From Monthly Review, David Kotz on the state of Official Marxism in China today. A comeback for the "Great Man" theory? It has emerged that Karl Marx suffered from a chronic and excruciating skin disease with known psychological effects that might have had an impact on his political theories. A review of Lenin's Private War: The Voyage of the Philosophy Steamer and the Exile of the Intelligentsia by Lesley Chamberlain. Ten decades that shook the world: Ninety years after the October revolution, the revisionists may crow over the failure of communism — but it's too soon to tell. “War of Position”: An essay on anti-capitalist attrition as a revolutionary strategy for non-revolutionary times. From Counterpunch, here's another look at W.E.B. DuBois: "The Four Freedoms came from united social effort for the common good". A review of Wobblies on the Waterfront: Interracial Unionism in Progressive-Era Philadelphia by Peter Cole.
The Numbers Guy on why baseball players might be underpaid. An interview with Rob Hughes on the ethical dilemmas in world soccer: The globalisation of soccer has made the game both more beautiful and more ugly. The NFL outsmarts itself: Why pro football needs to get back to basics. Go for it on fourth down, coach? Maybe you should ask an egghead. The quagmire of college football: Why bowl games are the real final exams. A review of McCown's Law: The 100 Greatest Hockey Arguments by Bob McCown; Future Greats and Heartbreaks: A Year Undercover in the Secret World of NHL Scouts by Gare Joyce; and The New Game: How Hockey Saved Itself by Steve Paikin. The Meaning of a Punch: Her father’s fists sent him to jail — Nisa Rodriguez's could make her famous. Murder at the Poker club: The story you are about to hear is true — only the names have been changed to protect a couple guys who work in magazines.
From Psychology Today, marriage is not the key to happiness: Married people are no more happier than singles — though people react strongly to events such as marriage, they return to their personal "set point of happiness" after a certain period of time. Mums behaving badly: Do this, don't do that, everyone, it seems, has something to say on motherhood. In fact, the pressure to be perfect starts well before the birth, with an avalanche of often confusing and judgmental advice. A researcher says Britney and K-Fed doing it all wrong, since child custody battles detrimental to children. What troublemakers can teach us: It's time to question our faith in early-childhood determinism. Manufactured wilderness: A review of A Manufactured Wilderness: Summer Camps and the Shaping of American Youth, 1890-1960 by Abigail A. Van Slyck. A review of Red: The Next Generation of American Writers — Teenage Girls — On What Fires Up their Lives Today by Amy Goldwasser. From The Morning News, here are three simple ways to abandon your family — a guide for deadbeats.
From The Nation, avoiding the toughness trap: A progressive defense policy must begin with a fundamental redefinition of what constitutes security. Undebated Challenges: It's time to rethink American priorities and the very meaning of what American foreign policy is about. From The New Yorker, as the tide goes out on President Bush’s foreign policy, the mass of flotsam left behind includes a Republican Party that no longer knows how to be reasonable. More on Surrender is Not an Option by John Bolton (and two interviews). An interview with Henry Kissinger on diplomacy in the post-9/11 era. Expanding our horizons: Think Americans don't care about the rest of the world? Students and business leaders are making up for President Bush's diplomatic failures. How dangerous is America? Former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt considers today's Russia to be less dangerous than the United States — this is as surprising as it is provocative. Nat Hentoff on how the Bush Administration delights our enemies. A post-Bush America is not about to fall at Europe's feet: The prospect of a more pliable US is largely an illusion, and EU states must make some very serious, existential choices. Gideon Rachman on American faith in imperialism: The flirtation with ideas of "empire" is over. More and more and more on Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance—and Why They Fall by Amy Chua. More and more and more and more and more and more on Walter Russell Mead's God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World.
From New York, street justice: Merrill Lynch’s Stan O’Neal and Citigroup’s Chuck Prince racked up billions in losses—and got exactly what they deserved. Less you, more we: It’s been a tough autumn for US corporate bosses and many of those still in a job are rethinking what that means. From Comment, here are 50 things to love in the world of business. The wrecking ball of innovation: Tony Judt reviews Robert Reich's Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life. A review of Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy by John Bowe and The Missing Class: Portraits of the Near Poor in America by Katherine S. Newman and Victor Tan Chen. Fighting knowledge monopolies, or how to avoid being ripped off: "Information imbalances" cost North Americans billions of dollars a year — one intrepid economist wants to change that. An interview with Oxford economist Andrew Dilnot on spreading his message of statistical self-help. Financial fantasies: What truly moves markets is a mystery, but what moves humans to participate is pure fantasy.
From Newsweek, Markos Moulitsas on making the Bush record the issue: Absent amnesia—which only happens on soaps—Democrats will be fine; and Karl Rove on how to beat Hillary (next) November (and more). From The New Yorker, can Barack Obama catch Hillary Clinton? Ryan Lizza investigates. Divided over uniting: Should Obama promote reconciliation in America or be more aggressive in his attacks against Clinton? Too good for politics: Is Barack Obama just another high-toned liberal doomed to failure? Every politico knows only two candidates will be viable after the caucuses: Can John Edwards’s blow-dried populism be his ticket out? Splitting hairs with the US government: How many citizens must be victimized by a $400 haircut before a Presidential candidate offers up a Universal Hair Care program? EJ Dionne on how Democrats will really decide between Hillary, John, and Barack. How should Democratic candidates approach the immigration issue? Viva la revolution! With $1 trillion to spend, millions ready to vote and their own candidate for President, Hispanics hold the key to the new American century. From TAP, Terence Samuel on the electability conundrum. From The Progressive, Adolph Reed on sitting this one out.
From American Heritage, a look at the self-destructive genius of Andy Kaufman. Let’s start this week with a pop culture quiz — Lenny Bruce was: (a) A very funny guy (b) A fearless champion of First Amendment rights (c) God. A review of Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin (and more and more and more). Chevy Chase is trying to make a comeback — but he’s finding it’s hard out there for a (former) comedy bigwig. Stephen Colbert's fake campaign was arguably less phony than those of competitors because the comedian was honest about the politics-as-usual hustle, and more on I Am America: (And So Can You!). Muslims are often depicted as people who can't take a joke, but does Islam have a sense of humour? Be ye not afraid, or hesitant: Apparently it's all right — encouraged, even — to laugh at funny Muslims on TV situation comedies.
From NYRB, Nathan, farewell: A review of Philip Roth's Exit Ghost. A review of Beckett, Derrida, and the Event of Literature by Asja Szafraniec. The Satirical Intellectual: Alexander Theroux on the paradoxes of love and the importance of plenitude and redemption. A review of Edmund Wilson: Literary Essays and Reviews, Vol. 1: The 1920s and '30s and Vol. 2: The 1930s and '40s. Movable Types: James Wood on how War and Peace works. A review of Modernism: the Lure of Heresy - - From Baudelaire to Beckett and Beyond by Peter Gay (and more). Normal life taken to the max: The Spanish novelist Arturo Perez-Reverte tells Miranda France why he writes about war (and more). From Out, in the aftermath of Stonewall, a generation of writers began chronicling the evolving fortunes of gay Americans with unflinching honesty. Now they find themselves tackling a subject they once barely dared hope they would live to experience — growing old. This perfect book: Ira Levin should be remembered for his dystopian novel This Perfect Day, which ranks alongside Brave New World and 1984. A review of Madame Proust by Evelyn Bloch-Dano. A review of Ezra Pound: Poet. Vol 1: The Young Genius 1885-1920 by A David Moody. Jane Austen must die: Look, we love us some 19th-Century heroines like the rest of y'all, but the overused archetype is doing more damage than good—let’s get some wicked-women lit already. Norman Mailer's last major public interview has been made available online by the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
A review of The Constitution's Text in Foreign Affairs by Michael D. Ramsey. A review of A More Perfect Constitution: 23 Proposals to Revitalize Our Constitution and Make America a Fairer Country by Larry J. Sabato. From TNR, a review of Out of Range: Why the Constitution Can't End the Battle Over Guns by Mark V. Tushnet. They've slept on it: Sixty-eight years after last taking on a gun case, the Supreme Court awakens to a violent debate. Senator Ted Kennedy on the Supreme Court's wrong turn — and how to fix it. Justice for Sale: Sandra Day O'Connor on how special-interest money threatens the integrity of our courts. A review of God on Trial: Dispatches from America's Religious Battlefields by Peter Irons. From Writ, an article on Harry Potter and the Framers' intent. Lawyer salaries versus law school tuition: Are law schools nearing the end of a high-tuition era?
From Discover, the last unexplored place on Earth: Scientists race to discover the secret world buried miles beneath Antarctica. Antarctica, the new hot real estate: There's oil and gas in the Antarctic, too, which global warming may open up — but scientists wonder what it would cost environments there, and ultimately the planet. The Big Melt: An essay on the lesson from the Arctic summer of 2007. The worldwide thaw is accelerating: Thirty key international glaciers are melting about six times faster than in the 1980s — they are seen as the proverbial canary in the coal mine. A look at how the "frightening" UN climate report may be too optimistic. A study suggests climate change and conflict have gone hand-in-hand for the past 500 years. An interview with Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace International turned nuclear power booster. Intellectual climate change: Preventing environmental disaster is just the latest of many supposedly unachievable ideas that have since been proven possible. Enough hot air already: To slow climate change, it's time to talk about real action. From Indonesia, a look at an unlikely band of DIY environmentalists. The Unlikely Environmentalist: How Chad Pregracke went from skater dude to the Mississippi River’s most impassioned caretaker is as odd a story as you’ll ever hear along the banks of the mighty river. From The Boston Globe Magazine, a special issue on 84 ways you can help the planet. From TED, David Keith on a surprising idea for "solving" climate change and Juan Enriquez offers a glimpse of some ground-breaking research to explore the potential of bioenergy. From California Literary Review, more on A World Without Us by Alan Weisman.