A review of Fame: From the Bronze Age to Britney by Tom Payne (and more). The accidental celebrity: Timothy L. Wood didn't write an essay comparing Obama and Hitler; he shares his story about what happened online and in his life when some people thought he did. My celebrity college roommate: The memories of people whose college roommates went on to become stars say a lot about navigating your freshman-year living situation (and more and more). Hot Celebrity Gossip!: Why we primates love personalities. Michael Jackson died a long time ago, and it's taken years for anyone to notice. With June’s celebrity deaths, Larry King confirmed his status as America’s chief mourner and grief counselor, turning his show into a postmortem inquiry (David Carradine), a jovial wake (Ed McMahon), an auxiliary hospice (Farrah Fawcett), and a star-studded trauma team (Michael Jackson). Expire, please; go kaput; die, already: It’s not a film, it’s a movie; it’s not a vinyl, it’s a record — and other trendy things that need to go bye-bye. It is sly, knowing and often nasty; politicians and celebrities are its prey; and it attacks, under the guise of wit, without proof or reason — David Denby goes on the hunt for snark (and more). An interview with Michael Musto on snark. Scott Brown on the outsourcing of snark.
From New Statesman, George Friedman on the next 100 years: The power of the US will wane — but not yet, and not in this century. Perry Anderson reviews Reflections on the Revolution in Europe by Christopher Caldwell. From H-Net, a review of Cosmopolitanism and Europe and Rebecca L. Walkowitz's Cosmopolitan Style: Modernism Beyond the Nation. From Adbusters, an article on Japanese simplicity: The only way to leave a smaller footprint would be to die. An interview with Francis Wheen: "It seems that whatever subject I pick, no matter how obscure, by time of publication it is absolutely of the moment". Like the economy, Vanity Fair's annual ranking of the top 100 Information Age powers has been truly shaken up, with new blood emerging (and more and more and more). Information Age? Bah humbug! New Yorkers get a taste of Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. When does fandom become religion, and what are the boundaries, and what are the overlaps? An excerpt from If Ignorance Is Bliss, Why Aren't There More Happy People? by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson. Why the C-word is losing its bite: Rethinking the most taboo term in English. Coin of praise: In the seemingly godless world of global capitalism, money is the only thing in which we really must have faith.
A review of Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st-Century Writer by Jeff VanderMeer. Is the writing workshop a crucible for an aesthetic based on shame? Mark Greif investigates. Writing advice: The world doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your MFA. A review of And Here's the Kicker: Conversations with 21 Top Humor Writers on Their Craft by Mike Sacks. Lincoln Michel on appreciating The Onion’s lit humor. There seem to be an awful lot of books these days on "annualism", with the author doing something odd for a year — but why? Amazon reviewers take on the classics: What if the Internet had existed centuries ago? Students get new assignment, picking books you like: The experimental approach is part of a movement to revolutionize the way literature is taught. A look at why "reading management" software cannot identify what makes some books so complex and lovely and painful. Good novels don't have to be hard work: If there's a key to what the 21st-century novel is going to look like, says novelist Lev Grossman, this is it: the ongoing exoneration and rehabilitation of plot. From American Book Review, what's the future of fiction? (and more) Social irrelevance and self-generated canons: Poetry has lost the symbolic power needed to address shared values.
Mark Luccarelli (Oslo): From Revolution to a New Global System: Reflections on the Breakdown of “Globalization” and the Future(s) of the International Order. A review of The Liberal Project and Human Rights: The Theory and Practice of a New World Order by John Charvet and Elisa Kaczynska-Nay. From TNR, can a liberal be both opposed to imperialism and devoted to human rights?: Richard Just reviews Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror by Mahmood Mamdani and The Responsibility to Protect: Ending Mass Atrocity Crimes Once and For All by Gareth Evans. From LPBR, a review of Our Nation Unhinged: The Human Consequences of the War on Terror by Peter Jan Honigsberg and Bad Advice: Bush's Lawyers in the War on Terror by Harold H. Bruff. From Harper's, an interview with Jack Balkin on the entrenchment of the National Surveillance State; and an interview with David Cole, author of The Torture Memos: Rationalizing the Unthinkable. Cheney's Jihad: Peter Bergen on why "enhanced interrogation techniques" don't enhance U.S. interests. Christopher Jayes on why an effective investigation into the breadth of the CIA's interrogation programs must be bipartisan, similar to the work of the Church Committee in the 1970s.