From TLS, a review of Diary of a Bad Year and Inner Workings: Essays 2000–2005 by J. M. Coetzee; and fifty years after the publication of Ian Watt's seminal work, The Rise of the Novel, a look back to a review of this "penetrating study of the intellectual and social conditions which produced a new literary form". The novel that On the Road became was inarguably the book that young people needed in 1957, but the sparse and unassuming scroll is the living version for our time, and a review of Why Kerouac Matters (The Lessons of On the Road (They’re Not What You Think) by John Leland (and more and more). A revisit to Jack Kerouac's On the Road on its 50th anniversary reveals a man more suited to the role of a romantic than the epitome of cool.
From Smithsonian, Pride of the Realm: An extraordinary collection of pictures has traveled from the United Kingdom's national portrait gallery to ours. Americans in Prague: A second wave of expatriates is now playing a vital role in the renaissance of the Czech capital. From Der Spiegel, the House of World Cultures, a gift from the US government to Berlin, is turning 50. Newly renovated, it is celebrating its re-opening and the anniversary with a major exhibition dedicated to New York — even though trans-Atlantic relations are not what they were in 1957. From Flak, an article on The Venice Biennale and Documenta (and part 2).
Dr. One-Who-Hopes: An article on Ludovic Zahmenhof, the opthamologist who invented Esperanto. Somewhere in heaven, where the lingua franca is surely Esperanto, Zamenhof must be kvelling over his youngest children, posed like the Boulogne and Dresden and Warsaw delegates before them for the official Congress portrait. Shakespeare Would Like Leet, Scholar Says: $H4Ke5P3@Re W0ulD L1k3 L33t, $cH0L4r $@y5. Some Very Old English: Words don't stand still; they shift and change. But the process is puzzling. To give one example: How did "plausible," which once meant "worthy of applause," become synonymous with "credible"? German even the Germans don't like: Think rules to simplify a complicated language would be well received? Think again.
From Asia Times, the assault on the United States' supremacy has been as striking as it has been unexpected — from the breaking of the Anglo-American 24-hour news monopoly globally to the rise of the Russian energy superpower and of the Chinese economic juggernaut. New powers are challenging different aspects of US dominance. Re-ordering the world order: The expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation means that, despite America's strong disapproval, a multi-polar global order is emerging. Seizing American supremacy: Throughout history, rising powers have overtaken superpowers. The United States will not prove an exception.
William G. Howell and Jon C. Pevehouse (Chicago): When Congress Stops Wars: Politics doesn't stop at the water's edge, and never has. From American Diplomacy, Towards a New Strategic Imperative: From Fighting the Long War to Fighting to Win. Anatol Lieven on how Humanitarian Action Can Mask an Imperial Agenda: What we now call human rights advocacy can also be used to feed agendas of hatred, arrogance and aggression. Eric Rauchway on America's hypocritical impulse to spread freedom and democracy. Yes, George Bush does recall a British wartime prime minister: However much the president may mould himself on Churchill, he has far more in common with the great appeaser, Chamberlain.
From The Globalist, an article on U.S. foreign policy and the Arab world: Why is it in the United States' interest to fundamentally re-evaluate its engagement with the Arab world? How have U.S. missteps in the Arab world augmented anti-Americanism? Will the United States learn from its mistakes in the Arab world? Don't know much about history: Why is George Bush suddenly making parallels between Iraq and Vietnam? Because he's preparing to shift the blame for another disaster. The misleading Vietnam analogy: Bush needs to look no further for killing fields and refugees than modern-day Iraq, even without a withdrawal. How will the media respond to the “Vietnamization” of rhetoric on Iraq? At least three major papers quickly sought out critics who have tried to debunk it.
An interview with Matthew Rothschild, author of You Have No Rights: Stories of America in an Age of Repression. A review of Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption by Whitfield Diffie and Susan Landau. The Warrantless Debate Over Wiretapping: Philip Bobbitt on how there are many instances in which warrantless surveillance has been held to be permissible under the Fourth Amendment. Take Al Qaeda to Court: The United States does not need a new and untested detention system for terrorists. Amitai Etzioni on why terrorists are neither criminals nor soldiers. A review of The Al Qaeda Reader, ed. Raymond Ibrahim.
Wake up to reality — and sense: Four excerpts from Andrew Anthony's The Fallout: How a Guilty Liberal Lost His Innocence; Anthony is in a fury, but it is a neocon myth that the left has compromised its principles in its opposition to the war on terror; where we went wrong: Andrew Anthony is right: liberals have indeed failed. Just not in the way he thinks; guilt-ridden liberals need to start standing up for their ideals and values rather than falling out among themselves; but it's not worth the risk of intervening in the wretched response to Andrew Anthony's bookl and chill, Andrew: September 11 changed the world but only as much as you already wanted it to be changed.
A review of The Death of the Grown-up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization by Diana West. Political theory was uppermost at a recent AEI conference — it is, after all, a public-policy think tank. The question before the house: "Darwinism and Conservatism: Friends or Foes?" An article on the paranoid style of movement conservatism. The man who has them nailed: Al Gore understands what a radical nihilist George W. Bush is. There Is No Political Center, There Are No Centrists: "Centrism" is the creation of an inaccurate self-serving metaphor which marginalizes the progressive cause, and it is time to bury it. Are today's progressives yesterday's liberals? Peter Beinart and Jonah Goldberg debate.
From Sign and Sight, the time for philosophising is over": Philosopher Ernst Tugendhat on Heidegger, his students' trauma and the rest. A review of The Tasks of Philosophy: Selected Essays, Volume 1 and Ethics and Politics: Selected Essays, Volume 2 by Alasdair MacIntyre. A review of Knowledge and Inquiry: Essays on the Pragmatism of Isaac Levi. A review of IQ and the Wealth of Nations by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen. Enjoyable nonsense? Historical determinist theories provide a wonderful narrative, but are they any more than entertaining holiday reading?
The Enthusiast: Harvard biologist David Sinclair claims he can extend life span and treat diseases of aging. A review of The Evolving Brain: The Known and the Unknown by R. Grant Steen. A review of The Primacy of the Subjective: Foundations for a Unified Theory of Mind and Language by Nicholas Georgalis. He may be right. On the mystery of human consciousness: Philosophers and natural scientists regularly dismiss consciousness as irrelevant. However, even its critics agree that consciousness is less a problem than a mystery. One way into the mystery is through an understanding of autism. Research finds the area responsible for self-control in the human brain. A review of Philosophical Counselling and the Unconscious.
From Orion, Unplugged Schools: Education can ameliorate, or exacerbate, society's ills. Which will it be? A review of A Class Apart: Prodigies, Pressure, and Passion Inside One of America's Best High Schools by Alec Klein. When loving parents choose segregation: Schools and well-intentioned administrators can try to integrate all they want, but such efforts aren’t just being undermined by the courts. The real obstacle is much closer to home. A review of Sugarcane Academy: How a New Orleans Teacher and His Storm-Struck Students Created a School To Remember by Michael Tisserand. Notes on a scandal: Restless Virgins: Love, Sex, and Survival at a New England Prep School, a book on Milton Academy, offers shocking insight into teens and sex.