From FDL, a book club on William Kleinknecht's The Man Who Sold the World: Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street America; and a book club on Steven Gillon's The Pact: Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the Rivalry that Defined a Generation. Republican Justice(s): Citizens United and Bush v. Gore don't stand alone — a decade worth of Supreme Court decisions has tiled the electoral playing field toward the Republicans. From NYRB, a review of American Original: The Life and Constitution of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia by Joan Biskupic and John Paul Stevens: An Independent Life by Bill Barnhart and Gene Schlickman. The Postradical Legal Generation: David Fontana on how elite law schools, and the court nominees who come from them, have changed. From The Awl, one of "them" Davis voted for George Bush, twice (and part 2). Thomas Frank on Jim DeMint's capitalist fairy tales: The hero of the tea partiers is not much of a historian. The crying conservative: How Glenn Beck taught his feminine side to turn tricks. David Weigel on why liberals aren't hypocrites when they criticize Rand Paul and Barry Goldwater. Jason Zengerle on why Rand Paul is unashamed to declare his Tea-Party cred. John Amato and David Neiwert on their book Over the Cliff: How Obama’s Election Drove the American Right Insane. David Leonhardt on how Obama’s progressive project is changing Washington. A review of The Promise: President Obama, Year One by Jonathan Alter (and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more). Christopher Hitchens reviews The Bridge by David Remnick (and more and more and more). First Lady Lit: Every first lady since Lady Bird Johnson has written a memoir — with the exception of Pat Nixon.
Anita Girvan (Victoria): Atmospheric Alienation, Carbon Tracking and Geo-Techno Agency. David L. Tubbs (King's): The Supreme Court of the United States Versus the American Family. From On the Human, Christopher Suhler and Patricia Churchland on control, conscious and otherwise. H.W. Fowler's voice in the reissued classic A Dictionary of Modern English Usage is a human one, not fettered to a slavish devotion to strict rules of grammar. From Gawker, here are a few rules for tourists visiting New York City this summer. From The Awl, Chris Lehmann on Arthur Brooks, Thomas Jefferson and the culture war on business. Gentrification and Its Discontents: A review of Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places by Sharon Zukin and Twenty Minutes in Manhattan by Michael Sorkin. From H-Net, a review of Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of History by Christian Emden; and a review of Nietzsche's Animal Philosophy: Culture, Politics, and the Animality of the Human Being by Vanessa Lemm. Francis Fukuyama reviews Friedrich Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography by Julian Young. Blake Butler reviews About a Mountain by John D'Agata. A review of The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism by Pascal Bruckner (and more). An interview with Stan Cox, author of Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air-Conditioned World (and Finding New Ways to Get Through the Summer). From PopMatters, a special section on the 35th anniversary of Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks. Failure to communicate: The inability of many students to write clear, cogent sentences has costly implications for the digital age. Has the New Urbanism outlived its original purpose? The movement's charismatic founder, Andres Duany, seems to think so.
From the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, Edward M. Fernandes (Barton): The Swinging Paradigm: An Evaluation of the Marital and Sexual Satisfaction of Swingers; David Knox (ECU) and Marty E. Zusman (Indiana): Sexuality in Black and White: Data from 783 Undergraduates; an article on research conducted with a group of “objectum sexuals” (OS) or “objectophiles,” people who experience emotional, romantic, affectionate and/or sexual relationships with objects; and a review of Insatiable Wives: Women Who Stray and the Men Who Love Them by David J. Ley. From EnlightenNext, a special issue on sex: The good, the strange, and the sacred. Is anal sex fair to women? A rigorous appendix to Toni Bentley's The Surrender. A review of Moral Panics, Sex Panics: Fear and the Fight over Sexual Rights. A place where sex is never a dirty word: Where do porn stars and nude poets compete for prizes? From Forbes, how big is porn? Dan Ackman investigates. Rationalizing sexual tourism: How some countries benefit from selling sex. How many lovers are too many? Catherine Nixey ventures into the burgeoning world of polyamory to find out. Jessica Valenti on why we should get rid of virginity. From Commentary, a review of Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream by Steven Watts and Playboy and the Making of the Good Life in Modern America by Elizabeth Fraterrigo. Hard times: Laura Kipnis reviews Screening Sex by Linda Williams. Cindy Gallop on how hardcore pornography had distorted the way a generation of young men think about sex. Pop culture has condemned men who use sex dolls as icky weirdos — but do they get an unfair rap? We (rightly) worry and fight against visual pornography — but what about the dangers of pornography of the mind and heart?
From The New Yorker, how worried should we be about everyday chemicals? by Jerome Groopman wants to know; and the real cause of the Gulf disaster? Our insatiable appetite for oil — we must look for it in ever more remote places, and extract it in ever riskier ways. This is not a weed: Plants that spontaneously grow in the city are marvels of adaptation — what can we learn from them? From New York, Obama is from Mars, Wall Street is from Venus: John Heilemann psychoanalyzes one of America’s most dysfunctional relationships. A review of The Finger: A Handbook by Angus Trumble. Andrew Martin reviews The Gin Closet by Leslie Jamison. From The Chronicle, Nicolaus Mills on Richard Blumenthal, liberal guilt, and Vietnam: Obfuscation has only made the left less effective in remedying the inequalities of military service. The Last Pop Star: Lady Gaga is simultaneously embodying and eviscerating Pop. Do the archives of the Royal Navy include volume after gilt-edged volume detailing secret encounters between Her Majesty’s warships and horrifying sea creatures? From LRB, is this the end of the UK? David Runciman wants to know; and Eric Hobsbawm on his days as a Jazz critic. Wrestling with Death: The revival of August Wilson’s Fences looks at control and illusion. Alma Guillermoprieto on Father Maciel, John Paul II, and the Vatican Sex Crisis. An interview with Bruce Sterling, one of the original cyberpunks, blogger of Wired.com’s “Beyond the Beyond”. The war on gangs, now globalized, runs roughshod over the ordinary checks on the criminal justice system. History, not politics: Acclaimed historian Jonathan Spence delivers a Jefferson Lecture with an unusually narrow focus. A look at why global warming "skeptics" refuse to believe scientists. A review of The Dangerous Book of Heroes by Conn Iggulden.
Utopia is what? At this particularly anxious moment in our political and cultural lives, Bookforum sets out to explore this most placeless of places: Paul La Farge on how perfect worlds are games to be played by following the rules to the letter; and Keith Gessen asks, is it time for dystopian novelists to end the reign of the free-market idealists? From Colloquy, a special issue on utopia, dystopia and science-fiction, including Darren Jorgensen (UWA): On Failure and Revolution in Utopian Fiction and Science Fiction of the 1960s and 1970s; David Jack (Monash): Spectres of Orwell, or, The Impossible Demand of the Subject; Simon Sellars (Monash): “Extreme Possibilities”: Mapping “the Sea of Time and Space” in J G Ballard’s Pacific Fictions; and Alec Charles (Bedfordshire): The Flight from History: From H G Wells to Doctor Who — and Back Again. From the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies' Biopolitics of Popular Culture Seminar, Edward Miller on Beyond Utopia and Dystopia: A Critical Examination of the Ecology of Science Fiction; and Alex Lightman on The Future Engine: How Science Fiction Catalyzes Technology and Transforms Society. The visions of tomorrow inspire the actions we take today — science fiction is as much a reflection of society's deep fascination with science as it is an agent of change for its future course. Beam Me Up, Scotty: Is science fiction destroying science? From The Symptom, Slavoj Zizek on the future as sci fi: A new Cold War. A review of Red Planets: Marxism and Science Fiction (and more). In science fiction, there's dystopia and there's utopia: Kim Stanley Robinson maps the future's gray areas. A review of Science Fiction and Philosophy. Peter Y. Paik on his book From Utopia to Apocalypse: Science Fiction and the Politics of Catastrophe.