Richard Matthews (MTA): Dirty Hands, Cosmopolitan Value and State Evil: Reflections on Torture. Defusing the "Ticking Time Bomb" excuse: Life does not imitate "24", and the Democratic candidates, led by Hillary Clinton, are finally learning to address the unrealistic scenarios that Republicans often use to justify torture. From Radical Middle, an essay on responding effectively to terrorism. From Policy Review, an article on the civilian side of the war on terror: Managing the interagency for better results. A review of Unchecked and Unbalanced: Presidential Power in a Time of Terror by Frederick AO Schwarz, Jr. and Aziz Z Huq. An interview with Susan Faludi, author of The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America (and more and more and more and more).
On the British left’s historical inability to act: A review of Duncan Thompson’s Pessimism of the Intellect: A History of the New Left Review. The ageing punk of lit crit still knows how to spit: Terry Eagleton has ferociously attacked his new Manchester University colleague Martin Amis. What is he playing at, and how should Amis respond? Terry Eagleton on how rebuking obnoxious views is not just a personality kink: "I took Martin Amis to task for advocating the hounding of Muslims, but this has been reduced to an academic spat". He grew up in Kingston, Jamaica, studied at Oxford and emerged as one of the country's leading cultural theorists, helping to define the huge changes in 20th-century Britain: Stuart Hall on the alarming cultural shifts that define the new century. A review of Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses by Theodore Dalrymple. Stealing from Churches: An excerpt form Gentle Regrets: Thoughts from a Life by Roger Scruton. A review of Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia by John Gray
The 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature goes to Doris Lessing, "that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny". From the Spring 2002 issue of Bookforum, Lisa Appignanesi interviews Doris Lessing: "Doris Lessing towers over the literature of the last half century. She has charted the lives and shaped the imaginations of successive generations with fiction that investigates the condition of women as well as the dynamics of political and sexual passion. She has dissected social movements, racial hatred, and madness, and has conjured future worlds bound by their own myths and religions"; and Bharati Mukherjee reviews The Sweetest Dream. From The Quotations Page, here are Doris Lessing quotes. And check out Doris Lessing: A Retrospective at dorislessing.org.
From Wired, a series of articles on how one molecule could cure our addiction to oil. A quest for energy in the globe’s remote places: As global demand soars and prices rise, energy companies are going to the ends of the earth to find new supplies. Do progressives have the wrong idea about change? A review of Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger (and more). From PENNumbra, a special issue on climate change, including Alan Carlin (EPA): Global Climate Change Control: Is There a Better Strategy Than Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions? An article on global climate engineering: Who controls the thermostat? Scientists want to intervene on a planetary scale, changing the very nature of our seas and skies. Ahead of a major report on "geo-engineering", a look at the six big ideas that could change the face of the Earth. What are the 10 most likely ways that life on the Earth could end? Stephen Petranek investigates. A year of living optimistically: A review of The Geography of Hope: A Tour of the World We Need by Chris Turner.
From Wired, an article on the Internet stars of 2001: Where are they now? Will Google's greed ruin the Internet? Google's new marketing strategy poses a huge threat to our privacy and democratic aspirations for the Internet. Searching beyond Google: Though the search behemoth continues to dominate, there are still more than a thousand other search engines vying for users. From Slate, an article on The Facebook Commandments: How to deal with unwanted friend requests, the ethics of de-friending, and other social networking etiquette predicaments. The Fakebook Generation: For young people, Facebook is yet another form of escapism—we can turn our lives into stage dramas and relationships into comedy routines. Your outboard brain knows all: Does an overreliance on machine memory shut down other important ways of understanding the world? The advantages of amnesia: From the Internet to the iPod, technology is bringing rapid advances in memory. What society needs now are new ways to forget. Cory Doctorow on the future of ignoring things.
From Open Democracy, globalisation is making the world simultaneously unruly and connective, transnational and tribal, cosmopolitan and insular. The result is a potent, transformative fusion of identity-formation and power-capacity. An interview with Jagdish Bhagwati, author of In Defense of Globalization. The Stag Hunt: An article on the obscure game-theory problem that explains why rich countries are rich. Gregory Clark on wealth and the culture of nations. Winners of God’s lottery: From American wheat farmers to Siberian oil oligarchs, the globalisation boom is also being harvested by a commodity elite. Tobacco Stains: An article on the global footprint of a deadly crop. Fattening the colonies: No point preaching nutrition to poor countries when U.S. dumps cheap pop on them. A review of Hunger: An Unnatural History by Sharman Apt Russell. A review of Economic Justice in an Unfair World: Toward a Level Playing Field by Ethan B. Kapstein.
From Newsweek, voters can't connect with a candidate they feel they don't know. Mitt Romney has to decide how much he wants to share. Mitt Romney's ideological turnabout has critics wondering: who is this guy? Rudy Giuliani has attached himself to a school of scholarly thought about the Middle East that has brought us nothing but disaster; and a look at how neocons have converged around the Giuliani campaign. A look at how Rudy made an immigrant-bashing cheesesteak stop. Mike Huckabee's Moment: A 12-step program that will take the bearably light ex-governor of Arkansas to the GOP. Rudy vs. Romney! Thompson vs. Matthews! The GOP takes its shots. Harold Meyerson on the return of the Goldwater GOP. For a trusty voting bloc, a faith shaken: The “values voters” feel undervalued. Their Republican suitors aren’t helping. An interview with Ann Coulter on her new book, If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans. Laffey's Last Laugh: A rebel Republican whose cause has already won out.
From History & Policy, an essay on binge drinking and moral panics: historical parallels? From Reason, an article on the truth about medical marijuana: What the presidential candidates are too timid to tell you. Prohibition has failed—again: Instead of treating the demand for illegal drugs as a market, and addicts as patients, policymakers the world over have boosted the profits of drug lords and fostered narcostates that would frighten Al Capone. Big Man of Buds: An interview with the legendary pot activist Ed Rosenthal. A review of Matters of Substance: Drugs—and Why Everyone's a User by Griffith Edwards. Peaking on the Prairies: Long before touching down in San Francisco, LSD was primed to become a psychiatric wonder drug in Saskatoon. From The Texas Observer, a redneck state of mind: Don’t confuse these hard partyers with white trash.
From Frontline, a review of Stalin's Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953 by Geoffrey Roberts; Churchill's Cold War: The Politics of Personal Diplomacy by Klaus Larres; 1945: The War That Never Ended by Gregor Dallas; Alliance: The Inside Story of How Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill Won One War and Began Another by Jonathan Fenby; and George Kennan: A Study of Character by John Lukacs (and more). A review of No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe, 1939-1945 by Norman Davies. A review of The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia by Orlando Figes (and more). A review of The Kremlin's Scholar: A Memoir of Soviet Politics Under Stalin and Khrushchev by Dmitrii Shepilov. A review of The Greatest Battle: Stalin, Hitler, and the Desperate Struggle for Moscow That Changed the Course of World War II by Andrew Nagorski. A review of Hitler's Headquarters: From Beer Hall to Bunker, 1920-1945 by Blaine Taylor. A review of Tapping Hitler's Generals: Transcripts of Secret Conversations, 1942-45. A review of Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe by Robert Gellately. A review of The Most Noble Adventure: The Marshall Plan and the Time When America Helped Save Europe by Greg Behrman.
From Limina, Bianca Freire-Medeiros (Binghamton): Star in The House of Mirrors: Contrasting images of Carmen Miranda in Brazil and the United States. Would-be prime ministers' wives have them. Lawyers have them. Doctors have them. So how did tattoos become so acceptable? The history of daft naming: We seem to have entered an era of weightless names – names without cultural or historical baggage. From The Economist, the capitalism of magic: The wand in Adam Smith’s invisible hand is revealed. A review of In a Cardboard Belt! Essays Personal, Literary, and Savage by Joseph Epstein. A review of (Not That You Asked): Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions by Steve Almond (and more and more and more and more). From The Wilson Quarterly, Coasting: Life’s hard lessons and simple pleasures are learned where the land meets the sea. Voyage of the ducks: After a 15-year epic ocean voyage that took them halfway around the world, the last of an intrepid armada of cute plastic bath toys is finally washing up on shore in the United Kingdom.