The final issue of Culture is out. From Applied Semiotics, Christos Zagkos, Argyris Kyridis, Ifigenia Vamvakidou, Nikos Fotopoulos (Western Macedonia): The Banknote as a Figure of Nationhood in the Balkan Countries; and Daniel Reynolds (UCSB): Esthetics of the Extreme in Shock Websites. Christopher Terry welcomes a re-examination of the work of F.R. Leavis and the legacy of his controversial style of criticism. Russell Jacoby on Sigmund Freud in America. From New Statesman, a special issue on the 50 people who matter today. A study uncovers the "de-urbanization" of America. A review of Are We There Yet?: The Golden Age of American Family Vacations by Susan Sessions Rugh. What does woman want? Mary Eberstadt on the war between the sexless. Print is still king: Only three percent of newspaper reading happens online. Queens of the Scatological Age: Jay Wexler reviews this year’s candidates for the Thurber Prize for American Humor, and tiptoes through the doo-doo. People who know a lot about a lot have long been an exclusive club, but now they are an endangered species; Edward Carr tracks some down. Torture porn movies are complex cultural products that deserve serious academic attention and analysis. Captain Hook meets Adam Smith: Debunking pirate myths reveals how hidden economic forces generate social order. Fashion Forward: A Washington couple finds happiness in a cocktail of philosophy and fashion — metaphysics never looked so good. Should Roman Polanski have to pay for crimes he committed 30 years ago? AC Grayling investigates.
From NYRB, what is an Andy Warhol? Richard Dorment reviews Andy Warhol by Arthur Danto; Pop: The Genius of Andy Warhol by Tony Scherman and David Dalton; and I Sold Andy Warhol (Too Soon) by Richard Polsky. Noah Berlatsky writes in praise of useless art that nobody wants. A review of A Face to the World: On Self-Portraits by Laura Cumming (and more and more and more and more). My ant could paint that: What invertebrates’ creations tell us about art. Malignant sadness: Brian Dillon examines the relationship between creativity, illness and the imagination. Mr. MOMA: Calvin Tomkins on Michael H. Dunn, the man who left it all to the museum. Claire Barliant reviews The Possible Life of Christian Boltanski. Decoding Jackson Pollock: Did the Abstract Expressionist hide his name amid the swirls and torrents of a legendary 1943 mural? In praise of doodling: Preliterate, primordial, the doodle is at once the most common and the most ignored art form. An interview with Jeff Koons. Bird Brain: Is art criticism so easy that a pigeon can do it? At New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Amy Herman schools police in the fine art of deductive observation. Forgotten visionary: An article on the art of Charles Burchfield. Why do people visit art museums? The answer depends on the type of art on display. Paul Johnson on the joy of portraiture. A public-art experiment is taking London’s art scene by storm — giving 2,400 people each an hour to do whatever they like in the city’s most bustling square. Research suggests artistic tendencies are linked to "schizophrenia gene".
A review of After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam by Lesley Hazleton. Long thought to be on the path to extinction, modern-day Sufism is as strong as ever in the Arab world even if serious study of the movement is lacking. A review of Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World through Islamic Eyes by Tamim Ansary. A review of Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law by Nonie Darwish. Last gasp for global Islam: A review of The Crisis of Islamic Civilization by Ali Allawi (and more). Can the clash of civilisations be avoided? Jeremy Stangroom tests Ramin Jahanbegloo’s commitment to peaceful, constructive dialogue. A review of Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom by Bruce Bawer (and more). Richard Koch and Chris Smith rue the west’s loss of nerve. Twice Branded: An article on Western women in Muslim lands. The introduction to Questioning the Veil: Open Letters to Muslim Women by Marnia Lazreg. From Standpoint, turning a blind eye to misogyny: Liberals and feminists do not consider the oppression of women a pressing concern when done in the name of culture or religion; and a veil of silence over murder: All over the world, men are killing women on a point of "honour" — why do we tolerate the intolerable? An article on the wave of homophobia that is sweeping the Muslim world. Let’s talk about Muslim sex: Sex has ruffled many in the Arab world lately — about time.
Grappling with the Anthropocene: Scientists identify safe limits for human impacts on planet. The Earth has nine biophysical thresholds beyond which it cannot be pushed without disastrous consequences — and we have already moved past three of these tipping points. Comparing and graphing nine environmental threats, researchers find unexpected evils. E. Colin Ruggero on Radical Green Populism: Climate change, social change and the power of everyday practices. Overcoming inertia on climate change is unlikely to take place through the time-honored methods of hectoring and lecturing; perhaps a little salesmanship and psychology is called for. Here's the bottom line: The claim that climate legislation will kill the economy deserves the same disdain as the claim that global warming is a hoax. Framing those who push for zero emissions as misanthropes addled by "green faith" is a stock tactic of climate change deniers. Look, conservatives who believe in global warming, and they're doing something about it — too bad they live in Europe. Climate change hits the poorest people hardest; rich countries got us into this mess, now they must get us out of it (and more). Scientists concoct a $2-trillion-per-year plan to geoengineer the Sahara desert. Hacking the sky: Geo-engineering could save the planet — and in the process sacrifice the world. As global warming sets in, some of the world's wonders may not wait around for you to experience them; here are 10 places you need to visit before the climate changes.
Saving the Obama Revolution: President Obama should follow the model of the incredibly successful Reagan revolution and heed the political base that made his presidency possible. A look at how President Obama's rhetoric echoes Ronald Reagan. The truth about bureaucracy: To inspire faith in Washington, President Obama may first have to reveal some of his own doubts. Newsmax's John L. Perry on how there is a possibility that the military will stage a coup to "resolve the Obama problem". Who is Barack Obama, and why do people say such loopy, ugly things about him? Philip Weiss on the enduring rot in American politics. A look at how voting for Obama can increase racism. An interview with Max Blumenthal, author of Republican Gomorrah. Voice of America: When does a society tip from expressive speech into excessive fulmination and then into repression or violence? The roots of political polarization: When Newt Gingrich arranged for House members to go home for the weekend, a sense of congressional collegiality was replaced by cutthroat competition. Long before Al Franken became a senator from Minnesota and Victoria Jackson took to writing a blog skewering Franken’s party, the two shared laughs as part of the same SNL cast in the late 1980s — and a brief but interesting encounter. A crash course in American coarseness: It began not with our politicians but with our stand-up comics. Slate goes inside the wacky but lucrative world of presidential impersonators. The Politico goes inside the curious case of catchy political tunes.
Brian Leiter (Chicago): Foundations of Religious Liberty: Toleration or Respect? A review of In Defense of Religious Liberty by David Novak. A review of The Role of Religion in Modern Societies. A review of The Future of Faith by Harvey Cox. An interview with Terry Eagleton, author of Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate. More on God Is Back by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge. From Killing the Buddha, Alex Rose on Saint Hildegard and the science of religious experience; postcards from my chastity pledge: Hell is other people’s multi-faith neighborhoods; and icons of the new evangelicalism: Why all the little beards? A review of Believer, Beware: First-Person Dispatches from the Margins of Faith. To gain faith, or lose it, are curiously similar experiences; but what are they like? The proof industry: When modern-day debaters on belief use ancient proofs in their arguments, it's often to make a point they weren't meant to serve. The art of certainty: We need to teach children faith first before they can learn to doubt, says Roger Scruton (in his response to Danny Postel). By their works shall ye know them: People of faith have rejected the benefits of an open mind and, perhaps through choice, are destined to repeat their bloody pasts. More on In Praise of Doubt by Peter Berger and Anton Zijderveld. The right way to pray: Americans aren’t sure they know how to talk to God; fortunately, there is plenty of instruction available. Here's the blog of the funniest book about why your religion is false.
From Foreign Policy, here's a $9 trillion question: Did the world get Muhammad Yunus wrong? Small change: Billions of dollars and a Nobel Prize later, it looks like "microlending" doesn’t actually do much to fight poverty. What the world's poorest can teach us about money management: How can anyone live on just $2 a day? Economists are starting to find out. A review of Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day (and more). A new approach to aid: How a basic income program saved a Namibian village. How important is nutrition to economic development?: An article on potatoes, the fruit of the earth. East Africa's drought is a looming catastrophe: Governments are at their wits’ end to keep their hungry people alive. Cornucopia Blues: A review of Enough: Why the World's Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty by Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman and Famine: A Short History by Cormac O Grada (and more). So much food, so much hunger: Despite the Green Revolution, a billion people still don’t have enough to eat. If we choose to steer clear of GM agriculture, we risk running out of space to feed the world, and destroying more and more arable land. The future of farming: Here are eight solutions for a hungry world. Bernard Kouchner on a tax on finance to help the world’s poor. An excerpt from The Aid Trap: Hard Truths About Ending Poverty by R. Glenn Hubbard and William Duggan. Is Africa an exception to the rule that countries reap a “demographic dividend” as they grow richer? (and more)
A review of The Death of Socrates by Emily Wilson. From TPM, Robin Waterfield argues for the philosophical credentials of Xenophon, a neglected chronicler of Socrates (and more); Giorgio Baruchello on Giambattista Vico, arguably Italy’s greatest ever philosopher; John Haldane examines the remarkable intellectual impact of the Scottish enlightenment; an article on Anthony Kenny, one of the towering figures of late twentieth century British philosophy; Tim Thornton grapples with a philosophers’ philosopher with John McDowell's Having the World in View and The Engaged Intellect (and more); Julian Baggini demands that Peter Singer defend his demanding call for much more charity; and Susan Blackmore takes Baggini on the trip of a lifetime. A review of Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou (and more and more; and more on Bertrand Russell, the thinking person's superhero). Last Things: James V. Schall, S.J. on the life of the philosopher. Brooke Lewis finds perception matches reality when it comes to women in philosophy. Great minds think America: Australian-trained philosophers are in big demand among US universities. When a philosophy department receives more than 600 applications for a tenure-track opening, how does it make a decision? Makers of new documentary "The Philosopher Kings" traveled to Princeton, Cornell, and Berkeley, to record the wisdom of the janitors. Is Astra Taylor’s examined life worth watching? Socrates in the sun: A Dubai philosophical society looks on the bright side.
Christopher Klemek (GWU): The Rise and Fall of New Left Urbanism. What a city needs: A review of Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took on New York’s Master Builder and Transformed the American City by Anthony Flint (and an interview; and more on Jacobs). Why it's a good thing Frank Gehry isn't going to design Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards development. A park grows in Brooklyn: Michael van Valkenburgh takes back New York’s waterfront. Detroit's Future: Will the once-great American city recover? (and more in pictures) Forest Hills Gardens is a walkable, transit-oriented, architecturally rich planned community, built 100 years ago. How decent bike parking could revolutionize American cities. All over America, cities are becoming vast playgrounds for practitioners of parkour. Paul Romer unveils a bold idea: "charter cities", city-scale administrative zones governed by a coalition of nations. From Forbes, a special report on the 21st Century City, including Joel Kotkin on world capitals of the future; and Lawrence Osborne on sex and the city of the future. The megalopolis as fantasy machine. Slums are good for cities: The world's booming mega-cities are facing a crisis, but the solution is not to clear slums, but to support them. Can architecture heal a city? Hamburg hopes its new half-a-billion-dollar concert venue, Elbphilharmonie, will help unite the city. The architect of 9/11: In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta thought he could build the ideal Islamic city. A remarkable architectural endeavour, South Korea's Paju Book City is a place of pilgrimage for anyone who delights in those old information technologies.
From Standpoint, Jonathan Bate on the character of Englishness. A review of Aristocrats: Britain's Great Ruling Classes from 1066 to the Present by Lawrence James (and more). From Prospect, for 300 years Britain's best minds have fretted over the threat of national bankruptcy; how worried should we be today? A review of The Cosmopolitan Interior: Liberalism and the British Home 1870-1914. More on A Radical History of Britain by Edward Vallance. When the lights went out: A review of Strange Days Indeed: The Golden Age of Paranoia by Francis Wheen (and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more). We are hungry for initiatives that will remake our world, but not since the 18th century has Britain’s intellectual cupboard been so bare. Julian Baggini considers the politics of making mistakes and how Britain can move towards a more mature mistake-making culture. Fleet Street goes out with le whimper: An era's end in London passes with a shrug, and an insult or two. A review of The Country Formerly Known As Great Britain by Ian Jack (and more). Britain's new Supreme Court: Why has a fundamental change in the constitution been so little reported and debated? Britain's national goal of reducing child poverty was a political success — did it work? A review of Oxford Revisited: A City Revisited by Justin Cartwright (and more). A review of The Smell of the Continent: The British Discover Europe by Richard Mullen and James Munson.