From Gelf, psychologist Paul Bloom studies babies to understand how we think about morality and religion; and Matthew Alper went on a solitary quest to understand religion — what he found was that his mind was trying to trick him. The politics of scepticism: Stuart Sim sees the writing on the wall for belief. A review of 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists by Russell Blackford and Udu Schuklenk. Atheists shouldn't be afraid to be certain: Say it loud, say it proud — there is no God. Why do atheists have to talk about atheism? Are the "New Atheists" avoiding the "real arguments"? Laurie Taylor interviews Terry Eagleton, the Marxist critic gunning for the New Atheists. An excerpt from Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies by David Bentley Hart. Robert Wright argues that religion may be nonsense — but it helps mankind (and more and more and more and more and more and more on The Evolution of God). A review of The Case for God by Karen Armstrong (and more and more). More and more on God is Back by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge. Abandoning Judaeo-Christian values has led to the abolition of the family and a moral collapse in public life. Americans who combine love of God with love of country can quote the new "American Patriot's Bible".
G. Edward White (Virginia): Revisiting the Ideas of the Founding. We are all liberals now: Are Americans doomed to be Lockeans? From BMCR, a review of Ancient Rome and Modern America by Margaret Malamud. A review of Woden Teachout's Capture The Flag: A Political History of American Patriotism. A review of Next Stop, Reloville: Life Inside America’s New Rootless Professional Class by Peter Kilborn. What do Napoleon and U.S. immigration policies have in common? A review of Dying to Live: A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Apartheid by Joseph Nevins. The El Paso Miracle: How can a comparatively poor, high-immigration town that sits across the border from super-violent Ciudad Juarez be one of the safest big cities in America? An intriguing, much more equal rivalry out West, but both California and Texas can learn from each other (and a special report on Texas). A review of Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance, 1950–1963 by Kevin Starr (and more and more and more). It isn't a myth: Once you get out of Northeastern cities, people are significantly more civil to one another. A review of Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town by Nick Reding (and more). Coolest mayor in America: Why John Fetterman has his postcode tattooed on his arm.
A review of The Triumph of Music: The Rise of Composers, Musicians, and Their Art by Tim Blanning. A review of Leonard Bernstein: The Political Life of an American Musician by Barry Seldes. From PopMatters, what’s right and what’s left about country music; and who says country can't hip-hop? Mark Fisher reflects on how for three decades hip-hop has provided the perfect soundtrack to the brutality of the neoliberal world-view. A review of Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Rise and Fall of the Record Industry in the Digital Age by Steve Knopper. A review of Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music by Greg Kot. Stereo for One: Decades before iPod, there was Walkman — and before that, car horns and bird song. A label of love: Island Records, which turns 50 this year, helped shape the modern music business (and more). Has the dislocation of "world" music from its context in community and place led to multicultural mediocrity? Hello Cool World: How the path from cheap baroque to African drums to avant-garde led to jazz, Wilco and Bjork. Swinging in class: Douglas Groothuis on the benefits of jazz pedagogy. Smooth Jazz truly is the music of the gesture; it is music of the pose; it is music that hints at real music without being real music. Let's fight about Deer Tick's authenticity: Because nothing makes for better music criticism than rehashing decades-old arguments about indie cred. A look at the 10 worst subjects for a pop song.
From Bookslut, a review of Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness by Lisa Hamilton; and a review of The Compassionate Carnivore: Or, How to Keep Animals Happy, Save Old MacDonald's Farm, Reduce Your Hoofprint, and Still Eat Meat by Catherine Friend. Here's the history behind the transition from farm to feedlot and why Big Pharma rules the barn. Food porkies: Don’t blame factory farming for pandemics. An interview with Richard Wrangham, author of Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human (and more and more). A review of Fresh: A Perishable History by Susanne Freidberg. At first glance, the Nutritional Facts label can be daunting — what does it all mean? Anna Kirkland (Michigan): Think of the Hippopotamus: Rights Consciousness in the Fat Acceptance Movement. Why are Southerners so fat? Claire Suddath wants to know (and more). McDonald's is doing well in a recession by wooing consumers abroad by targeting local tastes and marketing like mad. A review of Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures With Coca-Cola by Mark Thomas (and more). A review of A Pint of Plain: How the Irish Pub Lost Its Magic But Conquered the World by Bill Barich. Why France still makes the world's best wines. A review of Au Revoir to All That: The Rise and Fall of French Cuisine by Michael Steinberger (and more and more and more and more).