From Foreign Affairs, how dangerous are the Taliban? Why Afghanistan is the wrong war. An excerpt at The Myth of American Exceptionalism by Godfrey Hodgson (and more; and a review at Bookforum). Michael Scherer on the Obama Foreign Policy Doctrine. From Re-public, Arturo Valenzuela on the interrupted presidencies in Latin America; an article on populism, socialism and democratic institutions in Latin America. Limit the power of presidents, not their term in office: The problem in Latin American democracies is not presidential re-election — the problem is presidentialism. The inbreeding that ruined the Hapsburgs: A study finds the dynasty that dominated Europe for more than 500 years was undone by incest. A look at how the book world is taking on the false idols of our time. College students who are serious about their identification with their institution’s football and men’s basketball teams are more likely than other students to have homophobic and sexist attitudes. The first chapter from The Bounds of Reason: Game Theory and the Unification of the Behavioral Sciences by Herbert Gintis. An interview with Richard Posner, author of A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of 2008 and the Descent into Depression. Allan Sloan on structuring the Treasury's bet for a long-term payoff.
From The Futurist, a special issue on how "wild cards" may reshape our future. From Small Wars Journal, professors in the trenches: A series on deployed soldiers and social science academics (and part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5). A review of Political Tourism and Its Texts: Cultural Spaces by Maureen Moynagh. An article on bombing civilians as an American tradition. TAP compares the "enhanced interrogation" memos to Red Cross accounts of what happened. Predictably irrational: Why bankers would rather work for $0.00 than $500K. From FT, Edmund Phelps on how uncertainty bedevils the best system; and John Kay on how history vindicates the science of muddling through. The prophets of doom: Meet the Cassandras, 14 economists, bloggers, politicians and businesspeople of all political stripes who have become the most strident critics of President Obama's stewardship of the economy. Cass Sunstein is in praise of "trimming". Journalism’s Savior: Why Steven Brill believes his new company can save American media. Jack Shafer on the Great Newspaper Crackup of 1918 — and what to learn from it. Save Us, Sarah Palin: Is Obama weak on aliens and aliens? From Esquire, Todd Palin is the man for America now. Comic Sans, a typeface inspired by comic books, has become a font of ill will.
Edward J. McCaffery (USC) and James R. Hines Jr. (Michigan): The Last Best Hope for Progressivity in Tax. From Cato Unbound, Peter Thiel on the Education of a Libertarian. From Miller-McCune, liberals and conservatives conceive of morality in decidedly different ways; Jonathan Haidt has mapped out their competing ethical universes in hopes they can learn to peacefully coexist; and a review of Robert Faulkner and Susan Shell's America at Risk: Threats to Liberal Self-Government in an Age of Uncertainty. A review of Where Have All the Liberals Gone: Race, Class, and Ideals in America by James R. Flynn. From Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi on The Class Clowns: Once the masters of evil politics, Republicans have been reduced to half-assed buffoonery, providing comic relief for desperate times. The most dangerous novel in America: An interview with James Wesley Rawles, author of Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse. Alan Wolfe reviews Reza Aslan's How To Win a Cosmic War. Here's Ken Wilber's take on saving the world through cross-cultural communication. From The New Yorker, a review of Geoff Dyer' s Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi (and an interview at Bookforum). From Portfolio, a rare glimpse behind the green velvet curtain of the most exclusive club in golf, Augusta National.
From Foreign Policy, Joshua Kurlantzick on The Bourgeois Revolution: How the global middle class declared war on democracy. Peter Berkowitz on Pragmatism, Obama style (and a response by Damon Linker). From The Activist, an article on Christopher Hitchens and the Death of the Left. Sex was more fun in the 1970s: The original Joy of Sex emphasized pleasure; the new version of the book seems like one more manual on how to perform and impress. Pornocalypse Now: It’s in a fog of fake fucking that man is sleepwalking toward an abyss. Jerry Coyne on the adaptive significance of semen flavor. From The Guardian Weekly, an article on French, the language of freedom and a look at Spain's lessons in multilingual teaching. In a stunning result, the winner of the annual Time 100 poll and new owner of the title World's Most Influential Person is moot (and more). I’m sad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore: These days, everywhere you look you see anchors seemingly on the verge of an emotional breakdown. Roger Ebert on the leisure of the theory class. Francis Fukuyama on Mexico and the Drug Wars (and more). Flu's biggest victim: Poor Mexico can’t catch a break. More and more and more on The Art Instinct by Denis Dutton (and more from Bookforum).
From Daedalus, a special issue on reflecting on the humanities. End the University as We Know It: If higher education is to thrive, colleges and universities, like Wall Street and Detroit, must be rigorously regulated and completely restructured. Mark Bauerlein on Gerald Graff's last counsel. From BMCR, a review of Gerald M. Mara's The Civic Conversations of Thucydides and Plato: Classical Political Philosophy and the Limits of Democracy; and a review of Josiah Ober's Democracy and Knowledge: Innovation and Learning in Classical Athens. Joanne Creighton on why we need women's colleges. From Campus Progress, the death of women’s colleges: Single-sex institutions are becoming less and less popular, but they have a long and proud history; and from Cinderella to Spider-Man: Five sexist stereotypes in modern-day films that get to the heart of gender inequalities. An interview with Michelle Goldberg, author of The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World (and a review and more and more and more and an excerpt). From Popular Science, an essay on The Future of the Military — Perhaps. The introduction to Philosophical Essays, Volume 2: The Philosophical Significance of Language by Scott Soames. Gay Thai monks are told to curb their flamboyant behaviour.
Slavoj Zizek (Ljubljana): Architectural Parallax: Spandrels and Other Phenomena of Class Struggle. A review of The Meaning of Sarkozy by Alain Badiou (and more; and more at Bookforum). The introduction to Economists and Societies: Discipline and Profession in the United States, Britain, and France, 1890s to 1990s by Marion Fourcade. From Open Democracy, Esther Duflo, a young French development economist, is reinvigorating her profession by pioneering new anti-poverty strategies focused on experiment and evaluation; and the evidence that unequal societies inflict great damage on the lives and health of their citizens is clear — why does it matter and what can be done? Goran Therborn thinks big. From New York, the wail of the 1%: As the privileged class loses its privileges, a collective moan rises from the canyons of Wall Street (and a response by Chris Lehmann). A review of The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too by James K. Galbraith. An economic bestiary: Macroeconomists need to apply some new lessons and relearn some old ones. From Boston Review, what can faith-based activism do for labor? Nancy MacLean investigates. Joseph Lane on Dick Cheney, the Dark Prince of the Republican Party.
From the latest issue of Logos, a special section on Gaza, Dick Howard (Stony Brook): Obama's Challenges: How to Govern the U.S.; Paola Cavalieri on The Ruses of Reason Strategies of Exclusion; Paul Hockenos on Germany Year 1968: Democratic Turning Point or Annus Terriblis?; experiments in anti-systemic lifestyles: A review essay on Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon's Plenty: Eating Locally on the 100 Mile Diet, Sara Bongiorni's A Year Without "Made in China": Our Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy, and Colin Beavan's No Impact Man; a review of Graham Greene: A Life in Letters (and more); and a review of Typecasting: On the Arts and Sciences of Human Inequality by Stuart Ewen and Elizabeth Ewen. From The Atlantic, a special section on The First 100 Days of Barack Obama (and more and more at TAP; and more; and just imagine what would have been: The First 100 Days of John McCain). From The New York Times, a profile of Tim Geithner, member and overseer of finance club. From The National Interest, Barry Eichengreen on The Last Temptation of Risk. From Scientific American, could food shortages bring down civilization? Lester Brown is on the case (and an excerpt). Here's some political science research on party switching.
Mary L. Dudziak (USC): Law, War, and the History of Time. Underdogs of War: A look at 6 tiny nations that kicked ass. The Believer goes on a journey deep into the cavern of Dungeons & Dragons, a utopian, profoundly dorky and influential game that, lacking clear winners or an end, may not be a game at all. All Together Now: A look at the universal appeal of moving in unison. What do we mean when we say we need more female justices? Dahlia Lithwick investigates. A review of A Constitution of Many Minds: Why the Founding Document Doesn't Mean What It Meant Before by Cass Sunstein. Does John Yoo belong in front of a class? Yes vs. No. An interview with Martin Amis: "Men are terrible. We can't help it". From Ovi, an article on women as the ultimate cause of war. From NYRB, a review of From Eve to Dawn: A History of Women, Volumes I-IV by Marilyn French; and a review of books on Le Corbusier (and more at Bookforum). Of couples and copulas: How the broken-heart syndrome led to a mathematical formula so brilliant that it sparked a market boom and so flawed that it is blamed for bringing down Wall Street. With its new policy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Obama administration has taken ownership of an orphaned conflict — but can it achieve victory, and how?
From The Daily Beast, Joseph Wilson on Dick Cheney's torture hypocrisy; and Tina Brown on the quake at Conde Nast (and more on Portfolio). From Wired, a look at how the evolution of office spaces reflects changing attitudes toward work. Apologies to residents of the Lower East Side; Williamsburg, Brooklyn; and other hipster-centric neighborhoods — you are not as cool as you think, at least according to a new study that seeks to measure what it calls “the geography of buzz.” An interview with Ted Striphas, author of The Late Age of Print: Everyday Book Culture from Consumerism to Control. A review of A Blueprint for a Safer Planet by Nicholas Stern. Is a high IQ a burden as much as a blessing? Sam Knight investigates. AC Grayling on brain science and the search for the self — and on the empty name of God. Has Britain become a society indifferent to beauty? The last book party: Gideon Lewis-Kraus on publishing drinks to a life after death. The end of evolution: Humans are undergoing a "grand averaging", argues Steve Jones, because the raw material for evolution has largely disappeared. More and more and more and more on Why Evolution Is True by Jerry A. Coyne. Outlook: Extreme: As the planet warms, look for more floods where it’s already wet and deeper drought where water is scarce.
From Swans, who wants a One World Government? Michael Barker investigates. A look at why supplanting the dollar would be good for America. From The Wilson Quarterly, Robert Z. Aliber on the Dollar's Day of Reckoning: America’s financial crisis is the inevitable product of dysfunctional international financial arrangements; and Martin Walker on the World's New Numbers. From New York, Gay Talese is writing a new opus — about his relationship with his wife; an article on Andrew W.K. and the democratization of clubland; and which movie villain does Dick Cheney most resemble? From TNR, what will happen when the Vice President says something untoward? Because he will; and William Galston on why we need a committee to investigate our use of torture, and suggestions for what it should do. Here's what you should know about the torture memos. Matt Miller on Obama's secret plan to raise taxes. From Doublethink, an article on the folly of sin taxation; and an essay on onanism and the future of sex. From its nude Jacuzzi to the orgy-filled “mat room”, at Plato’s Retreat you could have sex next to Sammy Davis Jr., a porn star, or even a bus driver. Satoshi Kanazawa on how men sexually harass women because they are not sexist (and part 2); and on why beautiful people are more intelligent (and part 2).