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Nota Bene Archive

Orgasm for Peace
Are you a book sniffer?
Anne Frank’s tree
Opera on YouTube
A new insult to Islam?
Swan in love
Caruso redivivus
Is God good for you?
Landing in Baghdad
Cliché Day
The euro in tatters
Sam Harris
Why play dead?
Jewish lawyers
Red wine, fat mice
Richard Gilman R.I.P.
Gordimer robbed
Why the goose step?
Camille Paglia
HK/Heathrow cheap
A Liberal Manifesto
Laura Kipnis
Nuclear Absurdistan
North Korean reality
On Salman Rushdie
Are video games evil?
Drink made me do it
New Frost poem
Kill us, too
Money per pupil...
Talk to your kids
The Gladwell point
Chess mess
Inconvenient scientist
Ten science myths
Alas, poor Mozart
Urban sprawl, or myth?
Malcolm Arnold R.I.P.
Music boosts IQ
Is Islamism fascism?
Martin Amis
Material guy
DDT comeback
Joachim Fest R.I.P.
Wine chemistry
The “No Planers”
The New Criterion
Telephone telepathy?
1960s satire
Creationist math
Rattle’s battle
Brainiest cities
St. Thomas Kinkade
Naguib Mahfouz R.I.P.
Taller means smarter
Career women
Tsunami of 1700
Edward Tufte
Moralizing PBS
No more pizzas
Bush’s journal
Who’s your daddy?
Jewish jokes
Guide to rejection
Those Americans
Russians dump pianos
Bush reads Camus
Canadians in Lebanon
Oliver Stone’s 9/11
Geek speak
Jayne Mansfield
James Van Allen R.I.P.
It’s a mute point
Life on Mars? Sorry
Tim Berners-Lee
Global warming porn
Chinese justice
Suicide bombers
Those capsule reviews
Activist beer
Pay for pets
Secret Bible verse
Tool-belt man
The Pynchon Post
Red card for Chirac
You need to...
Wash your hands, Doc!
Canis Inflatus
Overhyped Harvard
Failed states
Mumbai view
The cult of manliness
The Pope’s music
Anything into oil
Glacier melt disaster
The Guerrilla Girls
Abused professor
China’s labor shortage
Tropical Stonehenge
First jewelry
But is it art? No!
Nihilistic soccer
Wind power mortality
Horowitz’s piano
Cody’s Books R.I.P.
Eco priorities
Reparations industry
It’s in your genes
Fake food
Jihadis keep coming
Gyorgy Ligeti R.I.P.
Best websites
Funniest joke ever
Extraterrestrial Rain
Using apostrophe’s
Melting pot to stir-fry
Clive James poem
Conspiracy theories
World Cup blues
Best art novels
Brits are healthier?
Boozy art openings
How gross!
Rambunctious breasts
Dig up a grave
Stanley Kunitz R.I.P.
Name your breasts
Neolithic muggers
Bernard Malamud
The Walrus was Paul
Men, women, and books
U.S. by the numbers
Colbert wasn’t funny
Turn to 1984
Osama the blogophile
Sadness and glee
Jane Jacobs R.I.P.
Climate alarmism
Protocols of Zion
Worlds within worlds
Korean slaves
Forgive not....
I’m OK, you’re biased
Jesus vs. science
Jedediah Purdy
The 9:24 P.M. Rule
Darwin and fiction
Knifing Todd Gitlin
Condi Rice, pianist
Da Vinci decision
Nina Stauffenberg R.I.P.
British intellectuals
Family meal ritual
Opus Dei defended
An atheist manifesto
Summers...and Bush
Nostradamus love jam
Amazon typos
Germans are funny
Naipaul on the attack
Australia not racist
Shakespeare’s smut
Giant tortoises
Gael Greene
Oh no, gay marriage!
Decanting Robt. Parker
Mozart and genius
Baby conservatives
Peggy Appiah R.I.P.
Sydney Opera House
Writing is memory
See blood and faint
Anna Moffo R.I.P.
The Boondocks
Gordon Parks R.I.P.
“Looted art”
Prof. Goodgrade
Neocon tragedy
Impeach Bush!
CUNY job offer
Jon Stewart
Theodore Draper R.I.P.
Irving backlash?
Paris Hilton
Khrushchev’s speech
Carl Nielsen
Steyn on population
Peter Strawson R.I.P.
Some kind of Denmark
Peter Benchley R.I.P.
Robert Hooke ms
Americans insulted
Arab democracy II
Arab democracy
The Gladwell Effect
Betty Friedan R.I.P.
B-H Lévy hits back!
Last telegram
Life in Mosul
A “war” museum
Wendy Wasserstein
Proust’s Franglais
Wal-Mart & academia
Electrocute your wine!
Chinese map fake
Green house gasbags
Cheap wine and cheese
Bravo Mozart!
India’s moral police
New Yorker history
Neo-Nazi, or not?
Plethora of prizes
More on Nilsson
Spitting Chinese
Birgit Nilsson R.I.P.
Frey’s memoir
Wonkette’s novel
The Producers
Fountain axed
Your Cheatin’ Heart
Free thinking?
Legal Literature
Acting up
“Antiquities gotcha”
Creationist parks
Quantum trickery
Stalin’s supermen
Zakaria’s Utopia
Galvanic smile
Reads your mind!
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The Republican Party’s silence on matters of race keeps it out of present trouble, John Derbyshire grants. “But I believe it stores up future trouble”... more»
Seeing some redneck U.S. soldier, Günter Grass was not shocked, “but, suddenly, I discovered racism.” So an SS member who’d grown up under Hitler had at last discovered racism... more»
It was unsurprising, yet momentous, that the peoples of the Middle East seemed least able to understand the meaning of the 9/11 attacks. Michael Young explains... more»
The masterpieces of modern Western art held in Tehran may be worth billions and are too expensive to be destroyed. But who knows? And where is Barbara Roses leg?... more»
Liberal intellectuals are censoring themselves today in the name of the War on Terror, says Tony Judt. They should be disturbing the peace – above all, their own... more»
The failure to prevent the 9/11 attack was a “failure of imagination.” A like failure leads many today to discount the risk of a nuclear 9/11. They should think again... more»
Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech cost him his career and for decades made immigration an undiscussable issue in Britain... more» ... The speech
Public intellectuals will survive and prosper because of the deep need of ordinary people for “guidance about how to live.” Anyway, that’s what some intellectuals hope... more»
High above and beyond saving, in their last seconds they sent their words into the sky in cellphones. “I love you,” they said to wives. “I love you,” they told children. “I love you”... Jimmy Breslin ... Martin Amis ... Jason Burke ... Brendan Simms ... Gerard Baker ... Paul Kelly ... John Negroponte ... Frank Furedi ... Rami Khouri ... Hassan Nafaa ... Peter Nicholson ... George Will ... Bruce Bawer ... Suzanne Fields ... Tod Lindberg ... Salim Mansur ... Andrew Sullivan ... Christopher Hitchens
The passions that animated early scientists were a sense of wonder at life in its fullness and the mystery of nature. In our narrow age, scientists still seek glory, but... more»
The Spanish Civil War taught Albert Camus that “one can be right and be beaten.” Is there an analogy between Spain in 1936 and Iraq in 2006?... more»
In 1950, U.S. soldiers massacred tens of thousands of innocent people in the North Korean city of Sinchon, including burning 300 women and children alive. Or maybe not... more»
Your typical sub-Saharan country is overrun with Western charities, crawling with white do-gooders, awash with philanthropic funds. So why don’t... more»
Ramin Jahanbegloo has been freed from an Iranian jail. He admits his many mistakes, and now sees the “faults” of U.S. democracy... more» Iran to purge its universities.
Is it a crazy, poetic sense of humor that puts the English ahead of the French? With the English, says Marc Levy, it’s humor that always wins. With the French, it’s ego... more»
Bruce Springsteen is leading listeners to sounds and sentiments so old, pure, and eclectically American that their power is timeless. Ron Radosh explains... more»
Americas private pension system is in crisis. Hundreds of thousands of retired workers have seen promised health-care benefits vanish. G.M. alone is $40 billion behind... more»
Hegel, Gramsci, and Sartre indicate the route to a new global order through the chaotic dissolution of the Western imperial state. Malcolm Bull explains... more»
Laugh at mumbo-jumbo and magic in up-country Ghana or Sulawesi, if you will. But the dreams of globalizers aside, tribalism is here to stay... more»
How do people of African descent, scattered around the world, see their ancestral home? Is the idea of the African diaspora a reality or just wishful thinking?... more»
Michel Foucault is canonized as the messiah of French antihumanism, an intrepid prophet of the “death of man.” This perception now seems wrong, says Richard Wolin... more»
The Bush Doctrine declared war on terror and sets an ideal of democracy for all – the peoples of Iraq and the whole of the Middle East. Is the Bush Doctrine dead?... more»
In any bookstore, you’ll find books about masterly men conquering evil. Men read these. Novels about, uh, feelings and stuff – well, that’s chick-lit. Right?... more»
The New York Timess strategy for the future sees a doomsday scenario: a one-newspaper nation, with the Times the last man standing... more»
Boomergeddon. “If you want the God’s honest truth, baby boomers are the most obnoxious people in the history of the human race”... more»
Gratitude, central to Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, is largely absent from our secular culture. Life without God is robbed of much of its coherence and meaning... more»
Buffoonery or requiem mass – or both? Lenin, among many others, wanted to know what Dada was all about. But not even Marcel Duchamp was certain... more»
The Age of Empiricism: the media, blogs, and the web have created a new kind of information market: open, critical, and less reliant on a priesthood of experts... more»
The 1911 Britannica, one of the finest encyclopedias ever produced, is great recreation for the mind – an intoxicating blend of deep erudition and unexpected facts... more»
Robert Hughes’s wife, Danne, gave him a strain of the clap that she’d likely picked up from Jimi Hendrix. It was so antibiotic resistant, it almost outlived Hendrix himself... more»
Ancient documents alleging God’s existence are preliterate and not supported by science. Nice poetry, but who takes them seriously? Not Paul Kurtz... more»
Government policy in Britain for the last 40 years has been de facto to render the British people defenseless against criminals and crime... more»
Is Latin America willing to sacrifice some of its traditional Iberian “virtues” in order to develop and, yes, get rich. Or is that too American and “materialistic”?... more»
For the first time since the Ottoman Turks were hurled back at Vienna in 1683, Europe is gripped by dark visions of a Muslim invasion. But really, what’s the worry?... more»
Platos Republic meanders along, its arguments leaky, its psychology odd, its politics appalling. But its power cannot be doubted... more»
We are all Hezbollah now.” Oh, are we? As members of the British Stop the War movement marched against the U.S. and Israel, feminist Sarah Baxter looked on... more»
Trivia books – which strip meaning from knowledge, giving us info, but the not the context we need to apply it – are part of a general dumbing down. Call it Jolt Culture... more»
Lasting political change – from the end of slavery to woman’s suffrage to Social Security – starts on a radical fringe before it rules the center. Today, the fringes... more»
Why are some Muslim corpses light as a feather, while others weigh tons? Die in a Baghdad market, and you barely make the news, while the bomb that killed 28 in Qana... more»
The West does not yet find itself in a crisis war, says John Derbyshire. But in a few years, with nukes in the hands of monsters, we might reach a turning point. Then all hell... more»
Richard Dawkins is dismissed as a bully, but he only puts theology to the same scrutiny that science must withstand... more»
Impressionism had a deep effect on art and taste and spawned a vast library of books. Not to mention an ocean of gossip... more»
Marie Antoinette’s story is one of spunk, grit, sex, and a giddy fatalism that speaks to us today. Camille Paglia explains... more»
Like Hitler, Shakespeare has about him faked diaries and forged testaments. The man to sort it out: Ron Rosenbaum... more» A new search engine for the Bard.
Is Bob Newhart the funniest person on the face of the planet? Well, if your tastes run to a highbrow but low-key style of humor... more»
Michel Houellebecq’s novels are filled with essentially pornographic sex involving willing women and hapless, repellent males... more»
The Gallimard family made Albert Camus and a Gallimard, driving a car in which he was a passenger, killed him... more»
You cannot sensibly talk about Constitutional rights in relation to terrorism, says Richard Posner, without an idea of what terror might achieve, and how... more»
He barely got through high school, and began work as a set carpenter. But Joseph Volpe ended up head of the Metropolitan Opera... more»
Eudora Welty said she often dreamed in galley proofs, and the struggle of the dream was to try to make corrections... more»
Daniel Dennett’s fine book on religion is unlikely to reach the audience he wants – his decent, civil, morally serious Christian neighbors... more»
From his Catholic boyhood Robert Hughes kept what was aesthetically valuable, from his ’60s youth he rejected what was intellectually vapid... more»
The 9/11 Commission Report has now been turned into a comic book. Is a Happy Meal tie-in just around the corner?... more» ... more»
So many times in the decade before 9/11, bin Laden just managed averted death and Al Qaeda almost splintered. But not quite... more»
Louis Moreau Gottschalk was more than a prophet: he was a composer of real achievement. His music still gives pleasure... more»
SARS can be traced to a man who butchered wild animals behind a restaurant in China. Amid the blood and excreta of his panicked victims... more»
Scientists who disagree tend to talk: they do not blow each other up. Science encourages doubt; religions quash it, as Frederick Crews knows... more»
The grisly death of Theo van Gogh should have a lesson for us all. Just seems that Ian Buruma isn’t sure what it is... more»
John Winthrop, Abe Lincoln, William Lloyd Garrison, Martin Luther King: all spoke with the prophetic American voice, says Greil Marcus... more»
Gustave Flaubert sailed up the Nile, spending a steamy night in Esna with an Egyptian courtesan: such material would feed his novels... more»
The Crusades were peaceful pilgrimages at the start, acts of penance. When pilgrims were attacked on the way, they took up arms for protection... more»
Brian Morton knows too much to be taken in by the myth of the New York intellectual. His characters are writers failed and forgotten... more»
Blue jeans are the “crowning product of American celebrity culture and the frontier spirit.” Jeans have Deep Meaning, and so forth, blah, blah... more»
Dylan nil a me alienum puto, as Terence might have put it: nothing having to do with Bob Dylan can be alien to me, says Louis Menand... more»
Joseph Stiglitz is eloquent on market failures. But for him, state failure, dictatorship, and corruption are easily let off the hook... more»
Americans may be religious people, but they don’t have much use for the idea of sin. It went missing along with the idea of hell fire... more»
Londonistan. Some people seem to think terrorism in the modern world is essentially a problem with Islam. Yet more racism?... more»
Das Kapital is literature, with elements of the Gothic novel, Victorian melodrama, black farce, Greek tragedy and satirical utopia... more»
The West may have been won by good-ol’ American blood and sweat, but the deed was financed largely by perfidious foreign capital... more»
Italy totters along in a state of amiable chaos, its situation desperate but not serious. Italians like it that way... more»
You might expect diaries of the Stalin period to be places where Russians wrote their private torments. Not always so... more»
Once upon a time” used to be a gateway for children to a land of timeless stories with important lessons. No more... more»
The Story of O presents a tale beyond pornography, showing us something only rarely seen: a vivid picture of one womans erotic core... more»
Thomas Young explained how we see, proved Newton wrong, cured the sick, and deciphered the Rosetta Stone. And that’s just for starters... more»
Of the millions who shared the fate of Nina Lugovskaya under Stalin, only a tiny fraction left behind a record of what they went through... more»
Heinrich Böll’s question still haunts Germany today: was May 1945 the defeat of Germany, or its liberation?... more»
Ancient Britons: brutal, naked, ignorant, murderous, ululating slobs for whom the arrival of Romans was a blessing. Or maybe not... more»
Spiritualism: far from giving us anything that looked like wisdom, it offered the most banal advice, supported by parlor tricks... more»
Wild children intrigue and enthrall because they seem to offer a glimpse of the natural man that lies beneath culture’s encrustations... more»
Ann Coulter says liberals have devised a new atheist religion, with sacraments of abortion, feminism, coddling criminals, and sex with dogs!... more»
Before computers, science still needed number-crunchers. It found them in the quick minds of highly talented and under-rewarded women... more»
Robert Silvers and Barbara Epstein set the table for NYC’s left intellectuals for 40 years. They were the Ma and Pa of the intelligentsia... more»
Plagiarism is on the rise, and it’s not just about students’ term papers. Consider the sordid case of Ann Coulter... more»
Fiery passion and brutal honesty characterized the work of the the late Oriana Fallaci... London Times ... Reuters ... NYT ... AP (1) ... AFP ... Guardian ... WSJ ... LAT ... Wash Post ... New Yorker (June) ... AP (2) ... Daniel Pipes
Celebrities are narcissists, to be sure. But does the fame make the narcissism? It seems not, a new study purports to show... more»
They started as ways to mock the Führer, and ended more as gallows humor. Hitler jokes in Nazi Germany... more»
Empires drive history. But in the last hundred years they don’t seem to have had much of a shelf life, says Niall Ferguson... more»
Quantum mechanics. Sure, it’s weird, but is it really all that unintelligible? Paul Quincey offers a new and surprising answer... more»
It has the highest subscription renewal rate of any magazine in the country, with over a million readers. David Remnicks New Yorker... more»
The evolutionary benefits of our affinity for food and sex are easy to explain, but music is trickier. Whats the survival value of music?... more»
Why was the Air Force stood down on 9/11? Did a missile get the Pentagon? Were the Twin Towers bombed? Why did WTC7 collapse?... more» ... more» ... more» ... more»
Vladimir Tretchikoff, the man whose paintings came for many people to define the very idea of kitsch, is dead at the age of 92... more»
So let’s see. A planet is now to be understood as an object large enough to clear smaller bodies from its orbit. Tough luck for Pluto... more»
Al-Jazeera is a new chapter in the evolution of the Arab media – an area where “television journalism” was once an oxymoron... more»
Would you put on an old sweater for ten bucks – if you knew it had been worn by a mass murderer? Are you superstitious?... more»
Conrad Black’s media empire is in a shambles, his assets are being auctioned off by court order. Yet he’s has not been convicted of a single crime... more»
Tech jobs grow on trees in India, where outsourcing has given way to a worker’s market. But for grad schools, India needs the U.S.... more»
Catastrophe postponed: the IPCC is scaling back its scare scenarios for global warming, says a secret paper leaked to The Australian... more» ... more»
He opposed multiculturalism and was fired for his efforts. Now 20 years later, a British headmaster feels vindicated – and bitter... more»
Cleopatra – the gratification of every conceivable desire – has been remade over and again by writers, artists and film-makers... more»
A half century after the birth of rock ’n’ roll, a primitive six-stringed instrument remains the pre-eminent tool of pop culture... more»
The fall of Easter Island. In the famous view of Jared Diamond, it is a parable of reckless use of scarce resources. In reality... more»
Vasily Grossman was a steady writer who never set out to dazzle readers. But what depth and substance in his great work, Life and Fate... more»
Greenland gained its name in the warm Middle Ages. Today, crops are once again starting to flourish there... more»
“A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself,” Arthur Miller once mused. Maybe the internet does that even better... more»
Muslim radicals have evolved an Islamist way of war that is as complex as it is cunning. The West must find new means to counter it... more»
Bloodthirsty chimps, sex-crazed bonobos, the origins of family, feuding and friendship: Frans de Waal on our near relations... more»
The recent surge of power of evangelicals in the U.S. is recasting American foreign policy. How bad is this news?... more»
The Poincaré conjecture. Has it been solved by a shy opera lover who lives with his mother in St. Petersburg?... more»
The Chinese village of Dafen has it own Louvre. There’s Michelangelo’s David, art of the Pharaohs, and all the French masters... more»
That title, How to Win Friends and Influence People, is just a tad creepy. But Dale Carnegie’s book still speaks to us today... more»
The sinking of the Andrea Doria in the 1956 collision with the Stockholm was the last great drama of the age of Atlantic passenger liners... more»
Can atomic power be green? Physics suggests that it can, in the form of the safe, sensible thorium reactor... more»
Celebrity philanthropy is yet another scene of human vanity, to be sure. But it has its comic side and, besides, there are worse sins... more»
Clara Schumann was a deeply strange woman, but she was also a deeply attractive one. Certainly to the young Johannes Brahms... more»
Çatalhöyük was a Neolithic town, but oddly shows no evidence of public spaces. It had no streets, but was piled with trash... more»
Want to be a dissident in Cuba? For you, that country has its version of the pillory. The government hires thugs who... more» ... more»
Patina and dirty varnish once marked Rembrandts works as masterpieces. What a surprise when a cleaned Night Watch showed up a daylight scene... more»
The U.K. media may portray Muslim fundamentalists as “backward” people, but the British government made them what they are... more»
David Hume wrote that reason is a “slave to the emotions.” But new research suggests that reason and emotion tend toward robust debates... more»
As an event, 9/11 was a perfect entry point into the softness and indulgence that mass media most like to exploit. Its been a long funeral... more»
The notion that the West has achieved preeminence by force and pillage, or by exploiting Muslim oil, fits a common Islamist mindset... more»
Günter Grass has all his life nagged his fellow Germans: never, ever forget! Funny that he’s only now found that he can remember... more»
Hugo Chávez once attacked the idea of Francis Fukuyama that free votes and free markets were the “end of history.” The future, he said, would see the advent of “Chavismo”... more»
Beyond artistic talent, an art forger needs skills of an art historian, restorer, and chemist. Han van Meegeren seemed to have it all... more»
Mutual Assured Destruction worked fine in the Cold War, but won’t work against jihadis bent on massive death. For them, MAD is an inducement, says Bernard Lewis... more»
Works set down late in a writer’s life fascinate John Updike. These books come from a place where life edges into death. They may have something uncanny to tell us... more»
The official poverty rate doesn’t give us what it was devised for: a constant level of absolute material deprivation in American society. Nicholas Eberstadt explains why... more»
What does Lebanon want? To be Hanoi, circa 1970, or Hong Kong today? To struggle against Israel, or be a place of freedom and wealth?... more» ... What Hezbollah wants ... while farther afield.
“It is painful to consider,” wrote Samuel Johnson about friendship, “that there is no human possession of which the duration is less certain”... more»
Talking about masturbation is under a powerful “taboo”: so goes the self-serving myth peddled by solo-sex crusaders who are always too willing to discuss their obsession... more»
In the 1970s there was a fad for giving dolls to baby boys and toy trucks to baby girls. Change the culture and wed change how the sexes saw their worlds. It didn’t work... more»
In science, confusion is essential to progress. An unwillingness to feel lost, in fact, can stop creativity dead. Now if you’re a science reporter, try telling that to your editor... more»
“There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings and in the action of natural selection,” Charles Darwin wrote, “than in the course which the wind blows”... more»
Scientists need their analogies to describe reality. But what makes an analogy useful or misleading? If, say, the universe is an expanding balloon, when will it pop?... more»
Big Pharma ignores the drugs that matter, wastes huge amounts of money corrupting the market, and passes on the cost to patients. At least, that’s how the story goes... more»
Gavrilo Princip went to his death happy, knowing that by shooting the Archduke he had involved the world in a war to free his Slav brothers. Compare him to Yasser Arafat... more»
The collapse of the Doha Round is a matter of evil and idiocy, a case of outrageous incompetence, so bad that it verges on criminality... more» ... more»
Dying in ulcerated agony, Tom Paine was imposed upon by two men of the cloth who forced themselves into his house and urged him to accept Jesus to avoid hell... more»
Our Pleistocene brain always tries to find meaning in random patterns, but it is not very good at spotting true causal connections. Folk science often misleads us... more»
“I’m just the composer, I don’t have any answers,” Mozart seems to be saying at the end of Don Giovanni. “Life goes on!” And so it does: with Mozart, forever... more»
Our identity is something we discover within ourselves, goes one view. Amartya Sen will have none of it: our identities are plural and are largely chosen by us... more»
Airbus is in free fall while Boeing rises. Can we draw lessons from the fate of these companies? Maybe not: it might be that luck has more to do with it than we want to know... more»
Desperate grandmas: They’re busy, busy, busy! They go to the gym! They work in animal shelters! They travel! They get divorced! And yes (Yes! Yes!), they have orgasms!... more»
Who would you bring back to the post-9/11 world, Shakespeare or Shaw? Michael Holroyd wants Shaw, who “exercised his right to be unpopular in time of war”... more»
Late in life, Darwin was a celebrity: his portrait in magazines, autographs, sightseers going to his home, his study an inner sanctum where great thought had taken place... more»
“The violence done to Lebanon shall overwhelm you” (Habakkuk 2:17). Clearly, it is Lebanon that is having violence done to it. But who shall be overwhelmed? Israel? Hezbollah?... more»
There was something like a Trojan war, maybe several Trojan wars. It would be fine to know the truth about them, but who would give up the Iliad for the historical record?... more»
“Over here, you’re the commodity; you’re the piece of meat. I’ve lived in St. Petersburg for two years, and I wouldnt date an American woman now if you paid me!”... more»
America’s Wild West was won, but Canadas Mild West was negotiated. One was all sheriffs, outlaws, and the O.K. Corral. The other was peace, order, and Mounties... more»
Philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo, one of Iran’s preeminent thinkers, is in Tehran’s Evin prison, where he has for two months been in solitary confinement... more» ... more»
Once upon a time, ads challenged readers’ “cultural competencies.” Too hard. No more double entendres. The single is quite enough. Ryan Bigge explains... more»
“If you had the chance, would you do it all over again and be an English professor?” The student wanted to know: can you still love literature after the fog of theory?... more»
Zidane’s head butt might have been a moment of madness. But l’affaire Zidane, the storm of reactions, seems even crazier, says Mick Hume... more» ... more»
North Korean art must express no uncertainty, individual hopes, or mystery. “If the people who see a picture cannot grasp its meaning,” says Kim Jong-il... more»
An angry John Kennedy stood next to the Berlin Wall in 1963 and declaimed, Ich bin ein Berliner – but later wondered if he hadn’t made a mistake... more»
Confirmation bias: science has all sorts of self-correcting machinery to guard against the human will to believe in our most cherished ideas. But beyond science... more»
Take childhood obesity. Do parents bear any blame for it? Of course not. Blame government, along with snack producers and their hucksters. But parents? Never... more»
Marxs Das Kapital is a work of economics. But, argues Francis Wheen, it can be read as a Gothic novel, a Victorian melodrama, a Greek tragedy, or a Swiftian satire... more»
Gushing admiration was what she had come to expect when she toured minor-league colleges, allowing them to bask in her dazzling presence. She was, after all, Susan Sontag... more»
Why does pop culture portray primitive peoples as peace-loving folk living in harmony with nature, when the facts show that they are mostly nasty, brutish and short?... more»
Milk chocolate was once thought to be good for stomach ailments. Maybe it wasn’t, but it certainly did a lot for the British Museum... more»
We all thought we knew that by moving tropical waters to the North Atlantic, the Gulf Stream keeps Europe so warm for its latitude. Now another myth bites the dust... more»
Conservatives are unable to shrink government but unwilling to improve it: they expand it while they disavow it. So we get bigger, more incompetent government... more»
With a fusion reactor, a small amount of fuel can supply power for a city of a million people for a year, with only paltry amounts of radioactive waste... more»
As Jefferson wrote, “the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them, by the grace of God”... more»
It turns out the green doom mongers and warriors on terror have a lot in common. Follow their orders, or we all die. The threats are global, and all connected, you see... more»
David Irving should be free. So long as he sits in prison, Europeans who criticize Islamic “intolerance” look like hypocrites, says Peter Singer... more»
Which sex is more generous, men or women? You can ask a woman. Or a beggar, or a sociologist, or a waiter. Each of the sexes has different ways of proving itself generous... more»
Skeptics should not focus only on superstition, pseudoscience, and the supernatural. The ultimate skeptical challenge is not weird things but insidiously mundane ones... more»
Hawking, we have a problem. Surely the great physicist could have made a better case for space travel than to argue that human beings face catastrophe on Earth... more»
Friedrich Nietzsche’s Diet Book. Who would have thought this treasure even existed? Not Woody Allen, until on a visit to Heidelberg he made an unexpected find... more»
Stravinskys music, deaf to the world around it, meant to express nothing, has turned out to be the most exact echo of the terrifying years that brought it into being... more»
Nature is staggeringly cruel, while science has the power of mercy. If genetics gives us ways to play God over diseases that cause incalculable human suffering, then so be it... more»
For the Founding Fathers, the view ran: “no republic without liberty, no liberty without virtue, and no virtue without religion.” It was an argument John Witherspoon endorsed... more»
There is no intellectual privacy with blogs: all talk is public, with the arrogant, the ignorant, and the bullheaded drowning out the saintly, or even merely well informed... more»
Not long ago, many thought that South Africas attempt to build a truly non-racial, modern society was the best gift Africa had ever given to the world... more»
Randall Balmer is not a traitor to the faith. He is as much an evangelical as his critics. Still, he refuses to believe that Jesus is a Republican... more»
IQ magnets”: they are a few cities scattered over the globe that attract the brightest and most creative people. Can their monopoly be broken? Should it be?... more» ... more»
Democratic liberals grouse that the media help the GOP by buying into the rights chosen vocabulary. It’s a valid point... more»
Bill Buford gave up his job at the New Yorker for life as a kitchen slave, line cook, pasta-maker, and apprentice butcher in Tuscany... more»
Berlin Childhood Around 1900 is a memorial to a world the Nazis destroyed, written by a man they hounded to death: Walter Benjamin... more»
“I dream,” says Erica Jong, “that I have written an amazing book.” What’s amazing is the mediocrity and tedium of her newest work... more»
Richard Hofstadter knew full well how fragile liberalism is, even if he sometimes mistook its prejudices for principles and its illusions for ideals... more»
The gods punished Athens for the atrocity of Melos by making the Athenians listen to the siren song of Alcibiades... more»
Histories of the New World begin usually in 1492. How fresh to look at the Americas as they existed in the fateful year of 1491... more»
Takeru Kobayashi is a medical mystery. He’s a skinny little guy who can eat 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes. A champion of competitive eating... more»
A countrys wealth and its growth rate are not icing on the cake of a happy, virtuous society. They are the factors that make it possible... more»
Rum was originally a rather vile by-product of the 17th-century sugar industry. The name is from rumbustiontumult or uproar... more»
Cities are fun, but they can be rather dangerous. It is not nature that is out to get us, but our fellow human beings. Consider Paris... more»
There is no rush of air past the ears in a balloon, since it moves with the wind. Alas, balloonists often forget who is in charge until it is too late... more»
In Australia, it has long been taken for granted that the oldest art is Aboriginal. The Bradshaw paintings challenge this idea... more» ... images
Upton Sinclair was a man of a distinctly American stripe: the activist dreamer with a deep messianic streak... more»
Joe McCarthy’s demagoguery has been used to argue the innocence of Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs. He was awful, but they still were traitors... more»
When Igor Stravinsky died, the world was without a great composer for the first time in six hundred years. It still is... more»
People opt for vegetarianism for the same reasons now as 2,000 years ago: it is good for their health and they don’t like killing animals... more»
The Prophet Muhammad used the name of Allah to mask his political aims with a religious aura and so justify conquest, writes Efraim Karsh... more»
The garden is the point where nature and human nature meet to make a whole that is natural and artificial, intelligent and inanimate, all at once... more»
The Germans were caught off-guard by British high-tech weaponry at the Somme. This was not the army of amateurs they had expected... more»
To Kill a Mockingbird sold 30 million copies but Harper Lee never published another book. Was she a great writer or a so-so writer with great editors?... more»
Martha Gellhorn’s letters are as striking as her journalism, more engaging than her fiction, and full of the energy. But as for their reliability... more»
Enter the hollow earth at the poles and we might discover a new civilization. Unless we already live in a hollow earth. Umberto Eco explains... more»
For all the cash black athletes have put into the pockets of white club owners, they have not been able to control their own destinies... more»
Tourism turns the planet into a uniform spectacle where we wander through an imitation of an imitation of a place we once wanted to visit... more»
Hugh Trevor-Roper, scourge of mediocre Oxford dons, was a profound analyst and fine stylist. His irony-drenched letters... more»
Hergé’s vast human tableau is worthy of Balzac, managed as subtly as Jane Austen or Henry James. Tintin is the key to modern literature... more»
For Richard Lanham, artists are the ultimate “economists of attention,” the real experts in grabbing their chunk of our mind-share... more» ... more»
Catharine MacKinnon is seen as some kind of fierce amazon toward men. She may be fierce, but only with regard to abuse and hypocrisy... more»
Leo Strauss knew perfectly well the glories of democratic modernity, of equality and liberty, that shaped America... more» ... more»
Yes, Iran today is also a kind of Absurdistan, though the humor of the term should not mask the tragic elements of life in that distressed land... more»
To judge from their paintings, the impressionists led idyllic lives – seaside holidays, sun-dappled gardens, ballerinas. But in truth... more»
The word bourgeois, which names the human being who creates and is created by capitalism, is overdue for a rehabilitation... more»
Adam Smiths secret was to be an idealist without taking that impertinent and annoying next step of being a visionary... more»
Celebrity journalism has all to do with celebrity and nothing to do with journalism. Rolling Stone writers are tiny cogs in the star machine... more»
Hunt down your own meat and gather the rest of your meal (a Paleolithic ideal). Failing that, buy from a small-scale farmer (a pastoral ideal)... more»
Many Kentucky Derby riders from 1875 on were black. Most notable among them was the illustrious Jimmy Winkfield... more»
Such pretty little books in their red and green: they’re not flashy, though they do sing – sotto voce – their authority. The Loeb Classical Library... more»
For Rod Dreher, the tragic flaw of our economics is that it is based on greed and envy. He wants a new, crunchy view of life... more»
William Shockley shared the Nobel Prize for his role in the development of the transistor. But that was never enough. In fact, nothing was... more»
Rebecca Goldstein’s teacher at her Orthodox girls school in NYC called Spinoza thefirst modern Jew.” It was not meant as a compliment... more»
Don’t look for love, even when you do the right thing, and don’t expect gratitude, ever. It’s lonely being the worlds only Überpower... more»
Greed and covetousness were once seen as sinful; now they are extolled. Look at Jack Welch grin manically from the cover of his new book... more»
Richard Hofstadter tackled big ideas – God, morality, politics, patriotism – because for him big ideas moved American history... more»
Evolution can explain why the peacock’s tail has a procreative advantage. But what is the advantage conferred by the Pyramid of Cheops?... more»
Friendship. There is no doubt that Joseph Epstein – witty, ironic, lively, eloquent – is in favor of it. Up to a point... more»
There’s no shortage of former nannies keen to spill the beans on their rich, famous employers. If you’re Michael and Judy Ovitz.. more»
Lytton Strachey only dealt with sanctimony and hypocrisy in his Victorians. That is why he ignored the amazing Benjamin Disraeli... more»
Sex collectors: they may well be “a literate, articulate, and well-read bunch,” but they are obsessed by passions most of us won’t understand... more»
Slavery, a resilient, flexible, and even efficient way to get work done, made lots of money for owners. No wonder it was hard to abolish... more»
Anna Akhmatova: an exotic moth who could never resist the flame of love. Her unhappy romances made some great poetry... more» ... more»
Emotional blackmail based on guilt is a common theme in fiction. It was pioneered by a writer who deserves a revival: Stefan Zweig... more»
We enjoy novels because we take pleasure in trying to figure out what other people, real or fictional, are thinking and feeling... more»
The West may have been won by good-ol’ American blood and sweat, but the deed was financed largely by perfidious foreign capital... more»
Italy totters along in a state of amiable chaos, its situation desperate but not serious. Italians like it that way... more»
You might expect diaries of the Stalin period to be places where Russians wrote their private torments. Not always so... more»
Once upon a time” used to be a gateway for children to a land of timeless stories with important lessons. No more... more»
The Story of O presents a tale beyond pornography, showing us something only rarely seen: a vivid picture of one womans erotic core... more»
Thomas Young explained how we see, proved Newton wrong, cured the sick, and deciphered the Rosetta Stone. And that’s just for starters... more»
Of the millions who shared the fate of Nina Lugovskaya under Stalin, only a tiny fraction left behind a record of what they went through... more»
Heinrich Böll’s question still haunts Germany today: was May 1945 the defeat of Germany, or its liberation?... more»
Ancient Britons: brutal, naked, ignorant, murderous, ululating slobs for whom the arrival of Romans was a blessing. Or maybe not... more»
Spiritualism: far from giving us anything that looked like wisdom, it offered the most banal advice, supported by parlor tricks... more»
Wild children intrigue and enthrall because they seem to offer a glimpse of the natural man that lies beneath culture’s encrustations... more»
Ann Coulter says liberals have devised a new atheist religion, with sacraments of abortion, feminism, coddling criminals, and sex with dogs!... more»
Before computers, science still needed number-crunchers. It found them in the quick minds of highly talented and under-rewarded women... more»
Jet airplanes are a symbol of modernity but they look vulnerable – ideal targets in a holy war. That’s why jihadis love to fly... more»
Only Jeff Koons will ever know whether he was sincere about what he was doing. Maybe it doesn’t matter. And maybe even he doesn’t know... more»
Spinozas dream that we listen to the voice of reason seems quixotic in an era of religious hate. Yet 350 years ago it was even more improbable... more»
Bretton Woods is lovely for the U.S. It can finance trade deficits with impunity and project its military power around the world... more»
About 40,000 dual Canadian passport holders live full-time in Lebanon. They pay no taxes in Canada. Come the bombs, and they want out, at Canadian taxpayer expense... more»
Peyton Place, which exposed the petty, sordid, and urgently erotic hidden life of a small town, appeared fifty years ago... more»
Female brains release oxytocin after a 20-second hug. The embrace also triggers the brain’s trust circuits. Ladies: careful who you hug... more»
“They were the sorriest looking people you ever saw – but they were always willing to work.” Immigrants change a Delaware town... more»
When the boss’s son takes the helm at work, it’s bad news for employees who were vying for the top spot. But is it bad for the company?... more»
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, one of the greatest singers of the 20th century, has died at her home in Austria, age 90... Guardian ... BBC ... London Times ... NYT ... Bloomberg ... Wash Post ... LAT
Wikipedia sets us free to chart our own course, also free to get gloriously lost... more». Plus, Wikipedia celebrates 750 years of U.S. democracy!
Self-discipline and willpower are keys to academic success. But they should be used with care. Cordelia Fine explains... more»
People place Samuel Beckett next to Proust and Dante. But reading Beckett can be like watching the Western canon stick its fingers down its throat... more» ... more»
Mali thrives as a free state because Malians, peasants to college profs, believe they have a gift for democracy and its twin, conflict resolution... more»
Rose herds sheep, battles donkeys, and confronts stray dogs who approach her farm. She’s not cute, hardly a pet. But what a dog... more» ... audio
You’ve tried Craigslist and Club Med, and every date is a dead end. Maybe it’s time to turn to the best matchmakers of all: mom and dad... more»
Fish have a reputation for being cold-blooded, dim-witted creatures. Can they feel pain? Fear? Indeed, are they fully conscious?... more»
There are but four Shakers left on earth, and unless the church can attract some new converts, it is headed for oblivion... more»
As you gaze at the clear blue sky, you behold evidence that atoms really exist. As for its being blue, and not violet... more»
José Raúl Capablanca won 168 chess games in a row. How did he manage the feat? “I see only one move ahead,” he said “but it is always the correct one”... more»
Research on religion is too often done by biased insiders. Catholic scholarship has had this problem, and it afflicts Mormon research today... more»
Yevgeny Zamyatin’s vision of a controlled society, where citizens eat, sleep, work, and love by the clock, had an impact on Orwell... more» ... more»
Happiness is a desirable state. But anyone who maintained constant happiness, given the state of the world, would be living in a delusion... more»
Between his wives, his Wall Street losses, his children, and his mistresses, no one can say Albert Einstein led a simple life... more»
Moscow is the city with the most energetic club scene in the world. For the strong, it can make a great career. The weak are destroyed... more»
Celebrity cookbooks. Who needs them? Cooking is a matter of skill, taste, and experience, not of personality... more»
Shostakovich’s satirical work, “The Anti-Formalist Gallery,” is sung by Stalin in Georgian accent, from speeches of the 1948 Party Congress... more»
Mickey Spillane, a writer of lurid, violent fiction who said with pleasure, “I have no fans, only customers,” is dead at 88... NYT ... LAT ... WP
“Thou canst not stir a flower / Without troubling of a star.” Economists see the point. Politicians uproot flowers, oblivious to celestial chaos... more»
Physicists are not just smart, they bravely save the world, and generously do their research for humanity. If you believe Hollywood... more»
Cortés murdered and enslaved the Aztecs. It was cocolitzli, however, a native virus, that finished them off... more»
Dream interpretation is an old Arab tradition. As a TV formula, it is thus ready made for Arab networks... more»
Shelleys Poetical Essay was a pamphlet published by the young poet in 1811. It had quite disappeared from history. Until now... more» ... more»
The internationalist intellectual has a calling, Fred Halliday insists: to support human rights, yes, but also to promote informed debate... more»
On July 12, 1906, the highest court in France annulled the verdict on Alfred Dreyfus. His ghost still haunts halls of justice across the globe... more»
Want to buy a fake vacation, medical degree or “Siberian purebred” alley cat? In Moscow, anything’s possible, as long as you dont care if its real... more»
Brava Italia! And it’s not just on the sporting field that the Italians excel. We can learn a thing or two from them about how to live... more»
Is immigration still the great engine of prosperity? Or is it destroying the poorest native workers? Economists do not agree... more»
An 1840 daguerreotype of Mozarts widow, Constanze, has been found in Germany... more» Unless the lady is just somebody’s aunty.
It’s twilight of the media moguls out here on the web. “Not!” says Rupert Murdoch, media T. rex himself. He has plans... more»
Modigliani’s aim was nothing less than an attempt to reinvent portraiture. Where Picasso and Gris shattered form, he kept it whole... more»
The most optimistic country in the world.” India’s street peddlers pack cellphones and its middle class is bigger than the whole of the U.S... more»
Philip Rieff, a shrewd, gloomy, deep thinker on topics cultural, is dead at 83... NYT ... LAT ... Phil Inquirer ... Boston Globe ... earlier: Chron Higher Ed
The unlikely rehabilitation of Pearl Buck. Once a non-person in Communist China, the Party has done a bit of a reversal on her... more»
When John Adams said that the “great anniversary festival” of July 4th would be celebrated forever, he ... but wait a minute, he was talking about July 2nd... more»
With piercing blue eyes, a gaunt face scored by lines of laughter and loss, Samuel Beckett not only looked the part, he got the part... more»
Who’d prefer that Little Nell or Emma Bovary had lived? Who wants a retired Harry Potter, bald and grizzled, pint in hand, prattling on?... more»
The Chinese Communist Party has bought off the intelligensia with power and perks. The interests of workers and peasants are ignored... more»
Every year, foods are recalled from U.S. markets due to all-natural insect parts, toxic molds, bacteria, and viruses. So genetic engineering... more»
They play and replay footage of the disaster, looking for clues. They feel sure the post-9/11 era is built on a lie. They are professors of paranoia... more»
For Simon Schama, history is the continuous interwoven drama of human lives, and its study “a resistance against oblivion, against loss”... more»
Once you could say that a McDonalds in Paris or Taipei was for homesick Yanks. Now the customers come from all over the world. Why?... more»
Indias greatness lies in its self-reliant and resilient people. They deserve government on a par with their vital, growing private sector... more»
In May 2005, crosswords were at the top of the games books bestseller lists. One year later, and Sudoku had wiped the slate clean... more»
Britney: if you’re going to do NBC, take those big wads of chewing gum out of your mouth before the interview. And those clothes... more»
Why did George Bush get a whip, a sniper rifle, and a survivalist handbook? What will Don Rumsfeld do with the aromatherapy set?... more»
Do we give up on the age-old attempt to balance ability with opportunity, and equality with efficiency? How do we connect talent with reward?... more»
Very old masters. A human face drawn 27,000 years ago in an oddly Modigliani style has been found in a cave in France... more»
“As they move forward, the Chinese working classes may also look backward in order again to find their own path to a new socialist society”... more»
Garrison Keillor: How has a man who is so inoffensive managed in his “folksy” way to become so divisive? (Clue: note the scare quotes)... more»
Will postmodernists and humanists ever be friends? Sit down, smoke the pipe of peace, enjoy a few drinks together? No, never! Mark Goldblatt explains... more»
Western, rational culture gave the world the talking cure, with Freud telling us what we were to talk about. Cognitive psychology dumps the Freud, but stays rational... more»
A coiner of memorable phrases and a ferocious enemy of those who water the dark roots of superstition. But Richard Dawkins is a storyteller too, and the tales he tells are true... more»
Father hunger: “I was endlessly recasting myself as a beloved Gidget-like daughter, the apple of her dad’s eye.” If only he... more»
After so many World Cups, there is enough empirical data to figure the political and economic conditions for sporting glory. Is it democracy? Communism? Military juntas?... more»
Every day, experts bombard us with prognostications on Iraq, bird flu, Bolivian coca, global warming, and the fate of the Euro. Who checks their predictions?... more»
The concept of alternative futures, banished from postmodernity’s eternal present, flourishes on the financial summits of the global economy. Robin Blackburn explains... more»
For Frederick Crews, rationality is a hard-won achievement that can come undone at any moment. That is why it is prudent to distrust sacrosanct authority... more» ... audio»
Stylometry: word frequencies have helped it succeed in the scientific study of literature. But how about visual art? Can anyone quantify a painters way with a brush?... more»
Advice to feminists who care about their Muslim sisters: stop treating the women of Islam as a silent, helpless mass of beings who think alike and face the same problems... more»
Matt Welch says that he “used to think blogs would transform ideologues into nonpartisan truth-seekers.” Was he ever wrong... more»
Sir Tom Stoppard, “Clever Tom,” a master of the swirl and dazzle of language, celebrated for his rich ideas, and famous for running off with Felicity Kendall... more»
Self-defense, protecting those who need it, dread of the “undead,” fighting against the odds: these are the age-old themes of literature – and of video games... more»
From Montreal to Cuba to Lima to New York, Louis Moreau Gottschalk was a kind of one-man, 19th-century Grateful Dead. Though perhaps a bit more strange... more»
The Da Vinci Code 6: Hell Hath No Fury had done very well – at 120 million in hardback, even better than The Virgin’s Carbuncle. And yet Dan Browns quest had not ended... more»
Defendant (shouting): “Justice! I demand justice!” Judge: “Silence! The defendant must remember he is in a courtroom.” Ronald Dworkin demands justice of judges... more»
People across the globe are seduced by McDonald’s, Hollywood shlock, SUVs – and the very fact makes some of the seduced hate America all the more. Josef Joffe explains... more»
Film criticism: it’s become a mushy, anxiety-making field populated by geeks and media-besotted nutcases... more». There once was a time when you could take film critics seriously.
Countless websites, thousands of radio and TV channels, podcasts, plus an ocean of magazines and books. There’s media enough, but not enough time to pay attention... more»
Search for happiness and you’ll never find it. Search for something else, and it may come your way. As for the notion that the government could supply it to you... more»
Yes, immigrants have to adapt to new lands, says Flemming Rose. But Europe must get rid of its old ideas of blood and soil and take migrants for what they are: new Europeans... more»
Addiction? A myth promoted in 1822 by De Quincey in Confessions of an English Opium Eater. In fact, says Theodore Dalrymple, heroin doesnt hook people: people hook heroin... more»
Sure, how campaigns, elections, and public-affairs debates will be carried out in the future is unknown. But whatever happens, our political future will not be unblogged... more»
Some disorientation and even fear in a changing world is understandable. But what justifies the contempt heaped on the likes of Wal-Mart and its suburban customers?... more»
So who are the “greatest literary theorists” of the age? Awesome idea, eh? Well, Critical Inquiry can tell you who they are, explains Lindsay Waters. In a ranked list... more»
The precautionary principle is such a handy device. You can use it against whatever you want. After all, you’re only being cautious. Consider smoking in Ontario... more»
You’re to think it’s about global warming. But it’s really about poor ol’ Al Gore... more». No, it really is about global warming. Rubbish! It’s about PowerPoint politics.
Self-help scams are invulnerable to criticism: if your life does not get better, it’s your fault – you were not positive enough. You need to pay someone for more self-help... more»
We often want to turn the key moments of a great author’s life into narrative to fit our literary instincts. So it is with the life and the death of Edgar Allan Poe... more»
The 7/7 attacks in London: whom to blame? Osama in his cave? Hapless intelligence officials? The war in Iraq? Could it be that there was no discernible reason whatever?... more»
Lad lit,” the male riposte tochick lit,” is a kind of anti-bildungsroman: sardonic, clever slacker refuses to grow up, get a job, commit to a girl, or find meaning. Whatever... more»
J.S. Mill never grasped that wisdom is rarer than rationality, says Roger Scruton. He failed to see that the intellect relies on something deeper... more»
Today’s art comics – the likes of Crumb and Spiegelman – reclaim and redeem the art of the past, such as Winsor McCay’s dreams of Little Nemo... more» ... pix»
Cultural preservationists want the cultures of Sikhs in Toronto or the Huli in New Guinea protected as authentic. But what is authenticity, anyhow? Anthony Appiah asks... more»
What is post-feminism? Merely a light-hearted alternative to the man-hating days of yore? In truth, says Catharine MacKinnon, it is a return to pre-feminism... more»
Most evolution in the history of life is tied to mass extinctions: turnovers on the grandest scale. The idea requires tweaking Darwin, but he’d be okay, says Niles Eldredge... more»
Artists and intellectuals of the West love freedom, to be sure. But above all, they seem besotted by power – wielded by such likable chaps as Castro, Chavez, or Ahmadinejad... more»
Rank your friends on a list. Go ahead, since you already do it anyway, without much thought. Now ask your friends to do rankings, and exchange lists. Ouch!... more»
“One should comfort the afflicted, but also afflict the comfortable, especially when they are comfortably wrong.” But how wrong was John K. Galbraith himself?... more»
Despite being richer, people are not happier than in earlier times. Only government can solve the problem, with a more caring attitude. And more therapists... more»
Sure, Daniel Barenboim cares more for elevated music than elevator music. But does he have an argument for his lofty ideals?... more» ... more»
Beauty went along with horror in the aesthetic world of Georges Bataille. As he said, “Even the most beautiful flowers are spoiled in their center by hairy sexual organs”... more»
Intelligence agencies are poor at detecting the creation of nuclear bombs: look at India, Pakistan, and China. Now Iran talks of making a cascade of 54,000 P-2 centrifuges... more»
Bernard Lewis knows Islam’s splendor and the dignity it gives to drab, impoverished lives. He also knows its darkness and its rage... more» ... Lewis on women in Islam.
Every human handshake echoes the Devonian: the structures we shake with – shoulder, elbow, wrist – were first seen in fish living in streams 370 million years ago... more»
Unless we suffer a cataclysm of the sort dear to the global predictions market, world population will increase for some time. And then the nextpopulation crisis”... more»
Without spiritual reach or aesthetic amplitude, is it any wonder that grief today rarely gets beyond mere psychological adjustment? Consider Joan Didion... more»
For Francis Fukuyama, years after The End of History, the question is still: Are western values universal or are they the temporary success of a hegemonic culture?... more»
If “Americas Storytellers” is to be a bright, cheery slogan for the Screen Writers Guild, what shall we call the Sex Workers Guild? “America’s Fun Makers”?... more»
Howl. Allen Ginsberg’s message has stood the test of time better than his medium. Poems don’t set our ears on fire like that anymore... more»
The Nag Hammadi texts promised a new chapter in the history of Christianity. But the promise has not been kept. The question now is, Does Gnosticism even exist?... more»
European squabbles over the imposition of political correctness is a bizarre distraction from the fact that the continent is committing demographic suicide... more»
The academic left is nowhere today. Its faith-based politics has crashed and burned. It offers no plausible picture of the world, argues Todd Gitlin... more»
The technology explosion of the past 10,000 years shows that cultural inputs can unleash limitless human achievements. Culture can build a new mind from an old brain... more»
Speed kills. That used to refer to dangerous driving. Now it more ominously means the insane pace at which we live, cramming into the day too much that is too shallow... more»
Neocons dream of crusades for “Western values,” but the worlds center of gravity is shifting away from the West’s universal claims... more»
Timothy Leary, intelligent and charming, was a scientist, guru, acid-head, and all-round gold-plated egomaniac... more»
Intelligent designer? No: we have a bungling consistent evolver. Or maybe an adaptive changer. Rather an odd chap, that God... more»
Brittens children. Some took the worst possible view of the composer’s closeness to his 12-year-old choir boy protégé. And why not?... more»
Noam Chomsky’s argument wants to show moral equality between Bush’s America and the greatest criminals in history. Yes, well... more»
Most powerful wine critic? No, Robert Parker’s influence across the globe means he is the most powerful critic of any kind anywhere... more»
Brezhnev’s horrid ruling elite seemed like it would live for the rest of time. But the bad old days of the Soviet Union had their comforts... more»
Walter Benjamin: who’d think of this bespectacled, deeply serious thinker with the bushy moustache as a dabbler in opium and mescaline? ... more»
Americas greatest woman spy was able to parachute behind enemy lines with her wooden leg neatly tucked into her knapsack... more»
Catharine MacKinnon is a real pioneer in her views of law and the state. But she relies too much on the passive voice and the sweeping generalization... more»
Islamic regimes have often begun with the ascetic ideas of “desert Islam,” but in the end have become dynasties of luxury and privilege... more»
String Theory: the question is not whether there is good evidence for it. It is so far from being real science that it is not even wrong... more»
A century of slaughter. Why is the hundred years just past the bloodiest in history? Niall Ferguson has an answer or two... more»
“I see no way to weigh the good done by religion against the evil,” says Freeman Dyson. Yet he thinks the good does outweigh the evil... more»
Incuriosity and dumb insularity may have benefits for a people. But they sure don’t help make British food any better... more»
Not many economic theorists have had their ideas embraced by both Karl Marx and Maggie Thatcher. But Adam Smith... more»
Iran: so close and yet so far from democracy. A young, literate, web-happy population, many NGOs, more women than men in universities... more»
“Someday Louisiana is going to get ‘good government,’ ” Earl Long once declared. “And when they do, they aint going to like it”... more»
Is the life of a new embryo, or of a brain-inactive patient who has shown no consciousness for 15 years, worth that of a healthy adult?... more» ... Ponnuru’s response
Animals may have rights, but if we recognize them, we must take into account the rights both of lions and the gazelles they dine on... more»
Peter Beinart wants a new vision to match the old Cold War liberals, men who were able to build a “narrative of national greatness”... more»
In Russia, millions of painted icons were destroyed in the 1930s – for chopping boards, kindling, vegetable crates. As for buildings... more»
The sweep of his passion and his prejudice explain why Edward Said’s Orientalism became so popular... more» What would Said think about Hamas?
Asked by a reporter what she saw in Frank Sinatra – a 119lb has-been – Ava Gardner replied, demurely, with an unexpected answer... more»
Julia Child, a rather loud and very tall Californian, spoke no French and knew nothing of French cooking when at age 36 she set out for Europe... more»
Granted that Jules Verne had not enough imagination or scientific understanding to rise to true sci-fi. Still, what stories he could tell... more»
F.R. Leavis’s career raises a question he thought he’d definitively answered: was it a good idea to “professionalize” literary criticism?... more»
For Chekhov, a heavy, chilling history of savagery, poverty, ignorance, and bureaucracy had left Russia an exhausted land... more»
You need an algorithm to weigh the statistical value of fouls, shots, rebounds, and turnovers to capture the true value of a basketball player... more»
“All our modern philosophers,” as Heinrich Heine observed, “see through the glasses which Baruch Spinoza ground”... more»
Nobody can know how good A.D. Hope was and not regret that his full greatness never quite arrived. But what a poet, says Clive James... more»
Leo Strauss was an elitist who warned of the rabble run loose. Or did he? What is the truth about the so-called father of the neocons?... more»
The US Air Force bombed German industrial targets by day. It was the RAF that went in for fire bombing whole cities by night... more» ... more»
Sleep paralysis is what UFOabductees” need to have explained to them. Instead, they find gurus and join abductee support groups... more»
Liberalism has for Eric Lott been degraded: his enemies list is long. Alterman, Gitlin, Rorty, Nussbaum, West, Wilentz, Gates, Paglia, Crouch, Frank... more»
The rise of work tracks the rise of the worker’s alter ego: the slacker. And how much hard labor has gone into the praise of loafing... more»
Saddams Iraq: rape, murder of children, tortures unbearable even to read about, and masses of victims buried in the night... more»
Art museums launder donors’ money by turning art into buzz – rather like the way pork bellies are turned into pork-belly futures... more»
W.H. Auden’s mind tended to wander from “crooked” sex to poetry to God and back again. His was a very complicated sensibility... more»
Alain de Botton’s latest is like a rubbery cappuccino: 65% shattering banality served up in a froth of fancy Latinate polysyllables... more»
Packing crates, steamer trunks, bank vaults, handcuffs, chains, beer barrels, steel boilers riveted shut: Harry Houdini escaped from them all... more»
Subservience? Is that the word for caring for babies, husband, and home? Caitlin Flanagan wonders at feminism’s take on domestic life... more»
Many conservatives like to think of themselves as sworn foes of evolution. As Larry Arnhart explains, they actually need Darwin... more»
Orson Welles fans are often besotted apologists. Simon Callow is more clear-eyed about this massively conceited genius... more»
A sad statistic: of all POWs who died in Japanese captivity in the Pacific war, one in three was killed by friendly fire... more»
Frederick Crews shares with his arch-foe Sigmund Freud an awesome ability to argue in crisp, clear, compelling prose... more»
Eternal Tibet: a land of deep spirituality. Right? How about a land of incest, depravity, and madness?... more»
Norah Vincent never takes herself very seriously in her zeal to refute, even as she proves, every sexist cliché of pop culture... more»
An old saw has it that all politics is local. Bernard Williams thought that political theory, too, should be local, rather than universal... more»
Interior kitsch: Monet fridge magnets, fake “bistro” clocks, any ornament with an angel or a dolphin or a picture of Frida Kahlo. And on it goes... more»
If your professor can have a research assistant, why can’t you?. You can “download your workload,” at $10 a page... more»
Barbara Epstein, a founder and for 43 years co-editor of the New York Review of Books, is dead at the age of 77... more» ... more» ... more» ... more»
The short, violent life of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a video store clerk and petty crook who remade himself as America’s nemesis in Iraq... more»
Experts in the U.S. misread media in China. Their report is seen by Chinese experts, who are then cited by more U.S. experts, who then... more»
The cello made the deepest blue of all instruments, claimed Wassily Kandinsky. Color, he said, was a kind of keyboard. What did he mean?... more»
“I am a Joyce,” says Stephen Joyce, “not a Joycean, and there is more than a nuance to that fact.” So how does he guard the family legacy?... more»
Nina Lugovskaya grew up in a slum flat in Moscow. Princess Margaret was raised in wealth and privilege. So who made the most of her life?... more»
Zarqawi was Islamist trailer trash, a crude man whose love of violence was unvarnished, organic, perhaps sexual. But his influence lives on... more»
Young men: “the most lurchy, impressionable, energetic, socially exigent and politically inept” of all people. They make fine terrorists... more»
Collectives have their uses, but writing encyclopedias? With no firm editorial hand? Call it the Wikipedia problem... more» ... more»
Christopher Columbus was rich, and he died in comfort. But his last journey, to the graveyard, went unnoticed by his contemporaries... more»
Two Francis Fukuyamas? It may be there are three or four. Depends on whether you ask Roger Scruton or Anatol Lieven... more» ... more»
Living off the other guy as an easy lifestyle choice. Too easy in Sweden, where the welfare state is falling apart under its own weight... more»
Views on polygamy have now become a kind of Rorschach test on Muslim modernization. And as for the Mormons... more»
The Greatest Generation fought and died for narcissist Baby Boomers with their “lifestyles.” Between them were the people who made a revolution... more»
Oswald Spengler was a soft-spoken man: pleasant, friendly, considerate. Mozart helped to keep his pessimism at bay. A little... more»
The Broadway musical, that great contribution to the world stage, sprang out of the freshly dug grave of Italian opera... more»
That audio gear you bought is lovely, but now get it out of the damned plastic package. It’s not only theft proof. It’s customer proof... more»
Latin Americasnewpolitics? Maybe just the same old social hatred, economic chaos, crime, poverty, and hyperinflation... more»
With $300 million in the bank, Paris Hilton can have whatever her heart desires – so she goes out and buys cheap fame. It’s the fate of glamour... more»
Namibia now has no-fly zones, and they’re not about insects. They’re about Angelina, Brad, and celebrity colonialism... more»
Selecting a mate is the most important decision you’ll ever make. Why not get it right? For instance, sniff him first, then take the pill... more»
Scientists want to have normal lives like the rest of us: to date, to get married, have a family. But marriage can sink scientific careers... more»
Anatole France said that “it is good to collect things, but it is better to go on walks.” He meant we should stop buying dumb travel souvenirs... more»
That Homer Simpson may turn out to be one of the better thinkers of our epoch is not just a negative comment on philosophy today... more»
That terroir-shaking 1976 blind wine tasting has been rerun, and the winner, once again, is – Mais non! ... more» ... more» ... more» ... more» ... more» ... earlier
When Macy’s went into book retailing, there were worries: clueless clerks, middlebrow tastes, and deals that ruined small shops. And that was 1869... more» ... more»
Germans have no proper sense of humor, so the English insist. But how much depends on the mother tongues of these two peoples?... more»
Buy the worst house in the best neighborhood – like you’ll be happy to come home to your dump amid mansions? But happiness... more»
Kirk Gibson’s home run in the first game of the ’88 World Series: a spine-tingling moment, but was it a work of art? What would Kant say?... more»
The smelly fermented cabbage Koreans so adore, kimchi, cures almost anything, they say. Even the diseases it causes... more»
“Earth-friendly ways to grow healthful crops without relying on chemicals or synthetic fertilizers.” That is the organic ideal, but... more»
To see Spinoza from inside the person, as a man and as a Jew, is a betrayal of sorts. But that is what Rebecca Goldstein wants to do... more»
Alexandria: the focus of the globalized world of its day – a center for trade, literature, poetry, learning, wine, incest, murder, and mayhem... more»
It’s been featured on TV and in art books. That painting of a black sailor standing before a ship, circa 1776. But now a small problem... more» ... more»
Objections to urban sprawl are mostly aesthetic and based on class preferences. It is the rich who can afford to be snobs about the suburbs... more»
Theo van Gogh’s scriptwriter, the Dutch parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali, has just been stripped of her citizenship. Outrage in Europe... more»
The Da Vinci Code is a novel with serious pretensions. It has spawned many avid fans, debunkers who see it as tripe, and oodles of money... more» ... more»
It tends to end foully with all those lovely sprouts of spring. What is it that turns noble asparagus into something so malodorous?... more»
U.S. intelligence was centered on state-based threats so much that it missed al Qaeda. Will it do better if it’s run out of the Pentagon?... more»
“Men are like Cro-Magnons, always hunting and wenching. But at the end we go back to our caves.” Jacques Chirac speaks for himself and... more»
Women like men who like kids, and they can spot this in men with uncanny accuracy. Yet another evolved trait of the choosy sex... more»
Barbarians are always other people. In Rome, the word was applied to Britain, and the idea stuck. But reality was rather the reverse... more»
It’s cold, sweet, and seductive. But it is also a Food of Death. And new moves will at last rid Britain of the menace of the ice cream man... more»
You’d never have been stupid enough to fall for the Nigerian email scam, would you? Okay, but how about the next scam? How sure are you?... more»
Sometimes a birthday is just a birthday. But Prof. Freud’s will never be so simple... Anthony Daniels ... Roger Scruton ... Frank Cioffi ... Harold Bloom
Only three pronouns, and no subordinate clauses. When it comes to the Pirahã, it’s Whorf vs. Chomsky and Pinker all over again... more»
Søren Kierkegaard offered a new twist on old advice for life and faith: Look outward, as well as inward, before you leap... more»
We’re conditioned to idealize Kerouac’s open road. But before there were road maps that ideal had many problems of its own... more»
Daniel A. Bell gave up tenure in Hong Kong for contract work at Tsinghua University in Beijing. His friends think he’s crazy... more»
The next big threat? Look at the boiling cauldron of China today, with its unmoored, angry people, the prospect seems unlikely... more»
Jean-François Revel, writer, journalist, and philosopher in the spirit of Montaigne and Voltaire, is dead at 82... NYT ... Le Monde ... Telegraph
Confucius say, “Take a seven iron.” That’s right: the Chinese invented golf, or so they claim, centuries before the Scots... more»
Communism was a humor machine. Its economic theories and system of repression created inherently funny situations, and every joke was a tiny revolution... more»
Bruce Lee is a hero in Bosnia. He stands for the idea that good guys win – and nobody asks awkward questions about what he did in WWII... more»
Erich Neumann is the key for a future incorporation of Jung with academic feminism. But gender inquiry is only one aspect of Neumann’s work, says Camille Paglia... more»
The medieval play Everyman is of a genre that no longer exists: a drama about death with a happy ending. In Philip Roth’s version, the hero loses the comfort of life to come... more»
How bad is American TV journalism? Not very, says Bryan Appleyard. It is the BBC that has come to prefer a bland, jolly, tabloid style without weight or authority... more»
John Stuart Mill. Two hundred years on, and he is still Britain’s greatest ever public intellectual: rational, fair, open-minded, and even contrarian... more»
Norman Mailer sits at the center of his own literary world. As reader, you experience with him the play of language, the thrill of ideas that crawl through his syntax... more»
Writing obituaries of the womens movement has become a ritual, though the vultures from both left and right prefer to pick at a caricature rather than a carcass... more»
Intellectuals: the Brits like to dislike them. There is something a little too foreign about intellectuals, says Ben Macintyre, a little too self-conscious. In truth, a little too French... more»
Boredom is like olives, or antiques, or greens, or black-and-white movies, says Zoe Williams. It might actively be good for children, but only adults will really appreciate it... more»
Human beings prefer to think of themselves as the dominant life form, perched atop the planetary food chain. ’Twas not always so. Once upon a time, we were cat food... more»
The most anti-intellectual president of modern times? Sure, but by basing his policies on so many bad ideas, George W. Bush might clear the ground for a few good ones... more»
We’ve gone today far beyond the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. We have to face an entire cavalry regiment of media doom-mongers... more»
The Intelligent Design crew, to use Darwin’s own phrase, “look at an organic being as a savage looks at a ship, as at something wholly beyond their comprehension”... more»
Critic, protester, provocateur, editor and all-around word warrior. Dwight Macdonald left behind a singular, wised-up, cant-free voice that is pure intelligence at play... more»
Academics love nouns, especially from Latin verbs: proceed turns into procedure, explore into exploration, etc. So bad writing begins... more». Bad writing has a sordid history.
When she saw Götterdämmerung for the first time, Natasha Walter thought it shouldn’t be called the Ring at all, but Brünnhilde. For Wagner, women are the real interest... more»
Vodka in Russian means “little water.” Since the average Russian guzzles a world-best 5.2 gallons/year, why were the Poles claiming rights to the very name?... more»
It’s disparaged as the source of our most nasty, shallow, and violent entertainment. But, says James Morris, TV is my favorite wasteland... more»
Good manners” are but a code by which the elite distinguishes itself from hoi polloi in order to maintain its cultural power. Or so goes one argument... more»
At Muzaks corporate head office in South Carolina, there’s an awesome sound system that goes into the parking lot but not – for deeply felt reasons – into the elevator... more»
It won’t be Puritan Massachusetts or John Calvin’s Geneva, but the theocracy toward which the GOP is pushing America will be just as daft, says Kevin Phillips... more»
The cost of de-nuking Iran will be high now but much higher in later years. As with the Danish cartoons, at stake here is the credibility of Western civilization... more»
Islam has given dignity and meaning to the drab and impoverished lives of many men and women. But what is it doing for Muslims in Europe? Or for Europe itself?... more» ... more»
“The most courageous, remorseless writer going,” says Harold Pinter. “The more Samuel Beckett grinds my nose in the shit, the more I am grateful to him”... more»
The U.S. must face its history, says Howard Zinn: ethnic cleansing, slavery, segregation, racism, imperial conquest, wars against tiny countries. It’s not much to be proud of... more»
Hannah Arendt wasn’t having any of Leo Strauss’s amorous advances (Good grief!), and also saw in his careful attitude toward the Nazis signs of a sniveling opportunist... more»
Like toys in our youth, the fantasy worlds of videogames rely on the player’s active engagement, says The Sims creator Will Wright. They amplify our imagination... more»
Losing half the country’s best brains to the kitchen sink is terrible, maybe. But hardly anyone mentions the losses when women choose work over family. Alison Wolf explains... more»
Darwin was right: human beings are stuck in the muck and glory of life, biological to the core, created by our genes no less than a dandelion or a dolphin... more»
It’s time to break taboos Democrats have placed on the word socialism, says Ronald Aronson. If they think the unthinkable, they may recover their souls... more»
“You only have to look at that dreadful American man, Henry James. The worst writer in the world. He never risked anything.” V.S. Naipaul minces no words... more»
Traditions of public reasoning and debate are found across the globe: they are not just an invention of the West. Democracy can build on this common inheritance... more»
The idiocy of youth. Students of France should go back to class to learn a little economics, says Theodore Dalrymple... more» ... more»
Is ours an era to weep over or laugh at? Whatever the likes of Jefferson would answer, Tom Wolfe, says Lawrence Biemiller, lets us have it either way. O muddled destiny!... more»
Celebrity Death Watch: it may be that America’s insane fixation with fame is coming to an end, argues Kurt Andersen. One hopeful sign: Paris Hilton... more»
Let’s give every American $10,000 a year for life starting at age 21. It’s not socialism, it’s power taken from government and placed in the hands of the people... more» ... more»
Wishy-washy liberal intellectuals, the likes of Russell Jacoby, are fast disappearing. Who’ll replace them? Academic narcissists, it seems... more»  While out in right field...
Bill OReilly has been playing Bill O’Reilly so well for so long that he’s got a whole library of hooks, tics, and subplots. He may parody himself, but with what success... more»
Modernism was always way out in front of its actual products, says Robert Hughes. Artists hoped big business and big government would latch on to their designs... more»
When Dorothy Parker left her entire estate to Rev. Martin Luther King, he was puzzled. Who was she? And the woman put in charge of the estate, Lillian Hellman, was fuming... more»
The disconnect between schools and colleges leaves students adrift, while teachers are stuck with low salaries and low status – and teachers colleges are blamed for it all... more»
“We are survival machines, robot machines, blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes.” The idea still fills Richard Dawkins with astonishment... more»
The cultural and artistic heritage of the world is in demand: looted, destroyed, mutilated, hidden from scrutiny, auctioned on eBay. Whose fault is this?... more»
As the Bible and many lesser books show, narrative is the finest container ever devised to transport ideas, especially across time. Tom Wolfe can spin a narrative... more»
Museums are so dull. Not to mention intimidating, what with those marble columns and steps. Better they should be video arcades with buttons to push and flashing screens... more»
Edward Said and his academic allies imagined they were on the frontline of global conflict, “speaking truth to power.” But their guns were pointed in the wrong direction... more»
Economic Man is a lovely pawn for academic theorists. But he does not exist. Real people are driven by weird, irrational, self-sabotaging, even altruistic behavior... more»
The Michelangelo code. The genius who painted the Sistine Chapel was a rude, puerile chap with an eye for porn. Waldemar Januszczak has, uh, touched base with him... more»
Israels well-being is a legitimate interest for the U.S. But Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, along with its broader agenda, is not. The issue needs open debate... more»
Quick, name Orson Welless first movie. Citizen Kane? Guess again. It’s The Hearts of Age, an eight-minute film the 19-year-old prodigy directed in 1934. Now on DVD... more»
It’s a great story: how atoms evolved out of fire and bent space and grew into Bach, Chartres cathedral, and Blonde on Blonde. Far out! But atoms are not stuck in the 1960s... more» ... more»
The Selfish Gene. “There are times,” one reader said, “when I wish I could unread it.” Another was persuaded by it that “life was empty and without purpose.” A powerful book... more»
Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Oscar hopes were dashed by Crash. Now there’s blood on the red carpet, and the taste of sour grapes in the mouth... more»
When Michel Houellebecq’s books detour from his day-to-day misery, his own hateful, defeated diary, they enter into pure porn, where he’s always the star... more»
In democracy, Ronald Dworkin says, no one, powerful or impotent, can have a right not to be ridiculed or offended. Cartoons are a legitimate form of free speech... more»
The first College Board exams were in math, physics, chemistry, English, French, German, Greek, history, and Latin. Essays – no multiple choice, as Diane Ravitch explains... more»
The scandal of academic feminism lies in ignoring the gender apartheid of the Islamic world and the steady inroads it is making into Europe... more» ... How much do women care about other women?
The American colonists were in the 1760s arguably more ardent opponents of slavery than the British. But then, alas, the Revolution came along... more»
Hate them or love them, says Andrew Sullivan, you Brits are stuck with the Yanks. They are there when you need them. That’s what a family is... more»
Imagine that: at the very peak of conservatisms political success, its founding fathers recoil from the monster they have created... more»
Edvard Munch’s pessimism is just a shade mannered, even slightly comic, for us. He talked a rather better game than he painted... more»
Pablo Picasso threw tantrums, was a tedious hypochondriac, and knew precisely how to hurt friends – among them, Roland Penrose... more»
We take our computer graphics – bar charts, pie charts – for granted and seldom wonder who invented them. William Playfair... more»
The failure of Mussolini was a credit to the Italians: their warmth, their refusal to be organized, and even their sense of humor... more»
Europe: a surging, alienated Muslim population with strong beliefs set against older groups unable to change or defend their ways... more»
For most men, a post-coital smoke will do. The curious Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, however, rushed to his newly invented microscope... more»
The odd couple: Vincent Van Gogh was 35 when he came to share with Paul Gauguin a small, spartan house on a square in Arles... more»
Caitlin Flanagan romanticizes female duty, frets over working mothers, misses Mom, and rues the day feminism reared its hairy leg... more»
Amartya Sen wants all of us to be “fair” to each other. Okay. But his idealistic thesis twists and turns to remake the world in its own image... more»
Tango takes on the color of the immigrants who dance it: mazurkas, czardas and horas have all contributed to its many hues... more»
In the post-religious world of Philip Roth’s fiction, humans do not have immortal souls. Death and desire is all we are... more»
“The aesthetic dignity of the Hebrew Bible,” Harold Bloom writes, “is simply beyond the competitive range of the New Testament”... more»
Samuel Beckett’s Watt ends with the words, “No symbols where none intended.” A good Beckettian motto – and a caution to critics... more»
The Jasons included Hans Bethe, Edward Teller, Freeman Dyson, and Eugene Wigner: this postwar science elite aimed for a better world... more»
Marriages thrive on stories couples tell about where each of them stands. Marriages die when they are forced to rely on conventions... more»
Robespierre had neither holy book nor Christian god, but a revolutionary god who had made men equal. Sounds oddly familiar today... more»
For Amos Oz, fanatics think “the end, any end, justifies the means,” where the rest of us see life as an end, not a means. It’s humanistic mush... more»
Round and round we modern readers go, disputing facts about Easter and its history. Maybe if we listened to the New Testament itself... more»
Wealthy, powerful left-leaning women don’t admit they have more in common with wealthy, powerful men than with their poor Hispanic sisters... more»
For Catherine the Great, life was public spectacle: “When I enter a room, anyone would think I was the Medusa’s head. Everyone is petrified”... more»
“Are we animals?” Winston Churchill blurted out, watching film of his bombers over the Ruhr. Well, yes, maybe you were... more»
Can a nation of shopkeepers be a place for intellectuals? Some British thinkers are perhaps a little too pessimistic about the prospect... more»
The Gospel of Judas gives Christianity an occult sense. But its larger, more human Judas makes for a smaller, less divine Jesus... more»
Mass immunization against infectious disease is one of medicine’s great triumphs. Of course, the tort lawyers... more»
What we eat is made of corn: the steak, pork chop, turkey and lamb, catfish and even salmon. Eggs are made of corn, cheese and yogurt too... more»
Julia Child thrived under the tutelage of chef Max Bugnard, who held firm to the pleasure principle in cooking: “Yes, Madame Scheeld, fun!”... more»
The publication of a new work by a writer who died in the Holocaust is always a small miracle. Irene Nemirovsky... more»
When the Titanic sank, 74% of women passengers lived while 80% of the men on board died. You have to wonder what would happen today... more»
Eva Braun, a sweet, naive girl of 17, had just begun her first job in a shop in Munich when a man walked into her life... more»
Conversation? “An illusion,” claimed Rebecca West. It is “intersecting monologues, that is all.” Really? Carlin Romano is not so sure... more»
Start smoking the easy way! At last, a step-by-step guide that in no time will have you puffing twenty cigarettes a day... more»
Without utopian impulses, says Russell Jacoby, politics turns pallid, as it plugs leaks one by one. Sometimes you need a new ship... more»
Amartya Sen sees himself as an anti-Huntington, an optimist who celebrates the complexity of human identity... more»
The Colossus of Maroussi is a love letter to Greece, as well as a travelogue and a character study. Its author, Henry Miller, enchants... more»
Six decades of Playmates: the face of Shirley Temple above the body of Jayne Mansfield. Hugh Hefner knew what he wanted... more»
How did Europe become home to 20 million Muslims in a mere three decades? Oriana Fallaci looks at this question, and a few others too... more»
Mental illness and drugs can bring about mystical raptures. Religion depends to a large extent on brain circuitry... more»
Stalin’s politics are seen by Luciano Canfora as a “third way” alongside democracy and fascism. Poles do not take kindly to this view... more»
What if the liberal hawks’ case for the Iraq War is a guise for the politics of 1968? A politics of fear and violence, a desire always to resist... more»
It’s one thing to lament racism and the cruelty of a lynch mob. It’s another to congratulate yourself for your lamentation... more»
Political correctness on the issue of Islam in Europe has till recently been so stifling that few politicians dared to speak openly... more»
Psychoanalysis: what might have happened to it if Freud had been forced to do the ironing, cook for the kids, shop, darn socks... more»
It’s a sad management truth: facts force the boss to choose between being “in control” and being right. Many prefer the former... more»
Courtneys family curse. Kurt Cobain’s wild widow comes from a long line of tormented, badly behaved moms and their darling girls... more»
Anna Akhmatova: “So much to do today: / kill memory, kill pain, / turn heart into a stone, / and yet prepare to live again”... more»
Adultescents: so what is it with all those latte-guzzling spoiled kids who would rather sponge off their parents than get a real job?... more»
Rousseau’s ability to love mankind with a passionate, theatrical love while abusing actual people set a kind of precedent... more»
Urban sprawl is charged with endless sins: causing global warming, pollution, obesity, killing family farms, cities, mom-and-pop stores... more»
The British TV hit, Celebrity Big Brother, is produced by the great grandson of the man who built the London sewer system. Somehow, it fits... more»
Oriana Fallaci claims “95% of Muslims reject freedom and democracy.” Wrong. And who cares if religions want separate cemeteries?... more» ... more»
“Without something to hate,” said Wm. Hazlitt, “we should lose the very spring of thought and action.” The hate-filled Duke-North Carolina rivalry... more»
Journalism is like brewing beer, says Glenn Reynolds. In the age of blogs, anyone with a little cheap equipment can do it. But the result?... more»
For California agribusiness, labor has become a commodity in a process Karl Marx termed “primitive accumulation”... more»
“Who is this Monet,” Édouard Manet asked, “whose name sounds just like mine and who is taking advantage of my notoriety?”... more»
Ted Morgan’s memoir of his own Battle of Algiers is a love song for a ruined city and a damaged people. War enriches no one... more»
Free-trade/free-market policies, it is claimed, are set to transform economies to the universal benefit working people. Not so, says Martin Hart-Landsberg... more»
John Kenneth Galbraith, whose witty, supple, eloquent thought informed politics and economics for decades, is dead... NYT ... Washington Post ... Boston Globe ... LA Times ... AP ... Guardian ... London Times ... The Nation ... Chron of Higher Ed ... Salon ... Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
Of all the naturalized foods of America, a Neapolitan street food became by far the most successful immigrant: Pizza... more»
Giuseppe Tartini’s Devil’s Trill was dictated by Satan in a dream. Today, Tartini would likely be in a heavy metal band... more»
“After the age of forty, every man is responsible for his own face,” Albert Camus observed. Well, at least if that man shaves... more»
French students rioting to save their non-existent pensions: it’s a spectacle rather unlike the events on the streets in 1968... more»
Take two beams of gold nuclei near the speed of light, smash them together, and you get the miniest of mini bangs. But like the Big Bang... more»
The United Nations dithers as genocide goes on in Darfur and the Congo. Private security firms can end the killing, if anyone will let them... more»
There are two lefts emerging in Latin America. One has radical roots but is open and modern. The other is closed, strident, and populist... more»
Nerves are a getting a little frayed at the stately Christie’s auction house. It is anxious not to gain a reputation for peddling smut. But... more»
“One more roll, and I’ll get it all back.” Gambling uses evolved pleasure centers in the brain, which makes it all the more dangerous... more»
Mandarin is the most spoken first language, way ahead of English. China wants it to be the worlds second language of choice... more»
Deep structure of the alphabet: our letters harmonize with the patterns of the natural world our mental machinery evolved to analyze... more»
“Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous,” L. Ron Hubbard said. “If a man really wants to make a million dollars he should start his own religion”... more»
TV professors need the ability, rare among academics, to speak in sound bites rather than paragraphs. On CNN, you’ve got to hit it or quit it... more»
The people of virtually every developed land today are more elderly than any country surveyed before 1950. Now look into the future... more»
Ségolène Royal does not sound like a politician. But her soft voice belies a core of steel. She may be France’s first female president... more»
A rabbit caught in headlights: Europe sits frozen, while the speeding economies of China, India, and the U.S. bear down on it... more» ... Lisbon Agenda
Muriel Spark, a deeply serious comic writer whose dark wit advanced odd and compelling ideas, is dead at 88... NYT ... Scotsman ... Glasgow Herald ... In’dent ... BBC ... London Times ... Doublethink ... New Criterion
“If there’s an afterlife,” writes poet Alicia Ostriker, “I can picture Sylvia Plath and Kurt Cobain prowling through it together”... more»
“My husband? He’s a writer dude.” She loves hip-hop, pillow fights, and decorating her jeans. Yes, she is Mrs. Salman Rushdie... more»
Women are perhaps the most under-utilized resource on the planet. Yet the future of the world economy lies in their hands... more»
Carl Friedrich Gauss, so the old story goes, immediately solved an arithmetic series as a mere schoolboy. Well, that’s the story, anyway... more»
In Michiko Kakutani’s world, books tend to be masterpieces or rubbish. In the real one, they are almost always somewhere in between... more»
George W. Bush is “convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped. He plans to stop it, no matter what, says Seymour Hersh... more»
Death warrant: “I blinked once, but it stared back at me from the page: The next person to be killed is Shirin Ebadi. Me”... more»
When 343 brave men of the fire department he loved were killed on that awful day, retired fire chief Reginald Julius put on his boots and helmet... more»
Our aesthetic psychology has not changed since the first cities and the advent of writing 10,000 years ago. The Iliad is still a good read... more»
Any science that relies on luck to explain the fate of billions of people is a dismal one indeed. Economics needs help... more»
Is dance a fleeting art, purely ephemeral? Not quite. Long after they have left the stage, dancers are living archives of dance history... more»
Let us treat Iraqis like adults, says Daniel Pipes. “They are going to run their own future, their own destiny, not us”... more»
A carbohydrate economy could transform agriculture, reviving producer co-ops and giving farmers a hedge against volatile prices... more» ... more»
For Fidel Castro, now as in his youth, decisiveness, strength, and valor are the personal and performance traits he values most... more»
So France’s students are rioting before they even have the jobs they are rioting about. Only the French could come up with a pre-emptive riot... more»
Grup. A grown-up yupster, that is, a combination of a yuppie and a hipster. Got that? Maybe you are that. Adam Sternbergh explains... more»
George Eliot despised “silly novels by lady novelists.” To set herself apart from a degraded genre she needed a pseudonym... more»
There can be no doubt that a vast conspiracy lies behind the events of 9/11. You’ve only to realize who was standing on the grassy knoll... more»
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart left a corpus of 650 pieces, much of it radiant, eloquent music. Why do we always hear the same old six?... more»
Is poverty absolute? Or is it a relative value, affected by a poor family’s exclusion from DVDs, computers, cellphones, or vacation homes?... more»
Vladimir Putin, plagiarist. The question is not whether parts of his thesis were copied from a U.S. text, but whether Dr. Putin ever read his own thesis at all... more»
The Germans and the Dutch are the brainiacs of Europe. But, good grief, look at Poland. France only seems like a smart country if you stay in Paris... more»
Stanislaw Lem, science fiction writer of genius, is dead at the age of 84... more»
Han Chinese are docile lambs, willing to accept any dictator rather than seize and shape their own future. So claims Chinas unwanted bestseller... more»
Most new inventions never reach a market. Of those that do, most lose money. It is a mystery that we still have entrepreneurs... more»
It’s convenient to have good memory. But what if you could recall everything: every event you saw, every item of news, and every date?... more»
An Afghan man is sentenced to death for converting to Christianity and Afghanistan tells the West to mind its own business. Come again?... more»
Sarah Caldwell, opera director and a great impresario of American performing arts, is dead at the age of 82... more»
The English language does not even have a word for chic. So why does the culture that gave us the term show so little of it?... more»
Childless, middle-aged couples may regret the life choices that ended their family lines. Yet they have no children with whom to share their newfound wisdom... more»
It’s best to run drug trials in a land where few patients are rich or literate enough to ask awkward questions. Drug companies do like India... more»
For his own health, Saddam might have come clean with UN inspectors, but illusions of having WMDs played so well in the Arab world. One more of his bad ideas... more»
Ernest Hemingway caught the espionage bug in Asia and didn’t shake it until World War II ended. But when he returned to Cuba... more»
“We’ve poured you a beer,” says a TV ad for Australia, and “saved you a spot on the beach. So where the bloody hell are you?” The horror!... more»
Mileva Marić. Einstein’s wife was a math genius who helped her husband in his great 1905 discoveries. Or so some people claim... more»
Call it an absence of “social capital” or “trust.” In some topsy-turvy African nations, it’s in people’s interests to do what damages everyone else... more»
18th-century evangelicals were the political shock troops for Jefferson and Madison in trying to keep government apart from religion. Times have changed... more»
Art Buchwald is in a hospice. His kidneys are failing and he refuses dialysis. He’s preparing to meet his maker. Or not... more» ... more»
There was blood all over the house. For all Gauguin knew, his friend Vincent had killed himself, and he’d be accused of murder... more» (temp link)
Francis Fukuyama has family in Las Vegas and is annoyed by B.-H. Lévy’s view of “sin city” and the low quality of its sin. Puhleeze, Bernard!... more»
“There is always, in every truth procedure, a poetic moment,” says Alain Badiou. “We can’t even know a truth event without a sense of poetry”... more»
In parts of China, there are 136 boys born for every 100 girls. The rise of ultrasound use is changing the future of Asia. A disaster may loom, says Martin Walker... more»
For centuries, Jupiter and Christ, Jehovah and Allah have had to put up with jokes. The Jews even specialize at going after Yaweh, says André Glucksmann... more»
To Cuddle a Mockingbird. Why must great literature from Macbeth to Madame Bovary to Anna Karenina have all those sad endings? Time to cheer things up... more»
Yes, says Steven Pinker, genes can be selfish, and there is no reason to shrink from the idea. Selfish genes make ruthless egotists, or saints of altruism... more»
The radical loser feels dishonored, useless, excluded. Islamism promises righteous murder, martyrdom, and a sense, however fleeting, of total power. Ian Buruma explains... more»
Brendan O’Neill of Spiked trashes much investigative journalism as peddling loony conspiracy theories. But, of course, he would say that wouldn’t he... more»
More handsome or masculine than other dancers he wasn’t, but when it came to his art, Fred Astaire had a purity, a capacity to transform all things through grace... more»
The builder of Pisa Cathedral left his own epitaph: “Rainaldo, skillful workman and master builder, executed this wonderful, costly work with amazing skill and ingenuity.” Just another modest artist... more»
As the smoker has become a moral and social pariah, sufferers from lung cancer have sadly become the lepers of the twenty-first century... more»
The Congress for Cultural Freedom was a force for liberty and against oppression in the Cold War. With the West under attack once again, maybe it is an idea worth reviving... more»
A.J.P. Taylor, a great historian. Or maybe a contemptible one. Friend of Lord Beaverbrook, defender of Stalinism, he brought history to TV, and to Geoffrey Wheatcroft... more»
“Every writer is a thief, though some of us are more clever than others at disguising our robberies,” says Joseph Epstein. He too lives in fear of being accused of plagiarism... more»
Nikita Khrushchev gave his secret speech to the 20th Party Congress in the Kremlin fifty years ago... Robert Conquest ... Wm. Taubman ... Anne Applebaum ... Claire Bigg ... Roy Medvedev ... Jeremy Page ... Boris Kagarlitsky ... John Rettie ... Nina Khrushcheva ... Tom Parfitt ... Richard Bruner ... and what an electrifying speech it was.
A Clockwork Orange is a novel of immense power. Linguistically inventive, socially prophetic, and philosophically profound, it is very close to being a work of genius... more»
People buy pricey kitchen machines hoping the right gadget will make them want to cook. It won’t work: you can’t get domestic happiness so easily... more»
Leo Strauss’s answer to the leveling tendencies of democracy was to seek cultivation of pockets of wisdom in society. All too subtle... more» ... I’m not a Straussian, says Robert Kagan.
“Survival of the West’s principles of free inquiry and expression depends entirely on whether we have the brains to grasp their true value and the will to face down their enemies”... more»
The “colored revolutions” made history as huge numbers of euphoric citizens in Serbia, Ukraine, and Georgia voted for the first time in real elections. Still, not an easy ride... more»
Let’s retain the neoconservative faith in the universality of human rights, says Francis Fukuyama, but without its delusions about U.S. power. Time for some new ideas... more»
That heavy melon seems to burst with sweetness because of the intense sun of Provence. But, hey, it was grown hydroponically in Israel. Markets sell both fruits and fantasy... more»
Rembrandts late self-portraits: that intimate, unflinching scrutiny of his own sagging, bloated visage. Life may have bashed him, says Robert Hughes, but it had not beaten him... more»
Liked, hated, but seldom loved: the music of Arnold Schoenberg remains disturbing not because it is incoherent or ear-splitting, but because it faces difficult truths... more»
Failing the Turing Test. To be sure, true artificial intelligence remains a possibility. But to question if it will ever be realized does not mean wanting to return to the Dark Ages... more»
“The more we all learn about one another, the less we will fight.” What feel-good balderdash. The Danish cartoon episode reveals idiocy and hypocrisy on all sides... more» ... more» ... more»
The torched cars and ransacked schools of France are not minor events on the road to a union of all cultures, says Jean Baudrillard. This is a revolt with no end in sight... more»
For Bernard-Henri Lévy, nothing in the U.S. made a bigger impression than “the semi-comatose state in which I found the American left”... more»
Like Christendom before it, Islam will have to work out its own relation to modernity. The faster democracy arrives, the sooner the debates about God and man can begin... more»
Twyla Tharp choreographed skating and saw it as an artistic medium: “It can be as beautiful, moving and meaningful as you want to make it.” Tell it to the Olympic judges... more»
Only six countries win two thirds of all the Winter Olympics medals, says Paul Farhi. These games really are where the rich and elite meet to compete... more»
How grim is the outlook for Europe? Some contrarians insist the EU can thrive without embracing U.S.-style labor markets and lean social programs... more»
Robert Schumann with his hangdog eyes is never going to sell marzipan bon-bons, says Norman Lebrecht. Where Mozart mints money, Schumann hints at suicide... more»
The idea that anyone, regardless of learning or class, could “come to Christ” went along with the idea of equal rights in America. William Jennings Bryan... more»
“I demand governments of Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Iran, and Egypt apologize to me – or I will be forced to threaten, beat up, kidnap, and behead their citizens. My cultural identity is at stake”... more»
Book reviewers impressed by a new work’s “honesty” can only rely on the aroma test. Alas, a pile of literary manure can smell like a bed of roses... more»
The babyish rumor-fueled tantrums that erupt in the Islamic world show yet again that faith belongs to the spoiled and selfish childhood of our species... more»
Apocalyptic thought can make for odd pleasures, and so some enjoy claiming that Europe is doomed. Oh, really? Maybe sleepwalking is a better term... more»
Jesus as a person does not exist outside the gospels,” writes Garry Wills. “The only Jesus we have is the Jesus of faith”... more»
Globalization will collapse only if it stops delivering growth. So far that hasn’t happened, and maybe it won’t... more»
Striptease once had fun and glamour. Erotic undressing, alas, is now vanishing before the onslaught of hard porn... more»
We may have forgotten about the Ottoman Empire, but in the grand march of history it has not forgotten about us... more»
Septuagenarian sex. When it comes to women’s sexuality, the line between emancipation and oppression is wafer thin... more»
A dusty, foul-smelling town at the Sahara’s edge, Timbuktu is not much now. But it once fired the imagination of Europe with dreams of gold... more»
Jean-Jacques Rousseau and David Hume count more in history than Brad and Jen. Yet they too had a celebrity spat... more»
However delightful those old Disney treatments were, there is a lot more to Jules Verne than the movies ever told... more»
For Edmund Wilson, the critic is a sensitive barometer of the moral weather of society, metering the minute pressure of human relationships... more»
Manliness favors war, likes risk, and admires heroes,” says Harvey Mansfield. Rational control wants peace, prefers role models to heroes... more»
Aristotle already knew it, and so does Clive James: happiness is “a by-product of absorption” in a job of work... more»
Bohemian Burkeans, or as Rod Dreher prefers, crunchy conservatives, may be a wave of the future... more» ... Jean-Jacques Rousseau in a Russell Kirk mask?
Cunning is the art that reaches perfection only in secret. The true virtuoso, like a perfect bank robber, will never be known... more»
The wretched of the earth are trapped by the planners of the first world in a system of international aid... more»
Apocalypse then: the puzzling Permian extinction 250 million years ago killed 95% of marine species and fully 70% of land vertebrates... more»
So who is the impostor at the Republican feast? Is it Dubya and his cronies? The Gipper? Barry Goldwater’s ghost?... more» ... more»
“Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,” wrote Shakespeare. He might have been talking about his biographers... more»
The western fascination with Yukio Mishima and his strange death baffle some Japanese. For them, he is the past, not the future... more»
In exchange for democracy, Vladimir Putin has promised the Russian people security and prosperity. For many it seems like a fair trade... more»
Europe’s liberals like to think Muslim immigrants share their goals: safe place to live, jobs, etc. Bruce Bawer has another view... more» ... more»
Young Charles Darwin didn’t gather a vast pool of facts and then invent a theory to explain them. Instead, he took a leap of imagination... more»
Audie Murphy and heroes of his breed excel in the dark and bloody world of war, but can find it hard to live happily in peace... more»
Hip-hop has gone to sleep. It needs more active dreamers if it is to prove that it is now more than merely another Internet menu item... more»
Criticism of Israel is bound to feed anti-Semitism in the U.S. That is one point of view. Norman Finkelstein has another... more»
The coarseness of Stalinist theory and practice still has the power to stun the mind. So does the amazing gullibility ofintellectuals”... more»
Identical twins can be alike in uncanny ways. Seldom noted, however, is the fact that twins always differ in personality... more»
The routine evils of the age – racism, militarism, colonialism, fascism, genocide – are always being invoked against Israel. How fair is this?... more»
So was Edward Said “a dandy and a Manhattan bon viveur”? Not exactly: he was both less, and rather more... more»
Suicide is a Cuban thing: José Martí rode his horse into an ambush. Presidential aspirant Eddy Chibás shot himself on his live radio show... more»
Wise and foolish, rich and poor, virtuous and vicious, man and woman: each soul, said Elizabeth Cady Stanton, must depend on itself... more»
Roosevelt was a cool charmer who thought he could entice the Soviets into a postwar pact. Stalin had other ideas... more»
At times of extreme emotion, Flaubert felt the need to write down his impressions and seal them away – lost fragments now found... more»
Religion: at best a pastime for dimwits, at worst a holding cell for fanatics? Maybe atheism is the better choice, but the case has to be made... more»
For literature profs of today, Theory is what the Dialectic was to Marxist intellectuals of the past: the key to almost everything... more»
Rimbaud, Conrad, Rilke, Mann, Dinesen, Maugham, Lowry, Mishima, Turgenev, Joyce, Faulkner et al. Great writers, disastrous people... more»
Friedrich Nietzsche has been buried any number of times, but for an atheist, he has had a lot of resurrections... more»
Yes, most serious music in the West was written by or for social elites. Why does this so worry Richard Taruskin?... more»
Martin Heidegger hoped the Nazis would make the world safe for Being. Turned out Being had other plans. So did Emmanuel Levinas... more»
The WTO is like a car with one gas pedal and 145 hand brakes. Poor countries must not wait around for it to solve their trade problems... more»
The Beatles: What made these four untutored pop stars stand out in such high relief from others? Why does their music so persist?... more»
One of the most moving things about Petrarchs life was his intense desire to read, along with the precious rarity of good books... more»
Say what you like about Fair Trade coffee, caffeine addicts feel good about it. Or about themselves, since the customer is always righteous... more»
We’ve already pumped a trillion barrels of oil out of Mother Earth. She has maybe 8 trillion barrels left. How hard will it be to get it out?... more»
First date mistakes: too much neck hair. Rude to wait staff. Lateness. Too many mentions of ex. Saying, “My third marriage wasn’t my fault”... more»
Daughter of Islam: Yenny Wahid is an eloquent, elegant foe of Muslim fundamentalism and of religious hatred wherever it is found... more»
Thomas Kinkade, painter of snowy peaks, red-gold skies, and cozy cabins, art to hang next to your La-Z-Boy lounger, is in a spot of bother... more»
Translators of fiction are like priests who stand between us and the literary gods. We need them even as we pine for direct contact.... more»
Cracks in the broken windows theory: maybe perceptions of crime have more to do with race than with shattered glass... more» ... Bratton fires back.
Campaigns like Make Poverty History can mobilize resources for the Third World. But we will not make their poverty history by our efforts... more»
Would George Orwell have made a good blogger? Maybe. But it still would have been a waste of his time, as it is for a lot of others... more»
Graham Greene’s fictional man in Havana was a merchant and scholar with a taste for vodka and books, rather than women. Like a man in Tallinn... more»
The late William S. Rubin, curator who acquired some of MoMa’s masterpieces, has left a set of revealing memoirs... more»
Blondes had more fun even back in the Pleistocene. It’s just not fair, and it turns out that it never was... more» ... but check this.
Hidden under China’s boom is rampant corruption, waste on a vast scale, and a greedy elite. In Chinas future lies decay, not democracy... more»
Russias population has fallen by 9.5 million in ten years, despite the many thousands of Russians returning from former Soviet republics... more»