From NPR, an interview with Bernard Kouchner (and more from Der Spiegel). He talks a good talk, but it is harder to say what the policies of France's new foreign minister will add up to. It used to be that France would respond with a predictable "non" to any saber-rattling coming out of the US. Now, though, Paris seems eager to lead the way and has taken clear aim at Iran (more). From Le Figaro, Andre Glucksmann: "You said 'war', Mr Kouchner, and you were not mistaken". From Mute, why the endo-colonial guerrilla warfare in the peripheries of French society is a dangerous piece of political myth making. Ready or not, France opens museum on immigration. Parisian attitudes toward the sporting life turn up in politics, philosophy, and what fashionable joggers choose to wear for "le running". Here are 30 reasons why we hate the French.
From Not Bored!, an essay on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Situationist International; and a look at the worst book ever written by a Situationist. From Lacan.com, Slavoj Zizek on Stalinism and on Alain Badiou and Logiques des mondes. From Ephemera, a review of Slavoj Zizek's The Parallax View and a review of Jodi Dean's Zizek’s Politics. From Logos, an essay on the life and work of Erich Fromm; an article on thinking about Fromm and Marxism; and a look at modes of authority and the crisis of higher education. A review of Michel Foucault's Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1977-78. Form Ovi, an article on Edward Said on cultural imperialism (and part 2). A Marxist rates Thomas Jefferson above Vladimir Lenin: A review of Michael Hardt Presents the Declaration of Independence. A look at the cantankerous dispatches Karl Marx wrote as London correspondent for the New York Tribune puts the father of communism in a new light. Father of History: Bettina Aptheker's recent memoir has incited fierce debate over the legacy of her father, Marxist historian of slavery Herbert Aptheker. A year before their joint suicide French philosopher Andre Gorz penned a confession of devotion to his ill wife. Now it's a bestseller (and more from Monthly Review).
A review of -30-: The Collapse of the Great American Newspaper. As struggling newspapers across the country cut back on investigative reporting, Paul E. Steiger and a pair of wealthy Californians are assembling a group of investigative journalists who will give away their work to media outlets. What do Herbert and Marion Sandler want? Investigating the funders of ProPublica, the new investigative journalism outfit. Is this the end of news? Even a guy burned by one failed Internet start-up can't resist the idea that this latest technology—like Linotype, TV, and cable before it—could remake the news. So here goes Newser.com, the author's attempt to rescue a common narrative of public life. There is no truth: An article on the problem with Jon Stewart's media criticism. News flash: New research concludes that the sensationalism sweeping local news is bad for ratings.
From Gender and Language, a review of Speaking in Queer Tongues: Globalization and Gay Language. How gay marriage really will change hetero marriage: And here's why that is a really good thing for everyone. A review of The Future of Marriage by David Blankenhorn. A review of No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive by Lee Edelman. For 35 years, long before "traditional family values" became a buzz-phrase, PFLAG has been preaching inclusion, love, acceptance, and understanding. How did the T get in LGBT? The 30-year fight for a federal gay civil rights law may fail because activists insist on including rights for transgendered people too. Has gay inclusiveness gone too far too fast?
From Commentary, James Q. Wilson on Bowling with Others; and a review of Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement by Brian Doherty and The Age of Abundance: How Prosperity Transformed America’s Politics and Culture by Brink Lindsey. That's right, the dude who wrote the "humor" column for your college paper is now in charge of Commentary. A review of The Bulldozer and the Big Tent: Blind Republicans, Lame Democrats, and the Recovery of American Ideals by Todd Gitlin. An interview with Naomi Wolf, author of The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot. From Identity Theory, an article on neuroscience and moral politics: Chomsky’s intellectual progeny. An interview with Michael Parenti on the publication of Contrary Notions: The Michael Parenti Reader.
A new issue of the Canadian Inroads is out. From Adbusters, an article on the death of Canadian journalism. From LRC, a review of Intent for a Nation: What Is Canada For? by Michael Byers. A review of Emperor of the North: Sir George Simpson and the Remarkable Story of the Hudson's Bay Company by James Raffan. A review of Stupid to the Last Drop: How Alberta Is Bringing Environmental Armageddon to Canada (And Doesn't Seem to Care) by William Marsden. A place apart: Heard the one about the rich Newfoundlander? For challenging a policy that discriminated against certain refugees, a federal employee’s career was ruined, but despite being cleared, he still awaits justice.
From Electronic Book Review, an essay on Robert Creeley's radical poetics: Marjorie Perloff reflects on the legacy of misreadings of Robert Creeley's work and argues that his complex poetics should be read transnationally; how to do words with things: A review of Between Science and Literature: An Introduction to Autopoetics by Ira Livingston; a review of Differentials: Poetry, Poetics, Pedagogy by Marjorie Perloff. Poets don't legislate: We should accept the fact that poets reflect the times, they do not — cannot — create them. From The Nation, the Imperfectionist: A review of I Am a Beautiful Monster: Poetry, Prose, and Provocation by Francis Picabia; and The Artwork Caught by the Tail: Francis Picabia and Dada in Paris by George Baker. A review of Ezra Pound: Poet: The Young Genius 1885-1920 by A. David Moody. A review of The Wounded Surgeon: Confession and Transformation in Six American Poets by Adam Kirsch. A review of Winged Words: Flight in Poetry and History by Piero Boitani. For Zajal, think hip-hop, rap and toasting: An article on poetry as performance art.
From Vanity Fair, inside Bush's bunker: For any second-term president—as the pressure grows to cement his legacy, and with many of his best aides gone—the physical bunker of an electronically sealed, sniper-patrolled White House, which restricts his access to old friends and new ideas, can lead to psychological isolation, and talking to administration insiders, the author learns why George W. Bush's disconnect is even more extreme. An interview with Gabriel Kolko: "Many in the US Military think Bush and Cheney are out of control". David Gergen reviews Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy by Charlie Savage; The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration by Jack Goldsmith; Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches by John Dean; and Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush by Robert Draper (and more). How badly has Bush damaged the presidency? Eric Rauchway investigates. "Bush lies” doesn’t cut it anymore: It’s time to confront the darker reality that we are lying to ourselves.
An Edge special question: What is your formula? Your equation? Your algorithm? Formulae for the 21st century. James Watson claims black people are less intelligent than white people. The elementary DNA of Dr Watson: Former protegee Charlotte Hunt-Grubbe examines the complex legacy of a Nobel laureate. A review of Avoid Boring People: Lessons From a Life in Science by James D. Watson (and an interview). A review of The Case Against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering by Michael J. Sandel. The smartest futurist on Earth: If legendary inventor Ray Kurzweil is right, the future will be a lot brighter — and weirder — than you think. From Skeptical Inquirer, Victor J. Stenger on science soldiers; and article on superhero science; and cinema fiction vs. physics reality: Two physicists examine certain features of popular myths regarding ghosts, vampires, and zombies as they appear in film and folklore.
The history of the world is one long tale of greed, lust, debauchery and murder -– if only you know where to look to find all the juicy bits. A review of History Without The Boring Bits by Ian Crofton. A review of The Secret History of the World by Jonathan Black. The failed strategy of political assassination: An interview with Greg Woolf, author of Et Tu, Brute?: A Short History of Political Murder (and a review). Niall Ferguson’s contrarian approach to the subject of history is given a satirical twist, inspiring a character in Alan Bennett’s "The History Boys". Here are 7 Great Men in history (and why you should hate them).