From The Wilson Quarterly, Americans love to complain about gridlock in Washington and partisan warfare between presidents and Congress, yet the record suggests that unified party government is no panacea; teaching a hippo to dance: The most brilliant policies will fail if government does not attract talented people and free them to do their best work; William Galston on the five maxims the federal government can follow to regain the public confidence it has lost over the past four decades; and a look at how America’s national security structure is designed to confront the challenges of the last century rather than our own. From Splice Today, an article on the roots of blogging: Literary masters' journals are being reprinted as blog updates, which is perhaps the best way to read them. From VQR, a look at how book reviews are moving from print to podcasts. From THES, children of the revolution: The Sixties generation of academics are approaching retirement, so what better time to consider that contentious era's legacy; and comic-strip hero: Graduate student Jorge Cham decided to look on the bright side of his experiences and created a comic that is entertaining millions. Thomas Frank says bipartisanship is a silly Beltway obsession. A theory that explains the evolution of ecosystems may apply to civilizations as well-and it says we're approaching a critical phase.
From NYRB, such, such was Eric Blair: A review of books by George Orwell; and here are selections from the letters of Norman Mailer (and part 2); and can we transform the auto-industrial society? Emma Rothschild wants to know. From the Project for Excellence in Journalism, here's a special report on the New Washington Press Corps. Manufacturing Guilt: Experts say this exclusive video shows a dental examiner creating the bite marks that put a man on death row. Salon asks what President Obama will do about the rise of suicide and murder among U.S. soldiers returning from combat; and an interview with Alexandra Pelosi, director of "Right America: Feeling Wronged". From Sign and Sight, Bernard-Henri Levy embarks on an adventure of anti-Nazi dialectics — first stop: Tom Cruise; and submission in advance: 20 years after the fatwa was issued against Salman Rushdie, Islamism has the West more firmly in its grip than ever before. How cartoons joined the 21st century: Forget paper and wave goodbye to inky fingers; Simon Usborne discovers the hottest comics are strictly online (and from Bookforum, a review of Douglas Wolk’s Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean). From TNR, a review of 2666 by Roberto Bolano. From Smithsonian, a look at how Lincoln and Darwin shaped the modern world. A review of Everyday Aesthetics by Yuriko Saito.
From Open Democracy, Tony Curzon Price on the liberty of the networked (and part 2 and part 3). From The Philosophers' Magazine, the village anti-idiot: An English village rediscovering Hobbes, its greatest thinker; James Connelly on Collingwood and the finest philosophical autobiography ever; three senior editors at leading philosophy publishers pick the books the buyers have missed; an interview with Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on why civil society needs saving; a review of Illness by Havi Carel, Sport by Colin McGinn, and Hunger by Raymond Tallis. Julian Baggini on Hume on religion (and part 2). Terrorism experts feared that North Africa would be the next Afghanistan: a haven, and a launching pad, for Al Qaeda — why hasn’t it turned out that way? We share DNA with chimps and other primates, and are tempted to overshare more of ourselves. The Hard Cases: Will Obama institute a new kind of preventive detention for terrorist suspects? Literary death spiral: Dick Meyer on the fading book section. From Popular Mechanics, a special section on UFOs, including a look at the 10 most influential UFO-inspired books, movies and TV shows. How did humans develop? Fossils and molecular genetics are just some of the tools researchers have used to answer questions about the history of the human species. Dani Rodrik on Capitalism 2.0: Coming soon.
A new issue of Education Next is out. From CRB, an essay on the roots of liberal condescension: Snobbery is the last refuge of the liberal-arts major. From New York, why the New School insurrection may be Bob Kerrey's greatest battle. The history behind the film and play "Frost/Nixon": John Dean on how David Frost really convinced Richard Nixon to talk. Thomas Ricks on why the war in Iraq isn't over — the main events may not even have happened yet. The New Yorker profiles Rahm Emmanuel, the gatekeeper. Time profiles Robert Gibbs, the president's warrior. A look at how relentless press-bashing — from both the Left and the Right — just gives politicians more reasons to ignore the media. From The Nation, a review of Writing in the Dark: Essays on Literature and Politics by David Grossman. From Mother Jones, America on $195 a week: How the working poor get by — barely; an interview with Michael Pollan, America's favorite food intellectual; and Kevin Drum on 10 ways to trade up: How Obama can fix the climate, raise billions for clean tech, and send you a fat check. Brad DeLong on building a better life via deficit spending. From Air & Space, an interview with Chesley Sullenberger on That Day, his advice for young pilots, and hitting the ditch button (or not). Sense and Sensibility: A.C. Grayling debuts his new column "The Thinking Read".
From TNR, a review of Sex and Sensuality in the Ancient World by Giulia Sissa. Pet trends that must die: Social networking sites for dogs? Kitty wigs? It's time to stop the madness. From Metapsychology, a review of In Therapy We Trust: America's Obsession with Self-Fulfillment by Eva S. Moskowitz; a review of A Brief History of Anxiety: Yours and Mine by Patricia Pearson; and a review of Radical Grace: How Belief in a Benevolent God Benefits Our Health by J. Harold Ellens. Geoffrey Robertson on how he hid Salman Rushdie during the fatwa. Insurgencies that refuse to die: Five rebellions that somehow keep going years after the governments they antagonize declared victory. A review of The Russell/Bradley Dispute and its Significance for Twentieth-Century Philosophy by Stewart Candlish. From Conversations with History, an interview with John Harte on the current environmental crisis; an interview with Barry Eichengreen on the current economic crisis; and an interview with David M. Kennedy on what is to be learned from the Great Depression. From NPQ, an interview with Paul Samuelson: "Don't expect recovery before 2012; and an article on Barack Obama and "Slumdog Millionaire". From PopMatters, could the lighthearted, seemingly innocuous genre of the romantic comedy actually be as psychologically damaging as onscreen violence and sex?
From The University Bookman, is conservatism dead? A symposium in response to “Conservatism is Dead” by Sam Tanenhaus. Who killed the neocons? Commentary magazine was once one of the conservative movement’s leading voices, but today it’s an ideological bunker. When one extraordinary life story is not enough: Herman Rosenblat survived a Nazi death camp; fifty years on, he told Oprah of the little girl who had thrown food over the fence and kept him alive. Sure, the Twitter guys still have no idea how to make money off their fabulous invention, but for now they are living in a dreamworld of infinite possibilities, maybe the last one on Earth. A look at how your looks betray your personality. Why are creative geniuses always portrayed as insufferable louts? Javier Marias wants to know. An Alienation Artist: A review of books on unraveling the Kafkaesque mystique of Franz Kafka. Where is Kant when we need him?: We seem unable to extend the rules we live by to others. An interview with Maggie Jackson, author of Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age. The banks are imploding, your home is worthless, we’re all going to die! A new crop of Dr. Dooms are making careers out of scaring you. A review of How To Live A Search for Wisdom From Old People (While They Are Still on This Earth) by Henry Alford (and more).
Neil Munro (Aberdeen): Which Way Does Ukraine Face? Popular Orientations Toward Russia and Western Europe. From the Caucasian Review of International Affairs, Robert Nalbandov ( St. Andrews): Battle of Two Logics: Appropriateness and Consequentiality in Russian Interventions in Georgia; Mykola Kapitonenko (Kyiv): Resolving Post-Soviet “Frozen Conflicts”: Is Regional Integration Helpful?; and Vladimer Papava (GFSIS): The End of the Frozen Cold War? Decisions, decisions: What people can learn from how social animals make collective decisions. From Foreign Policy, the axis of upheaval: A special report on the coming age of instability; and the long legs of the crash: Daniel Drezner on 13 unexpected consequences of the financial crisis. A review of Talk Dirty Yiddish by Ilene Schneider. The Carney Consequence: A poor Oscar choice for Best Actor in 1974 set in motion a ripple effect of makeup awards by the Academy that is still being felt today. If the debate over climate change is closed, why is John Coleman, the founder of the Weather Channel, still trying to prove it’s all a scam? From LRB, Perry Anderson reviews books on Italian politics. Known as the "Tome Raider", he also goes by the aliases Mr Santoro or David Fletcher; a notorious gentleman thief in the rarefied world of antiquarian books, he has slipped through the hands of the police, is wanted and at large.
From Americana, Gunter Beck (Haifa): "Mmmm, Individualism!": Thoreau and Thoreauvian Thought in The Simpsons; and a review of The Futures of American Studies. From Policy, art and the Enlightenment: Art for an audience, rather than art for art’s sake, is one characteristic Jonathan Le Cocq finds in the Enlightenment view of the arts; Don Arthur examines whether the American conservative-libertarian fusion is breaking up; and more on Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine. From The Economist, a special report on the new middle classes in emerging markets; “no bourgeoisie, no democracy” — Barrington Moore may have had a point after all. A review of The University Against Itself: The NYU Strike and the Future of the Academic Workplace by Monika Krause, Mary Nolan, Michael Palm and Andrew Ross. MIT's Simon Johnson has emerged as a disinterested critic of US attempts to cope with its ailing banking system. Indulgences return, and heaven moves a step closer for Catholics. McCulture: Americans have developed an admirable fondness for books, food, and music that preprocess other cultures — but for all our enthusiasm, have we lost our taste for the truly foreign? From Esquire, John Richardson on why the Republican Party as we know it must die; and here are funny facts about Canada. Scott McLemee reviews Michel Tardieu’s Manichaeism.
From The Nation, what legacy did Harold Pinter leave behind? Richard Byrne investigates (and more). Follow Emma Bovary and send your lover messages filled with "flowers, verses, the moon and the stars", but what does literature tell us about love? Inside the rise of the warbots: An interview with Peter Singer, author of Wired for War (and a review at Bookforum). An excerpt from The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 by Thomas Ricks (and more and a review). BHL on why foreigners shouldn't expect Obama to be the president of the "decline of the American empire" (and an interview). Why do Americans love peanut butter? Losing our religion: Do more than light a candle for the patron saint of capitalism. Staying in bed is a particularly attractive idea right now — but what kind? Che, the Ronald McDonald of revolution: A look at the cliches of the revolutionary's admirers and detractors. A love letter to good men: Let us reiterate, men don’t suck — in fact, sometimes they’re downright heroic. A review of Photography and Philosophy: Essays on the Pencil of Nature. You've Got Mika: Scarborough and Brzezinski on "Morning Joe" are less Tracy and Hepburn than the Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston for this nutty age. An interview with Tom Perrotta on the evolution of Tracy Flick.
From Open Democracy, the concept of genocide has become a weapon of political polemic, but the violence inflicted on civilians in four conflicts shows how it is also rooted in the logic of modern wars, says Martin Shaw; and in the current crisis the strongest regions economically are being hardest hit; Putin's policy of centralizing government is also being called into question by widespread demonstrations in the Far East. Wagging the "fat tail" of climate catastrophe: How much should we pay to avoid the tiny risk of total destruction? Why the press should declare itself a religion. Yellow Journalism: There's nothing kitschy about the taste of good mustard. Why did Stauffenberg plant the bomb? Whatever his motives for killing Hitler, Stauffenberg was no role model for future generations. The Internet is made of kittens: How the lowly cat, shunned by Hollywood, became an online star; and an ode to loud, stinky, filthy canines and the pathologically needy people who love them. Core Principles: How science can help form a theory of design. Crisis on the color line: After 100 years of "pleading our own cause", is the NAACP equal to the task ahead? A review of Classified: The Secret History of the Personal Column by HG Cocks. It is worth remembering that bipartisan coalitions are not inherently good and that some have pushed Congress in the wrong direction.