: What’s next in Iraq and Afghanistan? Experts opine. Why churches fear gay marriage: The crusade for Proposition 8 was fueled by the broken American family, explains gay Catholic author Richard Rodriguez. The Best Gays of Our Lives: TV offers perhaps the best chance for gays to make public relations inroads and gain cultural acceptance.
From Daedalus, Martha Nussbaum (Chicago): Toward a globally sensitive patriotism; Craig Calhoun (SSRC): Cosmopolitanism in the modern social imaginary; Seyla Benhabib (Yale): The legitimacy of human rights; Darrin McMahon (FSU): Fear & trembling, strangers & strange lands; Samuel Scheffler (NYU): Cosmopolitanism justice & institutions; Rogers Smith (Penn): Paths to a more cosmopolitan human condition; Margaret Jacob (UCLA): The cosmopolitan as a lived category; Pheng Cheah (UC-Berkeley): What is a world? On world literature as world-making activity; A. A. Long (UC-Berkeley): The concept of the cosmopolitan in Greek & Roman thought; and Helena Rosenblatt (Hunter): Rousseau, the anticosmopolitan? From The Nation, a review of The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul by Patrick French (and more by Ian Buruma and more by James Wood and more and more; and more from Bookforum). James Baldwin and V.S. Naipaul, America made the difference: An excerpt from The Men in My Life by Vivian Gornick (and more from Bookforum). From TLS, after the credit crunch, the arts crunch? Hyperbole and boosterism have obscured the sad truth about the so-called renaissance of the arts; and there have always been reporters, but will there always be professionals?: A review of Eyewitness to History by Robert Fox.
From TNR, why Slavoj Zizek is the most despicable philosopher in the West: A review of In Defense of Lost Causes and Violence. From Havel to Habermas: An article on Central Europe's missing political philosophy. From THES, a review of Salsa Dancing into the Social Sciences: Research in the Age of Info-Glut by Kristin Luker; and footnotes and fancy-free: We should teach PhD students how to balance the conflicting demands of scholarship and dissemination. George Will reviews Stanley Fish's Save the World on Your Own Time. From NYRB, Paul Krugman on what to do about the financial crisis; and Elizabeth Drew on the truth about the election. What is the meaning of Obama's election? Ted Honderich wants to know. Are Democratic presidents good for stocks? The Numbers Guy investigates. Conservative complicity: A review of “Civil Rights and the Conservative Movement”. A review of Daughters of India: Art and Identity by Stephen P. Huyler. From The Atlantic, Robert D. Kaplan on the Hindu-Muslim tensions festering within India. Can terrorism halt India's global rise? Samanth Subramanian on the changing face of Indian terrorism. Know your enemy: Applying the lessons of 9/11 to Mumbai. Truth or consequences?: Why can't we hold torturers accountable and still find out the truth? Fred Kaplan on Rumsfeld's snow job: The former defense secretary's revisionist op-ed.
A new issue of The New Atlantis is out, including Christine Rosen on People of the Screen: A tale of two literacies; and a review of Enhancing Evolution by John Harris. From Context, Viktor Shklovsky: Five Feuilletons on Sergei Eisenstein. Since Mayor Michael Bloomberg's congestion-pricing plan failed in New York City, his transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has taken a piecemeal approach to reclaiming streets from cars. The Paris Review inspires - - and reassures - - young writers, says Margaret Atwood. Harold Meyerson on the case for keeping the Big Three out of bankruptcy. Cleanliness is next to godlessness: Soaping away your outer dirt may lead to inner evil. A review of Mad, Bad and Dangerous? The Scientist and the Cinema by Christopher Frayling. From Big Think, Tyler Cowen on the free market and morality. Eric Banks on 100 candles for Claude Levi-Strauss. From AJR, many newspapers are laying off the reporters who monitor the federal government from a local angle — the cost could be steep. From Tikkun, an article on the irresponsibility of Thomas Friedman. Transformation 101: Technology is driving down the cost of teaching undergraduates — so why are tuition bills going up? Roget's Thesaurus is more than just a book about words — and the story of its author's often unhappy life provides a suggestive counterpoint to its complexities.
From New York, Manhattan is the capital of people living by themselves, but are New Yorkers lonelier? Far from it, say a new breed of loneliness researchers, who argue that urban alienation is largely a myth. John Cacioppo, author of Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, on technology and loneliness. The Undying Animal: Morris Dickstein reminds us why literature still matters. The Web Guru: As media shatters, Jeff Jarvis is the ideologue seer of the New Age. Grey sky thinking: A review of books on British weather. Carlin Romano reviews books on sex addiction: Ooh! Aah! Eek! Ugh. Zzzz. Ooh! From The Global Spiral, the postmodern condition as a religious revival: A review of William Connolly’s Why I am Not a Secularist, Dipesh Chakrabarty’s Provincializing Europe, and Alvin Plantinga’s Warranted Christian Belief; and is science the only sure path to truth? An excerpt from The Big Questions in Science and Religion by Keith Ward. Charles Homas on the Last Secrets of the Bush Administration: How to find out what we still don't know. From U. of Chicago Press, an interview with Lennard J. Davis, author of Obsession: A History (and a review); an excerpt from Patty’s Got a Gun Patricia Hearst in 1970s America by William Graebner; and an excerpt from Autophobia: Love and Hate in the Automotive Age by Brian Ladd.
From Global-e, Michael A. Peters (Illinois): Information, Globalization and Democracy: The Utopian Moment? An interview with Susan Petrilli and Augusto Ponzio on the semiotic basis of knowledge and ethics. How should a democratic community make public policy? The first chapter from Democracy and Knowledge: Innovation and Learning in Classical Athens by Josiah Ober. From The Insider, an article on why capitalism is good for the soul. From African American Review, a review of Black is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy by Nikhil Pal Singh. A review of Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North by Thomas J. Sugrue. More and more on Gabriel Garcia Marquez: a Life by Gerald Martin. A review of Fredric Jameson's Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions. The introduction to Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence and the Poverty of Nations by Raymond Fisman and Edward Miguel (and a review and a panel). From Arts & Opinion, an article on steroid hysteria: unpacking the claims; and why abstract art is not art. From Liberal Education, a special issue on the future of interdisciplinary studies. From Expositions, a review essay on the evolution of evolution theory and its controversies. Can’t keep track of your sex life? The Internet can.