From The Hindu, one of the finest prose stylists of our times, Ved Mehta introduced India to Americans though India has not forgiven him for telling the truth as he saw it. A review of I, Carmelita Tropicana: Performance Between Cultures by Alina Tryano. The laziness of magical realism: At its best, magical realism still sees the "non-European" through paradigms created by Europe. At its worst, it becomes internally inconsistent, a symptom of a larger failure to see the structures that make the world unequal and unstable. So many writers come to France to write, and so many of them make la merde out of their careers, but British author Stephen Clarke is the only one I know of who has made a career out of la merde
From Vanity Fair, Murdoch's Private Game: Behind the howls of outrage that greeted Rupert Murdoch's bid for the Wall Street Journal were two assumptions: Murdoch is evil. Murdoch is unstoppable. Yet the man who terrorized a generation of journalists may be the last mogul standing who truly loves print. When Rupert Murdoch offered $5 billion for Dow Jones, owners of the Wall Street Journal, eyebrows went up around the world. Is one of the United States’ top newspapers about to descend to trashy light entertainment? From CJR, The Rupert Watch: How to read the Wall Street Journal now. America is coming to terms with Rupert Murdoch's purchase of one of its great journalistic institutions. Is Rupert good news for the Left? Are Americans bad newspaper editors? J.E. Luebering investigates.
Does the rise of "new media" signal the death of the "old"? No, what we see in the media landscape is not the survival of the fittest but instead a more and more differentiated media structure, where different types of media find their niche or their own special way to function. Wikipedia embodies a democratic medievalism that does not respect claims to personal expertise in the absence of verifiable sources. To fully realise this ideal, participation in Wikipedia might be made compulsory for advanced undergraduates and Master’s degree candidates worldwide. The cold, cold heart of Web 2.0: On the people-powered net, you're just another number. A review of The Internet Imaginaire by Patrice Flichy. The Trial of Fake Steve Jobs: Has Fake Steve Jobs been outed? (and more)
From Global Research, an article on The Morality of Economics: The key issue of the twenty-first century. From Foreign Policy in Focus, All Fall Down: Walden Bello on the Asian financial crisis, neoliberalism and economic miracles. The child of social Darwinism: A review of The Geopolitics Reader. They shall overcome—but perhaps not always: In many places, non-violent protest is the only kind that has any hope of succeeding. But it can still fail. More on The Bottom Billion by Paul Collier. A look at how smartphones are the PCs of the developing world.
From New Statesman, a fatwa for every occasion: The Muslim world has gone fatwa-mad. An article on the false quest for a True Islam. The political values of Iraqis are increasingly secular and nationalistic, according to a series of surveys. Weapons of mass consequence: The huge United States military deal with Arab states and Israel will benefit domestic friends and overseas adversaries. The Iran Attack That Wasn't: A look at how reporters trumped up a story about Iranians killing Americans in Iraq. The Guardian's Sean Smith spent two months embedded with US troops in Baghdad and Anbar province. His documentary exposes the exhaustion and disillusionment of the soldiers.
Lines in the sand: An ever growing beach memorial to America's war dead has come to symbolise the catastrophe of the Iraq war. DC elites want you to shush on Iraq: Be afraid when the same centrist consensus that has a lousy track record on the war lashes out at partisans. Given the minority party we have in Congress and the president we have in the White House, the mere passage of the wage increase was a feat just short of magical. With several important Democratic bills about to pass both houses of Congress, Nancy Pelosi is a happy warrior. Congress Boasts of Pet Projects: A new transparency about “earmarking” money for pet projects has raised the value of the earmarks as a measure of members’ clout. Pumping Public Service: Do we really need an all-out effort to entice young people into federal jobs?
Jack Snyder, Robert Shapiro and Yaeli Bloch-Elkon (Columbia): Free Hand Abroad: Divide and Rule at Home. An interview with Tom Farer, author of Confronting Global Terrorism: The Elements of a Liberal Grand Strategy. An interview with General Anthony Zinni, author of The Battle for Peace: A Frontline Vision of America's Power and Purpose. A review of Tiger Force: A True Story of Men and War by Michael Sallah and Mitch Weiss. The world's caped crusader: Robert Kagan on how the United States is the best hope to help steer nations through dangerous times. Enlightenment values of truth and rationality have been hijacked and wrongly used to justify the “war on terror”, argues Dan Hind. An interview with David Livingstone Smith, author of The Most Dangerous Animal: Human Nature and the Origins of War.
Road kill: Why are we so worried about terrorism when so many more people are dying on our highways? A review of The New Police Science: The Police Power in Domestic and International Governance. A review of Wounds That Do Not Bind: Victim-Based Perspectives on the Death Penalty. A review of Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy: The Presidency, the Supreme Court, and Constitutional Leadership in US History by Keith E. Whittington. Ouster By the People: The nation should be able to remove by an orderly constitutional process any president with an unyielding commitment to failed policies and an inability to renew the country's hope.
From Free Inquiry, a look at why democracy needs naturalism; and did you know secularization has been dead for seven years now? Not so fast. Based on developments on a number of fronts, it seems clear that secularization is anything but dead. It is our religious history that has shaped the three responses to loss of faith: Despair, Optimism, and Rebellion. Harvey Mansfield on atheist tracts: God, they're predictable. Heard ‘Round the Web: Wayward Christian soldiers and a blogging Pope?
From German Law Journal, a review of Law without Nations? Why Constitutional Government Requires Sovereign States and The Case for Sovereignty: Why the World Should Welcome American Independence by Jeremy Rabkin; a review of Transformations of the State?, ed. Stephan Leibfried and Michael Zurn; a review of Harsh Justice: Criminal Punishment and the Widening Divide between America and Europe by James Q. Whitman; and a review of The Dark Side of Virtue: Reassessing International Humanitarianism by David Kennedy. A review of Humanitarian Imperialism: Using Human Rights to Sell War by Jean Bricmont. From Global Law Books, a review of Human Rights and Development: Towards Mutual Reinforcement; and a review of Reclaiming Development in the World Trading System by Lee Yong-Shik.
From TNR, a review of Jesus in the Talmud by Peter Schafer. A review of Rhetoric and Reality in Early Christianities. Studies in Christianity and Judaism. A review of Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy. Volume XXXI. An interview with T.M. Scanlon, author of What We Owe to Each Other and The Difficulty of Tolerance: Essays in Political Philosophy. An interview with Nobel Prize laureate Daniel Kahneman on intuition and rationality. An interview with Tyler Cowen, author of Discover Your Inner Economist. The Uncanniness of the Ordinary: Stanley Cavell on how disenchantment is the cure.
From New Scientist, an article on free will: Is our understanding wrong? Physicist Gerard 't Hooft thinks it is. An article on neuroscience and genetics: Lest we forget or lest we remember? Blatant benevolence and conspicuous consumption: Charity is just as "selfish" as self-indulgence. From Scientific American, is greed good? Economists are finding that social concerns often trump selfishness in financial decision making, a view that helps to explain why tens of millions of people send money to strangers they find on the Internet; and The New Psychology of Leadership: Recent research in psychology points to secrets of effective leadership that radically challenge conventional wisdom.