It's Not Just D'Souza: British People Think Obama Is a Kenyan Anti-Colonialist, Too
September 28, 2010
The assertion of Newt Gingrich and of the conservative author Dinesh D’Souza that President Obama’s actions can somehow be explained by a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview has already been greeted with the ridicule it deserves. But the funny thing is that while this theory (let’s call it the “Kenya paranoia”) is silly, it also isn’t entirely new with Gingrich or D’Souza.
What’s Eating David Axelrod?
September 27, 2010
Among the many distinctions David Axelrod has achieved in his career, there is one that requires special elaboration: He is, it turns out, one of the few customers to have ever run a tab at Manny’s, the Chicago cafeteria and deli. This is not because the odd knish ($4.25) or side of potato chips ($0.75) threatened to leave him cash-poor. It is, rather, because Axelrod has long styled himself someone who accumulates wisdom at places regular people frequent, not the lacquered haunts of downtown Washington. What the Oval Room is to Beltway consultant-dom, Manny’s is to Axelrod.
The Road to Mastery
September 22, 2010
Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong By Terry Teachout (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 475 pp., $30) Duke Ellington’s America By Harvey G. Cohen (University of Chicago Press, 688 pp., $40) Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original By Robin D.G. Kelley (Free Press, 588 pp., $30) Princess Noire: The Tumultuous Reign of Nina Simone By Nadine Cohodas (Pantheon, 449 pp., $30) I. During one of his engagements at the Cotton Club in the mid-’30s, Duke Ellington spotted Leopold Stokowski sitting near the stage a short time before the start of the show.
The Velvet Surrender
September 17, 2010
Václav Klaus, the president of the Czech Republic, is legendary for his lack of manners. When his country assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union in 2009, Klaus—a stocky and vigorous man with close-cropped white hair and a fastidiously trimmed moustache—got into a scrap with a group of European politicians because he had refused to fly the EU flag above his office in Prague Castle. Nicolas Sarkozy pronounced the snub “hurtful,” yet Klaus was anything but contrite. Instead, he used his first address to the European Parliament to compare the EU to the Soviet Union.
The Fortunate Journey
September 13, 2010
The Escorial: Art and Power in the Renaissance By Henry Kamen (Yale University Press, 291 pp., $35) The historian Henry Kamen has spent a distinguished career presenting what he calls a “revisionist” history of early modern Spain.
Obama vs. the Republicans (With Full Speech Text)
September 08, 2010
I think it's safe to say that President Obama has given up on bipartisanship, at least for the foreseeable future. The White House just released prepared text of his economic speech to the City Club of Cleveland. A few weeks ago, House Minority Leader John Boehner gave a speech there, outlining his economic agenda (or, at least, what he claimed to be an economic agenda).
You Say Recession, I Say Depression
September 07, 2010
The terms “recession” and “depression” were once used to suggest that a downturn was not as bad as a “panic” or “crisis.” In fact, for the first years of his presidency, Herbert Hoover chose to refer to the downturn as a “depression” in an effort to convey that what the country was experiencing was just a temporary indentation. Only in 1931 did Hoover begin to speak of a “Great Depression.” Our current downturn has also been plagued by word games. Faced with the fear that the U.S.
The New York Times Laments "A Sadly Wary Misunderstanding of Muslim-Americans." But Really Is It "Sadly Wary" Or A "Misunderstanding" At All?
September 04, 2010
UPDATE: I have written an apology for one sentence written below. Of course, this first sentence presumes that the Times in its olympian wisdom has a more accurate view--one it could describe as both "shrewdly knowing" and "sensitively knowing"--of this group and its beliefs than ordinary metropolitan mortals. The newspaper has done a poll of New York City residents which found that 33% of them thought Muslim-American "more sympathetic to terrorists" than other citizens. Frankly, I don't trust opinion surveys on matters like this.
September 04, 2010
For more on Bernard Knox, please read an extraordinary report of his heroism in World War II and a collection of his best pieces for TNR. The death of Bernard Knox has impoverished not just contemporary classical scholarship but the humanities as a whole. In choosing him as its Jefferson Lecturer in 1992, the National Endowment for the Humanities could not have found a more ardent or eloquent spokesman for its mission.
Bernard Knox's TNR Classics
September 04, 2010
"Years of Iron"; August 27, 1990. Knox reviews a new translation of Ovid's poetry, along with a novel depicting a fictional search for the poet. "The Oldest Dead White European Males"; May 25, 1992. A consideration of the ancient Greeks, who "invented the idea and gave us the name of Europe," but also formed a "society in which, for all practical purposes...women played no part whatsoever." "Purity and Danger"; November 23, 1992.