From Obit, cremation nation: More and more, the temple of the soul is burning. The Smart Set is in praise of the newspaper obituary; and what about Bob? The obit is a death notice, but it can also alert of a life lived. Cowboys and Immigrants: Two dueling archetypes dominated 20th-century American politics — is it time for them to be reconciled? A review of Rescuing Justice and Equality by G. A. Cohen (and a symposium at Crooked Timber). From First Principles, a symposium of The Tyranny of Liberalism by James Kalb (and part 2, part 3 and part 4). A world of least-wanted lists: People are stopped from traveling all the time — around the globe and in the United States. Peter Terzian reviews The Complete Fiction by Francis Wyndham. A review of Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg's The Pinocchio Effect: On Making Italians, 1860-1920. From WSWS, an article on the future of art in an age of crisis (and part 2). Which of the following rejected more than 30,000 of the nation's top college seniors this month and put hundreds more on a waitlist? a) Harvard Law School; b) Goldman Sachs; or c) Teach for America. A review of Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry: The Deception Behind Indigenous Cultural Preservation by Frances Widdowson and Albert Howard (and more).
What’s a liberal justice now? If President Obama wants to create a progressive Supreme Court for the 21st century, there is a new school of legal thought to guide him. From The Washington Monthly, a special report on how Washington can jumpstart entrepreneurship. Success on the Side: The role of side projects in entrepreneurial success has a rich history in the United States. Robert Crease asks why the idea of the “two cultures”, coined by CP Snow 50 years ago, still feels so current (and more on CP Snow: Still two cultures divided?) A review of Terry Eagleton's Reason, Faith, and Revolution and David Bentley Hart's Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies (and more and more). The Big Con: An article on China's historical sabotage. David Carlin on thinking of Dick Cheney as Cicero. Enraged at the disciplines, Robert Weisbuch tried to imagine what it would be like to have a university, a world, a mind that did not rely on the disciplines — and failed. The introduction to The Right Talk: How Conservatives Transformed the Great Society into the Economic Society by Mark A. Smith. More and more and more on Losing Mum and Pup by Christopher Buckley. A review of Freedom’s Orphans: Contemporary Liberalism and the Fate of American Children by David L. Tubbs.
From HIOL: Hispanic Issues On Line, a special issue on debating Hispanic Studies. From Peacework, a special issue on El Salvador. The superpower that never was: There was no single event at which Argentina's path diverged permanently from that of the US, but a series of missteps fit a general pattern. An interview with Joshua Cooper Ramo, author of The Age of the Unthinkable: Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us and What We Can Do About It (and more and more and more). It's possible to make a few observations about the factions forming on the intellectual right as it adjusts to life in the political wilderness. A review of Rowan Williams' Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction. Daphne Merkin reviews The Blue Hour: A Life of Jean Rhys by Lilian Pizzichini. A review of Marc Bousquet's How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation. Searching for Shangri-La: Two visions of the future compete for the soul of China’s western frontier. An interview with Jean Bethke Elshtain, author of Sovereignty: God, State, and Self. From TED, Nate Silver on picking apart the puzzle of racism in elections. From The Chronicle, we ill-serve students by having them study literature through the filter of a school of criticism — let outstanding writing, first and foremost, represent itself.
From The Space Review, a review of License to Orbit: The Future of Commercial Space Travel by Joseph Pelton and Peter Marshall; and an article on revisiting “Tourists in Space”. John Zmirak on the Amazing Catholic Bullshit Generator. Jonathan Israel is perfectly suited to be one of the star guests for the 2008 World Congress of Philosophy, which aimed to rethink philosophy. A review of The American Future: A History by Simon Schama. Supreme Reforms: How the nation's highest court could be improved. The first chapter from Taming the River: Negotiating the Academic, Financial, and Social Currents in Selective Colleges and Universities by Camille Charles, Mary Fischer, Margarita Mooney and Douglas Massey. Card check is dead — unions are surprisingly bad at politics. Leave them kids alone: A review of books on children and parenting. Timothy Garton Ash on how this epochal crisis requires us to resolve the paradox of capitalism (and a look at how Plato can help us). Queer developments: How did Washington miss the generational shift toward gay marriage? An article on natural happiness and the self-centered case for environmentalism. How the Left turned to the Right: Liberal over-sensitivity to the beliefs of others is undermining freedom of speech, giving reactionaries an easy ride.
From First Principles, an article on Charles A. Beard, the Progressive historian as inadvertent conservative; and an excerpt from The Great Books: A Journey Through 2,500 Years of the West’s Classic Literature. A review of In Mortal Hands: A Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age by Stephanie Cooke. A review of Global Catastrophes and Trends: The Next Fifty Years by Vaclav Smil. Daniele Archibugi on the prospects for cosmopolitan democracy. Clout of Africa: A bevy of recent publications suggests that Africa may be in the midst of its own literary boom. Will hedge funds survive? Martin J. Gross investigates. Where the wild things are: We’re about to get a peek at the solar system’s final frontier. The Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, was compiled in the early 19th century from a much older oral tradition — can it possibly have anything to teach the modern reader? Only a handful have ever been found before, but none like her: Her name is Lyuba, a one-month-old baby mammoth. A review of Doctoral Education and the Faculty of the Future by Ronald G. Ehrenberg and Charlotte V. Kuh. The first chapter from Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush by Robert Parry, Sam Parry and Nat Parry. Why the West is Boyle'd: The West still has no idea what kind of trouble it's in.
From The Exiled, meet the horrible new Obama-Era elite, or “All The President’s Middlebrows” (Cass Sunstein, Martha Nussbaum and Samantha Power); and an article on Myron Scholes, Nobel Prize winner, con man and high priest of derivative divinity. From First Things, the problem with our discourse — are you ready for this brilliant insight? — is that some people are jerks and some people are too nice. A review of Islands: A Trip Through Space and Time by Peter Conrad (and more). From Taki's Mag, nature’s points are finite, but nevertheless incredibly subtle and rich — we would be wise not to neglect the wisdom of ages that it reflects; and on stuff white people like: The subtle art of exclusion. Fringe No More: Five extremist parties that, whether it's thanks to the financial crisis or security fears, are quickly finding their way into the mainstream. New Scientist goes inside the tangled world of string theory; and will designer brains divide humanity? Brian Greene on why questions, not answers, make science the ultimate adventure. When times get tough, women get naked? Well, some do, and many others have started to consider it. Where fan mail goes to get answered: Mail Mann is one of a small handful of companies that has taken over a job once handled solely by movie studios.
From The New York Times Magazine, a special issue of the dilemmas of debt. From World Hum, here are Eight Great Stories of the Shrinking Planet (and Pico Ayer on why we travel). A look at how a Supreme Court Case tore the Republican Party in two. A review of Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness by Willard Spiegelman. An article on Freeman Dyson and the irresistible urge to be contrary about climate change. A review of Digital Barbarism: A Writer's Manifesto by Mark Helprin (and an excerpt). From Edge, lord of the cloud: John Markoff and Clay Shirky talk to David Gelernter. First Lady, Mom-in-chief, role model, fashion icon, dinner lady, serial hugger: Twelve top female writers celebrate the many faces of Michelle Obama. He told us so: An article on “Moynihan Redux: Legacies and Lessons”. A review of My Word!: Plagiarism and College Culture by Susan D. Blum. A review of Zapatismo Beyond Borders: New Imaginations of Political Possibility by Alex Khasnabish. An interview with Thomas Kostigen, author of You Are Here: The Surprising Link Between What We Do and What That Does to Our Planet. A prom divided: Outside the classroom at Montgomery County High School in Georgia, segregation endures. Anyone who thinks that the Magna Carta is an infallible guide to our current liberties has another thing coming.
From Seed, the deep symbiosis between bacteria and their human hosts is forcing scientists to ask: Are we organisms or living ecosystems?; and is understanding the selfless behavior of ants, bees, and wasps the key to a new evolutionary synthesis? (and more on E. O. Wilson) Tough love for the humanities: Leon Kass delivers Jefferson Lecture, warning that, like the sciences, the humanities seem to have lost their soul. From PUP, the first chapter from Going Local: Decentralization, Democratization, and the Promise of Good Governance by Merilee S. Grindle; and the introduction to What Democracy Is For: On Freedom and Moral Government by Stein Ringen. A review of Objectively Speaking: Ayn Rand Interviewed. With health care and climate change on the agenda, the next hundred are more important than the first — get ready for the Summer of Shove. Cartoon Conservatism: Is "Little Orphan Annie" the key to understanding Obama-phobia? Scott McLemee interviews a scholar in the field of comics studies. The Eternal City: Despite New Yorkers’ powerful nostalgia for the Gotham-that-was, the city’s urban ecology has always thrived on change. From TLS, a review of Fresh: A Perishable History by Susanne Freidberg (and an interview); and a review of books on multicultural food in Britain.
From City Journal, Alain de Botton on the consolations of pessimism: In our age, as in Seneca’s, the worst is always possible; an article on HG Wells, the godfather of American liberalism; drinking Harvey Milk’s Kool-Aid: Lionized by Hollywood and California state legislators, the real Milk was a demagogue and pal of Jim Jones; and a review of The Jewish Odyssey of George Eliot by Gertrude Himmelfarb. From Policy Innovations, can we evolve to become Homo sociens? You may never have the memory of Rain Man, but you can still get tips for improving your cognitive performance from this extraordinary thinker. From Christianity Today, a review of books on the Israeli-Palestine conflict. The case for working with your hands: Changes in the economy have had the surprising effect of making the manual trades more attractive as careers. Chop Chop Square: The Walrus goes inside Saudi Arabia’s brutal justice system. Tim Ferriss on how one simple question — "What's the worst that could happen?" — is all you need to learn to do anything. Primordial Muse: The abundant and wide-ranging material that covered Francis Bacon's studio was essential inspiration — and perhaps reveals something of this enigmatic artist. The Numbers Guy on the growing popularity of popularity and the powerful influence of popularity on our decisions.
From NYRB, Garry Wills reviews Lincoln on Race and Slavery; Julian Barnes reviews books by John Updike; Colm Toibin reviews of Alice in Jamesland: The Story of Alice Howe Gibbens James by Susan E. Gunter and House of Wits: An Intimate Portrait of the James Family by Paul Fisher (and more on Henry James at Bookforum); the crisis and how to deal with it: Here are excerpts from a symposium on the economic crisis; and a review essay on America's prisons: Is there hope? Warning: If you suffer from climate anxiety, read on at your own risk. The policies that the photographs of torture depict have already done terrible damage to America’s cause — President Obama is right not to release more of the pictures. The fights that do not want to end: Civil wars tend to last 20 times as long as international wars — why? Civil wars never end, they just move to Canada. How did "American Idol", a somewhat goofy, family-style talent show on Fox, become a bellwether of America's changing attitudes toward sexuality? "White Negroes" and "black hipsters": Blipsters just the latest chapter in half-century history of cultural swapping and stealing. No extra charge: Troy Patterson on the dubious art of infomercials. Do we take more risks when we feel safe? Fifty years after we began using the three-point seatbelt, there's a new answer.