From The Politic, an interview with Paul Kennedy on threats to the West. The Unbound West: Today, thunderous matters of cosmic import: why has the West dominated scientific and technological advance practically forever? A review of The Threat to Reason: How the Enlightenment Was Hijacked and How We Can Reclaim It by By Dan Hind. A review of Toward The Light: The Story of the Struggles for Liberty and Rights That Made the Modern West by AC Grayling. From Taki’s Top Drawer, an article on a new humanism in Europe. Revisiting the Danish cartoon crisis: An interview with newspaper editor Flemming Rose. Islam and Europe: The Netherlands is at the centre of European argument about secularism, multiculturalism and Islam. A review of The Last Days of Europe: Epitaph for an Old Continent by Walter Laqueur. We find it hard to come to terms with the suicide of an acquaintance; how do we come to terms with the suicide of a nation?
From Dissent, Robin Blackburn on how to tax the rich—and live happily ever after. We can't rely on the kindness of billionaires: Don't let a few generous donors take the government off the hook. Is Harvard a charity? Most donations go to institutions that serve the rich; they shouldn't be fully tax-deductible. A review of Servants of Wealth: The Right's Assault on Economic Justice by John Ehrenberg. Separate is never equal: Economic forces alone can explain why social segregation leads to inequalities in wealth and achievement. Low-paid, liberal, nonprofit Yuppies unite! A review of The Trap: Selling Out to Stay Afloat in Winner-Take-All America by Daniel Brook. The awkward truth is that most of us are two minds: As consumers and investors we want the great deals. As citizens we don't like many of the social consequences that flow from them. More on Supercapitalism by Robert B. Reich.
From Philament, Phoebe Poon (Sydney): Morality and Legality in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Trilogy. A review of Bogie: A Celebration of the Life and Films of Humphrey Bogart by Richard Schickel. From Atlantis, Leighton Grist (Winchester): Masculinity, Violence, Resistance: A New Psychoanalytic Reading of Raging Bull; Isabel Santaularia (Lleida): "The Great Good Place" No More? Integrating and Dismantling Oppositional Discourse in Some Recent Examples of Serial Killer Fiction; and Celestino Deleyto (Zaragoza): 1999, A Closet Odyssey: Sexual Discourses in Eyes Wide Shut. From Fast Capitalism, Irmi Karl (Brighton): Class Observations: Intimate Technologies and the Poetics of Reality TV. From Applied Semiotics, Turkay Bulut and Aysun Yurdaisk (Cag): Visual Semiotics and Interpretation in the Television Commercial; and Paul Privateer (ASU): Circuits, Simulations and Viruses: A Case Study of Media Brandscapes.
From What Next, the prophet misarmed: An essay on Trotsky, ecology and sustainability; and a review of Marx’s Das Kapital by Francis Wheen and Ramparts of Resistance: Why Workers Lost Their Power and How to Get It Back by Sheila Cohen.áStill seeing Red: Passions continue to flare over U.S. communists and their loyalty to Stalin, even though most of the players are dead. An interview with Greg Grandin, author of Empire’s Workshop, on Che Guevara’s legacy. From Logos, an ex-Maoist looks at an ex-Trotskyite: On Irving Howe's Leon Trotsky; and an Arab view of the neocons and the oil lobby. More on The Israel Lobby. From Commentary, Joshua Muravchik on the past, present, and future of neoconservatism. Jonah Goldberg on the unspeakable American culture: Journalism's elite don't dare speak of the patriotism that holds this country together. David Neiwert on the Right’s base behavior. What passes for “conservatism” these days is a theater of scapegoating that fuels not just the anti-immigrant right but also the anti-gay, anti-black, anti-Muslim, anti-liberal rhetoric.
Gila Stopler (Ramat Gan): Gender Construction and the Limits of Liberal Equality. From Gender & Language, a review of Gender and the Language of Religion. A review of Women on the Civil War Battlefield by Richard Hall and They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the American Civil War by DeAnne Blanton and Lauren M. Cook. The Women's History Boom: Transforming a profession from the inside. A review of Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (and more and more and more). Buying into oppression: If women continue to read magazines that promote misogyny what hope have we of challenging the lads' mags? Fembots have long been known for promoting retrograde sexist ideals: Will the ad and entertainment industries' latest round of robotic women be any different? Are feminists and prudes rebelling against slut chic? An interview with Jessica Valenti, author of Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters.
From Slate, why don't they like us as much as they used to? The United States has lost its aura of competence. That's a problem. Roger Cohen on the politics of confidence: The unpopularity of George W. Bush has led many to believe global America-hating will ebb once he leaves office. That's a dangerous assumption. An interview with Joschka Fischer: “An anti-American axis? That's nonsense”. From The Chronicle, repressive regimes know that dialogue, criticism, and analysis are their enemies, which is why studying such regimes will always be risky business. Just ask Haleh Esfandiari. A review of Reading Legitimation Crisis in Iran by Danny Postel. Did you really say “war” with Iran? Andre Glucksman wants to know. From Der Spiegel, an interview with Sy Hersh: “The President has accepted ethnic cleansing”. The White House and Baghdad officials are quietly opening the door for U.S. forces to stay in Iraq for a decade — or more. Immanuel Wallerstein on Iraq and the US elections. Eric Alterman on the coming “Stab in the Back” campaign.
From Christianity Today, an evangelical critique of An Evangelical Declaration Against Torture. Go and plant churches of all peoples: Crusades and personal witnessing are no longer the cutting edge of evangelism. Trivial, obsessed by celebrity, damaging to children and marked by a moral vacuum. That's how the Archbishop of Canterbury sees modern society as he takes steps into the political forum. An essay on the Pope and the ethics of exclusion. From The American Prospect, a review of The Stillborn God: Religion Politics, and the Modern West by Mark Lilla and A Secular Age by Charles Taylor. A review of God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens. From Dissent, an interview with Mitchell Cohen on the new atheism. From Forward, an article on the new atheism: What’s a liberal, spiritual Jew to do? Faith or fact? The symbolism of religion conveyed by journalism.
An excerpt from Madame Proust: A Biography by Evelyne Bloch-Dano (and more). The father of all memoirs: A look at what Edmund Gosse could teach today's memoirists. Janet Malcolm's search for the real Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas exposes some hard truths about the duo and biography itself. From The Atlantic Monthly, Christopher Hitchens reviews Literary Essays and Reviews of the 1920s & 30s by Edmund Wilson. The first chapter from Camus at Combat: Writing 1944-1947. From Logos, court jesters in Absurdistan: A review of Rebel With a Cause: Liberal Satire in Post War America by Stephen Kercher. What, MAD Worry? Examining culture for over 50 years, the humor magazine still has no shortage of good material. A triumph of banality: In an age where everyone can be a critic, we risk losing a vital aspect of our cultural life. A review of The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates: 1973-1982. A review of Other Colors: Essays and a Story by Orhan Pamuk.
From Dissent, is there still a South? And does it matter? A review of The End of Southern Exceptionalism: Class, Race, and Partisan Change in the Postwar South by Byron E. Shafer and Richard Johnston; Divided America: The Ferocious Power Struggle in American Politics by Earl Black and Merle Black; Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South by Thomas F. Schaller; The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South by Matthew D. Lassiter; and White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism by Kevin Kruse. Whatever combination of factors is responsible, the remarkable death of Dixie America will have powerful implications for years. An unholy alliance: Across the Deep South, religion, culture and politics collide to make “abortion” a dirty word. Adventures up South: A review of Long Time Leaving: Dispatches From Up South by Roy Blount and Dream Not of Other Worlds: Teaching in a Segregated Elementary School, 1970 by Huston Diehl.
From Foreign Affairs, Michael Green (Georgetown) and Derek Mitchell (CSIS): Asia's Forgotten Crisis A New Approach to Burma. Revolutionary youth movements from Serbia to Ukraine: A review of The Time of the Rebels by Matthew Collin. Mandela’s legacy: A global voice that remains silent at home. On world stage, a best supporting actor: Canada is a “middle power”—but what, exactly, does that mean? A review of The Elephant, the Tiger, and the Cell Phone: Reflections on India: The Emerging 21st-Century Power by Shashi Tharoor. Undaunted: First Rory Stewart walked the breadth of Afghanistan. Then he took up a real challenge: restoring traditional architecture in Kabul; and an excerpt from The Places in Between. From Varlik, the production of intelligibility: An interview with Mahmut Mutman on how the cultural polarization between east and west makes intelligible the chaos wrought by capitalism. The Rambo Granny of Melbourne: Gun-toting granny Ava Estelle was so ticked off when two thugs raped her 18-year-old granddaughter that she tracked the unsuspecting ex-cons down ... and shot off their testicles.