From Bookforum, a special section on music, including a review by Gary Giddins of Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership by Lewis Hyde. From PopMatters, is free the future of music? George Russell wonders. Can obscure music survive the digital revolution? Dr. Ted's Musical Marvels is a colorful collection of antique musical oddities. An article on the evolving economic geography of the music industry. Roadies, it turns out, are misunderstood; Will Smith learns a thing or two about the job while setting up for Jethro Tull. Paul Morley on the importance of David Bowie. As British pop attempts to find its own voice in a genre invented in and dominated by the US, it borrows forms and imagery from folk music and binds itself to ancient, mystical visions of the country. From New Statesman, DJ Taylor on paperback writers and rock’n’roll poets: Rock and pop lyrics had their heyday in the wake of the Beatles, but the best songwriters have left us a rich literary legacy (and a response). The secrets of songwriters: Whether they're poets or hired guns, modern lyricists are fighting to keep their words in tune with a wildly changing music business — how top writers, from country to hip-hop, nail the phrases they hope will last forever. From the Mises Institute, Doug French on the secrets of the most successful touring band of all time, the Grateful Dead. Why did punk implode so rapidly? A review of A Cultural Dictionary of Punk: 1974-1982 by Nicholas Rombes. It seems that the classic rock "canon" — the songs and artists that have come to be regarded as the "best" examples of rock music — has become so dominant that it has been internalised by audiences of all ages. Rock of Ages: Forty years after their deaths, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin now seem part of the mainstream culture they rebelled against.
From The New Yorker, what’s behind Rhonda Byrne’s spiritual empire? Kelefa Sanneh investigates. From The Believer, sweatpants in paradise: Molly Young on the exciting world of immersive retail. From The Awl, Choire Sicha on a brief history of the New York Observer as reported by the Times. A look at how the current Supreme Court justices are much more likely than their predecessors to hire clerks (who follow a well-traveled path from Ivy League to Supreme Court) who match their own ideological positions (and more). How The Washington Times is struggling amid divisions of family, ideology, finances. Is selflessness in our nature?: A review of The Price of Altruism: George Price and the Search for the Origins of Kindness by Oren Harman. More on Sissela Bok's Exploring Happiness: From Aristotle to Brain Science. Important questions remain unanswered: Have the Taliban changed in the decade since they lost office, and is there a neo-Taliban, as some suggest? This year’s Slap-In-The-Face-Get-A-Grip-Bub Award for business books goes to Jeffrey Pfeffer, author of Power: Why Some People Have It — and Others Don’t. More on Pascal Bruckner's The Tyranny of Guilt. Escaping near death: What does it feel like to be the only person to survive a plane crash, a boat wreck or an ambush? Sole survivors tell their stories. A review of True Prep: It's a Whole New Old World by Lisa Birnbach and Chip Kidd (and more and more and more and more). The Rise of the CAFO in Idaho: As mega-dairies and feedlots make up more of Idaho's dairy industry, the conflicts between people and cattle are increasing. The Back Story: If our favorite objects could talk, what tales would they tell? A review of Sophistication: A Literary and Cultural History by Faye Hammill.
From The Weekly Standard, partisanship is here to stay — and that might not be such a bad thing. A review of The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama by Will Bunch. Are you reading what he’s reading? Talk of an “Obama bump” for authors comes at a moment when the flavor of public conversation around books has gone from genteel Earl Grey to Tea Party red. “Organized” crime: Andrew C. McCarthy on the President's favorite philosopher, Saul Alinsky ("We are all Pam Geller now"). Homegrown Mujahideen: It's tempting to demonize conservatives with hyperbolic comparisons, but liberals have an obligation to the truth. A review of Dirty Sexy Politics by Meghan McCain (and more). The significance of The Blaze, Glenn Beck’s news and opinion site, may be not so much in what it says about the conservative media’s growing online footprint as in the seemingly endless possibilities of multi-media self-promotion (and more). If Obama cares to know what he is up against, a quick trip through The I.F. Stone's Weekly Reader, or better, a leisurely trip through Stone's invaluable five-volume collection, A Nonconformist History of Our Time, would help orient our personable President to America's deeper political realities. The hardest job in Washington: How would you like to be in charge of holding Congress for the Democrats? Liberals Gone Wild: A short digression on the meaning of a word that apparently has no generally agreed-upon political definition. Jeet Heer explores the secret history of plutocrat populism, from William Randolph Hearst to the Koch brothers. Here are 7 ways the Koch Brothers benefit from corporate welfare. Jacob Weisberg on Obama's moral cowardice: The president refuses to stand up for immigration, gay rights, and religious freedom. Not so easy, is it? How Obama's struggles with disaster and war may be casting Bush's presidency in a more favorable light. More on Rude Democracy: Civility and Incivility in American Politics by Susan Herbst.
A new issue of Romanian Journal of European Affairs is out. Alec Stone Sweet (Yale): The European Court of Justice and the Judicialization of EU Governance. Giuditta Caliendo (Naples) and Elena Magistro (London): The Human Face of the European Union: A Critical Study. From the Journal of Political Ideologies, Jan-Werner Mueller (Princeton): The Triumph of What (If Anything)? Rethinking Political Ideologies and Political Institutions in Twentieth-Century Europe. The first chapter from European History for Dummies by Sean Lang. Heavenly messages from the depths of prehistory may be encoded on the walls of caves throughout Europe. A review of Making Europe: The Global Origins of the Old World. From Renewal, Gerassimos Moschonas on the EU and the identity of social democracy. Europe's butterfly effect: Focusing on the finer issues could help Europe to colour the bigger picture. A review of The Birth of Classical Europe by Simon Price and Peter Thonemann. Only months after the euro zone seemed on the verge of collapsing, Europe aims to put its debt crisis behind it. From Dissent, Yascha Mounk on Europe's Disoriented Right. Euro-paralysis is an illusion: In the midst of the crisis, Europeans did not hesitate to act and to embrace reform — there is no shortage of evidence of swift and decisive action. Europe gets it right: The continent's surprising comeback. How Europe was saved: The work of historian Tony Judt pays heed to the power of words. A review of A Community of Europeans? Transnational Identities and Public Spheres by Thomas Risse. The case of Turkey is compelling because it reflects a larger theme: What makes a bloc like the European Union thrive, or even function effectively?
Danijel Sinani (Belgrade): Flying but Unidentified! A Brief Introduction to UFO Phenomena. From Anthrocom, Michele F. Fontefrancesco (Durham): Between Community and the Other: Notes of Cultural Anthropology. Cults of an Unwitting Oracle: Dennis Quinn on the (unintended) religious legacy of H. P. Lovecraft. An interview with Gary Paul Nabhan, author of Where Our Food Comes From: Retracing Nikolay Vavilov's Quest to End Famine. Paul Johnson has been an indispensable commentator on our times — let’s hope Brief Lives will not be his last words on the subject. From The Believer, an interview with Robin Nagle, anthropologist-in-residence at New York City’s Department of Sanitation and author of Picking Up. Johann Hari on how the only thing the drug gangs and cartels fear is legalization. Everybody's Neighbour: Stupidity and the fatigue of language were bitter enemies of the writer, journalist, poet, playwright and satirist Karl Kraus. A review of Consciousness: The Science of Subjectivity by Antti Revonsuo. If it has invented more new words than any other show on television, why hasn't the Futurama language caught on? From Dissent, Leo Casey on the corporate “race to the bottom” and the blindspots of power elite liberalism. Battleground Cyberspace: A stealthy flash drive attack emphasizes that hackers are toying with cyber warfare between sovereign states. 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. Fan Culture: Time to get a life or an overlooked opportunity to educate? An interview with Jennifer McKnight Trontz, author of Home Economics: Vintage Advice and Practical Science for the 21st-Century Household.
From AJR, as traditional news organizations shed state government reporters, a wide array of innovative startups is rising to fill the gap; and many news outlets are doing far less accountability reporting than in the past, bad news indeed for the public — new nonprofit investigative ventures have emerged, but they can’t pick up the slack by themselves. Who's a journalist, and does that matter?: What should we call the people who are creating valuable new information in the new-media ecosystem? As fewer and fewer people use portals to access the Internet, AOL and Yahoo! are hiring journalists and posting their own material in an effort to bolster Web traffic. What's the future of journalism? Loren Ghiglione believes he might have found some answers in an unlikely place — science fiction. A review of Morning Miracle: Inside the Washington Post — A Great Newspaper Fights for Its Life by Dave Kindred. Newspaper's last gasp: Conrad Black on the future of old media. The Substance of Things: What the country needs now is journalism that explains policy. The Peril and Promise of the Semantic Web: What is the role of the journalist as computers become more adept at pulling together data from different sources? Behind the News: An interview with New York Times reporter Michael Powell. From the Ryerson Review of Journalism, Google hasn't made newspaper research librarians redundant — in fact, they're as busy as ever, even if they rarely receive the recognition they deserve; Jessica Lewis on the art of the ambush; and are local journalists and fixers in hot spots cut loose by our news media? A review of Missing: Half the Story: Journalism as if Gender Matters by Kalpana Sharma. Sworn Out: How vulgar can you be?
From Vice, an interview with William Gibson. C. W. Anderson on Print Culture 101: A Cheat Sheet and Syllabus. Every time a wrestler dresses for a match and every time he dances in victory, they honor the achievements of Khutulun, the greatest female wrestler in Mongolian history. Last year it was the staycation, this year it's the digital fast: "How I unplugged" is the new "what I did on my summer vacation". The War's End: The Obama administration's policy of disengagement has succeeded as spectacularly as the Bush administration's policy of invasion failed. The Vanity Fair 100: Many of the moguls on V.F.’s annual list of the 100 most influential have rebounded from a disastrous 2009, but the hoodie-and mock-turtleneck-wearing top two never even slowed down. Ron Rosenbaum on why killing "criminals" with drones is a war crime. Tabloid Hack Attack on Royals, and Beyond: How a London paper listened in on the private voice mail messages of the rich and famous. You say recession, I say depression: Why the difference between those two words is so important to the future of our economy. Nicholas Negroponte on how books are better without pages: The paper book is dead — long live the narrative. The rest of the world can see Aljazeera — why can't you? Adam Phillips on the happiness myth: We all want to be happy, we want our children to be happy, and there are countless books advising us how to achieve happiness — but is this really what we should be aiming for? Inside the Great Reptilian Conspiracy, from Queen Elizabeth to Barack Obama: A look at one of the more fascinating alternate universes of belief. For Ralph Miliband governments could never tame capitalism; New Labour thought otherwise, and then came the financial crisis — but what will David or Ed do if they gain the leadership?
Rusi Jaspal (London) and Adrian Coyle (Surrey): Language and Perceptions of Identity Threat. As English spreads, Indonesians fear for their language (and a response). English still straddles the globe, but triumphant talk of a world language is still babble. Cantonese cultural warriors fight back: How do you stop 50 million people from speaking in their native dialect? Because of the visual complexity of Arabic orthography, the brain's right hemisphere is not involved in decoding the text in the first stages of learning to read. Elias Muhanna on why the death of Arabic is greatly exaggerated. Why we need Akkadian: A review of An Akkadian Lexical Companion for Biblical Hebrew: Etymological-Semantic and Idiomatic Equivalents With Supplements on Biblical Aramaic by Hayim ben Yosef Tawil. The "revival" of Yiddish is over — let’s talk continuity (and more and more). Linguist Stephen Pax Leonard is on mission to save Inughuit, an Inuit "fossil language" disappearing with the ice (and more). In Alaska, a Frenchman fights to revive the Eyak's dead tongue. From Himal Southasia, the "ideal Sinhalese": Sinhala-language literature remains in a crippling relationship with nationalism; and Syed Yusuf Hasan, a renowned Urdu-language scholar, finally gets his due in Bangladesh. The Internet is changing the way many people learn languages — books, tapes and CDs are being replaced by e-mail, video chats and social networks. Notes on the back of a 400-year-old letter have revealed a previously unknown language once spoken by indigenous peoples of northern Peru. A review of German: Biography of a Language by Ruth H. Sanders. A review of Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler. More and more and more and more on Globish by Robert McCrum.
From the Naval Postgraduate School's Strategic Insight, a special issue on Extended Deterrence, Security Guarantees, and Nuclear Proliferation: Strategic Stability in the Gulf Region, including Shahram Chubin (CEIP): Extended Deterrence and Iran; and Lewis A. Dunn (SAIC): Strategic Reassurance if Iran “Goes Nuclear”: A Framework and Some Propositions. From Tehran Review, Shervin Nekuee on Najaf, the cradle of Iranian politics today. A review of Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia by Robert Lacey. From the IJBS, Kusha Sefat on how Saudi Arabia does not exist. From NYRB, a review of books on Dubai. From The National, a review of books on Beirut. Marjo Buitelaar and Nirvana Saad (Groningen): Ramadan in Contemporary Cairo: Consumption in the Name of Piety and Authenticity. The Pharaoh Must Fall: In the lead up to the 2011 presidential elections Egypt is witnessing the emergence of never before seen resistance to its out of touch and decrepit despot. Latter-day sultans: A clique of fortunate sons in the Middle East is set to take over their fathers' sclerotic dictatorships, but this is not regime change — monarchy is back. From The Washington Quarterly, Alastair Crooke on the shifting sands of state power in the Middle East. Western academics continue to debate the best means of promoting democracy, but in reference to the Arab world they misread the reasons for the democratic deficit. David Hirst is the voice of reason in Middle East journalism. Ramin and Rokni Haerizadeh on the perils of making art about sex and politics in the Middle East.
A new issue of the Journal of Global Social Work Practice is out. From Culture Unbound, a special section on surveillance, including Henry Krips (Claremont): The Politics of the Gaze Foucault, Lacan and Zizek. From Electric Literature, here are five arguments against e-reading. Ever wonder what happens to unclaimed baggage? One place it goes is Scottsboro, Alabama, to the Unclaimed Baggage Center, where previously lost or forgotten items find a new home. A review of Exploring Happiness: From Aristotle to Brain Science by Sissela Bok. A review of Short: Walking Tall When You’re Not Tall at All by John Schwartz. Why can’t anyone take a joke any more? Douglas Murray wants to know. A review of The Management Myth: Debunking Modern Business Philosophy by Matthew Stewart. Bookstore Tourism is a national grassroots effort to support indie bookstores by promoting them as a group travel destination. When did we all turn blond? Now it’s apparently permissible to openly commit tonsorial treason by abandoning one’s roots. A review of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army By Jeremy Scahill. In fear of fear: This, indeed, is the sort of deadlock that makes for dreadful recessions — demand stays sluggish, while gun-shy firms can’t talk themselves into the same damn-the-torpedoes boosterism that helped sustain prior booms. A review of books on advertising. On HTMLGIANT and networking in the literary scene: An interview with Blake Butler. When narcissism becomes pathological: A certain amount of self-regard is healthy, but when it is characterised by an insatiable need for attention and a chronic lack of empathy, the results can be frightening. An essay on vampires and vampirism and the pathological roots of a myth.