From The Economist, a special report on South Africa: the price of freedom. The censor and the censored, linked by literature: A South African author learns too late who was watching and editing him during apartheid. South Africa’s Forgotten War: White South Africans who fought in the long "Border War" to maintain apartheid now find themselves in a country run by their former enemies. 32 Batallion: Gavin Haynes on the history of South Africa’s preeminent black-ops unit. The day I ended apartheid: Twenty years ago today, FW de Klerk addressed South Africa's Parliament — and stunned the world (and more). In South Africa, good intentions and poor follow-through are helping to spread deadly drug-resistant tuberculosis. Ian Volner reviews Portrait with Keys: The City of Johannesburg Unlocked by Ivan Vladislavic. From The Guardian, South African writers take stock of their country as it prepares to host the World Cup. Zuma’s people: Ahead of the World Cup, South Africa’s politics is in as dismal a state as its national football team (and more). Fans looking for an authentic experience of Africa during the upcoming World Cup may be disappointed; Ellen Knickmeyer on how multinationals have a lock on the soccer business. A journey across Africa: In a five-part series, Frank Bures explores the meaning of travel when arrival is not guaranteed. From Afrik.com, an article on Africa’s cultural heritage treasure war with Europe (and more). Homophobia is rife in Africa, but to combat it we must understand religion, history and gender politics all play a part. All across Africa, new tracks are being laid, highways built, ports deepened, commercial contracts signed — all on an unprecedented scale, and led by China. A recent economic study rejects the conventional depiction of Africa as a basket case.
From Strategic Studies Quarterly, Leonard Cutler (Siena): Bush vs. Obama Detainee Policy Post-9/11: An Assessment; and Justin Logan and Christopher Preble (Cato): Washington’s Newest Bogeyman: Debunking the Fear of Failed States. Everyone does everything: James O’Nions meets two members of the Italian novel-writing collective Wu Ming as they publish Manituana, their "story from the wrong side of history". Justin Fox on how banks took big risks because shareholders wanted them to. An interview with Dan Ariely, author of The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home (and more). From HiLobrow, Joshua Glenn on Camp, Kitsch & Cheese: "Camp and cheese are reactions to kitsch — i.e., to cultural products intended to be high quality, but highly flawed in conception or taste. People who enjoy kitsch in a naive way may lack good taste, but at least they haven’t lost the capacity to feel. Spare your pity for those hipsters who merely pretend to enjoy kitsch as part of some anti-hip put-on"; and on Fake Authenticity: "The authenticity-seeking ironist-artist knows that authenticity is not out there somewhere. It needs to be created. Authenticity is always a point of departure, never a destination". Why can't we categorize comedy the way we do books, or music, or film? A pessimist's guide to life: Roger Scruton was hounded out of liberal academia, then shamed by his links to big tobacco — but is the "old geezer" of conservative philosophy ready to embrace David Cameron's Big Society? From CRB, Charles Muray reviews books on Ayn Rand (and more at Bookforum). Learning from soap operas: Soap operas appeal across a broad spectrum, from the most intellectually sophisticated to people with little or no formal education.
From Interface: A Journal for and about Social Movements, a special issue on crises, social movements and revolutionary transformations. David Lane (Cambridge): Global Perspectives on European and Central Asian Trajectories of Change from State Socialism. Sebastian Berg (Humboldt): "Post-Communism", Radicalism, and the Intellectual Left: A Comparative Approach. The Thinking Man’s Marxist: More on Why Not Socialism? by G.A. Cohen. Present perfect, or the time of post-socialism: Suspended between negation and anticipation, post-socialist societies are a beginning with no end. Unlike in eastern Europe, Marxism in the West was never entirely discredited by proximity to state socialism; this has led to divergent intellectual tendencies in the last twenty years. An interview with Cyrus Bina on economic crises, Marx's value theory, and 21st century capitalism. The main strategy open to crisis-ridden capitalism that doesn't directly risk class antagonism, is the creation of artificial scarcity through regimes of intellectual property. From Anarchy, Jason McQuinn on Max Stirner, the anarchist every ideologist loves to hate; Lawrence Jarach on why he's not an anti-primitivist; and a review of Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion, and Desire by David Graeber. You'd be forgiven for thinking that a group of zine-publishing techie squatters into rock music, baiting the State and defending the working class were part of the anarchist left, but Italy's Casa Pound movement is symptomatic of the Right's growing ability to assimilate progressive agendas into a toxic and populist political brew. Gavin McInnes, a “race-mixing, gay-loving, pro-choice, atheist, anarchist who hates all liberals”, on the innate supremacism of the anti-racist movement. Gary Tedman on determining your philosophy dialectically.
From M/C Journal, a special issue on the ambience of ambience, including Alison Bartlett (UWA): Ambient Thinking: Or, Sweating over Theory; Alfred Hermida (UBC): From TV to Twitter: How Ambient News Became Ambient Journalism; and Christine Teague, Lelia Green, and David Leith (Edith Cowan): An Ambience of Power? Challenges Inherent in the Role of the Public Transport Transit Officer. From Rolling Stone, Tim Dickinson on the spill, the scandal and the President: The inside story of how Obama failed to crack down on the corruption of the Bush years — and let the world's most dangerous oil company get away with murder. From Creative Nonfiction, here's an armchair guide to stunt writing: Keep middle-age boredom at bay, drive your spouse nuts and become a best-selling author — in 11 easy steps! We need bigger deficits: In normal times, deficit spending has all sorts of negative effects on economic activity — these are not normal times. A review of Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air-Conditioned World (and Finding New Ways to Get Through the Summer) by Stan Cox (and more). Tim Griffin reviews All the Whiskey in Heaven: Selected Poems by Charles Bernstein. From Policy Review, Ronald Dworkin (the other one) on the rise of the caring industry. The New York Observer profiles Clay Shirky. Maria Bustillos on how the Internet is making you smarter. From Yes, a special issue on water. Overtaxation is our phoniest problem: Friends of the financially fortunate are trying to turn reality upside-down — and save our undertaxed rich mega billions in the process. An interview between Martin Gardner and Michael Shermer (1997). From Saturday Evening Post, a series of articles on trains in America. Fracking, oil sands, and deep-water drilling: Daniel Gross on the dangerous new era of "extreme energy".
From The American Scholar, what can it mean to devote oneself to the classics, a discipline that likes to think that it is timeless, that it has cheated the centuries, the millennia? Get your Ph.D. in Lady Gaga: The editors of an online academic journal on Gaga Studies explain why you should take the pop star seriously. Most humanities "research" is the self-indulgent pursuit of obscure hobbies that neither need nor merit funding, and produces only unsold, unread and unreadable books. From C-Span, an interview with Martha Nussbaum, author of Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (and more at Harper's). History for Dollars: As the job market slides, it can be easy for college students picking their majors to forget why humans need the humanities. Analysis questions why so many orientation programs are built around books about multiculturalism or the environment, but educators who organize these efforts say the critique confuses their choices. From Radical Notes, Pothik Ghosh on academics, politics and class struggle. Love in the Time of Capital: An interview with rising intellectual star Eva Illouz on how commodities create feelings, the modern lingua franca of therapy-speak, and Israel’s emotional style. From LRB, Keith Thomas on academic working methods, "an omnium gatherum of materials culled from more or less everywhere". From THES, attractive forces at work: Being brilliant academically isn't enough any more — if you want your career to soar you need to cultivate your erotic capital assets; and flaunt your beauty and intellect: As universities are being forced into the commercial world, academics shouldn't be shy of launching a charm offensive. If you just don't go: Professors need to understand that the life of the mind is also attainable outside academe.