Leon Wieseltier
Literary Editor

Why the Taliban Shot the Schoolgirl
October 19, 2012

In Pakistan, and Afghanistan, the struggle for gender equality is the campaign against totalitarianism.

Cartoons, Videos, and the Politics of Blasphemy
October 05, 2012

The true reckoning will come when an insult to Islam is issued not in Paris and Los Angeles, but in Cairo and Lahore.

Syria Burns on Obama's Back Burner
September 14, 2012

Does the United States have a foreign policy? Of course it does. So what exactly is it?

His Grief, and Ours
August 24, 2012

Paul Ryan’s nasty ideal of self-reliance.

Bob: Remembering Robert Hughes
August 23, 2012

Art critic Robert Hughes died on August 6, 2012.

Washington Diarist: A Saint in the City
August 01, 2012

“HE IS THE RARE man of sixty-two who is not shy about showing his ass—an ass finely sausaged into a pair of alarmingly tight black jeans—to twenty thousand paying customers.” This panting observation about a rock star was committed by the editor of The New Yorker. I miss Eichmann in Jerusalem, almost. David Remnick’s 75,000-word profile of Bruce Springsteen is another one of his contributions to the literature of fandom.

Two Sentences
July 13, 2012

THERE ARE MANY ways to read legal opinions, and not all of them are investigations of law. For many years I have been reading Supreme Court opinions not in the lawyerly way, because I lack the competence and the interest. The lawyerly standpoint misses too much about life, and even about law. It can become an obstacle to a full understanding of social developments: in the study of the Internet, for example, significant concerns about copyright and privacy have overwhelmed more significant concerns about the psychological, cultural, moral, and even spiritual effects of our plague of screens.

Who Goes There?
June 23, 2012

IT TAKES ONE to know one, as we used to say in Brooklyn. Jeff Bezos, one of the most powerful gatekeepers in the history of gatekeeping, had the effrontery to rhapsodize not long ago about “eliminating all the gatekeepers.” The eliminationist rhetoric was consistent with the monopolistic inclinations of his company. “I see the elimination of gatekeepers everywhere,” he hypocritically declared, referring no doubt to his fellow Internet oligarchs, whose codes and algorithms and policies and interests have broken new ground in the manufacture of gates.

They Died for Westphalia
June 08, 2012

WHAT A SPELL of cultural miseries. Oprah Winfrey commended “Pierre de Chardin” to the graduates of Spelman College and exhorted them to “let excellence be your brand.” Yale University elected to have its commencement addressed by Barbara Walters. Al Sharpton appeared in the pages of The New York Times Book Review, which warmly noted that its reviewer has lost a lot of weight and eats fish twice a week and many vegetables. And Daniel Bell was made responsible for the Iraq war.

Close To Zero
May 18, 2012

The problem with a moral vocabulary about politics and policy is that it not only makes politicians and policymakers feel bold, it also demands that they act bold. Eloquence creates expectations; and so in Washington, even for America’s first black, Jewish, and gay president, the goal is often to separate the high ground from its practical imperatives, so that an aura of rectitude may be acquired without recourse to significant action. Washington is the capital of idle talk about justice.