From Mute, Synaesthesia and Reductionism at the Venice Biennale: In 2007 Art has never been so big and apparently neither have the wallets of those stalking it. The Christian artist in the world: Being a Christian artist does not mean that the artist works only in the realm of religious subject matter. Immured in History: A look at how Prague is a city of walls. The Prefab Fad: Prefabrication is everywhere in American home-building. But that doesn't mean your next house is going to be a stylish, Modernist box. The introduction to Bipolar Expeditions: Mania and Depression in American Culture by Emily Martin.
From TLS, a review of L'Origine Du Monde: Histoire d’un tableau de Gustave Courbet by Thierry Savatier. Getting the Proust habit: Chris Power used to be sceptical of the prolix proto-modernist's reputation for addictiveness. Now he's gagging for his next fix. From Sign and Sight, when crime fiction is a crime: Amir Valle's journey from success to exile — a Cuban destiny. A review of Poison Woman: Figuring Female Transgression in Modern Japanese Culture by Christine L. Marran. From 3:AM, The Dirty Avant-Garde: An excerpt from Hijikata: Revolt of the Body, a biography of the founder of the Japanese Ankoku Butoh performance art, by Stephen Barber; and what to make of the apparent disparity between the image of a vibrant “cool Japan”—and a domestic youth culture that is shrinking in size, hope and ambition?
From New York, J.K. Rowling knew what her franchise needed—but she didn’t have the courage to do it. A review of Eats, Shoots & Leaves and The Girl's Like Spaghetti by Lynne Truss. Legendary teacher, Thatcher adviser, hero of fiction, exiled maverick, Norman Stone is a great maker of enemies. From LRB, why we have them I can’t think: A review The Mrs Woolf and the Servants: The Hidden Heart of Domestic Service by Alison Light. A review of Victorian Women Writers and the Classics: The Feminine of Homer by Isobel Hurst. A review of The Origins of Beowulf: From Vergil to Wiglaf by Richard North. A review of Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours by Noga Arikha.
From Foreign Policy, Gold, Silver, and Brazen: The Olympic Games are inherently political—and it’s time we admit it; and a look at the World’s Most Valuable Disputed Turf: A look at real estate that, at least for some countries, just might be worth fighting for. Finders keepers in the Arctic? The Doctrine of Discovery is still alive in the modern world. The Pirate Hunters: Though buccaneering is back with a vengeance, stepped-up law enforcement and high-tech tools are helping protect shipping on the high seas. From Open Democracy, the ties that bind: The fervour of missionaries from the world's great universalist faiths - and of their secular partners in belief - has shaped globalisation; and on the algebra of revolution: Why do some "colour revolutions" succeed and others fail? A mathematical model provides the basis of an answer.
From Mute, as money expands, society contracts. In the UK the unholy trinity of Private Finance Initiatives, Private Equity and Pensions embodies this logic, turning jobs, services and infrastructure into factories for finance capital. Rob Ray explains how the 3 P's interact to pile up corporate fortunes and devolve risk on to the rest of us. A review of Nationality: Wog: The Hounding of David Oluwale by Kester Aspden. From Prospect, London's new sex "theme park" aims to find a middle ground between pornography and sex education. Does it succeed? Religion is still in the picture in Northern Ireland. But for the first time in history, it no longer frames the argument.
From The Village Voice, Rudy Giuliani's Five Big Lies About 9/11: On the stump, Rudy can't help spreading smoke and ashes about his lousy record. From LRB, a review of A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Hillary Clinton: Her Way: The Biography. How strong is the Democratic presidential field? Not as strong as you think. A devil's advocate probes for weaknesses among the front-runners. The Long View: Before Democrats get excited about taking back the White House in 2008, they'd do well to remember that history is shaped by long-term trends, not short-term revolutions. Don’t Go There: Here are the top 20 taboo topics for presidential candidates. Getting Pssssst-y in Iowa: Whispering campaigns reveals the power of soft sweet slander.
Diplomacy 101: A review of Statecraft: And How to Restore America’s Standing in the World by Dennis Ross. Glenn Greenwald on Samantha Power and the foreign policy community. A review of Making War to Keep Peace by Jeane J Kirkpatrick. A review of Henry Kissinger and the American Century by Jeremi Suri. An interview with Rowan Scarborough, author of Sabotage: America's Enemies Within the CIA. A review of Seizing Destiny: How America Grew From Sea to Shining Sea by Richard Kluger (and more). A review of The Most Noble Adventure: The Marshall Plan and the Time When America Helped Save Europe by Greg Behrman. A review of 15 Stars: Eisenhower, MacArthur, Marshall: Three Generals Who Saved the American Century by Stanley Weintraub and Partners in Command: George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower in War and Peace by Mark Perry. A review of Ike: An American Hero by Michael Korda.
Leon Wieseltier on Our Tacky New Gilded Age: The immorality of the elite .01 percent. The American Dream De-Mythologized: Is the American Dream increasingly belied by societal realities? Who is asking the most pointed questions about the health of American democracy? It’s Not Always Morning in America: We could do with a little more gloominess in American politics. History suggests we aren’t likely to get it. Is the Left unprincipled? The Left is regularly lampooned for its apparent contradictions, but if it can rise to this challenge, then it might be just what was needed. Voting with their hearts: An excerpt from The Political Brain by Drew Westen.
If it's from Europe, forget it: Conservative dismissals of Democratic healthcare plans as "socialist" explains a lot about the hole America is presently in. The Failure of Antigovernment Conservatism: Issues like children's health insurance and maintaining our infrastructure offer progressives the opportunity to finally say, without fear of disastrous political consequences, that sometimes government is not the problem, it's the solution. Dispatches from the Konservetkult: Today's members of the right-wing culture patrol see ideological subtext everywhere they look. The Battle Hymn of The New Republic: Right wing pounces on Beltway bible’s Baghdad diarist; but who’s telling the truth about Iraq? What to make of the New Republic's Baghdad Diarist? Phillip Carter investigates.
From Kritika & Kontext, a special issue on Richard Rorty, including Richard Rorty on democracy and philosophy; "We anti-foundationalists": A response by Béla Egyed; and a rejoinder by Rorty; Richard Rorty can be placed alongside Hume, Montaigne, and Wittgenstein in a tradition of dissident philosophy: All wanted to put an end to the traditional philosophical discussion, but have become, in one way or another, part of the occidental philosophical establishment; and in a fundamentally non-philosophical age, Richard Rorty offered a fast and easy solution to a fundamental philosophical question: His critique of universalism constituted a liberation but left no alternative to moral ethnocentrism
From Edge, Freeman Dyson on Heretical Thoughts About Science and Society. Is the mind physical? Can we explain all human conscious experience in terms of physical events? An interview with David Papineau. From The Global Spiral, Eugen Zelenak (CUR): A Problem for the Kantian-style Critique of the Traditional Metaphysics; Stephen G. Post (Case Western): It’s Good to be Good: How Benevolent Emotions and Actions Contribute to Health; John D. Caputo (Villanova): Richard Rorty (1931-2007): In Memoriam; a review of God and Contemporary Science by Philip Clayton; and a review of Genes, Genesis and God: Values and Their Origins in Nature and Human History by Holmes Rolston.
Life From the Oldest Ice? Team claims to have resurrected microbes from 8-million-year-old Antarctic samples. New research suggests that ancient marine arthropods called trilobites exhibited more within-species morphological variation early in their history than later on. From Skeptic, Frans de Waal responds to a recent New Yorker article on bonobos. Language of the Apes: A review of The First Word by Christine Kenneally. New fossils illustrate "Bushiness" of human evolution: Fossils support the separate evolution of Homo habilis and Homo erectus, point to a gorillalike social structure for the latter. Is the Out of Africa theory out? An examination of over 5,000 teeth from early human ancestors shows that many of the first Europeans probably came from Asia.