The latest issue of Fire to the Prisons: An Insurrectionary Quarterly is out. From Americana: The Journal of American Popular Culture, Mike Meloy (Loyola): From Kid Nation to Caste Nation: Mobility, Privilege, and the Paradox of Class on Reality Television; Young Hoon Kim (Alberta): The Justice of Melodrama: The West Wing's Coping Strategies in a World of Violence and Terror; Becca Cragin (BGSU): Noirish Inversions: Investigation and Victimization in The Silence of the Lambs and Basic Instinct; and an interview with Philippa Gates, author of Detecting Men: Masculinity and the Hollywood Detective Film. From The Rumpus, Ethan Watters on 10 things you should know before going on The Daily Show. Patrick Egan on Perry v. Schwarzenegger: Is being gay a fixed trait or chosen identity? (but so what if sexual orientation is a choice after all?) From The American Scientist, a review of The Unimaginable Mathematics of Borges' Library of Babel by William Goldbloom Bloch; and knowing when to stop: How to gamble if you must — the mathematics of optimal stopping. From Haaretz, a review of The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich by Daniel Ammann; and a review of A Cracking of the Heart by David Horowitz. A look at the 6 most statistically full of shit professions. Franklin Bruno on Flarf Poetry: Since coming together on private Listserv exchanges in 2001, the writers of the Flarf Collective have attracted critical attention — oh, and readers — more rapidly than is deemed seemly for contemporary poets. Bundles of Cable: James Surowiecki on the ill-advised battle between the networks and the providers.
A review of A Language of Its Own: Sense and Meaning in the Making of Western Art Music by Ruth Katz. The revenge of the beer fiddlers: An article on the regulation of amateurs in musical life. There was more to the punk scene than sneering, swearing and affected nihilism — there were some decent tunes, too. Is classic indie rock an oxymoron?: Ben Gook ponders the difficulties of navigating a never-ending supply of new music. From Paste, we can tear down this idol with reckless abandon because, to our question, there is a concrete answer: Indie is dead, it has killed itself. Andy Battaglia on Future-Shock Music: Serious music fans fetishize moments of future-shock rupture — those moments of fruitful confusion and ecstatic release that attend the arrival of new movements and new sounds. Can pop music survive without a mass market, mass acceptance or the drive for mass profits?: A review of Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music by Greg Kot, Selling Sounds: The Commercial Revolution in American Music by David Suisman, and Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music by Greg Milner (and more at Bookforum). Audiophoolery: Ethan Winer reveals that the worlds of audio engineering and consumer electronics are filled with pseudoscience. The duet of brain and music: Two new studies of music and the brain give us insights into the mind of the improvising musician, and the conformist leanings of teenagers. Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnell famously declared that D minor is “the saddest of keys”, but is music in a minor key inevitably sad?
Johann Hari on how the corruption in Washington is smothering America's future. An aggregation of nincompoops: Viewed from across the pond, the U.S. government seems at best incompetent and at worst a joke. Why is the United States resembling more and more Italy, the fiscal basketcase of Europe? America the Ungovernable: Three forces have conspired to prevent President Obama from running the country effectively: congressional Republicans, congressional Democrats, and the American people. Jeffery Sachs on fixing the broken government policy process. How to stop complaining and start improving government: The new Technology for Transparency Network is trying to bridge the gap between bloggers and civil society and fostering collaboration among disparate civic-engagement and good-governance projects. A review of If We Can Put a Man on the Moon: Getting Big Things Done in Government by William Eggers and John O'Leary. The Quiet Revolution: John Judis on how Obama has reinvented the state in more ways than you can imagine. The return of childish things: The smallness of Washington and the natural nervousness of the electorate proved too much for Obama's original vision — but there's still hope. Tyranny of the Majorities: Why losing a few Democrats in Congress could be good news for the president. Jonathan Cohn on the bipartisan trap and how Democrats fell into it. James Fallows on why bipartisanship can't work: the expert view (and part 2). Norman Ornstein on how this has been a very productive Congress, despite what the approval ratings say.
From Things, it says a lot for our disconnection with the world around us that walking can be considered a creative, even subversive act. Can Auschwitz be saved? Liberated 65 years ago, the Nazi concentration camp is one of Eastern Europe's most visited sites — and most fragile. Is a happy anthropologist a good anthropologist? Katherine L. Smith investigates. A review of The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism by Pascal Bruckner. A review of Performing Dark Arts: A Cultural History of Conjuring by Michael Mangan. Our daughters should not be cut: Female genital mutilation isn't just a problem in other countries — it's happening here, and we need to face it. A review of Cranioklepty: Grave Robbing and the Search for Genius by Colin Dickey. From Arts and Opinion, Robert J. Lewis on the evolutionary significance of the imagination and on the origins of love and hate; do we need a law that tells us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us? The Law of Life says otherwise; and Geoff Olson on the seven deadly spins: No one ever choked to death swallowing his pride. Ed Park on Comic Novels: "Nabokov urged us to read with our spines, to savor the tingle that the best writing brings. I tell the students in my comic-novel seminar to read with their funny bones". From Telos, Maurizio Meloni on biopolitics in a neurobiological era. From Details, here's the amazing tale of the high school quarterback turned lesbian filmmaker. Speech Therapy: Is TV like Jersey Shore helping to preserve regional accents? Obama’s Bank Job: The Volcker rules are a great political idea — even though the real problems may lie elsewhere.
Chris Fleming (UWS) and John O'Carroll (Charles Sturt): Originary Economics and the Genesis of Advertising. From the latest issue of Business and Economic History On-Line, Stefan Schwarzkopf (QMUL): What Was Advertising? The Invention, Rise, Demise, and Disappearance of Advertising Concepts in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-century Europe and America; Eldon Bernstein (Lynn) and Fred Carstensen (UConn): An American Success Story — Keep it Simple: The Wiffle Ball, Inc.; Bryant Simon (Temple): Up-Close in the Flat World: Learning about the Global at a Local Starbucks in Singapore; and Corine Maitte (Paris): Labels, Brands, and Market Integration in the Modern Era. A review of The Age of Persuasion: How Marketing Ate Our Culture by Terry O’Reilly and Mike Tennant. Trying to ward off regulators, the ad industry has agreed on a standard icon to tell consumers what is happening. Like Kremlin censors, Starbucks regulates choice — and the distinction between the role of government and brands gets fuzzier all the time. Post-Advertising Advertising: The sacred membrane separating advertising and content has been torn apart. Is shopping all bad?: A review of Neal Lawson's All Consuming. In its practical effects, consumerism is a totalitarian system: it permeates every aspect of our lives. Have consumerism, suburbanization and a malevolent corporate-government partnership so beaten us down that we no longer have the will to save ourselves? Switching away from a capitalist ethic of consumerism continues to be easier said than done: It's our consumer-driven economy, stupid — oh, and the advertisers. Does expanded consumer consciousness signal the end of the traditional shopping mall?
From First Things, Mary Eberstadt on Christianity Lite; Paul J. Griffiths on the nature of desire; Mary Ann Glendon on Cicero Superstar; and Tiger Woods and Plato: Paradoxically, from this most contemporary downfall we learn that our civilization’s most ancient wisdom is still worthy of our careful consideration. From Gelf, an interview with Malcolm Gladwell and Chuck Klosterman on sports (and Michael Sandlin reviews Klosterman's Eating the Dinosaur). Jurgen Habermas seemed to have started tweeting, but the account wasn't all it appeared to be. From Real World Economics, voting is now open for the Ignoble Prize for Economics, to be awarded to the three economists who contributed most to enabling the Global Financial Collapse. A review of Permeable Walls: Historical Perspectives on Hospital and Asylum Visiting. From Imprimis, Victor Davis Hanson on the future of Western war. Edwin Heathcote on why it’s time we took design seriously: A review essay. Christopher Phelps says Howard Zinn's approach to his craft and calling was, at root, existentialist. From Brevity, interest in experimental forms of the essay and odd uses of new media for an essay platform leads to Amazon customer comments. From HBR, Dan Ariely on the long-term effects of short-term emotions. A review of Hannah Arendt and the Uses of History: Imperialism, Nationalism, Race and Genocide. The Book Liberator: Theo Schell-Lambert on taking a page from every book, literally. Keyboards, codes and the search for optimality: In biology, as in technology, we should not confuse persistence with perfection.
Elizabeth Holmes (PUHC): Reforming Ireland? An Inquiry from the Standpoint afforded by Rival Traditions. What measures need to be taken to ensure Ireland recovers from the economic crisis? From Irish Left Review, an article on the decline of militant Irish republicanism. John McGahern in his place: He showed how art replaces religion, and how writing reveals the spirituality of a lost Ireland. The philosopher’s Dublin: Gerald Flynn guides us on an alternative tour of Ireland’s capital city. A review of Vanishing Ireland: Further Chronicles of a Disappearing World by Turtle Bunbury and James Fennell. Terry Eagleton reviews Ship of Fools: How Stupidity and Corruption Sank the Celtic Tiger by Fintan O'Toole (and more and more and more). Form the Dublin Review of Books, a review of The Quest for Modern Ireland: The Battle of Ideas 1912-1986 by Bryan Fanning; and as both Bertie Ahern and Albert Reynolds demonstrate, political careers always end in failure, even the successful ones. A review of The Celtic Revolution: In Search of 2000 Forgotten Years that Changed Our World by Simon Young (and more). What does well in a downturn? Security systems, fast food, medical supplies — it has taken Ireland more than two years to get real. Robert McHenry on Ireland’s new civil right to be outraged. The first chapter from Irish History For Dummies by Mike Cronin. A map from the August 1940 issue of the Irish satirical magazine Dublin Opinion purports to portray Ireland in as unappealing a perspective as possible. A review of Tinkers: Synge and the Cultural History of the Irish Traveller by Mary Burke. Erin Go Blog: Is Ireland a case study in the death of blogging, or has it created the perfect blog? A review of The Long March: The Political Strategy of Sinn Fein, 1981-2007 by Martyn Frampton.
From Amsterdam Law Forum, William D. Araiza (Brooklyn): Campaign Finance Regulation: The Resilence of the American Model. From The Week, why you should (or shouldn't) be worried by the Supreme Court's new ruling on big business and elections. Who is helped, or hurt, by the Citizens United decision?: A debate. From NYRB, Ronald Dworkin on the "devastating" decision in Citizens United. Money isn't speech and corporations aren't people: The misguided theories behind the Supreme Court's ruling on campaign finance reform. Craig Calhoun on your cousins the corporations (and their rights of free speech). Does corporate money lead to political corruption? What will the Supreme Court's campaign finance ruling really change? Judicial activism from the Right: The Supreme Court's recklessness in the corporate speech case is in sharp contrast to another decision issued the same day. The Supreme Court delivers the goods to corporations — where's the religious opposition now? Chase Foster on what the U.S. Supreme Court's disastrous decision means for you. Hoist your pitchforks: EJ Dionne on how it's time for angry Americans to march on the Supreme Court. The man who took down campaign finance reform: A profile of James Bopp Jr., the conservative lawyer behind the Supreme Court case that will flood elections with corporate cash. Is the likely impact of the campaign finance ruling overblown? The flood of corporate money is already here. How to counter corporate speech: Every American should get a $50 tax credit to donate to a candidate. High-Court Hypocrisy: Dick Durbin's got a good idea.
The inaugural issue of Talent Development and Excellence is out. Robert Delahunty (St. Thomas) and John Yoo (Berkeley): Kant, Habermas and Democratic Peace. From The Brooklyn Rail, wearing me: Rebecca Armstrong on a tale of T-shirts; and an interview with Mark Millhone, author of The Patron Saint of Used Cars and Second Chances. From Axess, a special issue on multiculturalism, including an introduction; an essay on how culture became ideology: There is much that unites "culturalism" on the right and the left; and why imagination is the enemy of tyranny. There appears to be a strong new trend in cultural tourism called grief tourism or thanatourism. Rachel Aviv on Schizophrenic Memoirs: While there are countless autobiographies by writers who have lost their sanity, memoirs of schizophrenia are a rarer breed. From American Sexuality, Kane Race on the queer politics of drugs. From Armed Forces Journal, Ralph Peters on the damage done: The Bush administration discredited crucial strategic concepts. A review of Your Flying Car Awaits: Robot Butlers, Lunar Vacations, and Other Dead-Wrong Predictions of the Twentieth Century by Paul Milo. A review of The Artist, the Philosopher, and the Warrior: The Intersecting Lives of Da Vinci, Machiavelli, and Borgia and the World They Shaped by Paul Strathern. Haiti and the Dominican Republic may share one island but their histories unfolded quite differently. Alex Soojung-Kim Pang on the evil futurists’ guide to world domination: How to be successful, famous, and wrong. Fortune profiles Jon Winkelried, the man who walked away from Goldman Sachs.
From Common Ground, Geoff Olson on the Collective Unconscious 2.0: The mythic imagination’s new operating system. John Gray on the end of a dream: Unreality is the defining feature of the fashionable ideas of the past decade — perhaps only a more serious crisis will overturn these delusive fancies. Martin Wolf on the challenges of managing our post-crisis world. From the Worldwatch Institute, a special report on the State of the World 2010: From Madison Avenue to Mad Max? There is talk now of a Digital Dark Ages brought about either by info-hating nomads or some accident — we are as vulnerable now as Europeans were in the 12th century. Arran Gare (Swinburne): Philosophical Anthropology, Ethics and Political Philosophy in an Age of Impending Catastrophe. From Adbusters, glimpsing the Apocalypse: We live in a mythical era, a time that surpasses legend; and an editorial on Philosophy at Zero Point: Have we reached systemic collapse and civilizational crisis? (and a reponse: Ironicality 101: Adbusters’ war on your little sister’s flannel leggings). More and more and more on Megadisasters: The Science of Predicting the Next Catastrophe by Florin Diacu. Does the sweet tooth for catastrophe scenarios really span eras and continents, or is it just one of our self-defeating Western eccentricities? Apocalypse literature now, and then: Writers have been imagining the end of the world since soon after it began, but today's practitioners deliver a new kind of bleakness. Here's a thought experiment envisioning a civilization recovery plan. Five reasons for optimism: As awful as the times may seem, they also contain seeds of hope.