From The Wilson Quarterly, what’s wrong with American democracy? Larry Bartels on the irrational electorate; Denis MacShane on an admirable folly; Gil Troy on burying the hatchet; and Scott Keeter on poll power. From NYRB, Colm Toibin on James Baldwin and Barack Obama. From TNR, David Samuels on how Ralph Ellison explains Barack Obama. From Time, a cover story on The Limits of Race: As the economy falters, race is receding. From The Root, it's racism: Hate-fueled campaigning cannot be covered as mere political hardball; and the MILFy Way: How the GOP is using this low-grade obscenity to sell Sarah Palin. Naomi Wolfe on the Palin charade. An article on Tina Fey and the ten funniest political impressions of all time. From The Village Voice, an article on The Book of Sarah (Palin): Strafing the Palin record. Michael Kinsley on how Senator McCain lost it at a Puerto Rican casino. Form Radar, an interview with pop maven John McCain. Why talk shows like “The View” are showcasing some of the most sophisticated (and mind-numbingly stupid) conversations about the presidential race. Major shock: Two NSA linguists disclose that hundreds of Americans had their private, intimate telephone calls recorded and transcribed by Bush's illegal spying program. Nat Hentoff on The Next American Revolution: When it becomes necessary to bring King George to justice.
The French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio ("Jean-Marie who?") wins the Nobel Prize for literature, a surprise and a boon for three small houses. Though perhaps boring, who dares to argue that Le Clezio has not deserved it? French culture is alive and well, but contemporary literature is a "literature of despair". An article on how the best writers aren't all English. Why isn't there a Nobel Prize for the arts? An article on the future of reading: Using video games as bait to hook readers. From TED, will videogames become better than life? David Perry wants to know; and Steven Johnson on the Web as a city. From TLS, why Rowan Williams is the best man for the job — of appreciating the greatness of Dostoevsky; and an article on the genius of Machado de Assis, Rio de Janeiro's laureate of irony. Leading geneticist Steve Jones says human evolution is over. From Seed, a growing number of scientists argue that human culture itself has become the foremost agent of biological change; an article on the trouble with biodiversity: Life is more varied near the equator, but making sense of that has confounded biologists for 200 years; and in defense of difference: Scientists offer new insight into what to protect of the world's rapidly vanishing languages, cultures, and species. Studies suggest that efforts to appear race-blind can be counterproductive in some situations.
From Americana, John Ryder (SUNY): Prospects for a Thick Democracy; Ashis Sengupta (UNB): The Hyphenated Identity in Contemporary Multiethnic American Drama; and a review of Pragmatism as Post-Postmodernism: Lessons from Dewey by Larry A. Hickman. An article on Foucault on intellectuals. From The Nation, a review of The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels and the Business of AIDS by Elizabeth Pisani and Sizwe's Test: A Young Man's Journey Through Africa's AIDS Epidemic by Jonny Steinberg. An interview with John Cacioppo on how loneliness is a threat to your health. With high school newspapers disappearing, the future of journalism is at risk. From TED, Marvin Minsky on health, population and the human mind. From NYRB, more on The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker by Steven Greenhouse. Voters don’t know much about the European Union; what’s more, they don’t want to learn. Did Kosovo open up Pandora’s Box? If the international community intends to keep the floodgates to secessionist movements closed, it would do well to learn from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Ian Buruma on the wrong lesson of Munich. From Earth First! Journal, here's a closer look at two snitches. Turning a blind eye: An image said to reveal an "unknown" tribe instead exposes a history of our ignorance and greed.
From First Things, Avery Cardinal Dulles on The Freedom of Theology; an exchange on the ethics of immigration; a review of Creating a Class: College Admissions and the Education of Elites by Mitchell L. Stevens; a review of Arts of Darkness: American Noir and the Quest for Redemption by Thomas S. Hibbs; a review of Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis by Michael Ward; and more on Charles Taylor's A Secular Age. An interview with Adriano Prosperi, Professor of Reform and Counter-reform Era History at the Scuola Normale in Pisa, on immigration: “There was greater solidarity during the Middle Ages”. An excerpt from The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith after Freud by Philip Rieff. From Taki's Magazine, we will Berry you: An article on the flaky socialism of the Crunchy Cons. The Hip Shall Inherit the Earth: James Poulos on a post-apocalyptic vision of America’s future. A review of Ancient Board Games in Perspective. From Big Think, Muhammad Yunus on the ideal international regulatory body. Recent literary debates in Sweden have dwelled on authors' love lives and penchant for designer handbags, yet there is more edifying material out there. A review of American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau. From Cracked, a look at the stages of a human life: 408 years ago vs. today.
From Air Force Magazine, the Air Force says goodbye to 50 years of tranquil, undisturbed operations "up there" in space; and an article on protracted nuclear war: The Reagan Pentagon wanted to plan for it — then, all hell broke loose. From Kyoto Journal, in Mandalay, Franz Kafka meets Lenny Bruce. From Secular Culture and Ideas, an essay on Jews and Native Americans, and an article on Jews and sports. From Label France, special issues on French politics in action; the new French music scene; and a feature on a Tour de France of towns. From PUP, the introduction to Sans-Culottes: An Eighteenth-Century Emblem in the French Revolution by Michael Sonenscher. A look at why bad journalism is to blame for marijuana prohibition. We know what we like but our tastes are swayed by price, packaging and other social psychological factors in ways we're often unaware of. Here are six "uniquely" human traits now found in animals. A review of Bill Bright & Campus Crusade for Christ: The Renewal of Evangelicalism in Postwar America by John G. Turner. From New York, one man’s vandalism is another’s political art — just ask Poster Boy, the Matisse of subway-ad mash-ups. Banksy Unwrapped: A counter current to modern artistry. From Intelligent Life, can a loner, rational economist find a mythic sense of community?
From American Political Science Review, a series of articles on American elections. From The New Yorker, a special issue on politics, including an editorial endorsing Barack Obama, George Packer on The Hardest Vote: The disaffection of Ohio’s working class; James Wood on the Republican war on words; an article on the many lives of Arianna Huffington; and Lipstick on a Pig: A 2008 campaign quiz. From The Hedgehog Review, a review of Laughing Matters: Humor and American Politics in the Media Age; and a review essay on books on American political cartoons. From New York, how McCain lost his brand: From maverick to crank in an instant; why Mayor Bloomberg’s push for a third term may be the riskiest thing he’s ever done; things look grim at the moment, but where will we be a year from now? That depends on who’s president; and which is more important to a 25-year-old Ochs-Sulzberger heir: the sense of honor that comes with owning the New York Times, or enough money to do whatever he wants for the rest of his life? A review of The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006–2008 by Bob Woodward. The Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America celebrates its creator's centennial this month, but why do we still need field guides? To feel or not: Are we just being used when we are kind and compassionate?
From TNR, more on Who Owns Antiquity? Museums and the Battle Over Our Ancient Heritage by James Cuno. Design for living: Architecture is not politics, but it’s relevant to politics. Everything is illuminated: The best time to take in the new Pentagon Memorial? 1 a.m. The Treasonous Clerk on economics for experts and for human beings. The introduction to Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do by Andrew Gelman (and a review). From The Jury Expert, an article on using the science of persuasion in the courtroom. How does one lose a bid for the Maryland House of Delegates to a twenty-six-year-old corporate lawyer with a complicated last name? The secret to a happy marriage? Be annoying. From New Statesman, who killed marriage? Not the left; why a simple glance has become a tricky question of etiquette; and Julian Baggini on why we need new ways to decide ethical issues. Some investigators take the quest for self-knowledge to the extreme: Meet five researchers who applied their scientific minds to the defining challenges in their own lives. Tim Jeal reviews The End of the Game: The Last Word from Paradise by Peter Beard. In chess, a woman who can hold her own is the rarest of creatures — how, then, did one family produce three of the most successful female chess champions ever?
From First Monday, Felix Stalder (AAD): Bourgeois Anarchism and Authoritarian Democracies; Milton Mueller (Syracuse): Info-Communism? Ownership and Freedom in the Digital Economy; Graham Cormode and Balachander Krishnamurthy (ATT): Key Differences Between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0; Alice E Marwick (NYU): To Catch a Predator? The MySpace Moral Panic; an article on Internet use for political mobilization; and a review of Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide by Henry Jenkins. A review of The Roman Triumph by Mary Beard. Here are 5 people you've never heard of who saved the world. The Bust Belt: How exurban expansion paves the way for the next housing crisis. From The Ecologist, watch this film: Wake up, freak out — then get a grip. An interview with Christine MacDonald, author of Green, Inc.: An Environmental Insider Reveals How a Good Cause Has Gone Bad. From Mute, a vehicle of exodus from left orthodoxies: A review of Species Being and Other Stories by Frere Dupont. From Cogito, why is laughter almost non-existent in ancient Greek sculpture? From Intercollegiate Review, Daniel J. Mahoney on 1968 and the meaning of democracy. From HNN, a look at how history and psychiatry are alike. Andrew Marr on how history is finally sexy. Women have so many don'ts — what's a guy to do?
From Stratfor, a series on Obama, McCain and US foreign policy (and part 2 and part 3 and part 4). From Commentary, articles on Obama's leftism and McCain's honor. Cut, kill, dig, drill: Jonathan Raban on Sarah Palin’s cunning. Bruce Ackerman on abolishing the vice presidency. From The American Conservative, a review of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement by Justin Raimondo; Claes G. Ryn on the coup the intellectuals wrought; and Andrew Roberts, the Anglosphere’s greatest modern mythologist, may be perfectly suited to sanitize the Bush presidency. Whose conservatism is it? President Bush in his final days is getting tagged as a socialist. Before he died, William F. Buckley Jr. put his young grandson on the firing line. A review of Stefan Collini's Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain. A review of The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder (and more and more and more). The introduction to Plato's Ghost: The Modernist Transformation of Mathematics by Jeremy Gray. From Edge, a special report on a short course on behavioral economics. The wonders of the horseless carriage no longer impress Peter Baker, who wants to get back on his feet. Carol Williamson on her so-called glamorous life as a foreign correspondent. A review of Glamour: A History by Stephen Gundle.
From Small Wars Journal, an essay on Sisyphus and Counterinsurgency. Counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan: An interview with John Nagl. "Local wars ahead:" An interview with former soldier and journalist Arkady Babchenko on the Russian military action in South Ossetia and Georgia. A look at how ethnic fragmentation undermines good governance. From Strange Maps, an article on Transnistria, a Soviet fly in geopolitical amber. Coming in from the cold: Why UN membership is needed for the phantom republics. A review of Clearing a Space: Reflections on India, Literature and Culture by Amit Chaudhuri. The worldwide popularity of yoga proves that globalization is flowing in every direction, and has been for a while. The Rise of the Numerati: With the explosion of data from the Internet, cell phones, and credit cards, the people who can make sense of it all are changing our world (and more). From TED, Steven Pinker on innate traits and the blank slate; and Eve Ensler explores our modern craving for security — and why it makes us less secure. A review of Unmaking the Public University: The Forty-Year Assault on the Middle Class by Christopher Newfield. Amid worries about examining practices, Times Higher Education asked ten academics to mark a first-year paper; verdicts ranged from zero to a 2:1, but the markers identified an inherent consensus (and more).