From NYRB, they'd rather be right: Michael Tomasky reviews Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again by David Frum and They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons by Jacob Heilbrunn (and two interviews with Frum). More on Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription by William F Buckley Jr. A review of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning by Jonah Goldberg (and more and more and more on bizarro history; and an interview). How power-grabbing Russian president Putin has an "ideological ally" he’d like you to meet: FDR. From TAS, an article on Reagan, Rush, and conservatism as the political law of gravity.
From Der Spiegel, an article on the xenophobia at the heart of German politics; and a look at how right-wing radicals are gaining traction with Germany's first anti-Islamic party. Latkes and vodka: Immigrants from the former Soviet Union are transforming Jewish life in Germany. How the Holocaust happened: A review of The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews 1939–1945 by Saul Friedlander. Two memoirs of life in Auschwitz: A review of Une Vie by Simone Veil and Il M’appelait Pikolo by Jean Samuel and Jean-Marc Dreyfus. A somewhat macabre parlor game to play with one’s acquaintances: speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. Third Reich to Fortune 500: Here are five popular brands the Nazis gave us. An essay on romanticizing Germany's urban guerillas.
How the Lesbians finally muscled in: A review of Treasure House of the Language: the Living OED by Charlotte Brewer. A look at : The word of the year. What's the word? Or phrase, as the case may be: The experts gather tomorrow to decide on the top expression for 2007. You didn’t hear them here first, but chances are that in 2007 you caught these phrases somewhere. When things are bad, it’s natural to look ahead. Perhaps that’s why we hear those phrases so often from politicians, sports figures and others in times of trouble. A book of slang used by teenagers has guaranteed its own inauthenticity just by being published. Language past its use-by date: Good literature draws on neologisms, but not the fleeting wordplay of headlines and pub gags.
From The Economist, the new (improved) Gilded Age: The very rich are not that different from you and me; or less different, perhaps, than they used to be. The introduction to Inherited Wealth by Jens Beckert. Rich Kid Syndrome: America’s burgeoning money culture is producing a record number of heirs—but handing down values is harder than handing down wealth. An interview with David Cay Johnston, author of Free Lunch: How The Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves At Government Expense (and Stick you With the Bill). A review of The Selfish Capitalist: The Origins of Affluenza by Oliver James. Spoil yourself: Luxury may mean excess, vulgarity and obscene waste — but it’s also a basic humanist instinct.
From Vanity Fair, between them, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have made 13 of the 100 top-grossing movies of all time; yet they struggled for more than a decade with the upcoming fourth installment of their billion-dollar Indiana Jones franchise, " Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" (and interviews with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg). A review of The Rough Guide to Film: An A-Z of Directors and Their Movies. A review of The Star Machine by Jeanine Basinger. A review of Making Waves: New Cinemas of the 1960s by Geoffrey Nowell-Smith. A review of Movies and the Modern Psyche by Sharon Packer. Un-Hollywood: In Russia, films promote the state.
From TAP, it seems like everyone is coming around to the charms of Barack Obama — that doesn't mean that he's home free yet. Can Obama build a movement? Michael Gerson wants to know. Is there a better chance for a man of color, than for a woman, in the White House? Lessons from Hollywood and TV. Hillarycare: How Clinton pulled it out in New Hampshire. Rally for him now: How black America can revive Obama's campaign. Why were the political futures markets so wrong about Obama and Clinton? Glenn Greenwald on the role of political reporters: Why should reporters assigned to cover campaigns engage in predictive analysis at all? Last stop for the Bloomberg '08 Express? Speculation about a presidential bid dampened after the mayor’s visit to Oklahoma.
From The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin on the myth of voter fraud. An interview with Allen Raymond, author of How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative, on how dirty tricks work (and a review). A computer scientist and a mathematician have created a method to achieve greater ballot security than is possible with paper or software alone. Why does the US have a drawn-out presidential electoral system that is a far cry from the "one vote for all" principle? The Supreme Court will hear the most significant voting rights case since Bush v. Gore—and it could affect the 2008 election. An article on why Indiana's voter-ID law is harmful and worthless. The rhetoric over Crawford v. Marion County Election Board is hot, but neither side has very strong evidence in the case.
From Flak, an article on Christopher Hitchens as the dismemberment man. There's a men's route and a women's route: Research tries to explain why the sexes choose different strategies to get from A to B. We live in a world where "flip-floppers" are treated with contempt; a survey of top thinkers serves as a reminder of how healthy it is to change one's mind. The Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges might seem an unlikely candidate for Man Who Discovered the Internet. Among the Spires: Between medieval and modern, Oxford seeks equilibrium. Young adults only: Sex! Drugs! Study Hall! Radar helps you choose the racy teen novel that's right for you. Fashionomics: A look at why fashion should be taken seriously. When the giving is good: Harvey Mansfield on saving Christmas from the economists.
From Slate, an article on the hidden wounds of Congo's wars: How do you end an ethnic conflict? How Kenya lost its way: For decades Kenya was the African success story, yet the election has exposed bitter divisions — now the country is on the verge of meltdown (and more and more), with no solution in sight). An interview with Kenyan Nobel Prize laureate Wangari Maathai (and more). Kenyan identity, so deliberately formed in the test tube of nationalist effort, has over the years been undermined by their leaders. Beyond tribalism: Kenya's violence is not just about ethnicity — age and poverty are factors too. An article on the population emergency in Sub-Saharan Africa. From The Wilson Quarterly, a cover story on the coming revolution in Africa.
J. David Velleman (NYU): The Gift of Life. From Philosophy Bites, an interview with Barry Smith on Wittgenstein's conception of philosophy; and can philosophy help us understand friendship? An interview with Mark Vernon, author of The Philosophy of Friendship. The first chapter from The Sense of the Past: Essays in the History of Philosophy by Bernard Williams. Acting up: He speaks approvingly of Lenin and Robespierre and packs lecture halls across the world — but is "stand-up philosopher" Slavoj Zizek serious? Philosopher goes into a pub and says to the barman: Academics aren't known for humour. Philosopher Stephen E. Braude embraces the study of the paranormal in The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations.