February 08, 2012
The city of Tawargha is the only Libyan coastal town completely populated by blacks, the descendants of the slaves who were once trafficked through the Islamic world. Libya’s blacks have long endured discrimination, but, during the revolution that swept Muammar Qaddafi from power, the residents of Tawargha acquired a new unpopularity—because they fought on the side of the fallen leader. Tawargha is about 15 miles from the rebel stronghold of Misrata, whose residents claim Tawarghans helped Qaddafi’s forces in an eleven-week siege against their city.
A Requiem to an Age of Brilliant Polish Poetry
February 08, 2012
Poland in the postwar era was a supremely unlucky nation, but in one respect (and perhaps one only) it was among the world’s luckiest. This unassuming country, generally admired not for its scenery nor its cuisine nor its architecture, produced three of the greatest European poets of the last half-century. The first was Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004), born in Lithuania to a Polish family, who defected to France in 1951 and emigrated to the United States in 1960; he was Poland’s geopolitical poet, befitting his perch in exile, and its first poet Nobelist.
I Love The Smell Of Croissants In The Morning
February 07, 2012
The liberal media conspiracy must have had a secret meeting on the cafe car of the Acela sometime in the past week or so, because there’s been a sudden flurry of pieces revisiting the matter of Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith and urging him, in one form or another, to be more open about it.
The Iranian film A Separation, written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, seems to me the best film of 2011. It is one of the Academy Award nominees for Best Foreign Picture, but by any sense of justice in any nation (let alone the self-assessed greatest in the world) it would have been nominated for Best Picture before anything else. The ways in which the characters in A Separation struggle for truth and honor, while yielding sometimes to compromise and falsehood, is not foreign to us. Few other films made last year give such a striking sense of, “Look—isn’t this life?
We Have A Winner!
February 03, 2012
Well, Mitt Romney may not have much competition in the Nevada caucuses, but he’s got rivals galore in the business of producing gaffes that manage to be aggravating to both left and right, as his “not concerned about the very poor” riff was. The Stump put out the call for gaffes of Romneyesque bipolar irritation, and the readers responded in force. If Mitt’s well ever runs dry, he will know where to turn for material. So, without further ado, the winner and runners up of the First Stump Contest of the 2012 campaign.
Meet the Gun-Toting, Teetotaling, Jet-Skiing Russian Billionaire Running Against Putin
December 15, 2011
In the wake of rising dissatisfaction with Vladimir Putin and protests against irregularities in Russia’s recent parliamentary elections, Mikhail Prokhorov’s decision to run for president was greeted with a lot of excitement. But, soon enough, paranoia set in: Is he a freedom-loving democrat, an opportunist, or just another Putin stooge? While the jury is still out on that question, one thing is clear enough: He’s incredibly rich, and perhaps like most über-wealthy individuals, he’s cultivated quite a few … eccentricities. Here are just a few that stand out. 1.
What Hope Remains?
December 14, 2011
An Awareness of What is Missing: Faith and Reason in a Post-Secular Age By Jürgen Habermas (Polity Press, 87 pp., $14.95) The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere By Judith Butler, Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, and Cornel West Edited by Eduardo Mendieta and Jonathan VanAntwerpen (Columbia University Press, 137 pp., $19.50) On October 14, 2001, the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas stepped up to the lectern at the Paulskirche in Frankfurt to deliver a short address called “Faith and Knowledge.” The occasion was his acceptance speech of the Peace Prize, a yearly honor that the German Book
Stanley Kauffmann on Films: The Unexpected
December 14, 2011
The Conquest Tomboy In Heaven, Underground: The Weissensee Jewish Cemetery “Politics is a stupid job done by smart men.” So says Nicolas Sarkozy in The Conquest, a French film about him that states it is not a documentary. At the start it asserts that, though it is based on real people and events, it is fiction.
In "Humanizing" Mitt, An Unintended Echo
December 12, 2011
Politico reports that Mitt Romney, seeking to reboot amid the resurgence of Newt Gingrich, is now "engaged in a humanizing effort" after months in which he framed himself as an impersonal fix-it man for a broken economy: Meet Mitt Romney, human. In the past 24 hours, the former Massachusetts governor has talked about his father, experiences while working as a missionary that weren’t even in his memoir — and twice in two days, he’s brought up the Mormon faith that he’s until now largely steered clear of.
Defending Israel Against Its Right-Wing Jews
December 06, 2011
In the Jewish struggle around Zionism there were at least three strands in opposition so fierce that it was evident that the very meaning of “the people Israel” was at stake. The first of these was a vast religious cohort, at once immensely learned or purported to have such learning and having, as well, the authority of the sages. Or the ages. While ongoing study and “trust in the Lord” constituted their program, they practiced a politics that was fundamentally anti-political. God was both their instrument and their end.