From TAP, the rise of megaregions: Planning theorists argue we need to rethink the spatial coordinates of the national economy. Unconventional thinking: Why cities shouldn’t buy into the convention center economy. From IRB, a review of The Cul-de-Sac Syndrome: Turning Around the Unsustainable American Dream by John F. Wasik and Welcome to the Urban Revolution: How Cities Are Changing the World by Jeb Brugmann (and more). As the US launches hundreds stimulus-funded municipal projects, planning experts suggest books (old and new) for insight on rebuilding the American city. A review of The Walkable City: From Haussmann's Boulevards to Jane Jacobs' Streets and Beyond by Mary Soderstrom. A review of Invented Edens: Techno-cities of the Twentieth Century by Robert Kargon and Arthur P. Molella. Despite New Yorkers’ powerful nostalgia for the Gotham-that-was, the city's urban ecology has always thrived on change. As Detroit turns to ruins, Greg Grandin tolls the bell for the city that embodied the utopian ambitions of American capitalism (and a review of Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City and more). From Wired, an article on what Detroit can learn from the Apple Store. Urban retrofits: How to make a city green without tearing it down.
From The Daily Beast, an interview with Edmund Phelps; and an interview with Claudia Goldin, author of The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century. A review of The Spectre at the Feast: Capitalist Crisis and the Politics of Recession by Andrew Gamble. A review of Wall Street: America's Dream Palace by Steve Fraser. A review of Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns, the Toughest Firm on Wall Street by Kate Kelly. A review of Fool’s Gold: How Unrestrained Greed Corrupted a Dream, Shattered Global Markets and Unleashed a Catastrophe by Gillian Tett (and more and more and more). A review of Daniel Gross' Dumb Money: How Our Greatest Financial Minds Bankrupted the Nation. A review of The Match King: Ivar Kreuger, The Financial Genius Behind a Century of Wall Street Scandals by Frank Partnoy (and more). From FT, a pugnacious pundit Wall Street can't ignore: Meet Charlie Gasparino, the CNBC reporter who has broken many stories about the financial crisis, and discover why everybody listens when he talks. An interview with economist Claudio Katz: "The solution to the crisis of capitalism has to be political". Here are ten things you can do to stimulate a new economy.
From Darkmatter, a special issue on The Wire (in the Feb/Mar 2009 issue of Bookforum, Walter Benn Michaels wrote that The Wire is "the most serious and ambitious fictional narrative of the twenty-first century so far".) From The New Yorker, Michael Schulman on the ladies behind the new "Mad Men" ads. From The Philosophers' Magazine's "Pop Culture Week", Catherine Yu asks if it’s okay to laugh at South Park; David Kyle Johnson on what Family Guy tells us about religious toleration; and paraconsistent logic in The Office: Morgan Luck investigates the case of the missing Tim. Whatever happened to educational television? Scott McLemee revisits his alma mater. A review of Television Truths: Forms of Knowledge in Popular Culture by John Hartley. From EW, an article on the cult of "cult TV" (and part 2). In the ’50s, on the rare occasions black performers appeared on TV, African-American families gathered to watch and to judge. TV's insipid commercials, decoded: A semiotics professor explores the strange new world of subcomedy, from Progressive Auto Insurance to Omnaris nasal spray. TV commercials are becoming more overt in reflecting the "culture wars", particularly the fierce backlash against intellectualism. Must See TV: So television is bad, but letting the tube go dark would be even worse.
From Gelf, psychologist Paul Bloom studies babies to understand how we think about morality and religion; and Matthew Alper went on a solitary quest to understand religion — what he found was that his mind was trying to trick him. The politics of scepticism: Stuart Sim sees the writing on the wall for belief. A review of 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists by Russell Blackford and Udu Schuklenk. Atheists shouldn't be afraid to be certain: Say it loud, say it proud — there is no God. Why do atheists have to talk about atheism? Are the "New Atheists" avoiding the "real arguments"? Laurie Taylor interviews Terry Eagleton, the Marxist critic gunning for the New Atheists. An excerpt from Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies by David Bentley Hart. Robert Wright argues that religion may be nonsense — but it helps mankind (and more and more and more and more and more and more on The Evolution of God). A review of The Case for God by Karen Armstrong (and more and more). More and more on God is Back by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge. Abandoning Judaeo-Christian values has led to the abolition of the family and a moral collapse in public life. Americans who combine love of God with love of country can quote the new "American Patriot's Bible".
G. Edward White (Virginia): Revisiting the Ideas of the Founding. We are all liberals now: Are Americans doomed to be Lockeans? From BMCR, a review of Ancient Rome and Modern America by Margaret Malamud. A review of Woden Teachout's Capture The Flag: A Political History of American Patriotism. A review of Next Stop, Reloville: Life Inside America’s New Rootless Professional Class by Peter Kilborn. What do Napoleon and U.S. immigration policies have in common? A review of Dying to Live: A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Apartheid by Joseph Nevins. The El Paso Miracle: How can a comparatively poor, high-immigration town that sits across the border from super-violent Ciudad Juarez be one of the safest big cities in America? An intriguing, much more equal rivalry out West, but both California and Texas can learn from each other (and a special report on Texas). A review of Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance, 1950–1963 by Kevin Starr (and more and more and more). It isn't a myth: Once you get out of Northeastern cities, people are significantly more civil to one another. A review of Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town by Nick Reding (and more). Coolest mayor in America: Why John Fetterman has his postcode tattooed on his arm.
A review of The Triumph of Music: The Rise of Composers, Musicians, and Their Art by Tim Blanning. A review of Leonard Bernstein: The Political Life of an American Musician by Barry Seldes. From PopMatters, what’s right and what’s left about country music; and who says country can't hip-hop? Mark Fisher reflects on how for three decades hip-hop has provided the perfect soundtrack to the brutality of the neoliberal world-view. A review of Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Rise and Fall of the Record Industry in the Digital Age by Steve Knopper. A review of Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music by Greg Kot. Stereo for One: Decades before iPod, there was Walkman — and before that, car horns and bird song. A label of love: Island Records, which turns 50 this year, helped shape the modern music business (and more). Has the dislocation of "world" music from its context in community and place led to multicultural mediocrity? Hello Cool World: How the path from cheap baroque to African drums to avant-garde led to jazz, Wilco and Bjork. Swinging in class: Douglas Groothuis on the benefits of jazz pedagogy. Smooth Jazz truly is the music of the gesture; it is music of the pose; it is music that hints at real music without being real music. Let's fight about Deer Tick's authenticity: Because nothing makes for better music criticism than rehashing decades-old arguments about indie cred. A look at the 10 worst subjects for a pop song.
From Bookslut, a review of Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness by Lisa Hamilton; and a review of The Compassionate Carnivore: Or, How to Keep Animals Happy, Save Old MacDonald's Farm, Reduce Your Hoofprint, and Still Eat Meat by Catherine Friend. Here's the history behind the transition from farm to feedlot and why Big Pharma rules the barn. Food porkies: Don’t blame factory farming for pandemics. An interview with Richard Wrangham, author of Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human (and more and more). A review of Fresh: A Perishable History by Susanne Freidberg. At first glance, the Nutritional Facts label can be daunting — what does it all mean? Anna Kirkland (Michigan): Think of the Hippopotamus: Rights Consciousness in the Fat Acceptance Movement. Why are Southerners so fat? Claire Suddath wants to know (and more). McDonald's is doing well in a recession by wooing consumers abroad by targeting local tastes and marketing like mad. A review of Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures With Coca-Cola by Mark Thomas (and more). A review of A Pint of Plain: How the Irish Pub Lost Its Magic But Conquered the World by Bill Barich. Why France still makes the world's best wines. A review of Au Revoir to All That: The Rise and Fall of French Cuisine by Michael Steinberger (and more and more and more and more).
From The Common Review, Darryl Lorenzo Wellington on autobiographical fire and Obama's creation of self. An interview with Timothy Garton Ash: "Obama is certainly a European". The Shuffle President: Barack Obama's complicated, even eclectic, agenda suits our multitasking digital age. The science of good government: The Obama administration talks a lot about making policy based on evidence rather than politics — but which evidence? One Way Street: Why government programs never die. A look at how the government has a database for most everything. How may I help you?: The Politico goes deep inside the world of congressional phone operations. Partisan Portfolios: You'd be surprised to see what congressional Democrats and Republicans own. Perhaps 2008 was different, and conservatives' forebodings about when or whether they'll govern again are well-founded. A review of Right Time, Right Place: Coming of Age with William F. Buckley Jr. and the Conservative Movement by Richard Brookhiser. More and more and more on Losing Mum and Pup by Christopher Buckley. Stop the presses and shut off the RSS feeds: the bashiest of the Bush-bashers is starting to appreciate the Exile of Crawford. Kevin Mattson on why Jimmy Carter's "malaise" speech is more relevant than ever.
From The Symptom, Kirsten Hyldgaard on sex as fantasy and sex as symptom; Alain Badiou on a finally objectless subject; how are we to locate Josef Fritzl? Slavoj Zizek wonders; and although in reality almost no one wants to meet a serial killer or other kinds of monster-man, all kinds of cultural representations of them occupy a privileged status. Surely we can find enough kidney donors for those who need transplants — but doing so will require creativity, boldness, and a sense of urgency, writes Virginia Postrel. A review of The Tie Goes to Freedom: Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on Liberty by Helen J. Knowles. A review of Packing the Court: The Rise of Judicial Power and the Coming Crisis of the Supreme Court by James MacGregor Burns (and more and more). From The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin on what Supreme Court Justices really do; and Malcolm Gladwell on banks, battles, and the psychology of overconfidence. An interview with Arianne Cohen on why tall people are smarter, healthier, richer and more attractive — and why we always vote for them (and more). You are how you camped: What your enjoyment of sleep-away camp, or lack of same, says about your character.
From The Economist, a cover story on what went wrong with economics and how the discipline should change to avoid the mistakes of the past; an article on the turmoil among macroeconomists; and what remains of the efficient-markets hypothesis? From Adbusters, a special issue on thought control in economics; when the going gets tough, economists go very quiet; interviews with George Akerlof, Lourdes Beneria, Herman Daly, and Joseph Stiglitz; articles on the post-autistic movement in economics and econophysics, a new paradigm; and at what point does economic growth become uneconomic growth? The myth of economy versus environment: Not even the driest conservative will be able to ignore the economic risks of climate change much longer. Why are economists so bad at forecasting? From Carnegie Council, a panel on Economics Does Not Lie: A Defense of the Free Market in a Time of Crisis by Guy Sorman. Market dogma is exposed as myth — where is the new vision to unite us? Do we all spend too much time obsessing about political matters, when really the focus should be securing everyday socio-economic matters? The power of the top 1%: The debate over income inequality is about democracy, not economics. More on Jeff Madrick's The Case for Big Government.