It remains unclear whether Freud was a genius, a comprehensive absurdity or something in between: A review of The Death of Sigmund Freud: The Legacy of His Last Days by Mark Edmundson. From The Believer, Hobson’s Choice: Psychoanalysis turns all psychiatrists into literature critics; what does it do to neuroscientists studying the brain during dreams? The Autumn of the Multitaskers: Neuroscience is confirming what we all suspect: Multitasking is dumbing us down and driving us crazy. One man’s odyssey through the nightmare of infinite connectivity. A review of Psychiatry in the Scientific Image by Dominic Murphy. From TLS, the births of the asylum and of psychiatry were intimately linked, and the buildings themselves a central part of the effort to treat madness: A review of The Architecture of Madness: Insane asylums in the United States by Carla Yanni. From Wired, an interview with Oliver Sacks on earworms, Stevie Wonder and the view from Mescaline Mountain; and from The New Yorker, Oliver Sacks on the most extreme amnesia.
Kenneth J. Schweiker (Rutgers): Military Chaplains: Federally Funded Fanaticism and the United States Air Force Academy. The next war is always looming. But has our military learned the right lessons from this one to fight it and win? A review of Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts: The American Military in the Air, at Sea, and on the Ground by Robert D. Kaplan. From Salon, Peter W. Singer on the dark truth about Blackwater: Outsourcing the war to private military contractors such as Blackwater has shattered the United States' moral authority and its ability to win the nation's wars — including Iraq (and more). From The Village Voice, an article on the truth behind Troopergate: A capital melodrama starring Eliot Spitzer, Joe Bruno and Andrew Cuomo. From In These Times, Lindsay Beyerstein on America’s deadly dependence on private security contractors in Iraq.
From The American Scholar, Unto Caesar: Religious groups that have allied themselves with politicians, and vice versa, have ignored at their peril the lessons of Roger Williams and U.S. history. A review of Head and Heart: American Christianities by Garry Wills (and more). From Zenit, an article on the influence of religion on American politics. A review of The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy (and more). A review of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back by Frank Schaeffer (and more). A review of Judgment and Grace in Dixie: Southern Faiths from Faulkner to Elvis by Charles Reagan Wilson. A review of People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture by Terryl L. Givens. A review of Plain Secrets: An Outsider Among the Amish by Joe Mackall. An excerpt from Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy by Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt, and David L. Weaver-Zercher.
From Foreign Policy, an article on Latin America’s hidden war in Iraq: Military contractors from Latin America are playing a far greater role in Iraq than most people realize, and the implications will be felt from Baghdad to Bogota. In an attempt to draw out any further progress in the United States-sponsored FTAA, Venezuela has adamantly pushed for a more integrated and dependable trade and financial system for Latin America. Galbraithiano: As Venezuela and the rest of Latin America repair the damage of two decades of free-market orthodoxy, John Kenneth Galbraith is a major inspiration. An article on the struggle for Bolivia's future. Michelle Bachelet swept to power on a platform of social justice and gender equality. But after 18 months, is Chile’s first female president already a lame duck? Even gangsters need their mamas: Nicaraguan authorities have achieved success in combating gang violence. Instead of heavy-handed policing, they're relying on guerrilla street cred and mothers' love.
From InterActions, Robert Rhoads (UCLA): The New Militarism, Global Terrorism, and the American University: Making Sense of the Assault on Democracy “Here, There, Somewhere”. Here are five reasons politicians hate academics: Between the worlds of politics and higher education lies a lot of misunderstanding. From Logos, an article on the academic boycott of Israel — Objections and defense. Eric Rauchway on Bush's plan to mess up state universities. The Bush Administration's Civil Rights Commission would like us to believe that affirmative action harms black students by placing them in situations where they can't keep up. Conservative liberal arts: Hanna Rosin’s God’s Harvard describes life at Patrick Henry College. Catholic Character: After years of planning, a new generation of ideological colleges takes shape, in purposeful counterpoint to traditional institutions they see as having lost the way. Exploring ways to shorten the ascent to a PhD: The doctoral dissertation can loom on the horizon like Everest, gleaming invitingly as a challenge but often turning into a masochistic exercise once the ascent is begun. Anyone looking for an information obfuscator, lunchtime banterer, or Marxist turncoat? It’s high time for humanists to market their underappreciated skills to the private sector.
From Alternet, here are four myths governments and media use to scare us about “dictators”. Roger Cohen on “neocon” as the new L-word: Neocon has morphed into an all-purpose insult for anyone who still believes that American power is inextricable from global stability. The democracy world tour: Travelling the world, looking for films and funding for a ten-part BBC series, Nick Fraser finds that dreams of a democratic world are as strong as ever. A review of Democratic Capitalism and Its Discontents by Brian C. Anderson. Research suggests imposed democracies that fail seem to undermine subsequent attempts at democracy. From Logos, an essay on retribution against heads of state and prime ministers; and a review of Body of Secrets: How America's NSA and Britain’s GCHQ Eavesdrop on the World by James Bamford.
For Banned Books week, Time looks at 10 books considered too sexy, liberal or anti-religious by school systems across the U.S. Howl in an era that fears indecency: A station feared that by broadcasting “Howl” it could run afoul of the Federal Communications Commission’s interpretation of indecency and incur bankrupting fines (and more). Libel without borders: Any book bought online in England can ostensibly be subject to English libel law. As a result, publishers and booksellers are increasingly concerned about “libel tourism”. Bookmobiles' final chapter? A few libraries, drivers refuse to give up on relic of days gone by. Artificial Intelligence: Could the birth of literary software herald the rise of robotic authors? The rise of the literary blog: A new book offers a survey of the literary blogosphere, but is the litblog really just a source of endless amateur gossip? Writing with the big boys: n+1, Version 2.0: Paper Monument, a spinoff of the confrontational literary magazine, takes on the art world. Tyler Brule's tunnel vision: Canadian journalist's new publication, Monocle, has a European sensibility, private backers and a hefty cover price. Cabinet is eclectic. Cabinet is eccentric. Cabinet is... very hard to describe.
From Inside Higher Ed, who you calling heterodox? Political magazines and mainstream media outlets have recently unearthed a struggle for the very soul of economics. It’s playing out in scholarly journals and in the back corridors of economics departments as lone, embattled researchers resist the stifling free-market doctrine that dominates their field. Who shares wins: Economists are fond of wandering into other academic territories. An excerpt from The Economic Naturalist by Robert Frank. The Experimenter: At 28, Berkeley economist Raj Chetty aligns theories with real-world facts, leading him to surprising conclusions on taxes, investing, and welfare. The Democratic Economist: If a Democrat must be elected president, Obama adviser Austan Goolsbee is the type one would like to have at his or her elbow.
Researchers are investigating if the way you fight with your spouse can affect your health. Divorced from reality: The facts are that divorce is down, and today’s marriages are more stable than they have been in decades. Good spouses can make bad neighbors: A review of Marriage: the Good, the Bad, and the Greedy by Naomi Gerstel and Natalia Sarkisian. A review of Husbandry: Sex, Love, and Dirty Laundry: Inside the Minds of Married Men by Stephen Fried. Libertarianism vs. the family: Can civilization survive freedom? A review of Family Law and Personal Life by John Eekelaar. The preface to Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition by John Witte Jr. Polygamy dos and don'ts: Utah and Arizona compile an amateur's guide to Mormon fundamentalism. Should people be free to be enslaved? An article on polygamy, prostitution, and the "consenting adults" argument.
A review of Winning the Right War: The Path to Security for America and the World by Philip Gordon; Containment: Rebuilding a Strategy against Global Terror by Ian Shapiro; and The Silence of the Rational Center: Why American Foreign Policy is Failing by Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke. A review of The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America by Susan Faludi (and more and more). A review of the “Message to the World on the Sixth Anniversary of 9/11” by Osama bin Laden. Al Qaeda offers one rationale for its actions to Western audiences, but another to Muslims, writes Raymond Ibrahim, editor of The Al Qaeda Reader. Why Osama hates microfinance: Has bin Laden become the first prophet in a new line of Islamic Marxists? Or is he just another would-be dictator searching for specious arguments? Al-Qaeda's forerunner: An interview with Yaroslav Trofimov, author of The Siege of Mecca. A review of The Islamist by Ed Husain.