Bob

Baudrillard and Babes at the Consumer Electronics Show

The surreal magic of the annual gadget extravaganza in Las Vegas

At the annual gadget-industry trade show, Lydia DePillis finds blink-controlled TVs, angry tech bloggers, and a World’s Fair for an age when brands are more important than countries.

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When the Democrats seized control of the Virginia state Senate in 2007, then-Gov. Tim Kaine proclaimed that "Old Virginny is dead." Now that Republicans have, pending a likely recount, reclaimed effective control of the Senate—a 20-20 tie, with the Republican lieutenant governor breaking ties—the question is whether Old Virginny will storm back with a vengeance. And if so, what that will mean for the vice presidential prospects of Gov.

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The Idea of Justice By Amartya Sen (Harvard University Press, 467 pp., $29.95) In his introduction to The Idea of Justice, Amartya Sen asks the reader to imagine a scenario that will figure prominently throughout the book. Three children are arguing among themselves about which one of them should have a flute. The first child, Anne, is a trained musician who can make the best use of the flute. The second child, Bob, is the poorest of the three and owns no other toys or instruments. Clara, the third contender, happens to be the one who, with hard sustained labor, made the flute.

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Half Empty

Jack and Hank are professors at a small college in rural Oregon, and they are best friends. Jack is sleeping with Hank's wife, Edith. Hank seems to know this and seems not to mind. In part this is because he wants to sleep with Jack's wife, Terry, who is also Edith's best friend. Not only does Jack not mind, he goes out of his way to push Terry into Hank's arms. Ah, academic life. Not that anyone much enjoys themselves.

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Intentions

The Guys (Focus) and The Good Thief (Fox Searchlight) Temptation for a writer lurks behind catastrophe. Whenever something dreadful happens in the political world, writers are tempted to respond. When Hitler appears, when the atomic bomb makes its double debut, some playwrights and novelists are impelled to respond in their art. Film writers are not immune, though for intrinsic reasons of their medium, their response is not so quickly apparent. The impulse of these writers is more than understandable: the lack of it would be moribund.

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