From NYRB, how historic a victory? Michael Tomasky reviews Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age by Larry Bartels and Red, Blue, and Purple America: The Future of Election Demographics; Michael Massing on Obama: In the Divided Heartland and Joan Didion and Darryl Pinckney on Obama: In the Irony-Free Zone. Cass Sunstein on Obama the Visionary Minimalist: He seeks consensus on "what" to do, not "why" to do it. Here are three reasons why Obamania isn’t just completely ridiculous. Memo to the White House staff: Congratulations on your appointment; here follows a handy list as you begin your duties in the White House. It’s only rock and roll but the Chinese Communist Party doesn’t like Guns 'n Roses' "Chinese Democracy" (and more). From NPR, Junot Diaz, Jhumpa Lahiri and Joseph O'Neill on what it means to become an American (and from Bookforum, a review of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz and an interview with Jhumpa Lahiri). From The Smart Set, when is a world record a sad affair? When it's noted in Guinness World Records 2009 (and more); and palate or palette? A look at the unlikely relationship between modern art and modern cooking. Monks in the charts, exorcisms on TV, a statue of Jesus sexually aroused: Mark Lawson on why artists can't resist the lure of Christianity.
From Policy, Jeremy Shearmur on Popper’s critique of "free-market ideology"; and an article on the past and future of the debate between libertarians and conservatives. From Modern Age, a special issue on the range and originality of conservative reflection, including David Clinton (Baylor): The diplomacy of conservatism and the conservatism of diplomacy; Fatos Tarifa (EMU): The poverty of the "new philosophy"; a review of books on Russell Kirk; and a review of The Way We Argue Now: A Study in the Cultures of Theory by Amanda Anderson. Hear no genes, see no genes, speak no genes: John Derbyshirethe on the jargon of “culturalism”. Ron Rosenbaum on everything you need to know about Hitler's "missing" testicle. Sincerity with a motive: Michael Weiss on what David Foster Wallace taught us about television and fiction (and more from New Statesman). Thomas Kinkade paints erotica — we'll say that one more time, to make sure it sinks in. From Fernand Point to Joel Robuchon: Is French cuisine dead? One war, two fronts: What’s next in Iraq and Afghanistan? Experts opine. Why churches fear gay marriage: The crusade for Proposition 8 was fueled by the broken American family, explains gay Catholic author Richard Rodriguez. The Best Gays of Our Lives: TV offers perhaps the best chance for gays to make public relations inroads and gain cultural acceptance.
From Daedalus, Martha Nussbaum (Chicago): Toward a globally sensitive patriotism; Craig Calhoun (SSRC): Cosmopolitanism in the modern social imaginary; Seyla Benhabib (Yale): The legitimacy of human rights; Darrin McMahon (FSU): Fear & trembling, strangers & strange lands; Samuel Scheffler (NYU): Cosmopolitanism justice & institutions; Rogers Smith (Penn): Paths to a more cosmopolitan human condition; Margaret Jacob (UCLA): The cosmopolitan as a lived category; Pheng Cheah (UC-Berkeley): What is a world? On world literature as world-making activity; A. A. Long (UC-Berkeley): The concept of the cosmopolitan in Greek & Roman thought; and Helena Rosenblatt (Hunter): Rousseau, the anticosmopolitan? From The Nation, a review of The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul by Patrick French (and more by Ian Buruma and more by James Wood and more and more; and more from Bookforum). James Baldwin and V.S. Naipaul, America made the difference: An excerpt from The Men in My Life by Vivian Gornick (and more from Bookforum). From TLS, after the credit crunch, the arts crunch? Hyperbole and boosterism have obscured the sad truth about the so-called renaissance of the arts; and there have always been reporters, but will there always be professionals?: A review of Eyewitness to History by Robert Fox.
From TNR, why Slavoj Zizek is the most despicable philosopher in the West: A review of In Defense of Lost Causes and Violence. From Havel to Habermas: An article on Central Europe's missing political philosophy. From THES, a review of Salsa Dancing into the Social Sciences: Research in the Age of Info-Glut by Kristin Luker; and footnotes and fancy-free: We should teach PhD students how to balance the conflicting demands of scholarship and dissemination. George Will reviews Stanley Fish's Save the World on Your Own Time. From NYRB, Paul Krugman on what to do about the financial crisis; and Elizabeth Drew on the truth about the election. What is the meaning of Obama's election? Ted Honderich wants to know. Are Democratic presidents good for stocks? The Numbers Guy investigates. Conservative complicity: A review of “Civil Rights and the Conservative Movement”. A review of Daughters of India: Art and Identity by Stephen P. Huyler. From The Atlantic, Robert D. Kaplan on the Hindu-Muslim tensions festering within India. Can terrorism halt India's global rise? Samanth Subramanian on the changing face of Indian terrorism. Know your enemy: Applying the lessons of 9/11 to Mumbai. Truth or consequences?: Why can't we hold torturers accountable and still find out the truth? Fred Kaplan on Rumsfeld's snow job: The former defense secretary's revisionist op-ed.