Marx, Hubbard, and the totalitarian impulse: What bring an overweening philosopher and a scam artist together in an intelligible category? Each man proposed, without embarrassment, a total explanation for human life. More and more and more on Tristram Hunt's Marx's General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels. A review of The Red Flag: Communism and the Making of the Modern World by David Priestland. Movies have often romanticized Communist revolutionaries, but a new action thriller, The Baader Meinhof Complex, counterpunches, exposing the violent psychosis that gripped the Red Army Faction in 1970s West Germany (and more). A review of Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire by Victor Sebestyen. The introduction to 1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe by Mary Elise Sarotte. Dick Howard (Stony Brook): What is a Revolution? Reflections on the Significance of 1989/90. From The Observer, Neal Ascherson recalls the idealism and anger that drove the protests against communist regimes in 1989; a look at the art and culture of the year of revolt; and meet the children who came in from the cold (and more). Writing the history books: Is the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes producing legitimate scholarship or pursuing a political agenda?
An Aesthetic Crisis: Visual art moves from modernism to postmodernism to what? From Bomb, an essay on the cool kids of the Russian avant-garde. On its 90th anniversary, Bauhaus remains the most imperialistic of all design movements. "Hitler considered himself an artistic genius": An interview with Birgit Schwarz, author of Delusions of Genius: Hitler and Art. Until recently, curators and collectors in the West were embarrassed by Orientalist art; Carol Kino considers one small museum that never blushed. From N1BR, a review of Lawrence Rothfield's The Rape of Mesopotamia: Behind the Looting of the Iraq Museum (and more) and James Cuno's Whose Culture? The Promise of Museums and the Debate over Antiquities. Is Greece Losing its Elgin Marbles? The battle between antiquities-loving and antiquities-producing countries continues. Leave the past behind: The campaigns to restore lost architectural gems signify a malaise in British culture. Leave it to the French to resuscitate Tarzan only to stick him in a semiotic jungle. Terminal Hipness: Jed Pearl on what New York's recent exhibitions can tell us about the art world’s malaise. The art of graffiti: you either see it or you don't; Evan Roth of the Graffiti Research Lab drags us out of that tired debate and shows us the science of tagging.
From Cosmos and History, Antonio Negri on The Italian Difference: Between Nihilism and Biopolitics (and a response by Pier Aldo Rovatti). From Vanity Fair, mired in sex scandals, Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is a national joke; he also has no intention of changing his ways — will Italy change without him? Weary Italians aren't in the mood to laugh anymore at Berlusconi's latest transgressions (and more). From Lettera internazionale, Francesco Biscione on Italian democracy and its opponents. A review of Pushing Past the Night: Coming to Terms with Italy’s Terrorist Past by Mario Calabresi. A review of Into the Heart of the Mafia: A Journey Through the Italian South by David Lane. Italy's vigilantes: Are the Mafia and the amateur police enemies or allies? The wolf in sheep's clothing: An article on Italy's Left and the Lega Nord. Emanuel L. Paparella on Italy and the EU, now and then. A review of The Ancient Shore: Dispatches from Naples by Shirley Hazzard. A review of An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church's Strangest Relic in Italy's Oddest Town by David Farley (and an interview). The Guardian goes behind the scenes at L'Osservatore Romano, the pope's newspaper. Where the buffalo moan (with pleasure): At Vannulo Farm they believe happier buffalos make better mozzarella.
From The Bulletin, an a brief history of climate change and conflict. A look at how anthropogenic global warming started when people began farming. A review of Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought by James Workman. Could it be that our genes and evolutionary heritage are responsible for our failure to tackle climate change? Research suggests psychological factors help explain slow reaction to global warming. "Holy schmoly! What are we going to do about this darn graph?": Here are five easy lies about global warming. A look at how marketing and psychology can help the planet stay cool. Climate disobedience is on the rise and it's not just for radical activists anymore. What is the collective impact of 6.7 billion human beings on one planet? David Suzuki on the problem of exponential population growth. From Scientific American, a new study suggests the best thing you can do for the planet might be having fewer children; can the world unite to combat climate change, and should troops be used to clean up the environment? United Nations peacekeepers already are. Can the environmental movement be saved, or is our last chance to preserve life on Earth slipping away?
From SPLC, a special report on the return of the militias. From LRB, Walter Benn Michaels reviews Who Cares about the White Working Class? Theory and morality in the new economy: Adam Smith turns out to be a useful guide to the ways President Obama is trying to reshape the economy. Has Whole Foods' CEO gone completely bananas? John Mackey's attack on health care alienated every possible ally — but it was still useful. Here's a look at the most outrageous U.S. lies about global healthcare. Rx Xbox? Researchers explore mental health benefits of video games. An interview with Marko A. Rodriguez, a scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, on computational eudaemonics. A review of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier by Robert Emmons. The fat cats vs. Blazing Cat Fur: The Dominion of Canada feels a bunch of ingrate impecunious bloggers is out to get it. The curse of monkey-eared people: Nothing like a new iPhone to make one feel self-conscious about one's ears. From Granta, Anita Sethi goes beyond the hype about Skype: A dispatch from cyberspace. From 3:AM, Richard Marshall reviews the Savage Messiah zines, numbers one to nine. Poetry Over Positivism: An article on the work of Owen Barfield.
Soccer versus Malaria: The world's biggest sport is uniting philanthropists, players and a glassblower in the global fight. Rattawut Lapcharoensap reviews The Ball Is Round: A Global History of Soccer by David Goldblatt. A review of Why England Lose and Other Curious Football Phenomena Explained by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski (and more). The bad girl of soccer: Why Hope Solo — loudmouth, jerk — may be the best thing that’s ever happened to her sport. Can soccer become to Americans what it is to the rest of the world: a vigorous and passionate spectator sport? Brett Favre, Cal Ripken, and why consecutive-game streaks are meaningless. Why we play fantasy football: What is it about drafting an imaginary team in an imaginary league for an imaginary season that gets us so excited? The not-quite-Ultimate Fighting Championship: Will the absence of the world's best fighter, Fedor Emelianenko, halt UFC's ascent to the big leagues? The merits of going barefoot: A review of Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall (and more and more and a review essay on running). How sports will dramatically change: Stadiums will shrink, players may be robotic duplicates, fans? Not necessary.
An interview with Robert Morse, the man behind U.S. News college rankings. The first chapter from Taming the River: Negotiating the Academic, Financial, and Social Currents in Selective Colleges and Universities. The truth about tuition: The conversation about college costs shouldn't end at student loans. From Mother Jones, here's their Mini College Guide. Don't have sex with your students: Why is this the first piece of advice that new TA's get? "Annoying Habits of College Professors" (circa 1935 to 1937): A look at the timeless pet peeves of American university students. Higher education has destroyed young Americans’ ability to express themselves on the page — or in their own minds. A review of How Professors Think: Inside the Curious World of Academic Judgment by Michele Lamont. Tyler Cowen on autism as academic paradigm. An interview with Cynthia Franklin, author of Academic Lives: Memoir, Cultural Theory and the University Today. A review of Revenge of the Women's Studies Professor by Bonnie Morris. An article on why women's colleges are still relevant. From THES, a look at the transparency culture, its political uses and the dangerous implications for scholarly freedom. Steve Fuller and Alan Haworth debate the merits of a "Statement of Academic Freedom".
From The Nation, in the theater of Isak Dinesen: A reconsideration of the fictive truths behind a storyteller's many masks. Angel or demon: Could Dan Brown's new novel The Lost Symbol spell the end for the printed word? The Family Business: Are John and Dan Fante ready for the big time? A review of The Lost Origins of the Essay by John D'Agata. We just celebrated the moon landing and a solar eclipse — what's a poet's take on the cosmos? From Forward, not science fiction: An interview with Jonathan Lethem on the novels of Philip K. Dick; and a review of Arthur Miller: 1915–1962 by Christopher Bigsby. A review of The Jewish Odyssey of George Eliot by Gertrude Himmelfarb. A review of George Eliot: Novelist, Lover, Wife by Brenda Maddox (and more). Second Reading: Jonathan Yardley reexamines Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. A review of Obscene in the Extreme: The Burning and Banning of John Steinbeck's the Grapes of Wrath by Rick Wartzman. From Double X, an article on the death on chick lit. A look at what Mario Puzo godfathered 40 years ago. Art is a weapon in the struggle of ideas: An interview with Amiri Baraka. Socialism and suspense: Eric Ambler was born a century ago, but the morally compromised world of his left-wing thrillers is still very familiar today.
Race and diversity in the Age of Obama: In private life blacks remain as isolated from whites as in the Jim Crow era. Adam Serwer on the de-facto segregation of health care. Obama v. the angry white men: Economic recovery won't silence the mobs attacking healthcare reform. The politics of the jackboot: If we can't draw the line at the threat of violence, democracy begins to disintegrate. Fascist America — are we there yet? Sara Robinson investigates (and part 2). From Esquire, is Obama fascist? A look at the new American religion behind the growing American rage. Obama is a totalitarian illegal alien, he's going to execute grandma!: Scott McLemee takes refuge with a classic study of political mania, Prophets of Deceit: A Study of the Techniques of the American Agitator by Leo Lowenthal and Norbert Guterman. Nominated to a White House job, legal scholar Cass Sunstein has become a victim of the very thing he writes books about: conspiracy theories and paranoid rumors. Joe Klein on how the GOP has become a party of nihilists. The next Sarah Palin: Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire’s GOP rising star, is a folksy, gun-loving mother of two.
A review of Balfour and Weizmann: The Zionist, the Zealot and the Emergence of Israel by Geoffrey Lewis. How to fall into Carl Schmitt's trap: A review of Carl Schmitt and the Jews: The "Jewish Question," the Holocaust, and German Legal Theory by Raphael Gross. A review of Inside A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel by Ronald and Allis Radosh. A review of Rich Cohen's Israel is Real (and more and more and more). A review of Attack on the Liberty: The Untold Story of Israel's Deadly 1967 Assault on a US Spy Ship by James Scott (and more). Deep inside Israel's military forces, how does living with war affect their view the world? Being an Orthodox dove in Israel is a complicated business. An excerpt from One State, Two States: Resolving the Israel/Palestine Conflict by Benny Morris. Gershom Gorenberg reviews Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory by Ahmad Sa’di and Lila Abu-Lughod. Abstract prayers for peace: Slavoj Zizek on the Palestinian Question (and part 2). Hey Obama, don't waste your time giving a speech in Israel. The self-hate hustle: Why the argument between conservative and progressive Jews over Israel sounds a like the African-American "house negro" debate. A review of Transforming America’s Israel Lobby by Dan Fleshler (and more).