From First Things, a special issue on Richard John Neuhaus. Simon Critchley on being happy like God. Overdosing on reality: A child of the Internet goes feral in full view. On Discourse: Conor Friedersdorf on the bunker mentality. Hired News: Will P.R. pros take the baton of investigative journalism? A review of The Pursuit of Unhappiness: The Elusive Psychology of Well-Being by Daniel M. Haybron. Pill poppers: A review of Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression by James S. Gordon and The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs by Stephen S. Ilardi. A review of Stalin’s Nemesis: The Exile and Murder of Leon Trotsky by Bertrand Patenaude (and more). Special agent Bassem Youssef was one of the FBI's up-and-comers — fluent in Arabic, ambitious, with a record of spotting threats and cracking terrorist cells, so of course the bureau sent him to rot in a desk job. Jesse Walker on the blurry boundaries of child porn: Not every illicit image is equally offensive. More and more and more and more on D.D. Guttenplan's American Radical: The Life and Times of I.F. Stone (and more from Bookforum). Do government reorganizations make government work better? The results have been mixed, though that assessment might be called overly generous.
A new issue of Human Technology is out. It's 2009 — isn't it time we allow senators incapable of making it to Washington to vote from home? Concern Trolling Iran: The conservative take on Iran has never been genuinely interested in what Iranians think or in the well-being of the Iranian people. Who can possibly govern California? Budget shortfalls, perennial legislative gridlock and endless voter initiatives — who would want the job? Lonegan’s Charge: Can a right-wing renegade become governor of New Jersey? From FT, a review of Slumming: Sexual and Racial Encounters in American Nightlife, 1885-1940 by Chad Heap. Porn’s highs and lows: Mainstream as it might be, it still has dirty little secrets. A plantation to be proud of: Why the State of Rhode Island should keep its longer, more offensive full name. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Aptitude: Do our merit-based ideas of fairness get us what we deserve? A review of Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free by Charles P. Pierce. More on The Age of the Unthinkable by Joshua Cooper Ramo. A review of Redemption Song: An Irish Reporter Inside the Obama Campaign by Niall Stanage. A review of The Euro: The Politics of the New Global Currency by David Marsh. Kenneth Weisbrode on why foreign policy slogans matter.
From The Point, an essay on idealism in Obama's America; even if Obama is as much of an idealist as the intellectual hopes, he might not be a ruler in Plato’s sense; and death is not the end: An article on David Foster Wallace, his legacy and his critics. From The Believer, what is so elusive about music that makes generation after generation of writers argue that it can’t be captured by words? Beating Bad Karma: Iran's crisis offers an opportunity for real change. New digital tools help you manage your research files — Scott McLemee gazes into "the cloud". Alain de Botton on the consolations of pessimism: In our age, as in Seneca’s, the worst is always possible; and on the sources of happiness — and woe — at nine New York jobs (and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more on The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work and Shop Class as Soul Craft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew Crawford). The next author to (over-)react to what s/he perceives as a bad review is Alain de Botton. From IRB, an essay on book reviews as a blood sport (and part 2). The (Dangerously Close to) Archaeology of "Year One": Production designer Jefferson Sage talks about creating 10,000 years worth of history for 100 minutes of silly summer comedy.
A new issue of Open Letters Monthly is out. From TNR, Sean Wilentz reviews books on Abraham Lincoln. From Jewcy, what flavor of New Jew are you? Why all deaths are not equal: The discrepancy in the media coverage of two plane crashes is a reflection of our need to value some lives more than others. My country, boom or bust: Why economic nationalism is unpatriotic. From Slate, Joel Simon on why ignoring the media is a serious threat to press freedom; keeping the fizz in the journalism biz: Thanks to technology, we may be entering a golden age; and Jack Shafer on The Washington Post's boneheaded plan to lobby for lobbyists. That democracy is in trouble — in some versions terminal trouble — is now the commonest of ideas among political scientists, coupled with a regret that their warnings have not been attended to. Afraid of the public option? This is what America will look like without it. Caitlin Roper reviews 117 Days by Ruth First. A review of My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them. Who decides how much White House staffers get paid? Resignations, frustrations, and 180 degree changes of opinion at The Politico, DC's most controversial publication. No Rest for the Wealthy: Forget Thorstein Veblen’s leisure class — in today’s money culture, to be idle is to be irrelevant.