From TLS, Zion story: A review of books on the most contentious communal struggle on earth today. The introduction to A History of Palestine: From the Ottoman Conquest to the Founding of the State of Israel by Gudrun Kramer. A review of Churchill's Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraft by Michael Makovsky. An interview with Randall Collins, author of Violence: A Micro-Sociological Theory. Terry Teachout puts forward Teachout's First Law of Artistic Dynamics: "The best way to make a bad work of art is to try to make a great one". Eve Fairbanks on the strange passivity of Howard Dean. In politics, like everywhere else, generations have a natural fluidity — it can be hard to say where one group ends and the next begins. The good news from America: Most environmentalists are indeed leftists who support the redistribution of wealth and believe in a simpler lifestyle. A review of Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the Present by Lisa Appignanes (and more and more and more and more and more and more). The End of History: The Atlantic recently asked a group of foreign-policy authorities about the prospects for democracy around the world. Research suggests the settlement of the Americas was a 3-act play. Has The Remnant gone soft, or has it merely recognized a monumental turning point in history?
Karen Sihra (Toronto): Philosophical Contributions of Gandhi’s Ideas on Non-Violence. From The Atlantic, Bay of Capitalist Pigs: A look at how Havana might change after Castro. Cannibalism and human depravity? An interview with Kim Paffenroth, author of Gospel of the Living Dead: George Romero’s Visions of Hell on Earth. A review of Accident: A Philosophical and Literary History by Ross Hamilton. A review of Army 101: Inside ROTC in a Time of War by David Axe. Druids belong to the realm of myth, but now researchers in England have uncovered the grave of a powerful, ancient healer. From Mute, Elizabeth Povinelli locates the latest state of exception in a wider neoliberal project to impose work and austerity. From n+1, "what have we who are slaves and black to do with art?" An interview with Robert Bryce, author of Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of "Energy Independence". Feminism 2.0: From patriarchy to pop culture, the blogosphere has it covered. As newspapers recruit "citizen journalists" to fill their pages, flacks and hacks find an opening. From PopSci, The Anonymity Experiment: During a week of attempting to cloak every aspect of daily life, you find that in an information age, leaving no trace is nearly impossible. Writers in academe come together in New York, but is it still a city of literary dreams? asks Michael Dirda. A review of Brooklyn Was Mine.
From Red Pepper, Nigel Harris on why globalisation is good for you (and Robin Blackburn responds on how the corporations that run the world can be made to pay for a new system of global welfare). How business can save the world: A provocative study suggests that enlightened management philosophies can spread from the office, and change societies. Does time heal all wounds? Here is new evidence on how major events – good and bad – impact people’s long-run life satisfaction. From PopMatters, an article on America’s most policed art form: Subway graffiti, NYC’s visual criminal; and Grant Wood's "American Gothic" is an elegant representation of the American nightmare: the horrors and monsters that constantly lurk behind the face of normality. A review of Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang (and more). The Bush family's slaveholding past: Was their dynasty built on slavery? Good ideas can have drawbacks: When information is freely shared, good ideas can stunt innovation by distracting others from pursuing even better ideas. More and more and more on How Fiction Works. From The Chronicle, Mearsheimer and Walt have been criticized for their narrowly empirical approach, but political science over all is vulnerable to that same critique; and a study finds conservatives just aren't into academe.
From Transformations, a special issue on Walter Benjamin and the Virtual. A review of Walter Benjamin's Archive: Images, Texts, Signs. From LiveScience, a look at the truth about sensational kidney thefts. From The Hedgehog Review, a special issue on secularization, including Grace Davie (Exeter): Is Europe an Exceptional Case?; Wilson N. Brissett (Virginia): Secularization in the Global South: The Case of Ethiopia; an interview with Peter Berger; and a review of Susan Jacoby's Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism (and more). A review of Impotence: A Cultural History by Angus McLaren. James Fallows on how China’s Great Firewall is crude, slapdash, and surprisingly easy to breach — and here’s why it’s so effective anyway (and an interview). Julian Baggini reviews Violence by Slavoj Zizek. A review of From Knowledge to Wisdom: A Revolution for Science and the Humanities by Nicholas Maxwell. A review of Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend by Barbara Oakley. A review of Structures of Scientific Collaboration, by Wesley Shrum, Joel Genuth and Ivan Chompalov. From Black Agenda Report, a look at the ten worst places to be black. Neurostimulation: Is it a good idea to drill holes in people's heads to treat them for depression? An article on what to read about wine.
From Policy Review, the advantage to Islam of Mosque-State separation: What the American Founders can teach. From Quadrant, a look at why the recognition of complexity and uncertainty that has been the key to the success of the West. Missing the "right" babies: Christian-right activists look at falling birthrates among whites and rising Muslim immigration in Europe and warn of a looming "demographic winter". The New Barbarians: Local bloggers are shaking up the media and politics as usual. From Entertainment Weekly, a look at the successes and shortcomings of McSweeney's creator, Dave Eggers (and more on his inner circle). Have you seen the latest issue of Paranoia magazine? No? Well, that's not surprising, is it? A review of Fulgencio Batista: From Revolutionary to Strongman by Frank Argote-Freyre. Japan's historical and geographical isolation has created a unique culture, a society seemingly operating just slightly out of kilter. From TNR, Lewis Lapham's new journal is dedicated to providing historical perspectives that align perfectly with Lapham's own. An article on mythbusting Canadian health care (and part 2). From NYRB, a review of books on nuclear weapons, the greatest threat to us all. Family firms are important in business — so why, then, do dynasties fare so poorly in politics? More and more and more on Tim Harford's The Logic of Life.
From The New Yorker, an article on debating torture and counterinsurgency—a century ago. From First Things, an essay on Nietzsche’s deeper truth; a review of After the Baby Boomers by Robert Wuthnow; and this is not your father’s pornography. Christopher Hitchens on the 2,000-year-old panic: A newly reissued novel evokes the charms and hatreds of a lost world and the enduring contradictions of anti-Semitism. America has too many stores; should anything be done about it? A review of Tourists of History: Memory, Kitsch, and Consumerism from Okalahoma City to Ground Zero by Marita Sturken. The Raelians have championed some strange causes in the movement's history, but now they are going to bat for the clitoris. A review of Jasmine and Stars: Reading More Than Lolita in Tehran by Fatemeh Keshavarz and Rethinking Global Sisterhood: Western Feminism and Iran by Nima Naghibi. Can John McCain reinvent Republicanism? Ryan Lizza investigates. A review of Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West by Benazir Bhutto (and more and more and more and more and more). From Newsweek, a cover story on Michelle Obama. From The Economist, a look at why business succeeds on the web and government mostly fail (and an special report). A cathedral for the god of motors: Welcome to the phenomenon that is BMW World.
From The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert reviews Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely and Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard Thaler. Can we teach people to be happy? Anthony Seldon and Frank Furedi debate. Halle Berry uses hair extensions, so does Angelina Jolie: Much of the hair they end up with comes from women who offer up their locks to Hindu gods in Indian temples. From Foreign Policy, the US Military Index surveys more than 3,400 active and retired officers at the highest levels of command about the state of the U.S. military — they see a force stretched dangerously thin and a country ill-prepared for the next fight; and was Fidel good for Cuba? A debate between Carlos Alberto Montaner and Ignacio Ramonet. Glenn Greenwald on Mark Steyn and the fun and excitement of civilization wars (fought from afar). An the winner is: Alan Wolfe on the coming religious peace. Which are the most popular conspiracy theories? Research suggests human culture is subject to natural selection, but that there's no easy answers in evolution of human language. Wired goes inside the bizarre world of Japanese pickup schools. On foreign policy, McCain's off his rocker, and the Dems should call him on it. Is PBS still necessary? From Edge, a conversation with Drew Endy on engineering biology.
Here's the Bookforum interview with French writer and film director Alain Robbe-Grillet. From LRB, a review of The Wilsonian Moment: Self Determination and the International Origins of Anti-Colonial Nationalism by Erez Manela. From TLS, a review of books on the indiscretions of the history men. From Wired, a look at how ecotopias aren't just for hippies anymore — and they're sprouting up worldwide. From The American Conservative, a special issue on John McCain and the Great Betrayal. This election is certainly important, but it isn’t likely to result in a major swing in economic policy.From TNR, a review of The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sorrow Into Depressive Disorder by Allan V. Horwitz. A review of Cultural Foundations of Mathematics: The Nature of Mathematical Proof and the Transmission of the Calculus from India to Europe in the 16th c. CE by C. K. Raju. A review of Worth and Welfare in the Controversy over Abortion by Christopher Miles Coope. It’s a BA-by!: A conversation between a secular ethicist and an abortion protester. From Taki's Top Drawer, an article on the Right’s science problem. A Prague brothel offering free sex and the chance of internet stardom is providing men with a novel style of sexual recreation. An excerpt from Pompeii Awakened: A Story of Rediscovery by Judith Harris.
From The Washington Post Magazine, a cover story on How Lobbyists Always Win: Dispatches from Washington's most relentless growth industry. From National Journal, the job is highly demanding, but the financial rewards of running a Washington trade group or other non-profit have never been greater. A review of Cullen Murphy's The New Rome? From THES, the humanities have traditionally been the core of a classical university education, equipping graduates both culturally and morally; today, however, humanities academics are increasingly questioning their purpose; and it is not often that you will find respected academics saying "I want to be Kelly McGillis, in Top Gun, kissing Tom Cruise", at least not in public. A review of Big Ideas: the Essential Guide to the Latest Thinking by James Harkin. What Nietzsche means to philosophers today: Prescient and misunderstood or excessively sensitive and irrelevant? A review of The Neutral: Lecture Course at the College de France (1977-1978) by Roland Barthes. A review of Flat Earth News: an Award-winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion and Propaganda in the Global Media by Nick Davies (and more and more and more). From Nerve, an interview with David Shields, author of The Thing About Life is That One Day You'll Be Dead; and more on the history of single life: Plato's Retreat and Swingtown USA.
From Re-Public, a special issue on the social web, including an essay on the spatial production of friendship, and "YourSpace is mytime, or, what is the lurking dog going to do – leave a comment?" From TED, Howard Rheingold talks about the coming world of collaboration, participatory media and collective action. How do we form preferences when we do not fully understand complex issues? We fall back on heuristics, and the most powerful of these is to find leaders with whom we feel cultural kinship — and then follow whatever they recommend. Forty years ago, Marylin Bender's The Beautiful People exposed the lives of the emerging Jet Set in all their profligate, trivial — yet gripping — glory. The Nation magazine’s Alaska cruise is The Love Boat for Policy Wonks. From The Weekly Standard, a review of books on the German way of war. From New York, a cover story on why kids lie. Taking Play Seriously: What can science tell us about why kids run and jump? The Smart Set is in praise of makeup (with a nod to Baudelaire). More on Counterknowledge. American? Maybe, but not "United States-ian": Some scholars believe North America is forging a unique culture; they call it "l'americanite". In oil-rich Mideast, shades of the Ivy League (and more). Global U: Andrew Ross questions the motives and assumptions behind the push by American universities to open campuses abroad.