From The Brooklyn Rail, Nicholas Jahr on the strange case of Charles Taylor. “I only want a little authenticity!”: A lost classic of African literature — chaotic, dreamlike, and funny — finally gets its due. Secessionist winds blow on Kenya's coast: Regional outfit gains popularity as it fights to carve out a new state along Africa's resource-rich coast. From LRB, what went wrong in Mali? Bruce Whitehouse wants to know (and more). The Nigerian Connection: Inke Arns on NSK passports as escape and entry vehicles. Lions on the Move: Susan Lund and Arend van Wamelen on 10 things you don't know about Africa's booming economy. Ian Birrell on how our image of Africa is hopelessly obsolete. He’s now an evangelical minister, but in his former life Liberia’s Joshua Blahyi was a warlord and cannibal who went by the name General Butt Naked — and he has a story to tell. Gertrude Chelagat Chelimo on international dimensions in the Western Sahara conflict (and more on Africa’s last colony). Hipstamatic Revolution: Avoiding the simplistic narratives of Afro-pessimism and Afro-optimism, photographers use photo-apps to represent everyday Africa.
Yofi Tirosh (Tel Aviv): The Right to Be Fat. Chase Madar on how the punitive confinement of Bradley Manning, far from being an obscene anomaly, has been monotonously consistent with American laws and customs. A review of Timelines: A Political History of the Modern World by John Rees. Aryeh Neier, founder of Human Rights Watch, on freedom, blasphemy, and violence. Who killed sarcasm? Simon Doonan on how we’re trapped in an era of sincerity — let us out! A review of Like a Virgin: How Science is Redesigning the Rules of Sex by Aarathi Prasad. Who’s loving it? Annemarie van Oosten on the McDonaldization of the sex industry. Can you train business school students to be ethical? The way we’re doing it now doesn’t work — we need a new way. What kind of book reader are you? A diagnostics guide (and part 2). From Popular Mechanics, David Coburn on One World Trade Center and 9 more feats of mega-engineering. Coming soon: The idea that paralyzed people might one day control their limbs just by thinking is no longer a Hollywood-style fantasy. A review of Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust That Society Needs to Thrive by Bruce Schneier.
A review of The Music Between Us: Is Music a Universal Language? by Kathleen Marie Higgins. Why do Quebecers adore Iron Maiden, one of hard rock’s most quintessentially British bands? Lindsay Zoladz on how delving into the history and holdings of music libraries is to greatly complicate one’s understanding of the term selling out. Colin McGuire writes in defense of Jay-Z as the most important person in hip-hop history. Musings on music: Why are there no popular political songs? “Call Me Maybe” is a powerful example of the fact that hits no longer have to come from the music industry. Is country music conservative? Jordan Bloom wonders. There's a new breed of high roller on the Strip: electronic-dance-music DJs who are showered with access to private jets, lavish suites, and unprecedented paydays — is this the beginning of a great ride or the end of the road? James Guida on books by rappers. Wikipedia for the Weird: Lindsey Weber on a list of music considered the worst. Lindy West on what the albums in your dorm room say about you. Our favorite jams are as melancholy as ever; can Katy Perry be more wrenching than Radiohead?
Amitai Etzioni (GWU): The Privacy Merchants: What is to Be Done? The U.S. used this torture box to interrogate Gadhafi’s enemies. Philosophy v science: which can answer the big questions of life? Colum Lynch on the thankless task of the Foreign Service officer. The rise of popular neurobollocks: The “neuroscience” shelves in bookshops are groaning — but are the works of authors such as Malcolm Gladwell and Jonah Lehrer just self-help books dressed up in a lab coat? Andrew Gelman on Niall Ferguson, the John Yoo line, and the paradox of influence: The John Yoo line is the point at which nothing you write gets taken seriously, and so you might as well become a hack because you have no scholarly reputation remaining. Meet Scott Sumner, the blogger who may have just saved the American economy. Manufacturing taste: Sasha Chapman on the (un)natural history of Kraft Dinner — a dish that has shaped not only what we eat, but also who we are. Phillip Carter on why U.S. consulates are more dangerous than war zones. Scott McLemee reviews The Dawn of the Deed: The Prehistoric Origins of Sex by John A. Long. The Princeton philosophy department is partnering with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to provide direct-to-consumer marketing and sale of Viagra.
Martha F. Davis (Northeastern): Occupy Wall Street and International Human Rights. From FDL, a book salon on Occupy Nation: The Roots, the Spirit, and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street by Todd Gitlin. Rebecca Solnit on Occupy Wall Street’s first anniversary. Occupy Wall Street redefines itself: Rachel Lears on the death and life of Occupy. Dear Bankers, thanks for wrecking our lives: On the anniversary of Occupy Wall Street’s encampment at Zuccotti Park, excerpts of letters to bank executives. Lehman Brothers fell four years ago, and Occupy Wall Street rose last year — where are we now? From Democracy, a symposium on the Forgotten 40 Percent, the poor and near-poor who lost their homes, who live paycheck to paycheck, who don’t even have access to regular banks. From ZNet, Paul Street on “the 1%”: The pluses and minuses of an historic term. A review essay on how the wealth gap damages democracy. Defending the Dream: Why income inequality doesn't threaten opportunity. From Capitalism Magazine, Michael J. Hurd on bleeding heart capitalism and America’s fascist economy. Can we save American capitalism? Steven Pearlstein wants to know.