Herwig J. Schlunk (Vanderbilt): Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Lawyers. The Death of the Cool: Cool was once associated with reticence, savoir-faire, and irony, none of which is much practiced or regarded these days. From Wired, writer Evan Ratliff tried to vanish — here’s what happened. To learn and to serve: EJ Dionne on the case for a civilian ROTC. "General Hospital" is the most violent show on television — and why an A-list star would agree to be on it. From Utne, a look at how to rob a bank and get caught. From Esquire, here are 2009's top 23 radicals and rebels who are changing the world and 13 renegade artists challenging the future of our culture. Ticket Masters: How Woodstock laid the groundwork for today's demand that everything be free. Strange Geographies: An article on village life in Vanuatu. As a new generation discovers artist Genesis P-Orridge, he fulfills a quixotic long-term project: turning himself into his late spouse. Levi Johnston: He's hot, he's cute, he's playing hardball — who can resist this Playgirl-posing bad boy? (and more) From the Journal of World-Systems Research, a symposium on Giovanni Arrighi's Adam Smith in Beijing. A look at what Oprah Winfrey did for talkshow TV. When the human genome was first sequenced nearly a decade ago, the world lit up with talk about how new gene-specific drugs would help us cheat death — well, the verdict is in: Keep eating those greens. The introduction to The Political Economy of Trust by Henry Farrell. Britt Peterson reviews The Queen of the Ring: Sex, Muscles, Diamonds, and the Making of an American Legend by Jeff Leen (and more and more).
From TLS, was art in ancient times always plundered art? A review of Art as Plunder: The Ancient Origins of Debate about Cultural Property by Margaret M. Miles. Should cultural treasures, acquired under dubious circumstances, be returned to their places of origin? A review of African Art and the Colonial Encounter: Inventing a Global Commodity by Sidney Littlefield Kasfir. The art world goes local: In a shaky global art market, collectors stick close to home; shopping for Midwestern masterworks. From Afterall, Joshua Decter on art and its cultural contradictions: "What does it mean to encounter a work of art in the midst of economic and social ruination?" Has conceptual art jumped the shark tank? To see why works of conceptual art have an inherent investment risk, we must look back at the whole history of art, including art’s most ancient prehistory. Beauty, art, and Darwin: It is possible that we have a kind of built-in moral resistance to the runaway pathologies now visible in the arts — where did that resistance come from? AC Grayling on how artists produce work as a result of internal or external stimuli — the only aim should be to cause a reaction. From Resurgence, has the commodification of Banksy’s art taken the edge off his work? Art need not be edgy, so long as it's about community — no matter how self-effacing, maudlin and bourgeoisie that community is. In art we lust: At second blush, classic works are allowed to rise to their full erotic potential. Richard Eyre on why it's time to rethink our ideas about what makes great art (and responses).
From The Browser, an interview with Mary Beard on books about ancient history in modern life. A review of The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War by Caroline Alexander (and more and more and more). The first chapter from Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece by Joan Breton Connelly. From BMCR, a review of The Feminine Matrix of Sex and Gender in Classical Athens by Kate Gilhuly; a review of Abusive Mouths in Classical Athens by Nancy Worman; and a review of Greek Sport and Social Status by Mark Golden. The dinner party from Hell: The 2,000-year-old history of the intimidating dinner host. From The Nation, a review of The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found by Mary Beard. The first chapter from The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy by Adrienne Mayor. The great Roman orator Cicero is a politician who speaks loud and clear to our own times. Robin Wood on Seneca, the philosopher accused of fiddling while Nero fiddled while Rome burned. A review of Marcus Aurelius: A Life by Frank McLynn. A review of 428 AD: An Ordinary Year at the End of the Roman Empire by Giusto Traina. From Standpoint, a review essay on the fall of the Roman Empire. A review of How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower by Adrian Goldsworthy. A review of The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages 400-1000 by Chris Wickham. On the edge of an empire: On the curious English nostalgia for the days when Rome divided and conquered Britain. A review of The Golden Age of the Classics in America: Greece, Rome, and the Antebellum United States by Carl J. Richard.
The difference between deaths here and "over there": Thirteen soldiers die in Texas and it's all we talk about; two million die in Afghanistan and Iraq and we don't notice. From Boston Review, an essay on God, the Army, and PTSD: Is religion an obstacle to treatment? If gays can openly serve, will straights still want to? How the quest for sex shaped the modern man: Meet Faye Flam, a talented journalist and media personality who makes science sexy and makes sex “sciencey”. Grand Conversations: Small, elite groups of writers are forming salon-like blogs, which are some of the more interesting nodes of content on the Web. How to shrink the banks: The only way to restore sanity and security to finance is to stop banks growing so big. From The New Yorker, James Surowiecki on how the tax code makes debtors of us all; and what’s the recipe? Adam Gopnik on our hunger for cookbooks. Jumping the Snark: In an age of Yes Men, flash mobs, birthers, and fake pundits, is the prank dead? The real enemies of reason: Ophelia Benson and Dan Hind go head-to-head on the threat to Enlightenment values. Conquering fate: Frank Furedi on the birth of a world “made by man”. What if you had a remote-sensing mechanism that could record how millions of people around the world were feeling on any particular day? Hauntings, ghosts, and prophets can be found within the pages of Swords from the Desert and Swords from the West by Harold Lamb. The case for the seeing-eye horse: What if a blind man with a guide dog had taken on a Muslim bed-and-breakfast owner?
Richard H. Kohn (UNC): Always Salute, Never Resign: How Resignation Threatens Military Professionalism and National Security. A review of The Fourth Star: Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army by Greg Jaffe and David Cloud. A review of The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency by Matthew Aid. How the CIA used magic with spies: A now-declassified manual by magician John Mulholland taught American spies the arts of deceit. From Vogue, as Obama's surprise (and reluctant) pick for Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton brings her star power and stamina to the global stage (and a look at the gaffes of Hillary Clinton). A review of Daryl Copeland's Guerrilla Diplomacy: Rethinking International Relations. The introduction to The Great American Mission: Modernization and the Construction of an American World Order by David Ekbladh. U.S. Africa Command was launched to controversy and has been met with skepticism ever since; behind two years of mixed messages, a coherent mission might finally be emerging. Destroying al Qaeda is not an option (yet): If the world's most notorious network goes down, terrorism will get a whole lot messier. From The Nation, welcome home, war: How America's wars are systematically destroying our liberties. From Slate, Dahlia Lithwick on the right's nonsensical arguments against trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York (and more); Christopher Hitchens on seven salient facts about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan; and does Obama need to speak more harshly about Islam?
From Artforum, a review of Words Without Pictures. The first era of photography: The British Library unveils an important archive of historic images tracing the development of the medium from its beginnings in 1839 to the early 1900s. For decades, a unique collection of historic photographs of the Orient lay forgotten at the Hamburg Museum of Ethnology; now, the stock of 18,000 pictures has been catalogued and made accessible. Jordan Bear reviews Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits by Linda Gordon and Daring to Look: Dorothea Lange’s Photographs and Reports from the Field by Anne Whiston Spirn (and more and more). A review of Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present (and more). Susan Sontag's On Photography is an essential text for anyone working on the still image. Exposure time: Too often, photography is a tool of deception, but future technology could change all that. From Bomb, an interview with Mitch Epstein on American Power, a book of photographs dealing with energy production and consumption (and more and more). A makeshift world: For the photographer Thomas Demand, Germany is like any other country because it is haunted by history. The Restless Medium: A review of Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before by Michael Fried. A review of Photography and Science by Kelley Wilder. A review of Photography and Literature by Francois Brunet. If you just want tips on cameras, try Popular Photography; however, if you value the art and culture of photography, give American Photo a look-see. Meet the next best street photographer: Has Google joined the ranks of Robert Frank and Helen Levitt?
William Grassie (Metanexus): Millennialism at the Singularity: Reflections on Metaphors, Meanings, and the Limits of Exponential Logic. From Good, the introduction to a series on the singularity. A school for changing the world: Students at Singularity University in Silicon Valley have just finished a course with the lofty aim of helping humanity deal with future technology challenges (and more). Will our robot overlords be friendly?: Ronald Bailey attends the Singularity Summit in New York City (and more at Wired). Can bots feel joy?: Will machines ever really feel, in the same sense that humans do? Rad Robots looks back to the future with a lavishly illustrated celebration of the robot, an alternately utopian and nightmarish image of man's technological future that has endured for nearly a century. Will emerging technologies destroy humankind? An interview with R.U. Sirius. With the true AI milestone, computers overtake humans — what happens after the singularity? An interview with Ray Kurzweil on the future of technology. An article on the future of evolution: What will we become? From h+, an article on psychedelic transhumanists; whatever transhumanists seek to transform, they would do well to respect the innate transformativity of play itself; and is there sex in the posthuman future? Wake from Cryonics: Wealthy from your own life insurance — you can too take it with you and enjoy it when you get back. From IEET, what is techno-immortality? The Methuselah Manifesto: Witness the launch of Immortality, Inc. Will we eventually upload our minds? An interview with Bruce Katz, author of Digital Design. A look at 6 insane laws we'll need in the future.
When hope meets reality: Obama inspired the country with his campaign, and now he must manage expectations of those swept up by his rhetoric. If progressives want to change the situation, Michael Tomasky submits that complaining about Obama's cojones won't do it (and a response by Katrina Vanden Heuvel). The Senate’s health care calculations: Lawmakers’ opposition to reform generally has less to do with the views of their constituents and more to do with the issue of presidential popularity. Republican senators do an about-face on filibusters. Sarah Palin = Dan Quayle: There's no way she will be president. Christopher Hitchens on Palin's base appeal. A celebrity so big that party politics can't hold her — Scott McLemee takes a look at Going Rouge (and more by Thomas Frank and more by Matthew Continetti and more). Sarah Palin's media enabler: Matthew Continetti has virtually signed on to a 2012 Palin presidential campaign (and more). Max Blumenthal on Lynn Vincent, Palin's gay-bashing ghostwriter, tied to white supremacist groups; and on how Sarah Palin made herself indispensable while destroying the GOP. It's tempting to cheer Sarah Barracuda on as she cannibalizes what remains of the Republican Party, but what of the poison's other effects? (and more) A look at the new wave of female firebrands striking fear into liberal America. Isaac Eiland-Hall, creator of GlennBeckRapedAndMurderedAYoungGirlIn1990.com, is the man who beat Glenn Beck. Roger Kimball on the excommunication of Lou Dobbs: Why do his critics think they're the middle ground? From ADL, a special report: "Rage Grows in America: Anti-Government Conspiracies".
From H-Net, fascism, totalitarianism, and beyond: A review essay on recent perspectives on the twentieth-century dictatorships. Here's the text of "Mozart Was a Red", a play by Murray Rothbard about Ayn Rand. Satan, the great motivator: Is the devil himself good for business? The curious economic effects of religion on a country's economy. Steven Pinker reviews What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures by Malcolm Gladwell (and a response by Gladwell and more). The self-manufacture of Megan Fox: How America’s leading starlet made herself up for the multimedia age (and more at the New York Times Magazine's special "screens" issue). David Harsanyi on the case against Twitter: C'mon, admit it — Twitter is useless. What if Nidal Malik Hasan is sane? A web of lone wolves: Fort Hood shows us that Internet jihad is not a myth. From Christianity Today, an interview with Carrie Prejean on "the worst mistake of [her] life" (and more). Shakespeare and Company, the legendary English-language bookstore on Paris’s Left Bank, recently got a facelift — several faces, in fact. A review of Dear Andy Kaufman, I Hate Your Guts! by Lynne Margulies and Bob Zmuda. Patrick Chovanec on the Nine Nations of China. Freud in the slips: Both test cricket and psychoanalysis are out of tune with a world that demands quick results. Rich People Things: Chris Lehmann on the nation’s beleaguered private golf clubs; and okay, so this is pretty much the reason why we have a New York Times "Sunday Styles" section. You're invited to Bookforum at The New School: "Getting to Work: Labor Issues in the 21st Century" taking place today in New York City.
From an Eurozine focal point on the politics of global warming, Dipesh Chakrabarty (Chicago): The Climate of History: Four Theses; Jurgen Trittin (Die Grunen): Ecological Materialism: How Nature Becomes Political; Ingolfur Bluhdorn (Bath): Locked into the Politics of Unsustainability; Virginie Maris (Montreal): Ecofeminism: Towards a Dialogue Between Feminism and Ecology; Steffen Bauer and Dirk Messner (GDI): Climate Change: Threatening Security, Undermining Development; and Rick Piltz (CSW): Why is There No US Climate Policy? From Yale Environment 360, an interview with Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Elizabeth Kolbert reviews SuperFreakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner and Al Gore's Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis (and more and more on Gore). From Cassandra to Pollyanna: An interview with Worldwatch founder Lester Brown. An interview with Tim Flannery, author of Now or Never (and more). From Canadian Dimension, a special issue on End Times in Copenhagen. Here's the Good Guide to COP15, the most important meeting in history. Who killed Copenhagen? An FP whodunnit. The power of reputation should be harnessed to stop selfish people from wrecking the planet. Nuclear Option: Can there be an atomic bargain with the GOP? Philip Ball reviews The Real Global Warming Disaster by Christopher Booker. Why the sudden surge in climate change denial, could it be about something else altogether? Being green is no religion: A court ruling that environmentalism is akin to religious belief is bad news for science, and for efforts to tackle climate change.