From Forbes, a look at the top pundits in America. From The Washington Monthly, why is Bob Herbert boring? An article on the perils of punditry for the powerless. From Columbia Journalism Review, an article on the identity trap: Does the personal make reporting predictable?; and Linda Perlstein on why she left a newspaper to write books. Out of the dark corner: Can journalists be trusted to serve as overseers of sensitive government operations? Got a camera? You, too, can be a network reporter. The skyline is falling: Newspaper or viewspaper? Advertising or editorial? The blurring of categories. Newspapers are now stuffed full of blogs, but no clue where to put them. A look at how blogs are moving to the mainstream just as traditional news companies are making a determined effort to become more “new media”. If advertising is the economic foundation of the web, and no one need ever watch again an ad that they don't want to, what will happen?
Dorothea Faith Kehler (SDSU): Shakespeare’s Widows of a Certain Age: Celibacy and Economics. What a piece of work: Early efforts to market the Bard were hardly classic. "Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more": Cue the sighs – the Shakespeare wars are on again. Books in blog form: Have you checked out Charles Dickens's MySpace page yet? ”Creativity” is a word much prostituted. “Criticism” is a word much maligned. Put the two together and what have you got? Literary Death Match exudes attitude. But beer in the face? That's so slapstick. What ails the short story: Why do so many short stories feel show-offy, written for editors and teachers rather than for readers? Carlin Romano on why publishing book reviews makes sense. Who bans books? The government? Mean librarians? School boards overflowing with angry parents?
From Reset, a special issue on the dilemma of the liberal state, including Charles Taylor on political values and the notions of good; Bruce Ackerman on homogeneity and oppression; Klaus Eder on state, church, and democratic self-government; and Alessandro Ferrara falling back into the arms of Hegel. The introduction to The Liberal Mind 1914-29. The introduction to Beyond Camelot: Rethinking Politics and Law for the Modern State by Edward L. Rubin. From The Observer, leading thinkers, politicians and activists answer questions on “Why democracy?” (and more and more from Comment if free). From Ovi, an essay on democracy as the common sense of the people (and part 2). The introduction to Democratizing the Hegemonic State: Political Transformation in the Age of Identity by Ilan Peleg. The introduction to The Rise of the Unelected: Democracy and the New Separation of Powers by Frank Vibert.
Carolyn Marie Cusick (Vanderbilt): Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks on Race Consciousness. From Unbound, Samuel R. Sommers (Tufts): On Race, Judgment, and Ideology. From Logos, what's at stake? An essay on re-defining African-American. Through a Lens, Darkly: In 1957, a single photograph captured the passions of the civil-rights movement. The story behind this image is a remarkable journey through the last 50 years of American race relations. A review of First Class Citizenship: The Civil Rights Letters of Jackie Robinson. Orlando Patterson on Jena, O. J. and the jailing of Black America: Even after removing racial bias in our judicial and prison system, disproportionate numbers of young black men will continue to be incarcerated. The man who didn’t shoot Malcolm X: He spent twenty-two years in prison for an infamous murder he didn’t commit. But Khalil Islam, confined, traveled inward.
From Prospect, 50 writers and intellectuals on the debate about British values (and part 2). The introduction to Labour's First Century. A review of The triumph of the political class by Peter Oborne and Blair's Britain: 1997-2007. Only a few monks and nuns remain in Britain, where the fall in recruitment has been dramatic. Much of monastic work has been made redundant by the welfare state, and social forces that once fed religious life have dried up. A review of Thames: Sacred River by Peter Ackroyd. A review of A Little History of the English Country Church by Roy Strong. What do Sean Connery, Ewan McGregor and Billy Connolly have in common? They're all less famous for being Scottish than Groundskeeper Willie. A review of Scotland: The Autobiography (and more).
From Ars Disputandi, a review of Thought and Reality by Michael Dummett; a review of The Problem of Evil by Peter van Inwagen; a review of God and the Nature of Time by Garrett J. DeWeese; a review of Letters to Doubting Thomas: A Case for the Existence of God by C. Stephen Layman; and a review of Is Faith Rational? A Hermeneutical - Phenomenological Accounting of Faith by Wessel Stoker. A review of The Law of God: The Philosophical History of an Idea by Remi Brague. More on The Stillborn God by Mark Lilla. A review of Darwin's Angel: An Angelic Riposte to The God Delusion. A review of In God We Doubt: Confessions of a Failed Atheist by John Humphrys (and more and more). A Kick Up the ’Arris: A review of The End of Faith by Sam Harris. Here’s a look at the 5 most kick-ass apocalyptic prophecies. From Free Inquiry, which century is this? Christopher Hitchens wants to know; and an essay on humanism and politics: Unbelief and the vote.
From Democracy, since 1993, balanced budgets have been liberals' holy grail. With bridges failing and roads crumbling, it's time to reconsider; and Gene Sperling on rising-tide economics: In the twenty-first century, growth and equality must go hand in hand. The lesson of the DMV: Slashing government services in the name of "taxpayer protection" does not result in lubricating a state's economic engine — it ends up throwing sand in the gears. The introduction to Outsourcing Sovereignty: Why Privatization of Government Functions Threatens Democracy and What We Can Do About It by Paul R. Verkuil. What has Bush done to the government? Dan Froomkin investigates. From The Remnant, an article on the Nazi tactics of social services. An interview with David Harsanyi, author of Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and Other Boneheaded Bureaucrats Are Turning America Into a Nation of Children (and more). Lazy-Ass Nation: Jim Windolf marvels at the country's can-do-but-why-bother ethic. Is a citizen-based social contract too much for American citizens to handle? Michael Lind wants to know.
Nicholas L. Baham III (CSU- East Bay): Radio Free Coltrane: Free Jazz Radio as Revolutionary Practice. A review of Coltrane: The Story of a Sound by Ben Ratliff. A review of The House That George Built: With a Little Help from Irving, Cole, and a Crew of About Fifty by Wilfrid Sheed. A review of Frank Sinatra: the Man, the Music, the Legend by Jeanne Fuchs and Ruth Prigozy and Sinatra: Frank and Friendly by Terry O’Neill and Robin Morgan. A review of American Band: Music, Dreams and Coming of Age in the Heartland by Kristen Laine. A review of He's a Rebel: Phil Spector: Rock and Roll's Legendary Producer by Mark Ribowsky. An interview with Herbie Hancock on math, music and mastering the tech toolbox. No Free Samples: Who’s making big bucks off of Kanye West’s and 50 Cent’s new albums? Think Steely Dan.
From The New York Times Magazine, a special issue on college; and has the modern university become just another corporation? Has adult obsession with college sex reached such a pitch that a parent assumes that every cordial conversation will, without his or her intervention, end in frantic intercourse? The right to romance: Why universities shouldn't prohibit relations between teachers and students. The New Me Generation: The crop of talented recent graduates coming into today's workforce is widely seen as narcissistic and entitled. And those are their best qualities. Prophets of Admission: The college try may not get you into college. The new college try: Selective colleges serve less as vehicles of upward mobility than as transmitters of privilege from generation to generation. Who are these mediocre white students getting into institutions such as Harvard, Wellesley, Notre Dame, Duke, and the University of Virginia?
From the Journal of Philosophy, Science & Law, Randall P. Bezanson and Steven C. Moeller debate The Foundations of Federalism. The introduction to The Architecture of Government: Rethinking Political Decentralization by Daniel Treisman. The introduction to Purposive Interpretation in Law by Aharon Barak. A review of Not a Suicide Pact: The Constitution in a Time of National Emergency by Richard A. Posner. A review of My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir by Clarence Thomas (and more). The smear this time: Why is Clarence Thomas bringing up the same old lies? Anita Hill wonders. More and more and more and more on The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin.