An interview with Mark Valeri, author of Heavenly Merchandize: How Religion Shaped Commerce in Puritan America. To men traveling through the British colonies, everything was new — especially in the bedroom. A review of Revolutionaries: A New History of the Invention of America by Jack Rakove. Was the American Revolution just? A review of Anglophilia: Deference, Devotion, and Antebellum America by Elisa Tamarkin. A review of Jesus and Gin: Evangelicalism, the Roaring Twenties and Today's Culture Wars by Barry Hankins. The signpost at the crossroads: When it comes to politics, abortion remains at the intersection of religion and American public life. A review of The Religious Left and Church-State Relations by Steven H. Shiffrin (and more). It is ironic that the South is regarded as backward, ignorant and uncivilized by what we think of as the intelligentsia of the world. After the 2010 census we could see something of a neo-confederate majority in Congress; historical patterns may be repeating themselves, but they could produce a very different final result. America, land of loners: Americans, plugged in and on the move, are confiding in their pets, their computers, and their spouses — what they need is to rediscover the value of friendship. More and more and more on Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America by Nick Rosen.
From the Ryerson Review of Journalism, extreme J-school: From a safe distance, Chelsea Murray reports on courses where the real-life lessons are don't get killed or kidnapped or captured; though it may come as a shock to many in the business, not all journalism school graduates want to practice our honourable craft; in an environment of cutbacks and layoffs, some stick with the craft and others jump ship for better or worse results — Amy Fuller explores life after journalism; and these days, journalists have to be brand managers, too. From Neiman Reports, a special issue on The Digital Landscape: What’s next for news? The debate is always black and white: Put up a paywall or lose money — but the Daily Mail's website is getting so big it needn't do either. The right to global gossip: John Lloyd on how journalists thrive on secrets exposed. Chicago Sun-Times Washington bureau chief Lynn Sweet covers national politics with a no-holds-barred approach. A review of Morning Miracle: Inside The Washington Post: A Great Newspaper Fights for Its Life by David Kindred (and more). Carl Bernstein says the "Golden Age" of investigative journalism never existed. Adios, Gray Lady: Joseph Epstein cancels his New York Times subscription. The Gray Lady of Cable News: Many think Jon Klein, president of CNN/U.S., has lost the cable-news war to Fox, but CNN has racked up record profits by being bland.
From Skepsi, a special issue on Bad Behaviour in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Social epidemiologist Paula Lantz reveals what actually leads to premature deaths among Americans — not obesity but poverty. From Vanity Fair, if you look for it, the romantic charm of Long Island’s South Fork does still exist. A review of Turn & Jump: How Time & Place Fell Apart by Howard Mansfield. What should you spend on to maximize your happiness? Leave It to Beaver is probably closer to real life for people today than many would admit. A review of Containing (un)American Bodies: Race, Sexuality, and Post-9/11 Constructions of Citizenship by Mary K. Bloodsworth-Lugo and Carmen Lugo-Lugo. A review of The Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution by Alex Storozynski. The power of first experiences: From winning the science fair to losing a first boyfriend, certain youthful experiences cast a long shadow, revealing character and at times actually shaping it. Who owns freedom: Do liberals take civil liberties seriously enough? The Music-Copyright Enforcers: In an age of illegal downloads, it’s a challenge to persuade every small-town bar and diner to pay for their music. A review of Ludwig Wittgenstein on Race, Gender and Cultural Identity by Bela Szabados. On big and scary wines: Why 14 percent is considered OK, and 14.1 is the end of the world. A review of Prosecuting Heads of State.
From Philosophy Now, what is philosophy and how do we do it? Are the concerns of philosophers far removed from daily lives of most people? Philosophers aren’t detached from reality, lost in an ivory tower, irrelevant; rather, they want to be all these things but can’t be — reality inevitably gets in the way. Philosophy has a long history of dangerous ideas, but how a philosophy book could possibly pose a security threat to a computer network? A review of Philosophy and Happiness. Here is the introduction to Philosophy as Therapeia. A review of Persons: What Philosophers Say about You by Warren Bourgeois. Do we need philosophy? The death of the David Hull leads Michael Ruse to question whether philosophers have become as extinct as lamplighters. Moral camouflage or moral monkeys: Is the great show we make of morality just a civilized cover for our selfish opportunism? Perhaps Socrates’s mission is to make the world safe for ugly people — isn’t everyone a little ugly, one way or the other, at one time or another? From The Guardian, a series on Montaigne, philosopher of life. What do Gandhi and Mother Teresa have in common with Hitler and Jeffrey Dahmer? Very little, you might reply — but our perceptions of them are in certain ways surprisingly similar. An interview with Greg Bassham, author of "Lance Armstrong and True Success" in Cycling — Philosophy for Everyone: A Philosophical Tour de Force. Why doesn't Batman just kill his arch-nemesis, the murderous Joker? Enter philosopher Immanuel Kant and the deontological theory of ethics. Here is the The Philosophers' Magazine's "Ideas of the 21st Century" page.
From The Scoop Deck, what sank the Cheonan? Daddy issues; and how good is the pirate lobby? Psychologist Marc Hauser goes from one sort of limelight to another, and Michael Ruse is disappointed and frustrated. Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry on why federal-private salary comparisons are "apples to oranges". What's right with this picture? Let’s at least call barbarism by its right name — which is just what the Time photograph did. From Fast Company, Alex Bogusky, the Elvis of advertising, has left the business — is this a New Age midlife crisis or his greatest rebranding campaign? Being a full-time human guinea pig is a service-sector job with needles; Scott McLemee looks at an ethnographic report. Why don't Americans like Muslims? From Atlas Obscura, an article on the Museum of Death, the world's largest collection of serial killer artwork and other macabre exhibits. Slumdog Tourism: Slum tourists may think they’re doing good, but the activity hurts more than it helps. As he prepares for his first ever arena tour, New Humanist catches up with rising rationalist star Tim Minchin. From Spectrum, could the murder victim's BlackBerry lead to her killer? Increasingly, the answer is yes. A review of Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway.
An interview with Greg Koger, author of Filibustering: A Political History of Obstruction in the House and Senate. An unprecedented 10-year study’s surprising verdict: The real outcome of most K Street lobbying is nothing — until the right party or person comes to power. The right wing mantra: If at first you don't secede. How much government is enough? An interview with John Samples, author of The Struggle to Limit Government. How to succeed in politics: If the Whigs, Populists and Feminists can be co-opted by the Democrats and Republicans, the Tea Party will suffer the same fate. Pro-gun, anti-bank, and a staunch defender of civil liberties, Russ Feingold should appeal to the Tea Party crowd. An interview with Naomi Cahn and June Carbone, authors of Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture. From Slate, are all rich people now liberals? (No.) How our Decider-in-Chief decides: John Dean on decisionmaking and the Obama presidency. It's Obama's White House, but it's still Bush's world. George W. Bush and his team already wrote a book in the presidency’s final, excruciating days, A Charge Kept — and nobody noticed. A review of The Book of Bastards: 101 Worst Scoundrels and Scandals from the World of Politics and Power by Brian Thornton. Bad name: When political names become insults. From Cracked, an article on political cartoons, the lowest form of communication.
From IMF Survey, a look at how Asia is playing a crucial part in reshaping the global economy. A review of Illusive Utopia, Theater, Film, and Everyday Performance in North Korea by Suk-young Kim. Drukonian Moves: Bhutan is swearing by happiness — but is it such a good thing? A review of Unfinished Revolution: Indonesia Before and After Suharto by Max Lane. From Asia’s mountainous heart flow rivers on which half the world’s population depends: Kenneth Pomeranz on the Great Himalayan Watershed. China, Russia and the United States are the main competitors, and the match is particularly intense in Kabul, Islamabad and Teheran; the Great Game, however, is also played in the five “stans” — Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kirghizstan. Singapore's business-friendly climate has seen the country grow by leaps and bounds but it's all based on a murky, billion-dollar illegal trade in sand. Social alientation, Thai-style: Finding the “essence” of a nation in the package of cultural archetypes presented to tourists — for a price. Mao Zedong and All That: A telling battle over China’s history curriculum. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia on the "democratic instinct". With the July Sumo tournament over, Japan has a champion but is left with many bitter memories surrounding the national sport. Burma's emerging nuclear weapons program is met with an ambiguous international response (and more).
From The Awl, here is a PowerPoint presentation about airport hotels. A review of The Titanic Awards: Celebrating the Worst of Travel by Doug Lansky. As the cable cognoscenti renews its romance with the midcentury executive class, the fashion world is observing its own long-running dalliance with a perennial 20th-century marker of privilege: the global prep complex. Jonah Lehrer on the psychology of conspiracy theories. Atlas Obscura takes a look at the Walter Benjamin Memorial, a haunting monument to the German Jewish philosopher who died while fleeing fascism. "Political scientists make me happy": Ezra Klein on the political science take on elections. From New English Review, Thomas J. Scheff on morality, emotion markers and social change. Can money buy happiness? New research reveals that reminders of wealth impair our capacity to savor life's little pleasures. You're dead, now what? The afterlife is hazardous territory for scholarly conjecture. From television to feature films, funnyman Ed Helms enjoys upending ideology almost as much as he enjoys playing music. In recent years, the subculture known as the Furry Fandom has been the subject of episodes of Entourage and CSI, and profiled in Vanity Fair. Is being a geek a personality trait or way of life? Libraries are reducing their reference collections as more reference titles move online — not all library patrons are happy about the move.
From the Journal of Democracy, Larry Diamond (Stanford): Liberation Technology. The BP accident presents an opportunity for us to reflect upon what it means to be a society reliant on complex technologies whose failures can cause disaster (and part 2). Can technology bring on a world wide social revolution? Technology is rewiring our brains: Touchscreens, TiVo, the undo button — these new technologies and others have changed the way we interact with the world. New technologies and social media are training up the next generation of superbrains, but are young people emotionally all there? New research shows that the majority of children and teenagers are not the Web-savvy digital natives of legend — in fact, many of them don't even know how to google properly. A review of The Breakup 2.0: Disconnecting over New Media by Ilana Gershon. Emerging technologies now include the GNR technologies plus cognitive science and neurotechnology: the newer formulation is Nano-Bio-Info-Cogno (NBIC). What does technology want? Change, and lots of it. We are not living in a time of technical decline exactly, but we are also not living in a time of great technological progress. Analog Nostalgia: Paul Waldman on making peace with the relentless pace of technological change. There’s no question that technology has overrun our lives, but a creative backlash is underway, helping human beings cope with the avalanche of data that passes in front of most of us every day through the use of computers and cell phones. A review of The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future by Martin Ford.
From The Incongruous Quarterly, Simon Critchley and Jamieson Webster on impotence and fucking old; and Jaron Lanier on human sexuality. Sanctifying by attacking: How a mosque proposed for a grubby downtown street became more of a symbol than its opponents ever intended. Two cheers for American tolerance: The Ground Zero mosque controversy shows that America manages its hatreds better than others. Fifteen year old schoolgirl Carmen Bramley has become France's hottest literary property after writing Pastel Fauve, a book about a teenager who loses her virginity at 14. Want to fix immigration? Give noncitizens the vote. Do celebrities help or hinder when they hijack serious issues? Once were dinosaurs: It seems the dinosaurs didn’t die out after all. It's not just about Israel: Six more reasons why we can't let Iran get nukes. Ten years on, the mystery of the Confederate submarine Hunley remains. Mystery Writer: Does S. Larson, who signs Citibank letters, exist? Joshua Holland on why America needs more Muslims. We used to send mail, and there used to be an underground movement of artists who made mail art; Laura Trethewey tracks down the artists who made the postal system an integral part of their work to find out how mail art is faring in the age of the Internet. A summer that sucked: Dominated by oppressive heat, the oil spill and Sarah Palin, does summer 2010 rank among the worst ever?