From New Humanist, an interview with Daniel Dennett and Linda LaScola on Christian ministers who have lost their faith but continue to preach; an interview with Rebecca Goldstein, author of 36 Arguments for the Existence of God, on her novel approach to religion (and more); and why is religion on the rise in so many different countries? A review of Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment by Phil Zuckerman. From The Scriptorium, Allen Yeh on how to witness to postmodern Western atheists. Catholicism is hollowing out in its traditional European strongholds, but signs of intriguing new life are springing up at its periphery. Under the radar of most observers a trend is emerging of evangelicals converting to Catholicism. From The Christian Post, Greg Stier, the president of a ministry called Dare 2 Share, hates evangelism; and a former atheist says Christianity really does make sense: A review of Not God’s Type: A Rational Academic Finds a Radical Faith by Holly Ordway. The most pressing question: What is it, finally, that divides the believer from the atheist? In search of the G spot: Is faith hard-wired in the the brain? Understanding the neurobiology of religious belief is a far cry from explaining it away. Atheism’s gift: Christopher Killheffer on the good questions that dispel false beliefs. An interview with Michael Largo, author of God's Lunatics: Lost Souls, False Prophets, Martyred Saints, Murderous Cults, Demonic Nuns, and Other Victims of Man's Eternal Search for the Divine.
From The Washington Post Magazine, Lance Kasten won't stop rocking until he becomes national champion of the make-believe art of air guitar; and the debate about whether ghosts exist will never be settled, but for paranormal investigator John Warfield, it's all about the search for proof. From WorldHum, Frank Bures remembers fellow travelers who've been lost on assignment. Factory tours are never mentioned in the same breath as national parks or museums or battlefields — and yet who can turn one down? Ewwwwwwwww! Drake Bennett on the surprising moral force of disgust. The aesthetics of disgust: Designer Katrin Baumgarten has created a range of inanimate objects that “touch back” when a human interacts with them. Black Jews will save the world: They believe in a “lifestyle of righteousness”, of perfecting yourself and your community while doing no harm to the environment. A review of Chocolate, Women and Empire by Emma Robertson. Back in the USSR — except this time we're afraid of something more vague than geo-political chess games or nuclear annihilation. Would you take the new Alzheimer's test? Over the Hill: Gavin McInnes on 10 things about turning 40. From NYRB, Martin Filler on deconstructing Prince Charles. The Amazonian Gorilla: How does the online book vendor's power affect publishers? Scott McLemee asks around in university-press circles. Lights out: The incandescent bulb, an obituary.
A new issue of Metropolis is out. From Metropoles, Paul Kantor (Fordham) and H.V. Savitch (Louisville): The Politics of City Regions in Comparative Perspective; Ernesto d’Albergo (Rome): Governance, Participation and In-between: Inclusion in Policy Making and Policies for Inclusion in Four Western European Metropolises; and Olivier Borraz and Patrick Le Gales (CNRS): Urban Governance in Europe: The Government of What? From FT, a review essay on the modern metropolis. Power, mobility and diaspora in the global city: An interview with Saskia Sassen. Louis Moreno and John Alderson's The Architecture and Urban Culture of Financial Crisis and Sarah Glynn's Where the Other Half Lives assess the damaging impact of financialisation on built environments and urban housing — Owen Hatherley identifies architecture as a prime casualty of neoliberalism's de facto Non-Plan. From Axess, a special issue on the triumph of the city. The Endless City: Will the megacities of tomorrow cut us off from the natural world completely? A review of Restless Cities. Cities pose novel challenges to wildlife, but some animals are finding they're suited to city life and are undergoing rapid evolution in their new ecological niche. A review of Public Produce: The New Urban Agriculture by Darrin Nordahl. Howard Gillette on his book Civitas by Design: Building Better Communities, from the Garden City to the New Urbanism.
A new issue of Theme is out. From The Washington Quarterly, Giora Eiland (INSS): Israel’s Military Option. From The Atlantic Monthly, a cover story on The Point of No Return: The Iranian nuclear threat will soon come to a head, and a preemptive attack by Israel could be disastrous — it might happen anyway; and Robert Kaplan on how Henry Kissinger believes that containing Iran will depend on one thing: showing its leaders that we're willing to go to war. From The Threepenny Review, Philip Gourevitch on James Salter, a writer’s writer; and Arthur Lubow on Adam Mickiewicz, the last of his kind: Marginal in America, poets in Poland are lionized as authorities — not merely on syntax and scansion, but on political affairs. The Roadmap to a High-Speed Recovery: Forget a bigger stimulus or a smaller deficit — we need to blow up the fundamentals of our economy. Did Tigger and Donald Duck grope women at Disney World? From Time, a cover story on Jonathan Franzen, Great American Novelist. My Darklyng, a serialized novel unfolding in text and on Facebook and Twitter, illustrates how fictionalized teenagers are online. Contrary to the Machiavellian cliche, nice people are more likely to rise to power; then something strange happens — authority atrophies the very talents that got them there. Six essential questions about the deficit, Wall Street and Washington: Where is the Washington establishment's obsession with the deficit coming from?
From Miller-McCune, proverbial sayings such as “we’re all human” reduce feelings of regret and hypocrisy after men get into trouble, but new research finds they don’t have the same soothing effect on women; and men opt for foods associated with a masculine identity — even if it means passing up something they prefer (and more). American masculinity's split personality: The Great Recession is exacerbating the divide between elite winners and working-class losers. From Alternet, a look at 5 stupid, unfair and sexist things expected of men and five rigid, narrow definitions of maleness that men feel pressured to contort themselves into. Men who cry: The men’s movement in India has gathered speed — time to look at who they are. A new read on masculinity: Magazines see a market for stories about parenting, home life. Men are living longer than ever before, but is that any cause for rejoicing? Heterosexual women bear the brunt of narcissistic heterosexual men's hostility, while heterosexual men, gay men and lesbian women provoke a softer reaction, due to women's unparalleled potential for gratifying, or frustrating, men's narcissism. Are feminists raising their sons to be misogynists? Only when men participate equally in the care of young children will sexism be modified. AskMen.com has unveiled The Great Male Survey — mixed in are some surprising, and surprisingly refreshing, findings about modern manhood.
From the Journal of College Student Development, Wilma Henry, Nicole West and Andrea Jackson (USF): Hip-Hop's Influence on the Identity Development of Black Female College Students; Frank Harris (SDSU): College Men's Meanings of Masculinities and Contextual Influences; and a review of College Drinking by George Dowdall. Do elite universities discriminate against poor whites? From Image, isn’t a WASPy kid from smallish-town USA studying English kind of like a fish studying water? An interview with Daniel Reimold, author of Sex and the University: Celebrity, Controversy, and a Student Journalism Revolution (and more). A review of The Five-Year Party: How Colleges Have Given Up on Educating Your Child and What You Can Do About It by Craig Brandon. A review of Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids — and What We Can Do About It by Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus (and more). A review essay on Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America's Public Universities by William Bowen, Michael McPherson, and Matthew Chingos. The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts is launching several medieval-style Catholic guilds to offer students a chance to learn from master craftsmen and practice charity in the community. The new business of college: Maureen Farrell on the weirdest scholarships. From Daily Finance, James Altucher on seven reasons not to send your kids to college.
A new issue of Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science is out. Did Alcoholics Anonymous “dumb down” the Serenity Prayer? From Smithsonian, a look at how George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg found inspiration for their films in the work of Norman Rockwell, one of America’s most cherished illustrators. From Saturday Evening Post, Norman Rockwell was raised in New York City, but loved painting the more simple life of the country — he created a city slicker, Cousin Reginald, who visited his country cousins and proceeded to show what a city boy he was; and in 1958, William Peter Blatty, a publicist and aspiring author (The Exorcist), wanted to see how hard it would be to fake nobility among Americans — it proved to be too easy. A review of The Rise and Fall of the Second Largest Empire in History: How Genghis Khan's Mongols Almost Conquered the World by Thomas J. Craughwell. A look at familiar horror movie scenes that have been ruined by the new iPhone. What if Hitler had not killed himself? Mark Grimsley wonders. From Vogue, an interview with Jonathan Franzen on the personal roots of his epic new novel, Freedom. From The Prague Post, expats everywhere face the same question: Where is home? From The Distributist Review, Joseph Pearce on the education of E.F. Schumacher. What killed Kevin Morrissey? How the death of an editor threatens the future of VQR, the University of Virginia's prestigious literary review.
Tere Vaden (Tampere): Oil and the Regime of Capitalism: Questions to Philosophers of the Future. From Forbes, a profile of Christopher Helman, America's richest oilman; and a look at three myths about oil: The reality is that we are not addicted to oil, we need it. Robert Bryce reviews The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes by Bryan Burrough. A former oil executive discusses why people hate oil companies, and what the country needs to do to keep the lights on. Before BP: Roya Wolverson on the long, ugly history of allowing industries to police themselves. The spill in the Gulf is just the latest in a string of catastrophic regulatory failures that prove how incompetent government is — and how important it is. The true cost of oil: What are the military costs of securing “our” oil? The Ministry of Oil Defense: It's not polite to say so, but if Americans understood just how many trillions their military was really spending on protecting oil, they wouldn't stand for it. George Hager on the terrible implications of U.S. oil policy. We fight for the oil we need to fight for the oil: Merely protecting America’s fossil fuel lifeline adds a heap to the greenhouse gases that petroleum ultimately contributes. A review of Oil: Money, Politics, and Power in the 21st Century by Tom Bower (and more). Keep it in the ground: An alternative vision for petroleum emerges in Ecuador, but will Big Oil win the day? (and more and more and more at The Globalist)
Sebastian Nestler (Klagenfurt): “Going down to South Park gonna learn something today”: On popular culture as critical pleasure and pedagogical discourse. In defense of the new judicial activists: In California and Arizona, Judge Walker and Judge Bolton are just doing their jobs. Ten infamous islands of exile: Established to banish dissidents and criminals, these islands are known for their one-time prisoners. From Cato Unbound, Glenn Greenwald on the Digital Surveillance State: Vast, secret, and dangerous. Mosque Uprising: William Saletan on Islam and the emerging religious threat to our Constitution. From cursive to cursor: Alan Jacobs on whether it matters how we write. Sheikh Your Newtie: William Saletan on the Gingrich-Bin Laden alliance. From Maisonneuve, can a friendship survive different tastes in TV? Andrew Cockburn reviews Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions by Joy Gordon. America's Most Exclusive Club: In the ultimate power move, there are people who don't own a cell phone — and they're making the world work for them. It's the ideology, stupid: What do Robespierre, Stalin, Hitler, Che Guevara, and Mullah Omar have in common? From Dark Roasted Blend, an article on abandoned houses of super villains. From Sharp to Lovins Elite: Michael Barker on reform as progressive social change. An article on how the Vatican is searching for E.T. and other signs of alien life.
From Tehelka, can India and Pakistan mend the rifts? Yes, and here are a few good tips to make sure we get there. With Pakistan, being consistent is key. Pakistan’s leader Asif Ali Zardari is seen as a distant president, giving the impression of caring little for the plight of his country’s people and failing to live up to his early promise. From Asia Sentinel, an article on why Pakistan is not a nation. From Guernica, some Pakistanis have begun blaming Afghan immigrants for bringing “their” war into Pakistan — one Afghan baker’s story of harassment, corruption, and exile. An interview with Imtiaz Gul, author of The Most Dangerous Place: Pakistan’s Lawless Frontier (and more). What is state failure? Designating Pakistan a failed state renders invisible the multiple and diverse democratizing forces that have evolved there over the last decade. Walter Russell Mead on the roots of Pakistan’s rage. From Geocurrents, a look at the geography of extremism in Pakistan (and more and more). OMG, it's Muhammad's footprint: Pervez Hoodbhoy on a miracle in Pakistan. A look at how hard-line Islam is filing the void in flooded Pakistan. The Boston Globe's The Big Picture takes on Pakistan's floods (and more). From UN Dispatch, just how dire is this crisis in humanitarian terms? The Pakistan floods are the worst humanitarian disaster in recent history. July was a cruel month for Pakistan, and more seem certain to follow.