America's demented welfare mentality

James Kwak (UConn): “Social Insurance”, Risk Spreading, and Redistribution. Ann Cammett (CUNY): Deadbeat Dads and Welfare Queens: How Metaphor Shapes Poverty Law. From Pathways: A Magazine on Poverty, Inequality, and Social Policy, a special issue on the "State of the Union". George P. Smith (CUA): Re-Negotiating a Theory of Social Contract for Universal Health Care in America or, Securing the Regulatory State? Arnold Relman reviews The American Health Care Paradox: Why Spending More Is Getting

Paper Trail

On Friday, Buzzfeed fired its editor and writer Benny Johnson for plagiarism, after learning from Twitter users that Johnson had been lifting passages from other stories, sometimes word for word, without attribution in his own work. Upon reviewing Johnson’s work, Buzzfeed found 41 cases of plagiarism in 500 of Johnson’s posts. Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith


Weird Sex

Vanessa RovetoThere's good sex and there's bad sex. And then there's weird sex—a Freudian purgatory that somehow neither stimulates the libido nor inhibits it. In art and life, we're inclined to seek out pleasure

Daily Review

Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War

Major policy changes and crime epidemics rightly generate front-page headlines, but daily press coverage only hints at the complicated experiences of individual women serving in the US military. With a handful of notable exceptions, war memoirs are written predominantly by men, and most war stories have male protagonists; it is as if war itself, and the stories we tell about it, were inherently masculine.


William T. Vollmann

William T. Vollmann's latest story collection considers death from a variety of perspectives, veering from realistic to supernatural, from reportage-like writing to the ghost story. Bookforum talks with the author about his new book, his FBI files, his ongoing research of coal mines and the environment, and his female persona, Delores.


An Air of Impoverishment and Depleted Humanity

Amanda Petrusich

In Do Not Sell at Any Price, Amanda Petrusich visits the secretive, insular world of 78rpm collectors. The oldest version of the record, these 10-inch, two-song albums are increasingly hard to track down. Finding a matching turntable is a feat in itself. The scarcity has kept the number of hobbyists small, and their devotion to “the treasure hunt” fanatical. As Petrusich explains, her interest in 78s began as a nostalgic protest