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Le Clézio, le backlash
Great Depression myths
Bigfoot in Texas
Dirty restaurants
Dogs and music
Relationship miles?
Art Spiegelman
Salmon don’t give a dam
Garrison Keillor poem
Tony Hillerman R.I.P.
Biker poets
Oil down? Told you so!
Indefatigable godwits
Leonard Cohen
Economic worries
Tchaikovsky hater
Wolves smarter than dogs
Pop music and the sexes
Pompeii in the Alps
Man Booker winner
Happiness pursuit
Trump buys Iceland
Kol Nidre
Publish and be wrong
Globalized yoga
Homosexuality “cure”
Big bang or big bounce?
Mrs. Woolf’s servants
Marilyn Monroe hoax
Ice cube melt alarm
Gotcha guard
Farewell, NY Sun!
Doestoevsky fan
Heart of Darwin
New prime number
Poisoned pen pals
Truth and the Rosenbergs
Obituary writer
9/11 fraud
Peterson’s Field Guide
Jolly Danes
Keeping Africa poor
Sharia in Britain
Happy Wagners
Applause and silence
Ebook readers
National Enquirer stories
Survival of the wittiest
Darwin apparition
Deeply informed voters
Robert Giroux R.I.P.
English music
Vaccine→autism? No!
Your horoscope
Confucian comeback
Last year in Abkhazia
Rude Britannia
Love me, love my books
Olfactory diagnostics
R U reading?
Fake bistro
Thatcher's struggle
Nose picking
Historic conquest
Sir Penguin
Need to read music?
Literary Britain
Alexander Slobodyanik R.I.P.
Ice lingam
Mahmoud Darwish R.I.P.
Ice lingam
History of electricity
Nostalgia defended
Al Qaeda and cucumbers
Organic not better
Pletnev and Beethoven
Gender and math
Nanny Nation
Techno-doped swimmers
Chrysler Building
Desert Rat cuisine
Long live Central Park
Male generosity
Hundred best novels
Fate of the semicolon
More Naipaul dirt
Law’n order, UK style
Stolen Shakespeare
Anti-Americanism is fate
Randy Pausch R.I.P.
Musicians are sexy
Lust is blind
Information overload
Lang Lang’s lesson
Joe Queenan’s ears
New bubble needed
McDonald’s in France
New Poet Laureate
The psych revolution
Bye-bye Polaroid
He’s a proud Lesbian
New Leonardo?
Best psychiatry books
Gas in constant $
Thomas Disch R.I.P.
Miniskirt in history
Persian Gulf needs coal
Dogs “unclean”
Viagra’s new use
New Standpoint
Clay Felker R.I.P.
Sexy stubble
Take the trash out
Leonard Pennario R.I.P.
Word Museum
Man overboard
Rapture ready
Encounter Books vs NYT
Eat, memory
Things Fall Apart
An orderly universe
9/11 Denialism
To academic editors...
Freeman Dyson
Remnick on Russert
Are men boring?
Where’s Nelson Mandela?
Biodynamic wine scam
Obama doll! Kind of.
Music hallucinosis
Pinker & McEwan
Uncle Barack’s Cabin
Body odor OK
Typewriters vs computers
Food summit menu
Cars for comrades
Wine bluffing
Big fat books
Healthy blogging
Red sky all day
Sons of Sartre
Carbon Belch Day
UFO shocker!
Home teams do best
Great Wall 2.0
Houellebecq’s mom
Wright side of the brain
Surfing in class
Useful CIA textbook
The Art of the Fugue
The conductor knits
Global warming/kidney stones
Tintin graffiti
White Madonna’s burden
Wiki-world truthiness
“Ask the Jihadist”
Philosopher kingmaker
Why it costs $19.95
Soft college degree
The appeal of fantasy
Lonely Planet scandal
Best campus novels
End of the critic?
Berman vs Buruma
Olympics in chains
What Rushdie’s up to
“Allah” vs “God”
Jeff Jacoby on campus
Fear of snakes
Your racist self
The value of Roget
Bad curatorial writing
A bookstore at the end
Doomsday meditations
Robert Fagles R.I.P.
Übermensch undermined
PBS lies
Unhappy Knut
Africa, bananas, and CO2
Combat dictionary
Sir Vidia’s cruelty
Phone books dying?
Paul Scofield R.I.P
“Stuff White People Like”
Want a man, or a worm?
Penis restaurant
James Bond’s clothes
British misery
Celebrity masterpieces
Black Lagoon memories
Bookstore epitaph
Map mania
President on call
Gary Gygax R.I.P.
Literary sex
Italian gesture
Metrosexual manscape
Bush to stay in Africa
Most needed apologies
Rebranding anti-Semitism
T-rays see through art
How paint dries
Dutton’s Books
Airbus A380 cockpit
Hank Williams
Danish catoonist’s fate
God and Girls in Thailand
Shrinking families
Beethoven? Elitist?
Darwinian reading
Why steal art?
Night at the opera
The Archbishop’s Tale
Neocon myths
Heather’s stump
Women’s studies ends
Soldier slang
Biggest helicopter
His roving eye
ABC’s Lost
Brand McSweeney’s
Lolita who?
Martin Amis
Margaret Truman R.I.P.
Mark Morford is happy
Candidate fonts
Cursing literary theory
Why we flirt
Young Frankenstein woes
New Yorker reading
Selling sex
Tom Cruise rant (video)
2007’s big word
Iranian Jewish mayor
Columbus and syphilis
Greer on Kitaj
Lunch with Hitch
Simone de Beauvoir
Edmund Hillary R.I.P.
Zoos and death
Mamma’s boys
Brazen magpie
US bars vs UK pubs
Top NYT op-eds 2007
Bellicose oratory
About Facebook
Smoking in France
Book reviewing dead?
Britney in 2008
Best baby advice
Marriage is green
Medical myths
Oscar Peterson R.I.P.
Book flops of 2007
Best/worst lit quotes
Buzzwords of 2007
Our civil liberties
I hate Céline!
Terry Eagleton
Magna Carta sale
Meteor shotgun pellets
The marriage market
Bad taste headline
Who invited the dog?
Stocking filler books
Christmas Stollen
Martha Nussbaum questions
Libel tourism
Lévy on Time on France
Karlheinz Stockhausen R.I.P.
Oprah vs Barbra
Bioethanol boondoggle
Profs on Facebook
Gauguin’s teeth
Church of Stop Shopping
Beyond Velveeta
Khrushchev’s shoe
Salman Rushdie gossip
Glenn Gould’s legacy
The decline of declinism
Martin Amis not racist
Fat? Don’t worry.
Post-turkey drowsiness
French boar hunt
Roman cave
Jews and Wasps
Helicopter dreams
Productivity gains
Win a Nat’l Book Award
“They’re just breasts”
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That Britannica set was to sit in your home merely as a reference tool. Those forbidding Great Books, however, were actually meant to read... more» ... more»
China may be ugly and soulless, but Paul Theroux retains a sickened fascination for India, a land that is trapped between hypermodernity and medievalism... more»
The weird world of art. How do so many different views and kinds of art jell into a rough consensus about what art is in the first place?... more»
Are atheists nastier than religious folk? Some believers seem to think so. But maybe they are the very ones who make atheists nasty... more»
Ludwig Wittgenstein was an arresting mix of monk, mystic, and mechanic. His family home in childhood is best described as a madhouse... more»
Mortimer Adler and the Great Books. Yes, it was all rather earnest. But with humane studies having fallen to theory and politics, nostalgia is justified... more»
V.S. Naipaul has always been a sadist and a smell-smock and a coxcomb, and he’s always enjoyed it. But why does he so want us to know it?... more»
Geoff Nicholson likes walking the streets and lanes of London. Sure, but how can he also enjoy to walk the car-glutted streets of Los Angeles?... more»
Samuel de Champlain never learned to swim, yet shot American rapids in bark canoes and starting in 1599 crossed the Atlantic 27 times without losing a ship... more»
“A monster that must be put back in its place”? Heavens, no. Finance is a mirror that shows mankind its true face, warts and all... more»
If there was ever a man who fit Comte de Buffon’s idea of genius as the capacity for taking pains, it’s Charles M. Schulz... more»
“Oh dear, oh dear, how I sometimes wish I were respectable and dead,” he wrote. Now Benjamin Britten is both... more»
Samuel Adams burned letters the British might use against him. He wasn’t playing for the history books, he was trying to plot a revolution... more»
Loneliness: more and more people in the U.S. and across the globe now live alone and say they have no close confidant... more» ... more»
Silent muses: three women who suffered immensely because they were tied to three men of artistic genius – Cézanne, Monet, and Rodin... more»
Travel writing has often been a form of escape. Not so with V.S. Naipaul, who wants only to transform experience into art... more»
Manhattan is the capital of people who live alone. Yet are New Yorkers lonelier? Far from it: studies show urban alienation is largely a myth... more»
We are immensely fortunate to have a critic of James Wood’s talent, erudition, and judgment. But if criticism follows his lead, it will end up in a desert... more»
In web searches, scholars tend to follow one hyperlink to the next, in a journey that resembles a plunge down a rabbit hole. Is this any way to do research?... more»
The history of the bagel is not just a history of Jews in America – it is a history of America itself. How else to explain a bagel with Swiss cheese and ham?... more»
Pick me as a mate,” says the peacock. “I must be a fit guy, since I carry this wild, colorful tail around with me and still survive”... more»

George W. Bushs nostrils always ran ahead of his mind, twitching like a bull in a rodeo or a frisking wild horse, hinting at danger to come... more»
In meritocracy – or so it seemed fifty years ago – we would look up to the best of us. It turns out now, however, that we look up to celebrities. A big difference... more»
John Milton, boring? Paradise Lost has a little bit of something for everybody. Hot sex! Hellfire! Some damned good poetry, too... more»
Who’d want to make a movie that looked like a Thomas Kinkade painting? Thomas Kinkade, obviously. But who could possibly sit through it?... more»
“I’ve seen too many peoples dismissed as not ready for self-government,” says Condoleezza Rice. Latin Americans, Asians, Africans – even black Americans... more»
At a time when Chinese financial power is so strong, the U.S. government is – alas! – in no mood to hear about the murder of Falun Gong members... more»
Distorting art market perceptions. The auction houses use one price for their presale estimates then inflate the actual sale results with their own premium... more»
Greenland has rich deposits of oil, zinc, and diamonds. But will independence from Denmark do anything about its suicide rate?... more»
The N-word is flourishing among young hip-hop Latinos. Should we care? Raquel Cepeda asks the question... more»
An early rival to win the prize for a way to find longitude at sea was a chap from Yorkshire named Jeremy Thacker. Now it seems both he and his ideas were a hoax... more»
Eat local? Cold storage for that local fruit may produce more carbon dioxide than shipping New Zealand apples to your market... more»
Malcolm Gladwell, one critic fears, “has come to his own tipping point, or – to be fuddy-duddy – fork in the road. This way, guru. That way, serious writer”... more»
Pairing writer with subject is an art, says NYRB editor Robert Silvers. Like the late Barbara Epstein, he feels an “intense admiration for wonderful writers”... more»
A spur-of-the-moment decision to buy a wolf cub changed Mark Rowlands’s life. From that moment, human company never quite matched up... more»
Avoiding clichés isn’t rocket science. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of just being your own fairly unique self. And not saying things you shouldn’t of... more»
John Leonard, critic with a vast range and a wondrous way with metaphors, is dead at the age of 69... AP ... Chronicle Review ... NY Observer ... Wash Post ... Kansas City Star ... NYT ... Slate ... Boston Globe
Michael Crichton, who delighted lovers of his fiction and enraged environmentalists, is dead at the age of 66... NYT ... AP ... Reason ... Wash Post ... James Fallows ... LAT ... NY Observer ... London Times ... NYT ... Bloomberg ... USAToday ... Wired ... Info Week ... Weekly Standard ... Crichton on Green religion
Poverty and disadvantage are a better preparation for success than wealth and capitalizing on advantage.” Malcolm Gladwell wonders... more»
No matter the money or effort you lavish on your body, regardless of pampering or cholesterol monitoring, it has no future. Your genes know this... more»
The human moral sense is neither the one nor the other: it is, Jonathan Haidt can show, both biologically evolved and culturally sensitive... more»
“I want to make damn sure there’s a tape recorder running for my last words.” No fake deathbed conversions for Richard Dawkins... more»
Studs Terkel, “guerilla journalist” who turned the voices of ordinary Americans into a font of history, is dead at the age of 96... Chic Tribune ... Sun-Times ... LAT ... NYT ... Edward Rothstein
“There are no factual assertions that religion can reasonably claim as its own,” says Daniel Dennett, “as off limits to science”... more»
Simone Weil’s clothes were a ragtag soldier’s or poor monk’s: a monastic, masculine cut – her cape, boyish flat-heeled shoes, long, dark jacket... more»
André Aciman had always been ashamed of Via Clelia, where he had lived in Rome: ashamed of its good people and of himself for feeling shame... more»
Should China have a “legalist” model for its future, rather than democracy? Or should China simply have democracy, period?... more» China has a long history
Our obsession with college and the BA has created a two-tiered entry to adulthood: the anointed are admitted to the club, others are labeled as second-best... more»
“It’s unseemly to ask for sympathy for having survived Yale University,” says Rachel Toor, “but the truth is, I’m still recovering from my experience there”... more»
Herculaneum’s Villa of the Papyri was buried by Vesuvius in 79 AD. Its library is now being excavated, while Vesuvius broods over it still... more»
European governments are at their wits’ end, says Jürgen Habermas. It is time for them to admit it, and let the people decide the future of the EU... more»
When does dissent become untruth? Who decides what dissent deserves to be heard? When must journalists “protect” readers? Ron Rosenbaum wonders... more»
What kind of pseud are you? Once upon a time, you smoked Gauloises and brooded over Ezra Pound. Then it was rap and Gregorian chants. Now it’s Facebook, or Kindle, or... more»
From California to Ulan Bator, from $500 to $1.23 per week, from sashimi to mayonnaise sandwiches, the photos tell it all. What the world eats... more»
How might the U.S. maintain its military advantage into the 21st century? Wanting an answer to the question, the Pentagon decided to look to the past... more»
The dismal science is at last a real science, with tangible benefits, says Guy Sorman. What then does it teach? Here is the answer in ten points... more»
The antiscience agenda in our schools gets going as early as kindergarten, with its infantile versions of the diversity agenda and its early lessons in self-esteem... more»
Bribery, corruption, extortion are the Afghan way, from the top of society to its very bottom. But that’s just the start, as Sarah Chayes explains... more»
Arianna blogs from home in Brentwood, but how is she to know what’s happening in Tehran or D.C.? As newspapers shut their foreign desks, is this the replacement?... more»
Does Shakespeare affect your inner reality, make you feel more alive in strange ways when you read or see his work? Neurobiology can explain why... more»
The English pub: once a warm place to enjoy a warm beer, it now sells toxic drinks to kids who think a good night out must end in copious vomiting... more» ... more» ... more»
The media are always on the lookout for ways to ruin your day. The more guilt or angst a news story induces, the better. So listen to John Tierney... more»
If you could spend $10 billion over the next four years to make a better world, how would you use the money? Bjørn Lomborg with some advice... more»
When Ireland was poor, Irish houses with their grass roofs were lovely to look at, says Germaine Greer. Horrible to live in, of course, steaming dung before the door... more»
Literary Darwinism may be criticism’s best hope to bounce back from years of poststructuralism and Marxism. But the jury is still out... more»
Confronted with the dreaded charge of being one of the elite, Mark Swed has an answer: “Hey, Bud, you got a problem with us being the best?”... more»
The old black American narrative has outlived its usefulness, says Charles Johnson. We need new stories and new concepts to make sense of black experience... more» ... more»
Americans are easy with unequal wealth. But an inequality of intelligence, and the smartocracy it creates, sets American teeth on edge... more»
The Netherlands once sheltered Jews and other refugees from the Inquisition. Now it runs its own Inquisition. Look at Gregorius Nekschot... more»
The late Anna Alchuks diary of dreams shows that being called a “Putin critic” in today’s Russia can be very dangerous... more»
Chinese enthusiasm for Western classical music is deep, says Alex Ross, but traditional Chinese music is older and more “classical” than anything in the West... more»
Every new gadget is, wrote T.S. Eliot, “Filled with fancies and empty of meaning / Tumid apathy with no concentration.” T.S. Eliot? Whos he?... more»
William and Henry. Yes, says Jessica Crispin, the James family is as interesting as a train wreck in some ways, but the work they created speaks for itself... more»
Psych departments won’t teach Freud, nor is Marx taught in econ, while Hegel hardly figures in philosophy. In the mall of education, they are now boutique thinkers... more»
The police, courts, and prisons are charged with solving social problems, but their only tools are powers of arrest and imprisonment. We need a new way... more»
Is the U.S. finished? Well, all those think tank theorists, public intellectuals, and elite media experts seem to think so. How could they be wrong?... more»
At the end of her life, Pauline Kael said to a friend, “When we championed trash culture we had no idea it would become the only culture.” But then who did?... more»
“Human beings,” writes Roger Scruton, “have an innate need to conceptualize their world in terms of the transcendental, and to live out the distinction between the sacred and the profane”... more»
Like disagreeable vegetables stuck into a delicious meal, contemporary music is forced on concert audiences before they are allowed to enjoy their Brahms... more»
Your baby is home from the hospital: what music will be his first? Mozart to make him smarter? Schoenberg to make him a radical? Bach’s sweet counterpoint?... more»
Intellectuals once worried about the degeneration of the race. Today they fear cultural decay, says Kenan Malik. Aren’t these worries equally daft?... more»
An enormous twin-trunked honey locust dominates the far side of Alan Jacobs’s lawn; in the back is a tall Norway spruce and a maple – but what kind of maple?... more»
Dirty jokes can’t really do much harm, says Jim Holt. They don’t so much corrupt us as remind us that we are already corrupted... more»
Hollywoods hero deficit. Movies no longer portray genuine heroism, even though that’s precisely what audiences want to see... more»
Once you feel you’ve seen evil, it’s hard to regard other views as anything other than the work of Very Bad People. You prefer conspiracy theories... more»
There’s no record of Plato’s Academy offering an honorary doctorate to Alcibiades, even for giving the graduation speech gratis. Robert Mugabe was luckier... more»
Feminists were thin on the ground in 19th-century Egypt. But in 1899, there appeared a citizen who held outlandishly modern opinions on the subject of women... more»
Winning presidential candidates need a “story” for voters – a vision of America. And if the story is fantasy? What was Kennedy’s story? What was Jimmy Carter’s?... more»
Better to let the Arabs “do it imperfectly than to do it yourself perfectly: for it is their country, their way and your time is short.” T.E. Lawrence is still right... more»
Oh, the humanities: like animal shelters and tree-planting projects, nice people invariably say nice things about them. All rather cloying... more»
Architect of the Houses of Parliament? Every inch of the building’s surface, inside and out, was from one man, who spent his last days designing its ink-pots and umbrella-stands... more»
As Mill, Engels, and Betty Friedan well knew, the family as an institution has problems. But the state can’t simply step in to solve them. Jennie Bristow explains... more»
Camille Paglia is a pro-sex feminist who’s still for porn and prostitution. But champions of chastity, she says, also stand in a great feminist tradition of defying groupthink... more»
In the 19th century, poetry had a mass audience, says Jay Parini. But in the 20th century, poetry decided to get “difficult,” to require footnotes... more»
Cartoons to transcend laws of physics, hop around in time and space, and skip from one dimension to another. Just like poetry, writes Billy Collins... more»
Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky rattled the role of reason in the pantheon of human motives. For them, homo economicus was ironic, skeptical, almost wickedly complex... more»
Steve Vineberg loves art that “emerges from an acknowledgement that we’re none of us pure of either mind or heart.” It’s an art of surprise... more»
Samuel Pepys: intelligent, curious, decent, and diligent, with an abiding interest in music, food, women and the life of the city... more»
The Caucasus is haunted by the ghost of freedom: ethnic groups like the Abkhaz and Ossetians try to break away from an independent state... more»
E.M. Forster was a tricky bugger, a man of many contradictions. He made a faith of personal sincerity, but his career was disingenuous... more»
Julius Caesar stands for so much in our culture. Even John Wilkes Booth took up the mantle of Brutus against the Caesar Lincoln... more»
The novelist Elizabeth Taylor is best known for not being the person eveybody thinks she is. Ben Schwarz explains... more»
Heinrich Heine was half-blind at life’s end, but his prose darted like a sparrow between youth and maturity, personal delight and political indignation... more»
How excellent to see a physicist taking philosophical problems seriously. Alan Sokal has even won a battle or two... more»
Moral panic over Salomé, and a financial panic on Wall Street. Gustav Mahler’s New York was a frenetic, overheated city... more»
The blight that killed billions of American chestnut trees was a catastophe unrivaled in the history of ecological disasters... more»
Allan Konigsberg was already in high school writing jokes for New York gossip columns. He needed a better name, so he called himself “Woody Allen”... more»
For the human eye, the face of a woman or a man is the most sign-packed surface in the universe. It tells more about us than we may wish... more»
The spellbinding quality of Sakis stories looks mawkish when put in plain words because he wrote about children and animals... more»
The tragedy of commons is that it leads to overuse and destruction; the tragedy of the anticommons leads to underuse and waste... more»
Leopold and Loeb: it was long ago, but their cold viciousness remains a major event in the annals of human depravity... more»
Philosopher Giordano Bruno wrote about the universe as infinite and containing other inhabited worlds. Too much for the Inqusition... more»
Joseph Banks: generous and insatiable for knowledge. Carl Linnaeus: manipulative and mean-spirited. But they both loved plants... more»
She was a woman who clung to New York literary life, or its fringes, by her talented fingernails. Not as herself, but as Louise Brooks... more»
Rap is about striking a pose. It is a pose, as John McWhorter observes, that amounts to “the upturned middle finger”... more»
When D.H. Lawrence saw “the brilliant, proud morning shine up high over the deserts of Santa Fe,” something stood still in his soul... more»
Nationalism and the nation itself,” Robert Kagan writes, “far from being weakened by globalization, have now returned with a vengeance”... more»
Doris Lessing hated her mother. That was in real life. But in her newest fiction, her mother has become a true moral heroine... more»
Ernst Haeckel’s imagination, daring, and inventive ideas should have made him Darwin’s rival. But he was too much a popularizer... more»
Hard to imagine, given our obsession with TV, Facebook, and blogs, but literature was once at the center of American cultural life... more»
There are too many cynical, strutting views of sex, says Cynthia Macdonald. They never explain one gender’s foibles to the other... more»
During the Depression, many Americans were lured by Soviet propaganda to migrate to the USSR to help build socialism.” What a sad story... more»
History – the rational and methodical study of the human past – was invented by a single man, Herodotus... more»
While Evelyn Waugh was chatting up the aristocracy, his contemporary, George Orwell, was down there with coal miners and tramps... more»
Till death do us part. Can anyone, in or out of a marriage, explain it? A mystical melting of man and woman into “one flesh”?... more»
Americans like their grog. By 1810 six states distilled twice as many gallons of whiskey per annum as the total populace... more»
The luminous details in Vermeers paintings open like his diamond-paned windows onto a wider world... more»
Evolution isnt perfect: it goes with what works and tinkers with it later. So the retinas of vertebrates are installed backwards, blind spots and all... more»
Our conscious life is a constant flow, or integration, of an immediate past and the present. Brain science shows it’s so... more»
Not all baby boomers are still fighting the fights of the sixties. But they still tend to the same sixties narcisscism... more»
Scotland: fake history, phony epics, and fraudulent tartans. Those ancient clans are a pile of rubbish, and as for the kilt... more»
Maxim Gorky’s hopes for the Russian Revolution were Promethean: man would acquire qualities of the gods and gradually replace them... more»
“Yesterday this picture was worth millions,” Han van Meegeren said. “Today, it is worth nothing. But the picture has not changed. What has?”... more»
“Remember, many girls are pretty, but few are radiant.” Why not virtue and dignity for girls? Why is it always about sex?... more»
It’s no sense of duty that makes people read James Wood’s essays huddled in doorways, coats and keys still in their hands... more»
She was the new Chomsky, the young woman to re-invent politics for a new generation. Then came 9/11... more»
Animal cruelty today is not as barbaric as in the 18th century, but with factory farming it is more widespread... more»
The divine Homer. So how will you have him? In the earthy, rough-hewn words of Fagles, or with the nobility of Pope?... more»
American lawns cover an area about the size of New York State. Every year, $40 billion is spent on their upkeep... more»
Maybe the most damning criticism that can be made of Castros revolution is not that it is repressive but that its repression was for naught... more»
So what has the feminist revolution really given women? Sisterhood, empowerment, and eight hours a day in a cubicle... more»
If you think that one dead shark is as good as another, then your grasp of the art market is, as they say, dead in the water... more»
“So what is the difference between a Hungarian and a Rumanian? Each will sell you his grandmother, but...” more» ... more»
Booze: it is a lubricant for business deals, marriages, and talk. It inspired the Greeks to invent not only democracy, but comedy and tragedy... more»
Ugly? To the contrary, a slime mold seen under a microscope can be an object of beauty – in the eye of the scientist... more»
We still repair urgently to Durkheim and Weber, while we safely forget about phlogiston. Social theorys history lives still... more»
In the 2020s, perhaps 10% of Chinese males will not find wives. By then, China will be no country for young men... more»
Some recent political clichés are older than we think. Henry IV, not Herbert Hoover, coined a chicken in every pot... more»
The dumbest generation. They want it all, and they want it now, without toil, and especially without any boring reading... more»
U.S. leadership often emerges out of crisis: Pearl Harbor or 9/11. Maybe a vigilant foreign policy will require yet another calamity... more»
Because we must decide if some means can be justified by their ends, moralists will always be in work. Consider the history of the CIA... more»
Sex is interesting, even when it’s bad, says Jessa Crispin. Sex memoirs, on the other hand, can be boring beyond belief... more»
Artist of wondrous Vermeers? Except that they were not so wondrous, and they were most certainly not Vermeers... more»
China: both proud and resentful, open and closed, like us yet not at all like us. Still, the onetime sick man of Asia is in exuberant health... more»
“Ay, in the very temple of Delight / Veiled Melancholy has her sovran shrine.” John Keats knew her intimately, and delight as well... more»
Readers are incurable fabulists. Take that ordinary chap, Franz Kafka. We prefer him as a man of metaphysical mystery... more»
Richard Gatling invented a mechanized seed planter: seeds dropped from a hopper one by one into the furrow. Why not use the same idea for a gun?... more»
Man goes to the doctor and says, “Doctor, my penis is burning.” Doctor explains, “That means somebody is talking about your penis.” What is it about jokes? ... more» ... more» ... more»
Con men call it, “taking off the touch” – the point in the con when they take the mark’s money. But he had such an honest face... more»
In the long history of the cinema, how many movies, let alone violent boxing movies, can have been based on a poem? Yet one was, a 1949 RKO release... more»
The Chinese discovered America, says Gavin Menzies. Now he claims that they also sparked the Renaissance... more»
How unpredictable is the Kremlin? For Walter Laqueur, leaders of Russia have tended to be more predictable than the White House... more»
Russia looks like a crocodile to Georgia, but Georgia looks to Russia like the cats’ paw of the West... more» ... Putin makes his move ... brew for a blowup ... Black Sea watershed ... Shaakashvili speaks ... stand up to Russia ... power politics ... Vladimir Bonaparte ... blame the victim ... Russia heading for a fall ... grudge match ... back to the 19th century ... Yukos, now Georgia ... the Great Game ... hard landing for Russia ... Putinism wins ... perils to come ... resurgent bear ... Russian resentment ... Georgia’s problem ... wanna-be superpower ... Putin warmonger ... ominous doctrine ... not Hitler or Stalin ... historic turning point ... Russia does not want war ... back to ’68
There was huge drop in semicolon use from the 18th through the 19th centuries, from 68.1 per 1000 words to 17.7. And that’s just the start of the trouble... more»
Dr. Malthus, thou shouldst be living at this hour, with the birth rate in Britain at all-time lows. It’s the real population problem... more»
Major world powers are unlikely to take any significant steps against Robert Mugabe because Zimbabwe exports neither oil nor international terrorism... more»
A Truman for our times. President Bush has successfully rolled back jihadism, and placed the U.S. to benefit from Asian growth... more»
No one yet knows how to disarm bacteria enough to allow the human body to naturally and consistently defend against them. And we still have superbugs... more»
Size matters, when it comes to IQ. The bigger your brain, the better. But most important is that certain areas of the brain be larger... more»
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, whose books told the horrors of the Soviet gulag system, is dead at 89 ... UPI ... Globe & Mail ... Chicago Tribune ... Philly Inquirer ... FrontPage ... Rutland Herald ... last interview ... LAT ... American Spectator ... Wash Times ... Irish Times ... neighbors speak ... Telegraph ... AP ... AFP ... London Times ... Irish Times ... BBC ... Guardian ... NYT ... Der Spiegel ... 1978 Harvard speech ... Putin & Gorbachev ... old Buckley column ... Daily Mail ... Guardian ... Moscow Times ... Open Democracy ... Time ... Nat’l Post ... Slate ... Ottawa Citizen ... Boston Globe ... Nat’l Post ... Forbes ... BBC ... ... Christian Post ... German papers ... New Statesman ... Economist ... Wall Street Journal ... Khrushcev’s daughter ... ever the optimist
Coddled from infancy and raised to be academic stars, Chinas only children buckle under pressure of their parents’ deferred dreams... more»
Blue sky thinking, pushing the envelope: office-speak is just so brainless. Going forward, Lucy Kellaway dialogues... more»
Who framed George Lakoff? This noted linguist’s foray into Democratic politics has been, well, a little bit exciting... more»
Kay Ryan, Americas new poet laureate, is a miniaturist. Her poems, like pearls, take shape “around an aggravation”... more»
Literary critics often use “voice” to mean “style.” But real writers have real voices too, and they have been recorded... more»
Frédéric Bourdin had invented scores of identities, in five languages, and he played them to the hilt. But his favorite was the abused child... more»
Like every force of nature, lightning gives and takes away. It exudes nitrogen for plants. It is also deadly: it chars, explodes, sears... more»
Visiting Harvard to teach is like visiting Disney World. The magic dust induces a light narcosis. The mind goes incontinent... more» ... more» ... more»
So globalization, by making nations richer, will make them democratic? Not if we enrich entrenched, anti-democratic powers... more»
Quiet! Sleeping Brain at Work. The brain can get a lot done, and leave you a little smarter, when it sleeps... more»
The lower types, Nietzsche dared to think, wallow in pity as swine do in mud, their pity for others just pity for themselves. But what of real compassion?... more»
What is art criticism today? It’s sure not Harold Rosenberg or Clement Greenberg. Some might call this progress. James Panero calls it a shame... more»
Obama needs time to think, McCain needs time to think, and so do you. But how can you find the time, or make the time?... more»
Brideshead Revisited is a misfit of a book, loved in the wrong way, as the vomitous stupidity of Miramax’s new film version shows... more»
Last year, 194 people killed themselves on the tracks of mass transit systems in the U.K. It’s a theatrical way to die... more»
At the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, Herbert Hoover had his aides pick up every stray bit of paper left on tables or thrown out. Smart move... more»
Even Arts & Letters Daily readers have been known to bluff about classic books theyve not really read. What’s your shameful secret?... more»
Writing in Paris just six months before his death, Walter Benjamin produced for Max Horkheimer in New York a report on the literary situation in France... more»
The Chevrolet Volt is a new kind of electric hybrid GM wants in showrooms in late 2010. It is a gigantic risk for the company... more»
How many of us are aware that when we look into a mirror we see an image on the mirror surface that is exactly half life size?... more»
When the U.S. pioneered universal access to high school, the whole economy benefited. Today it needs the same for college... more»
Who would guess that Lord Keynes was “deeply moved” by Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, and called it “a grand book”?... more»
Just what his ideological enemies might wish for: Christopher Hitchens has been tortured in a waterboarding session... more»
The New Yorker was “one of the greatest money pits in magazine history.” Then it got a new editor, David Remnick... more»
What about southern Iraq’s important archeological sites – the ones that had been looted? Well, the looting was an urban myth... more»
Persias Cyrus II was a great defender of human rights. Just like the late Shah, who gave proof of the wisdom of both men to the United Nations... more»
Obsessive stalker, an impotent husband, lover of young boys: to some, the creator of Peter Pan was an evil genius. But to others... more»
John McWhorter’s artistic pantheon has room for Brahms, Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, and Billy Strayhorn. As for Rap... more»
Monkeys may not care about money, but they are mad about marshmallows. And to them, marshmallows can begin to look a lot like money... more»
Beijing: flat, sprawling, smoggy, jammed with traffic, and nearly all new. A kind of People’s Republic of Houston... more»
“All poets’ wives have rotten lives.” The words of Delmore Schwartz were not directly about Elizabeth Hardwick, and she might not have agreed. Still... more»
Is fan fiction legal? Fans are nervous. A copyright owner’s rights extend explicitly to derivative works based on the original... more»
Homosexual behavior is common in nature, and it plays an important role in survival. Consider Roy and Silo, Central Park’s gay penguins... more»
Move over, Noam. A new survey of the world’s top intellectuals shows they are mostly Muslims you never heard of... more» ... more»
Shoppers at farmers markets have ten times as many conversations with other people as those at supermarkets. And as for the food... more»
The routes of humans from Africa to the Americas over millennia can be mapped as if they were moving over superhighways... more»
Paleolithic cave art shows no sun, moon, or plant life, and hardly a human being. It is rather about magnificent animals... more»
The downside of natural disasters is so sad and so obvious. Yet, like losing wars, disasters can have an upside... more»
“Mother Russia,” or “Mother India.” Men may leave, fight, be compromised, but women represent purity, continuity, homeand babies... more»
Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75%, far more than previous estimates, says a secret World Bank report... more»
As everyone knows, Socrates spoke for all skeptics when he said, “All I know is that I know nothing.” But is that what he really said?... more»
Bachelors know more about women than married men; if they didn’t, they’d be married too.” What did Mencken mean?... more»
The Architect of Brasília? Yes, it was urban planning gone badly wrong, but the city still contains some graceful modernist government buildings... more»
Woodrow Wilson talked of “a common order, a common justice and a common peace” for America and the world. His is an idea ripe for revival... more»
Yellow journalism was invented by editors who were more interested in selling papers than verifying truth. Today, it’s the rise of yellow science... more»
The first disadvantage of an elite education, says William Deresiewicz, is that it makes you incapable of talking to people who aren’t like you. Is this diversity?... more»
Like Berlin in 1936, the Beijing games will be a shameful event, says Bernard-Henri Lévy. We must tell Beijing, “Stop the bloodbath, stop the murder in Sudan”... more»
Can the destruction of the Inca empire be blamed on ignorance of principles of philosophy? “It can,” said Montesquieu, “and I am going to prove it”... more»
Almost exactly 150 years ago a letter for Charles Darwin arrived at his estate in Downe, Kent. When he read it, Darwin was crushed... more»
An “it-wasnt-my-fault” industry now produces books like Scott McClellan’s White House memoir. Next in line: Donald Rumsfeld... more»
We get the art we deserve, and today what we deserve is the splashy, pretentious, dumbed down trophy art that dominates the art world ... more»
If globalization and democracy can’t be reconciled, says Benjamin Barber, the entire world will start looking look more and more like Darfur or Gaza on a bad day... more»
Much of the best literature of the 19th century can’t be grasped without knowing the position of women and women writers: their views of the world and their literary preferences... more»
An Inconvenient Opera. Now that Al Gore’s movie is set to become an opera at La Scala, the composer has a comment or two for his librettist... more»
The rise of the therapeutic and the eclipse of the tragic ensures college studentsexpectations soar even as their intellectual abilities to handle life’s setbacks erode... more»
Literary characters. Who would you be, if you could choose? Michael Dirda answers, and means it, when he says: James Bond... more»
As we are drained by Google and the web of our inner repertory of culture, we become “pancake people,” our knowledge spread all too wide, too thin... more»
The Aids scare, says Brendan O’Neill, was one of the most distorted, duplicitous, and cynical public health panics of the last thirty years... more»
Share your grief and you may double your sorrow. Better, perhaps, that all you’ve seen, and all that you suffered, should go with you to the grave... more»
So let’s see... The less money your peer group has, the more flashy the jewelry you buy. But then there is also inconspicuous consumption... more»
Where interpretation is obvious, power is supreme; if it wavers, flickering, power for the powerless may be possible. Theory still has its uses... more» ... more» ... more» ... more»
If Robert Mugabe returns to power this month, it will continue a nightmare of open, repressive brutality – thanks to the refusal of Thabo Mbeki and other African leaders to intervene... more»
John Updike started with art as a small child, newspaper comics at first. Edward Hopper and Mark Rothko came later... more» ... interview
A butterfly flaps its wing and a hurricane hits Mongolia. Or whatever. Everybody loves the “butterfly effect,” and everybody gets it totally wrong... more»
Paris is a miraculous city in no small measure because modern architects have not been able to get their hands on it. Roger Scruton explains... more»
Under Kinderarchy, parents are little more than indentured servants. It’s all about the kids: their schooling, brightness, cuteness, and their quite astonishing creativity... more»
The central image of Samuel Johnson in James Boswell’s Life is that of a heroic figure battling his demons and keeping them at bay... more»
Critical texts to go with contemporary art are so twisted and woolly they could pass for self-parody. Yet they require us to take them seriously... more»
“Praise God for not making me an Eskimo.” P.J. ORourke learned lots from those trips with his grandma to Chicago’s Field Museum... more»
End-time thinking – the belief in a world purified by catastrophe – was once dismissed as a harmless remnant of superstition. It’s not harmless, argues Ian McEwan... more»
Even if we believe that authoritarian China is on the wrong side of history, says John Lee, so far it is doing a remarkable job of defying it... more»
The best political novels show politics not as burlesque, says Morris Dickstein, but as a calling on which individual hopes and destinies depend... more»
Enlightenment museums evolved, almost uniquely, out of Western civilization. The “cultural property movement” wants to undermine them and get its hands on their contents... more»
The Egyptian group Al Jihad was part of the core of Al Qaeda. Now its main theorist, Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, “Dr. Fadl,” has turned against violence. Is Al Qaeda falling apart?... more»
U.S. foreign policy in expansive, idealistic, and militarist mode has done well: defeats of Nazism, Japanese imperialism, and Soviet communism, for instance... more»
Environmentalism has replaced socialism as the leading secular religion of the world today. This is not an unalloyed good, says Freeman Dyson... more»
When Robert McCrum became literary editor of The Observer in 1996, the book world was all ink and paper, the smell of cigarettes, coffee, and strong drink... more»
In Britain, multiculturalism has become a career opportunity and a source of political patronage, says Theodore Dalrymple... more»
Shore up the library, says Robert Darnton. Stock it with books. Reinforce its reading rooms. Don’t think of it as a warehouse or a museum... more»
You probably think being Cinderella is all glamour and Prince Charming. Ever try on glass slippers? Ever try to wear a fake smile all day?... more»
What is a journalist?” Dwight Macdonald asked. “Alas, an ignorant and superficial fellow, a kibitzer.” Maybe we need more like him... more»
“Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket,” said Eric Hoffer, via Pat Buchanan. Is this the conservative movement?... more»
Saul Bellow’s Mr. Sammler’s Planet came in 1970 like an electric jolt. NYC was out of control, with murders heading to 2,200 a year, one every four hours. The novel was unflinching... more»
Our hypocrisy obsession forces politicians to tour the daytime-TV sofas trying to show their human side. It doesn’t work: we end up trusting them even less... more»
Universities award honorary degrees with many noble motives in mind. Getting a rich person to give them money is only one. Sheer vulgar publicity is another... more»
Money cant buy happiness. Okay. But what about just a little bit of happiness? Maybe with money you can be unhappy in comfort... more»
Words perfect for what they mean: jab or fluffy or sneer, each true beyond mere logic. Verbose is an oddly verbose word, and isn’t puny puny? Peppy has the perky, energetic sound it needs... more»
War is horror, wrote A.J. Liebling, but “you can feel its pull on men’s memories at the maudlin reunions of war divisions. They mourn for their dead, but also for war”... more»
Virgils Aeneid is no stiff antiquarian pageant. It’s immediate and primal, about love, abandonment, death – and ultimate triumph... more»
All of the books of John Steinbeck are still in print. Why does the work of this earnest but artless writer continue to enjoy such popularity?... more»
Literary scholarship: aimless, irrelevant, and dying a slow death in the academy. But there’s a way to revive interest in the study of fiction and criticism... more»
With typical narcissism, the children of ’68 see themselves as the center and turning point of history. Has anyone thought about 1958?... more»
Is the criminal-justice system racist? No, argues Heather Mac Donald, the high numbers of blacks behind bars reflects crime rates, not bigotry... more»
“Hitler was a fascinator, as many people found,” wrote Diana Mosley. “Part of the charm was his extreme naturalness and lack of affectation”... more»
Edward Rothstein admits that when it comes to LSD, he inhaled. But in the 1960s, the drug infused the exhalations of musicians, philosophers, and many others... more»
To the left, John Wayne has always been a comics version of American power in its swaggering crudeness. Oh yeah? Consider Rio Bravo... more»
Your brain has a mind of its own – and it’s not even always yours. But evolution, as Gary Marcus explains, never promised to solve all our problems... more»
“This is the story of educational romanticism in our schools – its rise, its etiology, and, we have reason to hope, its approaching demise”... more»
In east and southern Africa, two decades of denial and flagrant mismanagement have allowed the HIV virus to hollow out whole countries... more»
Want to remember like a genius? Practice too soon and you waste time. Practice too late and you’ve forgotten the material. There’s a perfect point...more»
David Sedaris did not exactly quit smoking. He just discovered that he had finished it. It was for him not a proud achievement, but a kind of betrayal... more»
Rawls vs. Nozick: the standoff between these two thinkers is central to political philosophy today. Both loved the abstract, and had little regard for human nature... more»
Beijing isn’t powerful enough to stop local officials in China from abusing the rights of ordinary citizens. Francis Fukuyama explains... more»
Cultural jihadists, says Bruce Bawer, hate the West’s freedoms because those freedoms defy sharia. So do we love our freedoms as much as they hate them? ... more»
Art students need two teachers: first, a master for learning rules and skills and then a guru who breaks rules and sets students free. These days, students get a lot of gurus... more»
As Vito’s heirs gather, the future of the Corleone dynasty hangs in the balance. Who will control this world? There are three answers: liberal, neocon, and realist... more»
Online Islamist propaganda – which now includes thousands of al-Qaeda sites – is rife with lies, errors, and even bogus letters to embarrass rivals... more»
The Selfish Gene triggered new thinking about the complexity of evolutionary processes that create life forms. But however selfish their genes, human beings are a social species... more»
Black inequality no longer simply a matter of discrimination. It begins by placing blacks into more or less favored statuses in childhood, sorting them by class and gender... more»
Isum killed Daniel’s uncle, so Daniel attacked Isum and crippled him for life. It’s New Guineas payback culture. Daniel is quite satisfied with it... more»
If we are in a universe in which emergence and ceaseless creativity abound, and if we take that creativity as a sense of God we can share, then we must reinvent the sacred... more»
You can have “reform” without liberalism, writes Robert Conquest. Russia today is still far from the rule of law, which is much more important than “democracy”... more»
“For a long time I did not hear the beauty of church bells; or more accurately, I did not wish to hear it. They sounded only like Christianity,” writes Leon Wieseltier... more»
Work in the Whitney Biennial either interrogates and problematizes, or it references while being transgressive. The problem is not the art, its the writing... more»
“I still don’t know why Sallie and I bothered to go to that party in the forest slope above Aspen.” Rebecca Solnit tells a story every woman will understand... more» ... Well, almost every woman.
Flunk this movie! Ben Stein’s new anti-science movie, Expelled, is all propaganda and worldview, with no evidence... more» ... more»
Memory in a computer is located somewhere on a chip. But we have no idea where memories in our brains are stored. Gary Marcus explains... more»
The British government’s Music Manifesto is not about celebrating music as a free art form but is about using music to push social policy... more»
That “Journey of Harmony,” as the Chinese like to call it, with their track-suited SWAT teams and all, actually began in Germany in 1936. Check out Leni Riefenstahl... more» ... more» ... more»
“This is how we lost to the white man.” Other people have their mythical stories, says Bill Cosby. Why can’t black people have their own?... more»
Genetic ruptures in human prehistory occurred 37,000 and 5,800 years ago – about at the start of paleolithic art and of agriculture and writing. Michael Gazzaniga explains... more»
John Ruskin said, “a man wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel.” The only way to achieve happiness is therefore to get out of yourself... more»
The brain is the most complex object known. We can barely grasp the simplest mental functions in biological terms, and yet we blithely use drugs to treat mental disorders... more»
Dick Cheney warned that there might never be an “end date” in the struggle against terrorism. All these years later, his wisdom seems vindicated... more»
The idea that many Aborigines might be better off not living in remote outback settlements is deeply offensive to many Australian intellectuals. Why?... more»
Neoconservatism. To some it means “hawk,” to others “right-wing Jew,” and to still others, it’s a term to describe anything evil – torture or political oppression... more»
No one will doubt the intense emotions that drive David Rieffs memoir of his mother’s death. But books are not made out of emotions... more»
Jump-cut, whip-pan, purposeless camera move: Jean-Luc Godard remakes narrative form with his every movie... more»
The Black Plague killed millions and at the same time opened up history for survivors, changing the whole future of Europe... more»
Will unplugging our cellphone chargers or turning TVs off standby reduce energy use and help fight global warming? How do the numbers stack up?... more»
Sure, the Lolita Effect may be real. But little girls do also spend time reading books, jumping rope, and playing ball... more»
Casanova: priest, con-man, writer, soldier, violinist, alchemist, prisoner, fugitive, gambler, intellectual, and great lover... more»
The British invented curry? Not quite. But the Madras curry (Tamil: kari) was born with the East India Company... more»
“Let them have a good dose where it will hurt them most,” said Churchill. “The Germans should be made to suffer in their own homelands and cities”... more»
Work and sex have always been prime movers of Lord Snowdon. Even confined to a wheelchair the old goat can’t be stopped... more»
For all of Churchill’s faults, we may still be grateful for a 1930s politician who found it intolerable even to breathe the same air as the Nazis... more»
Mrs. Thatcher viewed Ferdinand Mount as “an idle and effete youth.” But she came to admire his powers as a wordsmith. Right she was... more»
Stuck in a Washington traffic jam, you may curse the name of Pierre LEnfant. But it’s not really all his fault... more»
Q: “So is Marxism-Leninism scientific?” A: “Surely not. If it were, they would have tested it on animals first.” Old Soviet jokes... more»
In America, where God and Devil live with science in the age of 9/11, John Milton seems right at home — his Satan a model terrorist... more»
Heinrich Heine, both playful and serious, called himself the last of the romantics and the first of the moderns... more»
Country music knows what it means to be trapped by poverty, a lousy job, lust, and booze. To grasp the USA, just listen... more»
Pakistan tribal frontier: a nightmare landscape of unknowable mountains swarming with enemies? This is not the entire story... more»
Pat Buchanan’s Spenglerian rhetoric about the decline of the West lays bare the racist and reactionary premises of his thought... more»
Richard Wright knew what once faced a little black boy in a big white world. “This was the culture from which I sprang. This was the terror from which I fled”... more»
Hugh Trevor-Roper was repelled by myths of Scottish nationalism and its tribal loyalties: concocted history had fired the minds of the Nazis... more»
Humans evolved to live in small isolated groups and are finely tuned to seek people of common values. Hence we care about race... more»
The Comanche empire once dominated New Mexico and much of Texas, its power a melange of kinship, trade, diplomacy, extortion, and violence... more»
Germaine de Staël may not have been good-looking, but she had real charisma, brains, money – and Benjamin Constant... more»
Awe-inspiring acts of imagination, impish acrobatics of diction, high-jinks of imagery, and dollops of wordplay. But is it good poetry?... more»
Tolstoy and Solzhenitsyn are both Russian prophets, holy fools, and dissidents. Not Anton Chekhov, for which we may be thankful... more»
How could such a masterly writer as V.S. Naipaul turn out to be such a monster in his personal life? Perhaps by a conscious decision... more»
The conceit that we can have any useful idea of what the world will be like in a hundred years is, Nigel Lawson says, inherently absurd... more»
Those who worship at Ronald Reagans altar no longer hope to “make the world over again,” the line their icon used to borrow from Tom Paine... more»
Churchill regarded Gandhi as “a fanatic and an ascetic of the fakir type well known in the East.” Well, yes. And no... more»
“You know, guys,” he intoned, “sex is the greatest thing in the world.” He paused, and then added with infinite wistfulness, “But... more»
Population anxieties used to be about starvation. Now they are about “saving the planet” from our rapidly breeding species... more»
Pythagoras was right: his universe may not be as simple as he imagined, but it proves ever more comprehensible by the day... more»
Scientists may be biased, but science itself, for all its flaws, is still the best system ever devised for grasping how the world works... more»
Sean Wilentz rescues the real Ronald Reagan from the “mythological president” offered by fans on the right and critics on the left... more»
Henry Kissinger’s Jewish origins are the real key to understanding both the man and the world’s reaction to him... more»
Was WWII worth fighting? Get the facts and make up your own mind! No need for experts! This book tells all you need to know!... more»
Shakespeare vs. Milton. Prithee, who is the greater figure in literary history? Nigel Smith thinks he knows the answer... more»
Seven years’ distance from 9/11 reveals a brutal reality. For both his family and his country, Osama bin Laden’s attacks have turned a tidy profit... more»
Like Edmund Wilson, Alfred Kazin laughed off John Kennedy’s attempt to wine, dine, and co-opt him... more»
Religion is beliefs, ideas, rituals, customs. Conscience is deeper. It searches for the beliefs and ideas that make up religion... more»
Wernher von Braun: a 20th-century Faust, a man willing to work with an evil regime in return for the resources to carry out his cherished research... more»
So this Aristotle guy hops a boat from Athens, goes into the library at Alexandria, grabs some books, returns home and puts his name on them... more»
V.S. Naipaul is a prospector digging along a vein he has worked before, says Joseph Lelyveld. Much of it still sparkles... more»
Monolithic politico-corporate elites have a big place in Naomi Klein’s world. But they don’t quite fit every political situation... more»
Postwar Britain: shabby frocks, sallow faces, and dreary meals of ground meat stretched with grated potato and oatmeal... more»
The recrudescence of robust atheism means non-belivers need no longer need suffer lonely isolation... more»
“Black hair means cowardice and great craftiness, yellow and pale white hair shows ignorance and clumsiness.” Wild ideas of the Greeks... more»
Nina Khruscheva is Russian to the core, but also “as New York as they come.” She says it’s time for Russians to reread Vladimir Nabokov... more»
James Freys latest depends not on plots or characters but “high concepts,” the bright, shiny clichés that Hollywood screenwriters use for their pitches... more»
The Dalai Lama’s frequent meetings with Western leaders are now seen by China as provocations and used as an excuse not to meet with him... more»
The past, historians like to say, is another country. Israeli history is another galaxy, writes Carlin Romano... more»
Is licking an ice cream cone on the street beneath your dignity? What then is human dignity? Steven Pinker wonders... more»
Our eyes are amazing, a genuine credit to evolution. So are our hands, not to mention our kidneys. But our brains?... more»
How many writers got the Nobel Prize for Literature for a book that was largely ghostwritten? Winston Churchill, for one... more»
“The union of poet and critic may not be good for either poetry or criticism.” True in many cases. Then there’s Adam Kirsch... more»
You can argue with some credibility that John Stuart Mill was the greatest public intellectual in the history of Britain, maybe even the world... more»
“Inscriptions and bird droppings are the only two things in Egypt that give any indication of life.” Flaubert said it, or so says Edward Said... more»
Shopping gives our choices tangible effect. The enthusiasm with which people shop contrasts with their view of work... more»
Nikola Tesla feared earrings, peaches, and touching people’s hair. Sure, another nutty inventor. But men like him changed our world... more»
Philosophers often cannot resist writing about Shakespeare, with his depth and complexity. Alas, they are mostly ill-equipped to do so... more»
Prokofievs dry wit resulted in some fine, bitchy one-liners. Mahler’s 7th Symphony was “like kissing a stillborn child”... more»
Today we have nannies, but in the 19th century they had governesses. That plain Jane Eyre, for example... more»
Classical music: abandoned, left behind sulking in its tent as culture moves on, with the action happening somewhere else... more»
The house embodies our ideas of intimate family life and serves as our haven in a cold world. It’s also the site of Sisyphean labor, mostly female... more»
The RAND Corporation remains one of the most potent and complex purveyors of U.S. imperialism. Its influence, positive and sinister, continues to be felt... more»
In Peter Gay’s reading, modernist thinking is reduced to a psychological impulse: the lure of heresy. Yes, but... more»
Antiquity cannot be owned by any culture or any nation state. It is the inheritance of all humanity and ought to be open to all, preserved in museums... more» ... excerpt
Women: enslaved by patriarchal views of proper domestic toil, or expected to get a high-paying job. Susan Pinker explains... more»
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.” So she stands at the tower window, her magically long golden hair hanging down... more»
As a student, Tony Judt was an ardent backer of Labor Zionism, worked on a kibbutz and volunteered in the 1967 war. But times change, and so did he... more»
Dorothy Wordsworth’s story is one of bad dentistry, migraines, voyeurism, incest, and even “post-coital intensity” in prose style... more»
Snake-oil merchants who knowingly prey on terminal cancer patients are the lowest form of moral life. Yet they thrive... more»
A beautiful home ... a first wife ... jealousy, a wreck ... a terrible event. But Daphne du Maurier did not yet know what would happen to Rebecca... more»
While the student left marched in the 1960s, the right was quietly building toward the Reagan and Thatcher revolutions... more»
In 1879 Vera Zasulich, 29, tried to kill the governor of St. Petersburg. He lived, but, oddly, so did she – as a celebrity... more»
Arthur Rubinstein was as much a born playboy as a born pianist: always good for a party, a game of pool or poker... more»
Is the golden age of biography now past? What future for a genre where the best subjects have been written about over and over and over again?... more»
“You just cannot expect to have a country where everybody lives in a nursing home.” This is news Europe needs to know... more»
Gene Weingarten got his Pulitzer Prize, and even got on Arts & Letters Daily, by being so original. So should he now turn his prize back in?... more»
Tim Berners-Lee made the web because he had a poor memory for some things. John Naughton wonders if it won’t give us all a poor memory... more»
You say you know what you’re doing. But what if your brain has made up its mind ten seconds before it tells you?... more»
Unequal America The gap between rich and poor is growing: that much is certain. But of the consequences of the gap... more»
To get parents to pick up their kids on time, a preschool started fining late parents. So did average tardiness decrease? Quite the reverse... more»
She’d gone to hell and back and rebuilt her life. But then there was that episode with shingles. And then the itch. The Itch... more»
“Dark,” the TV weatherman said. “And we’ll have continued dark throughout the evening.” George Carlin is dead. Last talk with Jay Dixit ... appreciation by Charles McGrath ... HBO clip ... Seinfeld on Carlin
Here’s a test. Play Grand Theft Auto IV for a few hours, then go outside and find a locked car. Are you tempted to steal it?... more»
Add more signs, directions, and limits on the road, and drivers will be safer, right? Wrong. Drivers tend to compensate... more»
“Winning the host rights means winning the respect, trust, and favor of the world,” a Beijing Olympics official said in 2001. Yeah, sure... more»
“I am astonished that the Bush people are so robotic,” says Peggy Noonan. Criticize the boss and you’re banished from the kingdom... more»
Multitasking costs the economy. One study found workers took 25 minutes to recover from phone calls or emails and return to their original task... more»
Lower men wallow in pity as swine do in mud, their pity for others being the same as their pity for themselves. Thus spake Nietzsche... more»
Why do government efforts to correct problems so often seem to make things worse? Because people are the problems... more»
Young radicals of the 1960s and today have mixed motives and impulses: at once craving autonomy and validation, guidance and self-definition... more»
It’s not just NASA pilots who need to nap. Arts & Letters Daily readers need naps, too. Herewith, a complete guide... more»
Imagine building a 1500 ft tunnel under the center of a Soviet-controlled city. The CIA did it, in secret, under Berlin... more»
“This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong, / To love that well which thou must leave ere long.” For Fathers Day... more»
“Sit. Stay. Make up for everything that is wrong in my life.” But they know that’s part of their job, too. We do love our dogs... more»
The $100 Distraction Device. Why giving poor kids laptops is about as good for schools as giving them their own private PlayStations... more»
“The professor in his corduroy, the dead man on the kitchen floor. But for what seemed like the longest time, we were the best of friends”... more»
How to save money, as a woman. How to be a creative spirit, or find balance, as a woman. How to buy a house, as a woman. Why all these books?... more»
James Watson does not have a high IQ. That’s what he told Henry Louis Gates – as proof that IQ is not all that important. Maybe... more»
Sex and the City’s women are defined not by their talent and the swordplay of their wit, but by their ability to snare a man... more»
Georges Simenon’s crime novels are superb and polished works of art that masquerade as pulp fiction... more»
The Hindu-supremacist right in India is back, with a mass murderer leading Gujarat. Now consider the Communists in West Bengal... more»
Win the New Yorkers cartoon caption contest. Patrick House did it, and he can show you how to do it too... more»
“You will never,” Nassim Nicholas Taleb says, “be able to control randomness.” But knowing that fact can give you an edge... more»
The fundamental differences between man and animal are overrated, Charles Darwin felt. Alex the parrot helps prove his case... more» ... video
Top ten solutions to the world’s biggest problems. The Copenhagen Consensus says micronutrients must take the highest priority... more»
Roberto Mangabeira Unger is Brazil’s answer to John Stuart Mill – a century and a half later and a lot nattier... more»
The cubicle revolution in office plans was above all ideological. Cubicles were to create a utopia for Dilbert... more»
Charles Darwin’s language sings in The Voyage of the Beagle. It is the work of a young man intoxicated by the tropics... more»
“Truman Capote I truly loathed,” says Gore Vidal. “The way you might loathe an animal. A filthy animal that has found its way into the house”... more»
Christianitys collapse has wrecked U.K. society and family life, leaving the country defenseless against radical Islam, says Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali... more» ... more»
The charges against video games – that they stunt minds and spark addiction – are based on ignorance of what gamers do when they sit down to play... more»
The chasm between the humanities and the sciences can be bridged with a new kind of thinking that uses the strengths of both disciplines... more»
It’s in opera as in life, Ian McEwan says: “Conversations are a kind of duet.” That is why he has now written an opera libretto... more»
Seated in the Memorial, he looks so big. But his hair is uncombed, his tie askew, his fingers fidgety. Abe Lincoln is still only a man... more»
The Betrayal of Judas. Did a “dream team” of biblical experts assembled by National Geographic mislead millions?... more»
The future looks different from the past, but on a grand cosmological scale, maybe it’s all the same. Somewhere, maybe time runs backwards... more»
At the end, Susan Sontag’s son colluded with his mother’s fantasy that she wasn’t dying. Doing this was not without cost... more»
Using an odorless dye to color white wine red induces wine tasters to use red-wine descriptors for it. As for martinis... more»
The real test of character, George Orwell noted, is how you treat someone who has no possibility of doing you any good. Its a matter of honor... more»
Just sayno.” Why don’t more women go into science and engineering? Shocking new research suggests they actually aren’t interested... more»
“If the old days in China were so terrible, why the long queue at Mao’s tomb?” P.J. ORourke wanted to respond, “They’re making sure he’s dead”... more»
“I was raised on chicken fat.” Will Elder, a founding spirit of Mad magazine from 1952 is dead at the age of 86... more» ... more»
Can you engineer the kind of insight that leads to invention? Nathan Myhrvold left Microsoft and struck out on his own in order to find out... more»
You got a problem with that? Why do New Yorkers seem so rude? Joan Acocella wonders... more» ... Then there’s NYC’s suicide tourism.
Does she insist on dragging you to Sex and the City? The agony. No man should have to sit through this movie. Now, a solution... more»
Britain’s nearest neighbor and oldest enemy: No nation stirs such conflicting emotions in the British breast as France... more»
Does China operate sweatshops? How could you know? One way to find out is to send over some inspectors. Easy... more»
Richard Rorty was lovable as a person, and as a philosopher both perceptive and, at times, intensely irritating... more»
Gleaming pneumatic women: the female ideal pushed by laddie magazines is as smooth and lifeless as an iPhone... more»
With Russia flexing its military muscle, are the chances of an accidental nuclear war back again on the increase?... more»
Frida Kahlo knew a way to show a certain emotion, at once accusatory, nervy, furious, a little adolescent, and sometimes even funny... more» ... image
Jesse Jackson is relieved when he hears footsteps behind him, turns around, sees it’s a white man – and figures he won’t be mugged. Is this acceptable?... more»
Suppose we found remnants of algae or a trilobite on another planet? It might be a bad omen for the human race... more»
Human beings are impulsive, lazy, busy, inert, irrational creatures prone to all kinds of biases and errors: that’s why they need libertarian paternalism... more»
Alice Walker cared so much about other people’s kids, she forgot her own. Her daughter says the writer “resigned from being my mother”... more»
If Frederick Douglass were alive today, he would be dismayed by the reluctance of liberals to connect programs with the spirit that animates their politics... more»
The book is not for burning. Contra its author’s dying wishes, son Dmitri will publish Vladimir Nabokovs last novel, Laura... more»
If in the end Niels Bohr was not able to explain it all to Margrethe, well, that was nature’s doing, not Bohr’s fault... more»
The penalties for prostitution in Iran are severe – whipping and even execution. So how does the oldest profession fare in that land?... more»
Saint Walter Cronkite intones in grainy footage or black and white stills – that’s the way it is, at the Newseum. Whatever... more»
William Jefferson was inspired by love of his kinfolk to do great things. That’s why he had $90,000 cash in his freezer... more»
Augusten Burroughs’s memory: what sort of freakishly bloated cortex retains after eighteen years the color of some random person’s belt?... more»
Percival Lowell, a brilliant, rich, charming Boston Brahmin, thought a century ago he could see a network of canals on Mars. He got other people thinking... more»
If you think you know who the winners are going to be, come November, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. Enter the political betting markets... more»
The British love their trees, but across the land beautiful old trees are being chopped down in their thousands. The reason? Safety rules and hungry lawyers... more»
A childs body had been found on the island of Jersey, in the grounds of a children’s home, said the BBC, and the media frenzy began... more»
An atheist church? “The last thing atheists want to see is their rational set of ideas yoked up with the trappings of a religion,” says Daniel Dennett... more»
“To shoot a man because you disagree with him about Hegel’s dialectic is after all to honor the human spirit,” says George Steiner... more»
Diana was “a simpering Bambi narcissist,” Mother Theresa a “thieving fanatical Albanian dwarf.” Christopher Hitchens does have opinions... more»
Crazy English. Li Yang’s cosmology ties the ability to speak English to personal strength – and national power... more»
It is a truth universally acknowledged that available, sociable, and attractive men are hard to find for dinner parties... more»
Trace the city walls of Elea today. Maybe Zeno formulated his paradoxes pacing these same stones 900,000 days ago... more»
The dirty secret of travel guides: update your edition by plagiarizing another guide, or just Google that town you might have explored on foot... more»
“A good English breakfast never lets you down.” No, it kills you, and that’s exactly what it is doing to Brits across their little islands right now... more»
Plants are green because the sun that keeps them alive is a type G star. If they’d evolved for a red dwarf, plants would be black... more»
Now 35 years on, how does Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying stand up as literature? In Elaine Showalter’s view, very well... more»
India is about to create what may be the biggest mass eviction of indigenous people ever. All in the name of conservation... more»
You can walk into an elevator one night, with your life in one kind of shape, and emerge from it with your life in quite another. Ask Nicholas White... more»
Deconstruction was for M.H. Abrams a problem from the start. He had doubts about the idea that “for hundreds of years people have missed the real point”... more»
A bad night at the opera. But at the Met, the talent pool is formidable, and even Tristan und Isolde can end happily. Sort of... more»
Herbert Von Karajans clapped-out legacy. Many idolize the conductor, but Norman Lebrecht cannot stand either the man or his music... more»
Intellectuals tend to focus on religion as the key to the Muslim world. But the essential problem Islamic countries face is not their religion, but their tribalism... more»
Like Shakespeare and Coca-Cola, Oscar Wilde is now a brand, one with brand values we respond to: fabulous and at the same time real... more»
Gunga Din may have had a “dirty” hide, though he was “white, clear white, inside.” But does this make Rudyard Kipling a racist, pure and simple? Not quite... more»
Right at the End: William F. Buckley’s last gift to conservatism may have been his opposition to the Iraq War. Jeffrey Hart puts the case... more»
Abu Ghraibs recent fame rests on U.S. misdeeds there. But this prison has an older and more brutal history, as Lewis Alsamari explains... more»
Disraelia: a state that never quite came to pass, but might have. And what if it had existed? Walter Laqueur writes a counterfactual history... more»
There can be a funereal boredom in some piano recitals today. 19th-century concerts were more informal and sound like a lot more fun... more» ... Piano playing in the old style.
Fire is not like other forces of nature – glaciers or hurricanes. Its history and ours are intertwined. We did not invent fire: we seized it from nature... more»
He was not just a director of epics. What excited David Lean was a change of scale: matchstick to ball of fire, catastrophe to teacups, great expectations to small wonders... more»
A family story for Greil Marcus dissolves into much greater story: the War, with its heroism and stupidity, arrogance and decency, and thousands of dead... more»
Could you fall in love with someone who had never heard of, say, Chekhov, or Joyce? For most people, Rachel Donadio argues, love conquers literary taste... more»
Italians, Russians, Spaniards: they all have agreed national epics. The English do not have any such text, says Philip Hensher, and therein lies a problem... more»
José Ortega y Gasset knew that today, precisely because so much is possible, the worst is possible: regression, barbarity, decadence. To be free is to be free to do evil... more»
Many literary academics have been reluctant to deal with science, imagining they have disarmed it by reducing it to “just another narrative.” Time for them to face reality... more»
No one with half a brain thinks the Beijing Games will be an innocent display of sporting prowess, or will bear no relation to Chinese politics... more»
The student unrest in Paris and London 40 years ago filled Tom Stoppard with revulsion. The protesters were free: they had no idea how lucky they were... more»
Sure, bubbles are imploding across the world, laying bare the fraudulence of “China,” “tech,” and “hedge funds.” But there will be no turning away from globalization... more»
Paul Theroux hated travel books: “The truth of travel was interesting and off-key, and few people ever wrote about it.” So he decided to write one himself... more»
Hospital patients with a view of trees have shorter stays and need less pain medication than those without. Virginia Postrel on the patient’s environment... more»
Cuba in 1958 outranked most other Latin countries in GDP. It was richer than Singapore. Then with cheers from the world’s left, Fidel Castro turned it into a giant, impoverished prison... more»
A wonderful egalitarian world of knowledge on the web? Hardly, says Tyler Cowen. Error, falsehood, and lies abound on the Internet... more»
Celebrity operas aren’t all tragedies like Britneys Lucia di Lammermoor: Paris Hilton is opera buffa, with easy sex, light music, and even a seduced prison warden... more»
Vladimir Putin used to be careful to pay lip service to democracy and the rule of law. That’s how every ruler of Russia had talked since Gorbachev. Who was fooled?... more»
Beer drinkers have bellies, while wine, port, and brandy drinkers display a labyrinth of tiny red blood vessels around the nose. Kingsley Amis drank it all... more»
Georges Simenon, existential hack. Maigret’s creator, a Balzac of blighted lives, was confident of winning the Nobel Prize, says Paul Theroux... more»
Not so long ago, religion was viewed as a relic of superstition whose social role in was steadily declining. Now it is demonized as the cause of many of the world’s worst evils... more»
Growth by itself is not enough. Seen from a moral standpoint, we must assess how growth, globally and within most countries, affects the economic position of the poor... more»
The current employment rate is 95.3%. Better still, out of 300 million Americans, roughly 299.999954 million were not murdered today. But if you just watch TV... more»
People love hierarchies. When anarchists get together to form an anarchist association, the first thing they do is elect a governing committee... more»
Women earn most of America’s advanced degrees but lag in the physical sciences, holding only 10% or more of tenure track positions in these subjects. Can we fix this “problem”?... more»
Prof. Edmundosaurus has a new policy: starting this year, no more laptops in his classroom. You can leave them home or check ’em at the door... more»
The arts wont make you virtuous or make you smart, but they are Robert Fulford’s faith, firmly installed in his mind where other people put religion... more»
Your phone is vibrating with a message, your email is piling up, a hilarious YouTube video is waiting to entertain you. Try just ignoring them all... more»
Fruit-scented shampoos and herbal soaps today hide the human smell. But when Napoleon wrote to Josephine, he had a request: “I will return to Paris tomorrow evening. Don’t wash”... more»
An empty revolution. Helping the poor was Hugo Chávez’s first priority. But the damage he has done to Venezuela’s economy has hurt the poor most... more»
Too lofty? Not serious enough? More admired than loved? Now, 400 years after his birth, John Milton remains our most thrilling poet... more»
Crime and Punishment and The Stranger present their heroic criminals in ways that corrupt moral ideals. How different the outlook in Shakespeares Macbeth... more»
A presidential library is a monument every retiring President expects. So how should the George W. Bush library be designed? Have your say... more»
China is caught between misguided socialism and crony capitalism, says Wang Hui, and suffers from the worst elements of both. He has a solution... more»
“What is it about us women? Why do we always fall for the hysterical, the superficial and the gooily sentimental?” Charlotte Allen goes in for some self-flagellation... more»
Intoxication, if not the source of literary creation, at least warms the mind and casts the glare of life in a softer hue. No wonder writers love the bottle... more»
First thing you notice notice in Beijing is that Chinas Internet seems slow. This is partly because of normal congestion. But there is something else... more»
It’s a lonely job, working the phones at a college rape crisis center. So is the crisis overblown? No. It just means more funding is needed to study rape, and... more»
It’s not just fads and fashions in the likes of shoes or music that spread through social networks. There are also states of mind – happiness, loneliness, altriusm... more»
Binary thinking, oh, that’s bad. It’s like being reductionist or something, right? Russell Jacoby wants to problematize some favorite academic clichés... more»
When we hear “Mozart” or “Beethoven,” we think of a person behind the music. When we hearBach,” we think only of the music itself... more»
Through history, Alan Wolfe says, every new outburst of religious passion has made ecstasy and revelation for some, and led to violence between the chosen and the damned... more»
Using “Luddite” to describe today’s middle-class eco-miserabilists is an insult to the 19th-century radicals who fought for the dignity of workers... more»
Revisiting Vietnam brings Tom Hayden back to a land that has gone down an extreme neoliberal road. Not what revolutionaries of the Vietnam War would have predicted... more»
Melancholia is a miraculous invitation to rise above the contented status quo and imagine untapped possibilities. We need sorrow to make us human, alive... more»
The annihilation of the European Jews deprived Zionism of its essential raw material, Geoffrey Wheatcroft explains, and led to a feverish population contest in Israel... more»
Ask any soul-baring 40-year-old single woman what she most longs for, and she likely won’t tell you it’s a better career or a smaller waist: she wants a man and a baby... more»
The Iraq War has been everyone’s loss, whatever side you were on. For many Iraqis it was a chance for a decent life, says George Packer. So often, that chance ended in death... more»
If this is to be a “change election,” how about changing America’s destructive drift into anti-rationalism and pig ignorance?... more»
Africa is becoming a collection of fiefdoms that depend on subsidies and trendy celebrity pity. No doubt about it: it’s great for the celebrities... more»
“Because some people cannot get bread to rise,” a researcher wrote, “does not negate the existence of a ‘yeast effect’.” Is that any way to defend the Mozart Effect?... more»
Godfather of miserabilism. It’s fifty years since John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Affluent Society. It was a book far ahead of its time... more»
The moral admonitions of Auschwitz that loom so large in the European memory are invisible to Asians or Africans. With time and distance, evil fades... more»
The internet’s instant reduplication of data, ideas, and media underpins all sectors in our economy. We need this gigantic copy machine... more»
Womens travel adventure porn. Rolf Potts casts his cold, unsympathetic, male gaze over a genre the world might well do without... more»
It wasn’t all Abba and bad clothes. The 1970s also gave us Patti Hearst, the music of Michael Nyman, and inflation. It was a decade to remember, or... more»
A place where an English teacher can explore misogyny in American culture through the lens of hip-hop lyrics. The Little Village Lawndale High School in Chicago shows collective action is alive... more»
Today’s single young men hang out in a hormonal limbo between adolescence and adulthood. If these unfinished people would just grow up... more»
Americans are always looking for some magic, sensitive shaman who’ll heal the wounds of the 1960s. It’s self-delusion, says Rick Perlstein... more»
Richard Nixon told his friend and advisor Leonard Garment, “You’ll never make it in politics, Len. You just don’t know how to lie”... more»
The red-state/blue-state paradigm is not only anti-democratic, it is deliberately so, in ways not unlike the USSR’s one-party state... more»
Life in a hotel is bound to make you “idle and lazy, and dyspeptic from the want of exercise – a mere puppet and machine”... more»
Okay, so Isaac Newton didn’t get bonked on the head by an apple. But he did have weird ideas about sex, gold, and religion... more»
There is no biological evidence showing that women should stay home and raise babies. Nor is there evidence they’d prefer to be captains of industry... more»
I ♥ Adorno. So does the great critic of pop culture and capitalism himself become a brand. Right there on a T-shirt... more»
Only the defeat of Rommel at El Alamein kept German forces from entering Palestine and carrying out operations against the Jewish population... more»
“When enough people share a delusion, it loses its status as a psychosis and gets a religious tax exemption instead.” Ronald De Sousa on how we think... more»
Richard Florida has a point, but bike paths and arts festivals won’t matter much to the creative class if a city’s crime rate is like Detroit’s... more»
Youth is not entirely wasted on the young. That long, long human childhood has its pluses, as David Bjorklund explains... more»
Laetitia Pilkington’s memoirs are based on the idea that “men are bastards.” First and foremost her rebarbative husband... more»
Orthodox Judaism, not unlike more familiar kinds of Christian fundamentalism, uses the Old Testament to keep the minds of believers in bondage... more»
Herodotus and Thucydides invented history as a secular genre, distinct from the annals and king-lists of the ancient Near East... more»
The compact between Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir was a travesty of their claims to honesty and freedom. They were glued together by their lies... more»
Cheese crumbs placed in front of a pair of copulating rats may distract the female, but not the male. One more sexnscience factoid... more»
Sir Vidia’s wife, Pat, loved him, supported him, organised and advised him, was his devoted reader. And yet... more» ... more» ... more» ... more» ... more»
Social awareness ribbons are must-have fashion accessories. They show you care. Especially about exhibiting what a caring person you are... more»
“All human effort against me is useless,” said Napoleon, “for I succeed in all I undertake. Those who declare themselves my enemies die”... more»
Whether it’s artisanal coffee, hand-made furniture, or bespoke suits, economies of the West routinely create niche markets for craftsmen... more»
Death of the author: you fall out of print, move to a book dealer’s website, or a grad student does a thesis on you. Finally, a last reader will turn the last page... more»
Migrant women make a choice to take their chances abroad. They are not passive victims, even if they choose to work in the sex industry... more»
If all of John Steinbeck is in print 40 years after his death and is still force-fed to school kids, why is he so decisively off the literary map?... more»
J.S. Mills idea of freedom did not imply that truths are equal, but rather that truth is arrived at in the clash of ideas, in open debate... more»
“Shakespeare wallahs,” Germaine Greer stridently insists, created “a Bard in their own likeness, that is to say, incapable of relating to women”... more»
“Suicide-mass murder,” writes Martin Amis about Palestinian Arab terrorism, “is more than terrorism: it is horrorism. It is a maximum malevolence”... more»
September 7, 1940, “one of the fairest days of the century, a day of clear warm air and high blue skies,” the day the Blitz began... more»
The Soviet-Polish war of 1920 was prelude to a terrible future. Few commanders who played a role in it died peacefully in their beds after 1940... more»
It is easy to regard the Dalai Lama as the plaything of movie stars and millionaires. But he is a formidable force... more»
Is the U.S. a deeply anti-intellectual land? To answer yes is a no-brainer. And that is where the problem begins... more» ... more»
Okay, so half of the French don’t bathe daily. They still continue to lead Europe in the use of perfumes and cosmetics... more»
It’s hard to believe that comic books could be a center of debate, but they were once as controversial as communism... more»
Electricity from the sun is the closest we have to a renewable solution to our energy problems. Now if only we had an effective storage battery... more»
Georges-Louis Buffon’s grandeur, his true genius, lay in the incredible way he could plunder, recycle, and interpret the work of others... more»
Kipling said that never the twain shall meet, but East and West have actually been meeting for 2,500 years, often with bloody results... more»
Pain and coercion in interrogation are not likely to elicit good information. There must be better ways for the U.S. to protect itself... more»
Henry Fielding’s History of Tom Jones was known to be fiction. The history of Margaret Jones was thought to be fact. Entertainment – and lies... more»
Are you happy? Sure, we all are. Maasai herders, Scarsdale soccer moms, Amish, Inughuits in Greenland, Croatian shoe salesmen... more»
Academic literary criticism is not just dying as a scholarly profession: it has lost its very will to live... more»
Marcel Prousts Jewishness may have allowed him to perceive more sharply the hypocrisy and hostility exposed in the Dreyfus affair... more»
If professors of literature go about denying the value of the very books they teach, is it any surprise that English departments are in trouble?... more»
A book that cites Joseph Goebbels as an authority to vilify Churchill has lost touch with any moral bearings. Human Smoke cannot be taken seriously... more»
American living standards will decline as U.S. exploitation of China fades in an economically transformed world. Maybe... more»
Lacking a vivid imagination, Peter Mark Roget was a practical man. And what more practical tool for writers than a list of synonyms?... more»
There is hardly a novelist whose career was as adventurous as Joseph Conrad’s, or whose work raises more aesthetic and political passions... more»
America is a lot like Rome, borders drawn against the barbarian hordes of Mexico and Canada. Well, kind of. But the analogy has its limits... more»
Luxury goods used to signal high status and distinguish their owners from hoi polloi. Now every klutz can buy Gucci... more»
W.H. Auden set sail for America in 1939 and remained there on and off for the rest of his life. Some people never forgave him... more»
Why does a particular molecule smell of spearmint while its mirror-image molecule smells of caraway. Smell is a profound mystery... more»
With Shakespeare, whatever the rest is, it isn’t silence. He still dominates English literature and world theatre... more»
In the end, it took religion, of all things, to get Norman Mailer, of all people, to yearn to blend in with the majority of the human race... more»
“Where is home?” asks George Konrád in his memoir of life under totalitarianism. We know the answer: Memory is home... more»
Roberto Bolano’s made-up fascist zealots, with their petty rivalries and crazed manifestos, are not so far from reality... more»
The 40,000 Chinese restaurants in the U.S. come to more than the number of Burger Kings, McDonald’s, and KFCs combined... more»
Not only does Wikipedia need its vandals, the vandals need an orderly Wikipedia, too. Without order, their culture-jamming lacks a context... more»
Terrorists: often sour, lazy nobodies, ugly, of febrile imagination and small talent, who can only become somebody by murdering others... more»
Do Lucian Freud’s crusty clots of reds, earths, and lead-whites deliver any great insight into fleshliness of his subjects, let alone “life” itself?... more»
John Rawls argued that public reason cannot be based on the “comprehensive accounts” of reality religion gives us. Martha Nussbaum agrees... more»
Alfred Kazin: a great critic, but a lonely, envious, restless man, riven by deep feeling and severe contradiction... more»
Rational calculators are supposed to think through their economic options, then pick the one that maximizes benefits. Yet in real life... more»
Rudolf Nureyev’s urgent need to keep dancing superseded any abstract, Platonic commitment to maintaining the dignity of dance, or of himself... more»
He slept there: on his tours of the new country, President Washington insisted he stay in inns rather than private homes... more»
“Show me a woman with a good three inches of cleavage on display, and I’ll show you a woman with little faith in her powers of conversation”... more»
Helen Vendler planned to write her thesis on W.B. Yeats, but decided that at age 22 she was too young. Quite all right she waited... more»
Cyrano de Bergerac as a gay anti-Catholic sci-fi writer with the pox is not quite what Edmund Rostand and his French audience had in mind... more»
Lawrence of Arabia’s story looks today less like a chivalric romance than like a case of imperial arrogance run amok... more»
Revival of a marriage culture depends on convincing women that marriage should precede childbirth and children need their biological fathers at home... more»
Why is the love song the most popular form of music in the world? Because love songs are about the very thing the music instinct is for... more»
Much of what we know about the ancient world we owe to Herodotus, the only travel writer in print for 2,500 years. A.P. David explains... part 1 ... part 2
The pop music industry has sadly come to depend on “heritage acts” – wrinkled, dyed-hair, aging stars – to pack houses and make money... more»
We need a deadly sins update. Anyway, Pride, Sloth, and Gluttony are now self-esteem, relaxation, and having gourmet tastes. P.J. ORourke offers new sins... more»
No wonder Hugo Chavez was upset when Colombia struck at the FARC terrorists in their home camp. He’s been giving them money and arms... more»
Paul Theroux depicted V.S. Naipaul ten years ago as a stingy, tantrum-prone, racist snob badly in need of driving lessons. He was far too kind... more»
Walt Whitman had imagined his poetry would be read by American workers. But his most receptive audience was the British intelligentsia... more»
More than half the world’s building cranes are at present in China. Robert Macfarlane can count 34 of them from his apartment windows... more»
Let’s face it: Batman and Robin, as many gay writers have so fondly noted, are a tad campy. They both love flowers... more»
With his legit literary career in decline, Rupert Smith took on a nom de porn and entered the parallel universe of erotica... more»
Peanut Lolita, a liqueur with a grainy texture and an overwhelming taste of whiskey and peanuts. But what a name... more»
The poor suffer, of course. But why do some poor people act to ensure their continued indigence? Charles Karelis wonders... more»
How long you live, whether you win or lose cancer lotto or Parkinson’s bingo, have little to do, says Michael Kinsley, with life’s other successes... more»
As a waitress in a posh restaurant, she was ally, authority, and confidante for her customers – all within 30 seconds... more»
Just before it was to open with an exhibit of Titian, Botticelli, and Caravaggio, a major New York gallery has been shut by a judge... more» ... more»
Switzerland: a small country with a skilled workforce, booming exports, and enormous prosperity has become the envy of Europe... more»
That “lovable old-fashioned bundle of ink and cellulose,” the newspaper, will land for the last time on a doorstep one day in 2043... more»
Does it not demean a woman, every bit as much as it demeans a man, to make of her either a victim of men’s appetites or a fantasist of them?... more»
Did Samuel Taylor Coleridge compose a blank-verse translation of Goethe’s Faust and publish it anonymously in London in 1821?... more»
Cities declined as they emptied while the suburbs swelled. History moves on, and now it is the suburbs that are poised for decline... more»
He sat alone in a room for 24 hours with 6 TVs, a laptop, and 2 radios watching and reading only political pundits and blogs. Yes, it can be done... more»
Chinas new intelligentsia. Despite the global interest in the rise of China, no one is paying much attention to its ideas and who produces them... more»
Like the United States, Ireland is at the tail end of a housing- and consumer-fueled boom – and its luck is running out... more»
Religion may have evolved as an adaptive benefit for human beings. But once you know that, you’ll derive no such benefits from religion... more»
Suppose you had a nose job, but then decided you liked your old nose better. Maybe with the help of science, you could regrow it... more»
By turns adulatory and neglectful, the English did not know what to make of Edward Elgar in his life, and have felt ambivalent about him ever since... more»
Arthur C. Clarke, whose visions of the future became scientific fact, is dead at the age of 90... NYT ... LAT ... WP ... AFP ... Guardian ... Telegraph ... London Times ... Salon ... Edward Rothstein
Yes, the conservative revolution did get its start in the 1970s, and yes, it did succeed. But not quite as completely as its champions would suggest... more»
The dictatorial capitalism of China carries the seeds of its own demise. In the short term, such countries are forces to be reckoned with, but... more»
It’s always a shock when firebrands of the left abandon their old politics and turn right. But this sort of thing has a history... more» ... David Mamet is the latest
Encyclopedia Britannica’s sales for its 32 volume set peaked in 1990. Today, paper encyclopedias are in deep trouble... more»
Catholicism was an immigrant church in the 19th century. As the Pew study shows, it’s on its way to becoming one again... more»
Though the rational mind knows what a picture is, it’s hard to hit a baby’s photo on a dartboard: our aim falls prey to deep intuitions... more»
Figure skating: fiercely individualistic and starkly conformist, with a fair modicum of corruption. Its popularity is in freefall... more»
Gustave Courbet’s Femme nue couchée, an erotic masterpiece of 1862, was lost for 50 years after the end of WWII... more»
The next bubble must be large enough to recover the losses from the housing bubble collapse. How bad will it be? Some rough calculations... more»
Kinship and reciprocity are the “twin pillars of altruism in a Darwinian world.” So altruism is an urge wired into us by selfish genes?... more»
Despite paranoia about bio­tech and routine panics over it, America’s gee-whiz attitude toward machines may yet make the country a haven for nanotech... more»
Fashion provides a way to now and again liquidate the accumulated dross of consumer lifestyles. The “cleansing effect” is good for us all... more»
In 1908 astronomers thought the Milky Way galaxy made up the entire universe – it was an “island universe” in an infinite void. Ideas keep changing... more»
Yet another faked memoir: this one from a “mixed-race former child drug-runner” from South-Central L.A.... more» ... Well, it wasn’t a Holocaust memoir ... like this one.
Who was it who said women arent funny? Chances are it was a man – and these days the joke is on him... more»
The New York Times Most Stolen Book List: Philip K. Dick, Charles Bukowski, William S. Burroughs, and Jim Thompson. Or any graphic novel... more»
Ethnonationalism is not just a detour in European history: it’s an enduring propensity of the human spirit that must be faced... more»
When Gen. Raymond Odierno took over the Multi-National Corps-Iraq in 2006, Iraq was in flames. He has become the Patton of Counterinsurgency... more»
William F. Buckley, architect and builder of modern conservatism, is dead... Nat’l Review memorials ... AP ... NYT ... WP ... old columns ... Sam Tanenhaus ... Slate ... Wash Times ... Moderate Voice ... Boston Globe ... Books by Buckley ... Guardian ... Roger Kimball ... Myron Magnet ... Chron Higher Ed ... Time ... David Boaz ... Conrad Black ... Cap Weinberger ... Nat’l Post ... Reason ... Buckley vs Mailer ... John McCain ... Rick Perlstein ... Telegraph ... London Times ... Clive Crook ... Robert Semple ... John Miller ... John Bogert ... Julia Keller ... Michael Seringhaus ... Andrew Malcolm ... Taki ... Peggy Noonan ... Jeet Heer ... David Brooks ... William Kristol ... Terry Eastland ... Andrew Ferguson ... Christopher Hitchens ... Joseph Bottum ... Kevin Mattson
Dmitri Nabokov has turned to his dead father for advice on whether to burn the secret manuscript of Vladimir Nabokovs last novel... more»
More expensive wines taste better than cheaper wines, a new study shows. Even when they are exactly the same wine... more»
We’re made for math, but only up to a point. Our sense of what a number is stands independent of language, memory, and even reason... more»
Assassination works, when you’re trying to get rid of a tyrant. It is a less successful as a way to influence democracies... more»
Alain Robbe-Grillet’s 1962 Last Year at Marienbad made little sense to its viewers, but it was perfect for its moment in the history of taste... more»
Peter Gelb wanted “theatrical values” for the Metropolitan Opera, and live movie house screenings were his gimmick. Hey, they work... more»
Golf in decline: the number of people who play the game 25 times a year or more fell to 4.6 million in 2005 from 6.9 million in 2000... more»
The idea of coming to New York,” says Stephen Koch, “was transformative. You would become a different person here.” Many writers have agreed... more»
Americans are deeply divided over the wisdom of making space warfare a part of the national military strategy. Risks are manifold... more»
The freaks and geeks of the 9/11 Truth movement are on to something. They just haven’t yet figured out what... more»
Alain Robbe-Grillet, an enfant terrible of France’s literary establishment, is dead at the age of 85... Telegraph ... Reuters ... NYT ... BBC ... Le Monde ... Le Figaro ... AP ... l’Humanité ... London Times ... Independent
Do professors indoctrinate students by expressing a political ideology in the classroom? Good question. Watch this space... more»
“I can’t get a job, I have no money, I can’t get married, what can I say?” For Mr. Sayyid and other young Egyptians, religious fervor offers an answer... more»
Libertarians see profit as the basis of stability and opportunity, others see only greed. But a new study shows business creates peace... more»
Beware a slightly too-slick essay as part of your college entrance application. It may raise a DDI alert: “Daddy did it”... more»
Is the incidence of autism rising? No. It’s a matter of what we now call “autism.” As for MMR vaccines, or mercury... more» ... more»
With Christianity’s hold over people in decline and Islam on the rise, Europeans are more defensive of their cultural heritage... more»
Im anti-Zionist but not anti-Semitic” is easy to say. Yet if you judge the Jewish state by standards that you’d never apply to anyone else... more»
Verdi’s Masked Ball with simulated sex, nudity, masturbation and, uh, a row of men sitting on toilets. So what? Dont you go to the opera?... more»
Writers dont make up myths, they take them over and recast them, says Marina Warner. Even Homer told stories his audience already knew... more»
Capitalism is indestructible. Marx saw it as a vampire, says Slavoj Žižek, and vampires always rise up again after they are stabbed to death... more»
We denigrate the Nazis’ mass murder. But we cannot but hide under the cloak of a “just cause” to defend the bombing of Dresden... more» ... more»
In the conflict between Islam vs. the West, the body is a key battlefield and, as Samson discovered, hair is power... more»
Don’t drink the label, drink the wine. Among the many unwritten rules of wine appreciation, this is easily the most important.... more»
The hippies were utopian, deluded egomaniacs – and very stupid. Heather Mills is just part of a half-century tradition... more»
A desire to live in the basement is part of the English nostalgia disease. Trapped in a sentimental fantasy of life below stairs, they pretend to be Victorian servants... more»
The New Girl Order: long hours of office work, often in quasi-creative fields like media, fashion, and design, economic independence, delayed marriage... more»
AudensUnder Which Lyre” reminds us that, when the generals and censors and other powers of the earth are forgotten, it is the mere poet who remains... more»
To argue against rocknroll is now as quaint as arguing for the divine right of kings. But 20 years ago, when Allan Bloom first railed against it... more»
Many years of training chimps, bonobos, and gorillas to press buttons or sign in ASL shows that human language really is unique after all... more»
The worst of the storm has barely passed – 9/11, perhaps – and we are busymoving on.” So we regild the clocks of Cloud-Cuckoo-Land... more»
Celebrate diversity, if you will. But it’s only part of what it means to be a complete human being. There’s group and national pride... more»
Greek religion turned away from unrealistic hopes that all will work out in the end. Such skepticism about human intelligence has never been needed more than today... more»
When Lincoln said, “We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last, best, hope of earth,” the fate of liberty hung in the balance for Russia, Germany, and America itself... more»
Beneath neo-atheism’s surface is the kind of fury an adolescent feels that his parents might tell lies or violate their own rules. “Religion spoils everything”... more»
“Sixty years after Auschwitz, it’s still very painful for one who is not Jewish to be called anti-Semitic,” says Tony Judt. How must “Waltheimer” feel?... more»
As drooling Baby Boomers watch reruns of I Love Lucy, they clutch the TV remote – and America’s fate – firm in their gnarled, arthritic hands... more»
“The roar of time plunging unchecked through the sluices / Of the days” may one day sweep England away – but never her eternal poetry... more»
Our kids, dumber than dirt. Yes, it may turn out that the next generation is the biggest pile of ignorant idiots in U.S. history... more»
It’s easy to hate the Ivy League, and fun. When Malcolm Gladwell called for Harvard, Yale, and Princeton to be shut down, hundreds cheered... more»
He played Bach at a subway door and failed. She played Bach on a subway platform with success. What does this say about Bach? Subways? Classical music?... more»
Women’s suffrage didn’t end war. Nor did it achieve equality for the sexes. It showed women are as diverse, incisive, and as fallible as men... more»
Was Che Guevara “a truly religious man who believed in God and hated communism”? Just ask Hajj Saeed Qassemi, head honcho of suicide martyrs... more»
George Bernard Shaw was like a precocious child, brought from the nursery to astound grown-ups. Unfortunately, he was often taken seriously... more»
Four horsemen of our apocalypse: Efficiency, Convenience, Profit, and Security. Their crimes against poetry, pleasure, sociability are constant... more»
Islam, says Mark Lilla, does not lack concepts of justice, tolerance, or separation of religion from politics. But the basis for these ideas is revelation... more»
China is now doing what the U.S. did during the cold war: cozying up to the powerful, extracting resources, and buying influence... more»
The Anglosphere: it’s not just soccer and a rude expression that will mark the British Empire. Ideas of 1649 and 1776 also spread across the globe... more»
Talk of a velvet revolution in Iran only excites paranoia among the mullahs and in the state security apparatus, says Haleh Esfandiari... more»
Victory at Sea commemorated a great war waged by a united people. Will we ever see the like again? Francis Fukuyama wonders... more»
The emotional power of swearing, as well as the fact of linguistic taboos in all cultures, suggests it taps into ancient parts of the brain... more»
“I had a hunch a woman living in England would win the Nobel Prize in Literature. But what a thrill it was J.K. Rowling!” Ted Gioia wonders, what if... more»
An informational cascade is what you get when one expert after another assumes that the rest can’t all be wrong. Scientists call it “expert opinion”... more»
The New Left Review has given much to British intellectual life. But it has never been able to act on a working-class challenge to capitalism... more»
IQ has been rising for the last hundred years: that’s the Flynn Effect. But IQ is not quite the same as intelligence... more»
There has never been a realistic military justification for amassing large, expensive stockpiles of nuclear arms... more»
Talking back to Prozac. Now that shyness is a disease we need a new drug for, what’s next? Frederick Crews wonders... more»
Crime fiction flourishes in hard times. There is color and a rawness in the pulp stories of the Depression... more»
The lure of heresy that impelled artists to confront bourgeoise sensibilities is what made modernism... more»
Marlene Dietrich is gone but with us still: like a kaleidoscope, she shines in different colors every time we look at her... more»
Why are some countries so rich and others so poor? Marx wondered why, as did Max Weber. But to this day... more»
Religion does not have access to absolute proof of its beliefs but, on careful analysis, neither does science... more»
That Umberto Eco’s book on ugliness is unaware of Darwinian science shows he isn’t serious about locating the sources of aesthetic feeling... more»
“America is not an open society and the Constitution was not written by Walt Whitman.” Is this fair to conservatism?... more»
Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle and Mr. Sherlock Holmes grew up together and had much in common: close observation was their chosen weapon... more»
“My life will soon be over,” Jean Sibelius groaned in 1924. How odd that in the end he outlived James Dean... more»
“I know that I am prejudiced on this matter,” Mark Twain wrote, “but I would be ashamed of myself if I were not.” Prejudice has its uses... more»
Cissy Pascal was sexy, witty, and confident: all the young Raymond Chandler could want in an older woman... more»
And the publishers spake, “Let us commission and publish many books sort of like Freakonomics, which hath so much money made”... more»
The Mitford sisters were rich and famous, but they too fought about who their parents loved most, who teased whom the worst, who should do the family photos... more»
Vietnam, black power, Dylan, Lennon, the Stones’ drug bust, sit-ins, the Maharishi, the Weathermen: emblems of an era... more»
The Collected Works of Kahlil Gibran. Asked to review this sublime new edition, a humble academic is moved to poetry... more»
Newspapers and coffee were joined from the start. The relation worked in the 18th century as it works for Starbucks today... more»
With utter lack of self-awareness, but also great clarity, V.S. Naipaul shows us a world with its prejudices... more»
In the face of endless change, Seth Lerer argues, there cannot be a proper English. Easy to say. Do we really believe it?... more»
Gertrude Stein ran a salon at the heart of Parisian modernism, and was partner in a most curious and touching marriage... more»
It is as if the French suffer from an eternal affliction, writes Pierre Rosanvallon, a need to exaggerate their woes, turn them into fantasies... more»
Ervin Nyiregyházi was a piano prodigy with a taste for caviar and an unshakable sense of his own importance... more» ... more»
He was hero, villain, chatterbox, saint: at least Socrates died with a sense of decorum. Unlike Cato the Younger... more»
“We listen to music with our muscles,” Nietzsche said. Applies to pop songs, but better to late Beethoven quartets... more»
St. Paul wrote, “when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Yeah, but bet he never made it to Woodstock... more»
“Five principles of oppression,” says Alvaro Vargas Llosa, keep Latin America down. Above all: power over the truth... more»
Pacific Asia often seems stuck in history, with peoples picking at old wounds, squabbling over old territory... more»
A.J. Jacobs spent a year living by all the commandments of the Bible. For starters, no wool and linen in that coat... more»
For Norman Mailer, literature is the highest calling. This puts him on a pedestal with the artist God... more»
Bettina Aptheker says her father, Herbert, was abused as a child. So he abused her, but was very sensitive to slavery... more»
Even Arts & Letters Daily readers need to be able to talk intelligently about books theyveshhh! – never read... more»
Rather like some old duffer found dead in a chair at his club, nobody can say quite when the British empire expired... more»
The young Thomas Jefferson was a kind of geek: insecure, self-absorbed, and obsessed with the teen sister of a college friend... more»
A.E. Housman was one of the great letter-writers of the last two centuries. But in this form he is an acquired taste... more»
That pathetically neurotic, self-centered, wanly wisecracking pseudo-intellectual. It can only be Woody Allen... more»
Arthur Schlesinger passes anecdotes around like canapés. What did Truman say to Picasso, or Al Gore think about “finding our place in the universe”?... more»
By showing us our worst selves, Philip Zimbardo may stimulate the thinking we need to confront our inner demons... more»
A tiny handful of great wines can, like children, seem “dumb” in their youth or “closed up.” Chateau Lafleur... more»
What Makes a Terrorist? It’s not poverty or lack of education, says Alan Krueger. Look in countries with few civil liberties... more»
Ruth Slenczynska practiced piano nine hours a day. Her father beat her for mistakes – even for bad reviews... more»
Norman Mailer, towering writer with ego to match, is dead at the age of 84... NYT ... AP ... LAT ... Nation ... Guardian ... Reuters ... Telegraph ... Salon ... Chic Trib ... BBC ... Newsday ... Boston Globe ... NPR ... Time ... CNN ... NYT ... USAToday ... Wash Post ... London Times ... LAT ... Salon ... SF Chron ... Independent ... dissent from Roger Kimball
“The most hideous aircraft ever.” Maybe. But will the Airbus 380 be the workhorse and money-maker its designers want it to be?... more»
Criminal profiling is easy. James Brussel predicted it all, down to the criminal’s double-breasted suit. Well, kind of... more»
GM foods are safe, healthy, and essential for a decent living for the world’s poor. Moralizing about them is costing millions of lives... more»
Young academics who feel like frauds. They are teachers who live in creeping fear of being found out and sent packing... more»
Men and women argue about everything from adultery to Zionism, but do so differently: submissive, passive, aggressive, abusive. Maybe... more»
Forty years of work, millions spent on printing books and magazines, yet Lyndon LaRouche has had almost no effect on U.S. politics... more»
Alcohol nannies on the warpath. Want to be forced to breathe into a tube just to start your car? Not drunk drivers, you... more»
Narcissistic celebrities spiral out of control because they are buffered by people who always say yes to them... more»
Mesopotamian scribes began 5000 years ago to catalogue their clay tablets with a reference system. So Google gets this idea... more»
Is Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini a great opera, a good one, or just okay? Valery Gergievs answer had integrity... more»
Vampires do not exist. In fact, it seems the nonexistence of vampires is necessary for human existence. Do the math... more»
Counter-Virgin of Guadalupe, she is an avatar of liberty and guts, a deathless icon of Mexicanidad. Frida Kahlo... more» ... images
At the age of only 3, little Morgan is not yet sure who Cinderella is, though shes a big fan of cubism... more»
You’ve taken LSD and are headed for a bad trip. Whose music do you seek as a quick antidote? Mozart or Haydn?... more»
Foxes are moving into German towns, where food is ample and people mistake them for overgrown dachshunds... more»
The brain is the final pathway of all action. You cant do much without a brain, which is why decapitation tends to lower IQ... more»
Katharine Hepburn chose not to have kids in order to focus on her career. These days, pregnancy earns an actress ink... more»
Excesspackaging? It is essential for a modern economy. It allows goods to be sold in bulk and keeps food fresh... more»
The official media in China are no longer able to hide the rising number of incidents of social unrest across the land... more»
There’s a rumor that Martin Amis has lost his marbles. Or maybe it’s worse: he has an actual alternative view... more»
“To arrive at what one really believes, one must speak through lips different from one’s own,” said Oscar Wilde. Exactly... more»
Live fast, love hard, die young. You might as well face it, guys: chasing females can take years off your life... more»
Amusing ourselves to death – or maybe achieving real depth. Is The Onion our most intelligent newspaper?... more»
The handbag: a shrewd device to enslave women. The dead white male who invented it knew they couldn’t resist... more»
Edgar Allan Poe’s mysterious death. Was it a brain tumor? Now after these many years, new evidence... more»
In search of the best cure. The red-legged ham beetle loves aged pork, but so do the human aficionados of ham... more»
The Internet may be killing off pop CDs, but guess what it’s helping? None other than classical music... more»
Overstimulated, overscheduled kids are getting at least an hours less sleep than they need. It’s lowering their IQs... more»
“You know, if there was no such thing as the written word, I’d be telling stories on street corners,” said Harold Robbins... more»
Vegetative patients. Brain scans are a way to differentiate those for whom there is hope from the hopeless cases... more»
Doris Lessing, Persian-born, Rhodesian-raised, London-residing novelist, wins the Nobel Prize in Literature... NY Times ... AP ... London Times ... Guardian ... Telegraph ... LA Times ... WP ... Nation ... Open Democracy ... NY Sun ... The Valve
Are gamblers responsible for their own behavior, or is gambling an addiction? One of gamblings many questions... more»
Sons are tough on mothers. Having one reduces the average mom’s lifespan by over half a year... more»
Popular culture may be a filthy gutter, but philosophers can still lie there and look at the stars. Stephen Asma explains... more»
As Baby Boomers’ taste buds slowly die of old age, so do the sales of hot sauces increase across the land... more»
Ayaan Hirsi Ali sits right now in a safe house with armed men guarding her door. But protection is not cheap, so the Dutch government... more» ... more» ... more»
Iraq has embraced democracy and avoided all-out civil war. Violence is largely local and criminal. The Sunnis want a deal. Its looking like a win... more»
Left-wing illiberalism does not come from a few left-over old-style Marxists, says Mitchell Cohen. It animates parts of the postmodern left... more»
Some horrid creep gives speech at Columbia. So what? When it comes to free speech, we need to chill out, says Kurt Andersen... more»
A Mexican migrant to the United States is five times more productive than one who stays home. Why? The answer is not the obvious one... more»
What Christopher Hitchens wrote making the moral case for the war in Iraq deeply influenced Mark Daily. He went there to fight – and as it turned out, to die... more»
The Book of Psalms is a great oasis where a desert people gathers to pour out complaints, fears, and hopes in prayer, song, and incantation... more»
“If we can’t arrange our own happiness,” Alexander Herzen might have said, “it’s a conceit beyond vulgarity to arrange the happiness of those who come after us.” So much for utopia... more»
Autobiography as the story of a troubled, abused, and constricted childhood is not unique to our time. A century ago, Father and Son... more»
Irving Howe knew Leon Trotsky never gave up the Leninism that led to Stalinism. But Trotsky appealed to intellectuals, rather than to the intellect... more»
By selectively telling the history of WWII from below, by focusing on soldiers’ emotions, Ken Burns privatizes war... more»
Relaxing with Mahmoud. So what’s next for Iran’s controversial president? A beach holiday? Well, with all those public hangings to attend... more»
Religions need something to save. If souls won’t cooperate or aren’t available, they can always try saving the planet... more»
Female circumcision ceremony” is the lofty phrase used by the anthropologist. It’s actually a kind of white wedding, you see... more»
West Side Story nods to the mambos and cha-chas of its day, but never sounds like 50s pop. It’s pure Bernstein: spikey, urban, tragic... more»
“The Bible,” sighed Voltaire, “is what fools have written, imbeciles command, and rogues teach.” Was he being too rude?... more»
Spring of ’66, and radios were blaring Bob Dylan’s song about “a minority of, you know, cripples and orientals and, uh, you know, and the world in which they live”... more»
To understand Al Qaeda, we must come to terms with its rhetoric and internal theology – not just with the propaganda it aims at the West... more»
Nostalgia is part of the appeal of Jack Kerouacs On the Road today, but it was also part of its appeal in 1957. It’s not about the 1950s, but the 1940s... more»
The word “friend” on social networking sites is a debasement. Having as many MySpacefriends” as possible is about status, not friendship... more»
Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain was a joke – quite a good one the first time round, corny by the mid-20th century, and downright stupid today... more»
Anti-Darwinism is dead science. It chews over ideas long abandoned, painting itself into smaller and smaller corners, skirting problems it wants not to face... more»
Kyoto will save the lives of polar bears, but how many bears would it save in a year? Ten? Twenty? A hundred? Less than one-tenth of a polar bear?... more»
Approach writing not only as performance but as if it constituted an ethically adequate object for your deepest ambition. Stephen Greenblatt explains... more»
Pro-choice groups stand for women’s rights to choose how and when to have babies. Could this ever amount to old-fashioned eugenics?... more»
As Martin Heidegger’s lectures drew ever larger crowds, intellectuals began to speak of “a hidden philosopher-king,” a genius from the Black Forest... more»
Many of our best novelists may well be narcissists, or even, God forbid, pundits. So what? Let’s judge books by their contents, says Stephen Elliott... more»
College is a disorganized reprieve between the hard work of high school and the challenge of a career. It should instead help students to tackle the big question of life... more»
Pessimists, equipped with their Fodor guides and DVDs of Cecil B. DeMille movies, are convinced that America is Rome. So who are the Vandals?... more»
The provincial theater critic’s dream: one day to be able to get drunk on martinis at Sardi’s after closing down a Disney-kitsch Broadway show... more»
Is there certainty in philosophy? “No,” says Ernst Tugendhat, “and we don’t need it. The desire to be on sure ground is the relic of an authoritarian frame of mind”... more»
America spends one sixth of national income on medicine, more than on all manufacturing. This is too much. You could cut medical spending in half without much of a net health cost... more»
The European Union may be seen as the last great world-historical achievement of the bourgeoisie, proof its creative powers were not exhausted by two world wars... more»
Suppose a family cooks and eats its dog, after the pet is killed by a car. What’s wrong with that? Our moral intuitions are a morass of reason and emotion... more»
Are quotation marks the new boldface? As with a cafe whose sign proclaims FINE FOOD? Yes, but don’t expect such usage to creep into respectable English... more»
New forces, new energies, and new values strain for expression and release in the American body politic. We have come at last to the liberal moment, argues E.J. Dionne... more» ... Comment from Todd Gitlin ... Alan Wolfe ... Paul Starr
How can the Arab left openly embrace the Muslim far-right? After all, says Hussein Ibish, such loving gestures are never returned except by a kiss of death... more»
Al-Qaeda is losing the war in Iraq, so it’s moving the jihad to Europe... more»... Embrace Islam, Osama says, and you’ll get a hefty tax cut! Don’t rely on the wire services, read it for yourself.
Women are wonderful. But men? Drunk and homeless on the streets, or filling the prisons – violent junkies and losers. Is there anything good about men?... more»
From writing to print to video, ideas of authority change through history, says Régis Debray. From “God told me,” to “I read it,” to “I saw it on TV”... more»
Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales are the second most translated works of all literature. The Bible is first, Shakespeare third. Why does Andersen so appeal?... more»
Jack Kerouac was a tormented soul. You must feel sad, says Anthony Daniels, for a would-be rebel who spent most of his life living at home with his mother... more» ... more» ... more»
Feel guilty over your CO2-belching air travel? Why not hire little brown kids to pump water on “traditional” green treadmills? You fly, they get healthy exercise... more»
A Gallup poll found that 80% of Americans think that learning a musical instrument will improve kids’ math and science skills. Okay, they’re wrong. Still... more»
These days, people who used to pay attention to book reviews pay more attention to movie reviews. Literary journalism is sadly in decline... more»
“A big twist, isn’t it? You go from knowing youll inherit money to wondering how you’ll support mom and dad through Alzheimer’s and a nursing home”... more»
Bergman and Antonioni are cast down together into purgatory. “Karma is truly a bitch,” Antonioni says, “much like yourself, Herr Bergman”... more»
James Wood’s immensely learned, barbed essays, utterly unbowed by conventional wisdom, have earned him ardent followers – and the ire of some novelists... more»
“Turn-the-other-cheek pacifism,” George Orwell wrote, appeals most to the privileged classes. Well-off young people today are still suckers for the Peace Racket... more»
Derek Walcott, “a young man like myself,” writes V.S. Naipaul, “carrying in his head the landscape I knew, able to fit words to quicksilver emotions”... more» ... Naipaul does get up people’s noses.
What are the Enlightenment’s effects on the West? For five decades, till his death in 2006, Philip Rieff pondered that question intently, learnedly, and eccentrically... more»
Christopher Hitchens: “You hear all the time that America is an intensely religious nation, but you don’t hear that there are almost as many religions as there are believers“... more»
The genius of humanity is to establish an identity which lies at an ever-increasing distance from our organic nature. Technology can help us in this. Be not afraid... more»
Vladimir Nabokov’s humor reflected his soul, and he fills a rare position in the annals of modern fiction: that oxymoronic creature, the happy writer... more»
With all of the fear, loathing, and envy directed by Americans today toward China, it’s hard to recall that a few years ago we were all afraid of Japan. Japan?... more»
For men of a certain age, used to ordering their coffee and getting it “twenty seconds later, tops,” that new coffee chain, Starbucks, can be confusing... more»
Oscar Wilde, Conrad, Woolf, Eliot, Yeats, Dickens, Waugh, Larkin, Amis: their genius shone through clouds of nicotine. And what now of English literature?... more»
The coffeehouse: a place for bourgeois people to talk without an eye to church, family, or state. For Jürgen Habermas, the modern world begins here... more»
The managerial and elitist project that is the European Union has, not surprisingly, failed to inspire the public. What passion does Europe offer the world today?... more»
Art auctioneers have lots of money but no prestige. To be respected ladies and gents, they need to get into bed with hoity-toity museum curators... more»
It was a severe stroke, but Paul West had seven decades of writing going for him: he had forged in his brain dense thickets of neurons for language... more»
Most of us know losing better than we know winning. That is why as a comic strip, Peanuts was at bottom tragic... more»
The suspense is over. It turns out that Alan Greenspan can express himself in clear English prose... more»
Susan Faludi prefers to talk about our “terror dream” than about actual terror. You see, she had a dream herself on 9/11... more»
Is modernity a kind of faith that depends on the very faith it has rejected? Many theists want to answer yes... more»
Karl Popper wrote, “The attempt to make heaven on earth invariably produces hell.” Brian Anderson knows this... more»
The right wing in America likes to think that at its start, the U.S. was highly religious, Christian, even biblical. Not true... more»
Wicked America may be punished by an inexorable fate. But we need less mythic ways to grasp the world situation... more»
The Mars-Venus myth: women are more verbal, talk about people and feelings. Men talk about things and facts... more»
Agatha Christie: the village, the country house, the poisoned chocolates, the gentleman’s gun collection... more»
Mozart was a keen, empathic observer of mankind. What he expressed in his music was us, not himself... more»
Arthur Schlesinger decided to give up going into churches, just as he had given up ballet, metaphysics, and linguistics... more»
Hitler expected his entourage to like Wagner and Bayreuth, but they yearned for Carmen and fell asleep in Tristan... more»
If the idea of progress is is given too much importance in music history, we lose a sense of musics most lasting values... more»
The inflation of scientific claims based on feeble evidence is an embarrassment to materialism. But the claims of the soulists... more»
Todd Gitlin’s penetrating critique of the left is unsparing, and is made all the more memorable by his direct, clear style... more»
How did Gertrude Stein survive the Nazi occupation of France? She was the pet Jew of a certain Vichy apparatchik... more»
The Oedipuses: “A tense and peculiar family, were they not?” Joseph Epstein’s view of Freud is happily not unprintable... more»
Rudolf Nureyev was surrounded by an entourage of yes-men and yes-women – a huge, effusive cliché machine... more»
Henry Morton Stanley saw the Congo clearly: “centuries of pitiless persecution of black men by sordid whites”... more»
Anatole Broyard, charming, erudite book critic for the NYT, was a “black who passed for white.” Race identity is a mare’s nest... more»
The biggest threat to France? The Soviet Union, once, and before that Germany. But if we think back to Waterloo... more»
V.S. Naipaul was raised in a disorderly, inefficient, and self-deceiving society. He longs for order and clarity... more» ... more»
In her first assault on Hollywood, Joan Collins slept with so many men she was known as the British Open... more»
Critics should make readers feel uneasy about their ignorance of art, music, or literature. Alex Ross is such a critic... more»
Democracy is not a panacea for the poor of the world. Economic liberty first brings wealth, and then democracy... more»
If his new novel shows us the mind behind it, Philip Roth’s angry, self-indulgent mind gets sadder by the decade... more» ... more»
Foul language is a window into human nature but also into Steven Pinker’s nature: curious, fearless, naughty... more»
Antonina and Jan Zabinski, who ran Warsaw’s zoo before the War, also ran a household that was a madcap bohemia... more»
An open society has no choice but to concern itself with the harm people do not just to others, but to themselves... more»
A spectre haunts global capitalism, and its name is Naomi Klein. Wherever globalists wander, she stands before them, sternly shaking her finger... more»
The Duke lacrosse debacle cost three guiltless students a year of disgrace and millions in legal bills. Does anyone care?... more»
That Clive James remembers so much so well is testament to what a passionate reader he is... more» The Clive James website
Call it sperm, semen, baby gravy, jizz, cum, number 3, donut glaze, love juice, man cream, whatever. It makes a fluid poetry of its own... more»
O.J. Simpsons book is, ugh, only to be picked up with rubber gloves. Well, at least the Goldman family gets the money... more»
A Faustian bargain lies at the heart of the life of Wernher von Braun, wunderkind who built both the V-2 and the Saturn V... more»
Ryszard Kapuscinski’s life was a dense bramble of intense and fleeting experience – acquired not without cost... more»
Garibaldi’s soft voice had immense power to persuade. Glory if you follow. Rome or Death! Before you knew it, you had volunteered... more»
Luxury once meant Dior the dress-maker, Vuitton the trunk-maker, and men who brewed perfumes for kings. Now it’s all gone down market... more»
Sure, he’s witty. But Steven Pinker is far more than a borscht-belt John Locke. He is the cognitive philosopher of our time... more»
Privileged, rowdy white jocks at an elite university, a poor, young black stripper, and a cry of rape! What a juicy media story... more»
In the first year of the German invasion of the USSR, the Red Army issued 800,000 death sentences to its own soldiers... more»
The land of 246 kinds of cheese has not always been about liberté, egalité, and fraternité, nor even monarchy before that... more»
“Truth,” Richard Rorty remarked, “is what your contemporaries let you get away with saying.” No wonder he was hated... more»
Angels fly, Chesterton said, “because they take themselves lightly.” Maybe they provide an example Richard Dawkins could learn from... more»
“Of the millions of things one might imagine, theres evidence for trombones, pelicans, and electrons. But God?”... more»
Ann Hathaway left a wife-shaped void in Shakespeare’s biography that later writers filled up with their own ideas... more»
If Josef Stalin really believed his own propaganda, is he less evil? How about Mao? Or Hitler, who also wanted peace – after he’d won the war... more»
“Wagner sums up modernity. There is no way out: you become a Wagnerian first.” Thomas Mann knew what Nietzsche meant... more»
Charles Lindbergh teamed up in the 1930s with a brilliant surgeon in a spooky lab to unlock the secret of eternal life... more»
“Objects bring philosophy down to earth,” says Sherry Turkle. “We think with objects we love; we love objects we think with”... more»
Free will cannot be located in the brain, boiled down, and graphed. It’s an active, lived process that includes the human ability to interrogate nature.... more»
Treating each patient as a unique case will increase errors. Jerome Groopman fails to grasp that medicine needs more science and less art... more»
In Dantes Paradiso, images are sublime: flames and roses, rivers and rainbows. Heaven’s light sparks “like liquid iron flowing from the fire”... more»
Imagine a world in which all food is organic and local, air is free of industrial pollution, and physical exercise guaranteed. Sound idyllic?... more»
What is Painting?” is a bad question to pose as a grand problem of theory. The art itself is about its own endless little internal problems... more»
Some scientific theories are beautiful in their elegance. The beauty of others comes from baffling us. Quantum mechanics... more»
The only thing that will clear the air of Bayreuth is to break the stranglehold of Wagner’s works, and of the Wagner clan... more»
Johann Winckelmann’s eye turned not only to great works of ancient art, but to tiny engraved gems, to exquisite coins with emperors and gods... more»
The martyrdom of Sacco and Vanzetti “stabbed like a knife in the liberal conscience.” Passion has cooled, but the legend marches forth... more»
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” Consider finance ministers... more»
The President could have called it the “Truman Plan,” but to keep G.O.P. support he instead named it after his Secretary of State... more»
A passionate affair between Nehru and Lady Mountbatten was but one of the scandals and outrages of the end of the Raj... more»
“The only way to tell the age of a Gabor sister is by counting the rings around her gums.” So how old is Zsa Zsa?... more»
If Than Shwe stays in power in Burma, unchallenged by neighbors or by the UN, he will extend his control... more»
Red sky at night,
Sailor’s delight
Red sky at morning,
Its global warming... more»
How to alert average, card-playing GIs in Iraq to the sacred terrain around them and their responsibility to it? A deck of cards... more»
Leonhard Euler: mathematician of the highest genius who lived nobly, calmly, cheerfully, and well... more»
It’s an antidemocratic hell hole, to be sure, but Burma has now become a threat to its neighbors’ security... more»
Displaced aggression: making others – no matter how innocent – suffer for the pain we feel... more»
Religious fundamentalism may offer comforts, but it does not do much for creativity or social progress... more»
Biblical archeology, says Eric Cline, is too important to leave to crackpots and ideologues. It’s time to fight back... more»
Adventure travel: a whimsical, self-induced abstraction – a way to more keenly feel our home comforts... more»
You can take the human being out of the savannah, but you can’t take the savannah out of the human being... more»
Jorge Luis Borges knew the risks of perfect memory. He wrote of a man paralyzed by it. Googles memory is perfect... more»
Brooklyn: where the stories are half-baked, their endings bland and soft. The home of Wonder Bread fiction... more»
Will exercise help you keep off pounds? It would be nice were it simply the truth. And it’s not exactly false. But, alas... more»
Lucian Freud says he can tell when he is finished with a canvas: he gets the feeling he’s working on someone else’s painting... more»
Italian olive oil is among the best in the world. When it isn’t Turkish hazelnut oil, or Argentine sunflower oil... more»
“If my class at Yale ran this country,” Louis Auchincloss told his father, “we’d have no problems.” Alas, in the end his class did run it... more»
Alex wasn’t the only avian genius. Bird life has a learned culture with technology. Birds solve problems that baffle chimps... more»
H.L. Mencken never gave lectures. He wasn’t bad at it, but he despised the kind of people who showed up at lectures... more»
In Sigmund Freud’s old age, Anna meant everything to him. So when on March 22, 1938 the Gestapo came for her... more»
In 1961, Russia’s finest dancer, Rudolf Nureyev, slipped through his keepers’ fingers. But the KGB had its revenge... more»
For Henri Cartier-Bresson, the Leica camera was like “a big warm kiss, a shot from a revolver, a psychoanalyst’s couch”... more»
Epidemiology.” Such a big, fancy word ought to stand for real science. Alas, it is a source of endless illusory benefits and false scares... more»
Why is there so little friction between mainstream U.S. culture and American Muslims? What can Europe learn from the U.S.?... more»
For some people, Paris is a fashion show or a gourmet meal or a museum. For Alice Kaplan, it’s a library to wander through... more»
At last the Democrats have a chance to become a party for grown ups. Kurt Andersen hopes they don’t blow it... more»
The husband wants custody of the dog, but so does the wife. Which one does Fido prefer? Clearly, this dog needs a lawyer... more»
Weary of global-warming hysteria, John Tierney needed a fresh view. So he went to the scourge of eco-catastrophism... more» ... more»
Every president since Kennedy has faced unexpected, game-changing crises, sudden shifts in history. How ready is the U.S. for the next one?... more»
“Very dull” was the Knopf editors verdict on Ann Frank’s Diary. Also rejected: Nabokov, Orwell, Kerouac, Tuchman, Richler, Plath, Nin, and Borges... more»
The Joyce Hatto story is about more than pianists, lies, and audio tape. At its heart is failed ambition and deeply sweet revenge... more» ... audio
Fun is our New Core Value! You will come to the office dressed as your favorite super hero! It’s the infantilization of corporate America!... more»
Thomas Jefferson had a taste for wine, and bottles from his cellar still hit the market. At least they’re supposed to be from his cellar... more»
Is obesity contagious? Could be. Just like the junk science that often passes for important medical research... more»
Catherine the Great was a curiosity in her day, now bewitching, now confusing her critics and supporters. Oddly, just like Vladimir Putin... more»
Luciano Pavarotti, King of the High Cs, is dead at the age of 71... NYT ... Phil Inq ... Time ... Chic Trib ... London Times ... IHT ... BBC ... AP ... Telegraph ... WP ... Boston Globe ... LATimes ... SF Chron
Fashion: shallow, bourgeois, girly, elitist, unfeminist, conformist, and frivolous. But it attracts money, talent, beauty, and enterprise... more»
Without books, without news and reviews of books – that is, without serious literacy – decent society vanishes and barbarism triumphs... more»
“An unpretentious musician with no whiff of the formidable maestro about him.” Is this what the New York Philharmonic needs in a new Director?... more»
The French once ridiculed smoking bans as typical Yankee puritanism. They viewed their packs of Gauloises as sacred... more»
Many Western nations will face internal violence and insecurity in the future – and if they are not actually nations, they are in trouble... more»
Indias 200 million-strong middle class is the most economically dynamic group on the planet. It is largely indifferent to social reform... more»
Glenn Gould in love, and what an odd couple. She, socialite artist in pearls; he with his driving cap and winter gloves, even in summer... more» ... the next Gould?
Leo Strauss, “an exotic plant” and maybe “an acquired taste.” But he was friend of liberal democracy – at least at the end... more»
Matt Drudge craves attention but hides, is prurient and prudish, an icon of the right who seems obsessed with making Hillary president... more»
Coal, oil, and nuclear are dangerous energy sources. Wind power, that’s harmless. Oh? Ever seen a wind turbine blow over?... more»... slide show
America was a hotbed of literary piracy in the 19th century. It turned out poisoned foods and willfully mislabeled products. Rather like China today... more»
Sarkozy as American manqué: in the normal run of things, his family – Greek Jews, minor Hungarian nobility – would have kept going west to New York... more»
Okay, so men are better at direction finding in the open. But what about finding a food source that cant run away? And what’s with women and pink?... more»
China is the worlds leading producer of both carbon dioxide and air pollution. Does it have the will to clean itself up? Or must greed prevail?... more»
The Man Who Would Be Queen, by J. Michael Bailey, was meant to explain the biology of sexual orientation to a broad audience. But the problems... more»
Ralph Ellison left 40 years of scribbled notes, thousands of typed pages, and 80 computer disks toward a second novel. Now at last... more»
Oil, copper, factories, houses, and roads make up some of a country’s wealth. But intellectual capital is the real source of riches... more»
Strap on that iPod, if you must. But don’t you ever regret the loss of silence in modern life? Andrew Waggoner does... more»
Summer camp horrors. The red-eyed hyena spider, Bruce McCall explains, prefers to hide in hiking boots. But the horned toilet beetle... slide show
Cosmology is in big trouble. While there is in sight no alternative to the Big Bang, that is not an adequate reason to accept it... more»
Now that the onion’s been peeled, many say that Günter Grass is no longer the conscience of Germany. Or rather that he never was... more»
Arthur Miller not only erased his fourth son from the public record, he cut him out of his private life. The child had Down syndrome... more»
“The intellectuals, lackeys of capital, think they’re the brains of the nation,” said Vladimir Lenin. “They’re not the brains, they’re the shit”... more»
Consumerism is as American as cherry pie. Plasma TVs, iPods, granite kitchen tops: you name it, we buy it. And who finances this national pastime?... more»
How do we buy happiness? Enforcing income equality is not the way, says Arthur C. Brooks. We need to create more mobility and more opportunity... more»


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