From Dissent, Michael Walzer on the Gaza war and proportionality. Doing the math to find the good jobs: Mathematicians land top spot in new ranking of best and worst occupations. Obama's appointees will soon be at hand; the following is a guide to surviving the confirmation process. From FP, a roundtable on Samuel Huntington’s legacy. In Granada, home of the Alhambra and former center of Moorish Spain, a multicultural revival is taking shape that sees Christians and Muslims coexisting in mutual respect. A review of Nylon and Bombs: DuPont and the March of Modern America by Pap Ndiaye; and a review of books on Garibaldi. Jefferson vs. Plato: If one is searching for the causes of today's moral crisis, it is the premises of giants one should examine, not those of midgets. From Cato Unbound, William Burns on The Path Well Taken: Making the right decisions about risks from terrorism. From Ceasefire, an interview with Noam Chomsky. Reading the Signs: Gestural politics and disturbing reality at a Paris Metro stop. From CJR, in his finest work, Norman Mailer applied subjective journalism to the powerful, and to himself. From Cosmos, a look at five catastrophes that could wipe out civilisation. An excerpt from Snark by David Denby (and interview). Beyond the nine planets: We are only beginning to discover how vast and strange our solar system truly is.
From The National Interest, Richard Perle on being Ambushed on the Potomac. Body Count Nation: It may finally be 2009, but in some ways, given these last years, it might as well be 800 BCE. American Rimbaud: An interview with Steve Richmond, meat poet. The standard story is that prevention saves health-care dollars, but if we're to get better at averting illness, we're going to have to spend more. Savings and Moan: Americans are finally stashing more money away — and that’s a bad thing. An interview with Stephen Baker, author of The Numerati. Of course Tintin's gay. Ask Snowy. Watching Plain People: Among the busloads of tourists that spill every day into Pennsylvania Dutch country. More on Benny Morris' 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War. An interview with Matt Miller, author of The Tyranny of Dead Ideas: Letting Go Of The Old Ways Of Thinking To Unleash A New Prosperity. A review of The Chicagoan: A Lost Magazine of the Jazz Age by Neil Harris. Time for a cull in the art world: The art world is plunging, along with the rest of the economy — hooray. Moguls of Winnipeg: Two books examine the controversial Asper media legacy. Clive Thompson on how YouTube changes the way we think. Is the Web helping us evolve? The truth lies somewhere between "Google is making us stupid" and "the Internet will liberate humanity".
Jeffrey Sims (Bishop's): Seeking a Mnemonic Turn: Interior Reflections in Gadamer's Post-Platonic Thought. From The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Robert Higgs (II): The Complex Course of Ideological Change and Viktor J. Vanberg (Freiburg): On the Economics of Moral Preferences. From Foreign Policy, an interview with Art Lerner-Lam on the world’s disaster hot spots; a look at the worst places to be a terrorist; and a photo essay on the people caught in between. Philosophical dispute as a way of life, then and now: A review of The Philosopher in Early Modern Europe: The Nature of a Contested Identity by Conrad Condren, Stephen Gaukroger, and Ian Hunter. More and more on The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul by Patrick French (and more from NYRB; and more from Bookforum). Will investing ever make sense again? Yes, if you stop thinking short term. From Democratiya, an interview with Matthias Kuntzel, author of Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11. More on The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008 by Paul Krugman. More on The Kingdom of Infinite Space: A Fantastical Journey Around Your Head by Raymond Tallis. From TLS, a review of books on Emily Dickinson. Jonathan Wolff on how philosophers' working practices have changed.
From First Principles, a review of Anita Clair Fellman's Little House, Long Shadow: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Impact on American Culture; and an excerpt from George Panichas’s Restoring the Meaning of Conservatism: Writings from Modern Age. Timothy Noah on how Amazon cons the press. Jack Shafer on how newspapers tried to invent the Web — but failed. Interracial Babies-R-Us: Time for everyone to get over the novelty of mixed-race babies and relationships. From The Sun, Lois Judson is not a sex goddess. Our past within us: The new field known as archeogenetics is illuminating prehistory. A review of Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West by Deanne Stillman. Dalton Conley reviews Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (and more and more). From Mental Floss, a look at 5 vastly overrated historical events; and some wars seem to go on forever, and others actually do — here are a few wars that have outlasted entire generations of people (and three really short ones). A Tribe Apart: Afghan elites face a corrosive past. A review of Bringing the War Home: The Weather Underground, The Red Army Faction, and Revolutionary Violence in the Sixties and Seventies by Jeremy Varon. The Public Lending Right means that every time you take a book out of the library, you make its author just a little bit happier.
From New Left Review, Peter Gowan argues that the origins of the global financial crisis lie in the dynamics of the New Wall Street System that has emerged since the 1980s; Francis Mulhern on the idea of culture in Raymond Williams’s classic work, and discrepant readings of it, fifty years on; a former MEP discusses the actual workings of the Europarliament, and the realities of "European construction" in the realm of culture; Peter Campbell writes on the aesthetics, ethics and technology of war photography; and Fredric Jameson reviews Christoph Henning's Philosophie nach Marx. View from Behind: Mainstream culture used to consider a big butt "lowly" and "vulgar", so why is it now the standard of beauty? Here are accounts of some of the lives lost this year whose effect during their time here will outlast the pulp of newspapers are printed on. Irrational Economic Man: If human beings are naturally risk-averse, then what the heck happened on Wall Street? For consumers, interactive entertainment is an opportunity — for critics, it’s a challenge. Common Cause: Abbas Mmilani on real help for Iranian democrats. How Bush Broke the Government: To gain a true sense of Bush's legacy, TAP surveys the systematic and politically motivated ways he undermined the federal government. A review of The Theology of Money by Philip Goodchild.
From History and Policy, John Tosh (Roehampton): Why History Matters; Ludmilla Jordanova (King's): How History Matters Now; and John Arnold (Birkbeck): Why History Matters - and Why Medieval History Also Matters. Government leaders fret about ongoing conflicts and economic crisis, but few admit that a climbing population exacerbates any problems. A review of The End of Ethics in a Technological Society by Lawrence E. Schmidt and Scott Marratto. Who said students today were apathetic? They have simply found new ways to protest, and new targets. The first chapter from Heroes and Cowards: The Social Face of War by Dora L. Costa and Matthew E. Kahn. A review of Screening Sex by Linda Williams. Discounts on democracy in Europe: Who should determine how one self-determines? The Nature-Nurture Debate, Redux: Genetic research finally makes its way into the thinking of sociologists. Johann Hari reviews American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau. Who Would Jesus Smack Down? Seattle minister Mark Driscoll is out to transform American evangelicalism with his macho conception of Christ and neo-Calvinist belief in the total depravity of man. An interview with Ronald Aronson, author of Living Without God: New Directions for Atheists, Agnostics, Secularists, and the Undecided.
From New York, a special "All New" issue: Of the many weird things happening right now, not all are bad; and a few ideas to make our basketball-loving, Internet-using, furtively smoking new POTUS feel more comfortable. From The New Yorker, a review of Killing for Coal: America's Deadliest Labor War by Thomas G. Andrews; hack attack: Liberal blogs get sabotaged; and baby food: If breast is best, why are women bottling their milk? Obama’s worst Pakistan nightmare: The biggest fear is not jihadists taking control of the border regions; it’s what happens if the country’s nuclear arsenal falls into the wrong hands. From RAND Review, a special issue on Twelve Suggestions for the New U.S. President. Are Israel and Hamas committing war crimes in Gaza? Anthony Dworkin wants to know. Matthew Yglesias on how the US should be involved in Gaza. From Wired, here are 12 elegant examples of evolution. Of Monkeys and Utopia: The state of nature is not a state of pacifism. A review of Only a Promise of Happiness: The Place of Beauty in a World of Art by Alexander Nehamas. What your loneliness is telling you: New science says being lonely speeds aging; old philosophy says the holiday blues are a signal to examine and change your life. Help Wanted: Leader of the Free World — can Obama fill the bill or have we all moved on?
From World Affairs, Christopher Hitchens writes to Mr. President Barack Obama; left behind: Russell Jacoby on the exploits of BHL; and H. R. McMaster on The Human Element: when gadgetry becomes strategy. In the coming era of consumer genetics, your DNA will have much to tell you about the biological bases of your health, your physique and even your personality — but will this knowledge really amount to self-knowledge? From Guernica, for Brazilian-born artist and modern-day trickster Vik Muniz, subverting his own images is all part of the game; and the daughter of a Nazi soldier recalls the spark and fizzle of her tenth New Year’s Eve. The Legend of Master Legend: With his trusty sidekick, the Ace, he fights to vanquish crime and defend the helpless, if he doesn't get evicted first — behind the mask of the Real Life Superheroes. From THES, youth is never wasted on the young: A misspent adulthood is a much greater waste than ill-spent adolescence; and more things in heaven and earth, Horatio: Employers have discovered that a mind sharpened by the study of philosophy is ideal for today's workplace. An interview with Sebastian Horsley, author of Dandy in the Underworld. From Vox, an article on the lender of last resort of the 21st century. How the ongoing transitions in journalism may affect the First Amendment's "marketplace of ideas". A review of The Letters of Allen Ginsberg.
From Vanity Fair, at a lavish conference in Monaco, the game was guessing which big private-equity firm will be first to go bust, but the smoke and mirrors that wrecked the global economy might actually save the likes of K.K.R. and Blackstone. A review of Globalization: The Irrational Fear That Someone in China Will Take Your Job by Bruce C. Greenwald and Judd Kahn. An article on Somalia as symbol of the decaying world order. An interview with Daniel Levy, director of the Middle East Initiative at the New America Foundation, on Israel and Gaza. When groups don’t think: Collaboration, done right, produces dazzling results — so why is it often disastrous? A review of Gorbachev: Man of the Twentieth Century? by Mark Sandle. A review of Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment by Peter Hallward. Puttin’ Off the Ritz: An article on the new austerity in publishing. A narrative in crayon and collage: How a troubled outcast folk artist found posthumous redemption. A review of Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe. A review of Hugo Slim's Killing Civilians: Method, Madness, and Morality in War. The Era of Big Government is starting over: Will the Obama administration transform American constitutionalism in the way that FDR did? The first chapter from Thucydides: An Introduction for the Common Reader by Perez Zagorin.
From The Wilson Quarterly, an essay on The New Kindergarten: The case for universal pre-kindergarten isn’t as strong as it seems; a review of Einstein's Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius by Hans C. Ohanian; and in the digital age, will the OED remain a cultural cornerstone? A look at the top five issues facing the United Nations in 2009. The Obama tide lifted some clear winners: James Wolcott on The Good, the Bad, and Joe Lieberman. Michael Kinsley on the Bush Presidency, eight years later. From THES, a review of The Social Impact of the Arts: An Intellectual History by Eleonora Belfiore and Oliver Bennett; and a review of Try to Remember: Psychiatry's Clash over Meaning, Memory and Mind by Paul R. McHugh. From Mental Floss, an article on 6 cases of shamelessly false advertising; here are 3 maps that get people worked up; and the stories behind 20 Muppet favorites. On second thought: Why being wrong can be a good thing. A review of Hollywood Under Siege: Martin Scorsese, the Religious Right, and the Culture Wars by Thomas R. Lindlof. For scholars, a combustible question: Was Christ real? Conservatives are getting down and dirty to spread their social agenda. Playboy, like its founder, is getting rickety — a lament for a heyday more glorious than we knew. An American at Cambridge: Hot Victorian Sex!