From the International Journal of Zizek Studies, a special issue on Enjoying the Cinema, including Hugh S. Manon (OSU): Qui Perd Gagne: Failure and Cinematic Seduction; Jennifer Friedlander (Pomona): No Business Like Schmo Business: Reality TV and Fetishistic Inversion; Paul Eisenstein (Otterbein): Devouring Holes: Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream and the Tectonics of Psychoanalysis; and David Denny (Marylhurst): Signifying Grace: a reading of Lars Von Trier’s Dogville. From The Hindu, Bollywood needs to change its act: Despite the success of Hindi films abroad, Bollywood has not really made a dent in the global cinema market. Life's a Blur: A look at how biopics should face fact and fiction. The cutting edge: Director Katie Mitchell has been accused of a willful disregard for classic texts — her reworking of The Trojan Women for a modern audience is likely to enrage purists. Terry Teachout on the price of the ticket: It costs a lot to see a Broadway show — is it worth the expense?
A review of The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In by Hugh Kennedy. Muslim democracy an oxymoron? A review of Democracy in Muslim Societies. Islam and the future: Egyptian-born Nonie Darwish has been denounced as an infidel for attempting to promote reconciliation between Israelis and Arabs. Found in translation: A new initiative to translate important books into Arabic has announced the first 100 titles — and its a pretty good start. From The American Conservative, an article on Islamofascism, the imaginary adversary. Timothy Garton Ash on how "Islamofascists" and "Islamists" are not the right labels. But Muslim opinion leaders must condemn violent jihadists. A review of The Politics of the Veil by Joan Wallach Scott.
A new issue of The Global Spiral is out. A little risky business: The unusual properties of tiny particles contain huge promise, but nobody knows how safe they are — and too few people are trying to find out. Geometry is all: A shape could describe the cosmos and all it contains. The world's most mind-boggling questions explained: The co-author of The Origins of the Universe for Dummies explains how the universe began and how it could all end. Paul Davies on taking science on faith: Until science comes up with a testable theory of the laws of the universe, its claim to be free of faith is manifestly bogus. They may never persuade other scientists the earth is young, but creationist geologists are having an impact on other Christians. More and more on Avoid Boring People by James D. Watson. An interview with Craig Venter on his scientific love for the human genome. A review of The Genetic Strand: Exploring a Family History Through DNA by Edward Ball. A review of Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body by Jennifer Ackerman.
From History & Policy, an essay on facing the challenge of climate change: energy efficiency and energy consumption. Climate and human history: The first chapter from Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate by William F. Ruddiman. Let's not shoot the climate messenger: The press is accused of painting such a bleak picture of the planet's prospects readers believe nothing can be done. Google.org director Larry Brilliant on the case for global warming optimism. Real analysis has to distinguish those factors that will change in response to market forces and policy from the long-term, largely immutable, physical realities: We need political will to fight climate change. A look at why even a desperate measure of geo-engineering is starting to look reasonable. From Swans, whither Green Utopias: Journey to the past or visions of future? Into the "Wild": How a film and an essay reflect our changed ideas about nature.
From Comment, here are 50 things to love about politics. Hey, young Americans, here's a text for you: Is America still America if millions of us no longer know how democracy works? The amero conspiracy: Behind closed doors, a secret cabal is planning the end of the United States as we know it — inside a paranoid vision for our time. Here's a map of North America, the Balkans version. From National Journal, a cover story on The New Washington: A more diverse, tech-savvy generation is making Washington less insular and more accessible and accountable to the rest of the country, and more on the rainbow push and a tale of two lobbyists. So, how funny is Washington? As funny as a GS-14 writing regs for outsourced procurement functions. Fred Barnes on the case against despair: It's not impossible to shrink the federal government. Rewriting Uncle Sam's role: A new coalition of nonprofits is trying to promote collaboration between government and so-called "social entrepreneurs" who apply business school imperatives to the field of philanthropy.
From Theory & Science, Jon VanWieren (WMU): Decisions, Decisions, Decisions... Intentionality, the Growth of Knowledge, and Cultural Evolution: Establishing Evolutionary Reasoning in the Social Sciences. A review of The Disobedient Generation: Social Theorists in the Sixties. A review of Explaining Social Behavior: More Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences by Jon Elster. A review of Peter T. Manicas's A Realist Philosophy of Social Science: Explanation and Understanding. Musings on time and utopia: While Jacques Derrida teaches that deconstruction is immanent within time, Henry David Thoreau believed that the genius that is the child in us starts with our original amazement (and part 2 and part 3).
From Praesidium: A Journal of Literate and Literary Analysis, an essay on Orality and Literacy Revisited: Beleaguered Allies Against the Technical Onslaught of the Visual. A review of Language and Globalization by Norman Fairclough and Discourse by Jan Blommaert. A review of Indo-European Poetry and Myth by M.L. West. A review of When Heroes Love: The Ambiguity of Eros in the Stories of Gilgamesh and David by Susan Ackerman. A review of Beowulf: A New Translation for Oral Delivery. As we like him: A review of Will by Christopher Rush; Shakespeare’s Wife by Germaine Greer; and The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street by Charles Nicholl. A review of William Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson (and more). The pimp and the playmaker: What exactly was Shakespeare up to in Silver Street, renting a room above a wigmaker's and collaborating with a villain? The orphan playwright: He collaborated with Shakespeare and adapted his plays after his death, but Thomas Middleton was always overshadowed by the Bard. A new collected works is set to change all that.
From Der Spiegel, an interview with Jordan's King Abdullah: "Yes, we do have a nuclear program". A review of Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons by Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark; The Nuclear Jihadist: The True Story of the Man Who Sold The World's Most Dangerous Secret and How We Could Have Stopped Him by Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins; and America and the Islamic Bomb: The Deadly Compromise by David Armstrong and Joseph Trento (and more). Prepare for the day Iran goes nuclear, says Martin van Creveld, for eventually it will. Why the Iranians see themselves in a very different light: They think they have right on their side. In the search for loose nukes, a little propaganda goes a long way. A review of The Seventh Decade: The New Shape of Nuclear Danger by Jonathan Schell. More and more and more and more on Richard Rhodes' Arsenals of Folly: The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race. Nuclear history as environmental history: A review of Conservation Fallout: Nuclear Protest at Diablo Canyon by John Willis. Is atomic radiation as dangerous as we thought? A mounting number of studies are coming to some surprising conclusions about the dangers of nuclear radiation: It might not be as deadly as is widely believed.
Editor or algorithm? Refinements in news services from Outside.in and Yahoo! Portals think small for the latest news niche: Sites offer access to content as gateways battle traffic slippage. Big media octopuses, cutting off tentacles: Is the age of media deconsolidation upon us? An interview with Michael Eisner on the writers’ strike, Internet-only content and starting a new-media company. Why newspapers love the striking screenwriters — for the same reason journalists love themselves. Breaking news, not transcribing it: The Washington Post gives the embargo system a kick in the pants. A review of -30-: The Collapse of the Great American Newspaper. A review of Peter Jennings: A Reporter's Life. A review of Boom! by Tom Brokaw. Disservice journalism: Not-So-Hot Buttons: Race and gender continue to be standbys in political media coverage despite the fact that they aren't as important as they once were. A review of Reporting Iraq, ed. Columbia Journalism Review. There has recently been a huge growth in transnational English language television channels, with the launch in the UK of Al Jazeera English, Press TV (Iran), CCTV9 (China), France 24 and Russia Today. These join existing channels such as CNN International, Voice of America and BBC World TV. But what are the purposes of these channels? A look at how Al Jazeera English offers news without the nonsense. Media bias is a fact of life: Is anyone really so naive to expect something different from these news outlets?
From Cafe Babel, a special issue on the Common Agricultural Policy. EU and the global hollywood: In a critique of EU film policy, Hans Erik Naess claims that European funding programmes that focus on "European cultural identity and cultural heritage" are totally misguided. The Well Spring: Maybe Christianity in Europe hasn't run dry. In defence of national interests: There is a good case for a smaller European Commission—but also some counter-arguments. The trouble with migrants: Europe is fretting about too much immigration when it needs even more. From Merkur, when young Muslims reject western society, some say they have been driven to do so, and self-exclusion is thus reinterpreted as the fault of the majority. What motivates this alliance between liberal self-critique and religiosity? You've got to swing your hips! An interview with German author Feridun Zaimoglu on how feminist former-Muslims demonize ordinary young Muslim women. An essay on Germany as the soft underbelly of Europe: Germany presents a tempting target for the jihadists and others. In the land of the mute: Andrzej Stasiuk has penned a sophisticated and bourbon-fuelled portrait of Polish-German relations — "Dojczland" has divided Poland. From The Economist, a series of articles on Austria: Austria has had some lucky breaks and has used them with brio, but what should it do for an encore?