Isaac Chotiner

New Republic Editor and Writer Picks: Best Books of 2012
and
December 26, 2012

The Song of Achilles: A Novel  by Madeline Miller I loved The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller’s brisk, graceful reimagining of the Iliad. The narrator is Achilles's companion Patroclus, a minor character in Homer’s original who makes for a surprisingly appealing protagonist. Miller’s book is a feat of storytelling: her take on the love affair between Achilles and Patroclus gives the epic tale of the Trojan War new emotional specificity.

V.S. Naipaul on the Arab Spring, Authors He Loathes, and the Books He will Never Write
December 07, 2012

“IT WAS CALAMITOUS for me. I feel a deep, deep grief.” Sir V.S. Naipaul is talking about his dead cat. We are sitting in the spacious two-story London flat in Kensington where the author and his welcoming second wife, Nadira, stay when they are not at their Wiltshire country residence. “Now that Augustus has died, I want to spend more time in London,” he continues, slowly picking at the meal Nadira has provided. “It is too painful to be [in Wiltshire]. I think of Augustus. He was the sum of my experiences.

V.S. Naipaul on the Arab Spring, Authors He Loathes, and the Books He Will Never Write
December 07, 2012

  “IT WAS CALAMITOUS for me. I feel a deep, deep grief.” Sir V.S. Naipaul is talking about his dead cat. We are sitting in the spacious two-story London flat in Kensington where the author and his welcoming second wife, Nadira, stay when they are not at their Wiltshire country residence. “Now that Augustus has died, I want to spend more time in London,” he continues, slowly picking at the meal Nadira has provided. “It is too painful to be [in Wiltshire]. I think of Augustus. He was the sum of my experiences.

May 24, 2004
and
June 28, 2012

Cover Story TRB from Washington | “All Too Human” by Peter Beinart “Gut Check” by The Editors Campaign Journal: “WWJKD?” by Ryan Lizza  Correspondence “Traitors at the Times, college-age idiocy, &c.” The Mall “The XX Factor” by Michelle Cottle “Partial Law” by Christine Stansell “Snub-continent” by Isaac Chotiner “Pickup Artist” by Noam Scheiber “The Life Coach” by Eve Fairbanks “Paper Tigers” by Roger Lowenstein “Civil Defense” by Kenneth M. Pollack Features “Party Boy” by Thomas B.

John Derbyshire Crashes and Burns
April 09, 2012

 [Guest Post by Isaac Chotiner] When Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ was released eight years ago, a vigorous debate ensued in newspapers and magazines over whether the film was anti-Semitic. A couple years later, an intoxicated Gibson was pulled over by the police, and took the opportunity to go on an anti-Semitic rant. I remember thinking that those who defended Gibson's movie must be strong believers in coincidence.

Charming Thought of the Day
April 03, 2012

[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] A gunman killed seven people in the great city of Oakland yesterday. Tragic, you say. But not tragic for everyone. Take Deborah Lee, who studies at the university where the shooting occurred. Lee heard gunshots, but not to worry. As she told The New York Times: “I heard a pop, pop, pop sound and then girls screaming.” Ms. Lee said she believed that the shooting had occurred in the same building as her classroom.

How Crazy is the GOP?
March 12, 2012

[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] Ross Douthat's New York Times column yesterday made the argument that the much-maligned Republican Party has not gone crazy. Republican voters showed no interest in voting for Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, or Donald Trump, and they (the voters) are inevitably going to hand the nomination over to Mitt Romney. Jon Chait has responded by arguing that Romney is going to win the nomination because he (Romney) has been acting like a crazy man. Beyond that, he has vastly more money than his opponents, none of whom are good politicians.

Quote of the Day, 'Huh?' Edition
January 23, 2012

[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] From Gavin Polone's anti-Oscars piece in New York magazine: Can you really say that Borat didn’t deserve a [Best Picture] nomination but Letters From Iwo Jima did? Er, yes. Yes you can. Which reminds me: the Academy Awards is in danger of reaching a unique place in our culture--a place currently inhabited by the festivities surrounding Christmas. Very briefly, the Oscar telecast is annoying and silly. So is Christmas music, and so is phony holiday cheer. But much more annoying are the people who complain incessantly about these things.

Rick Santorum, Proud Imperialist
January 15, 2012

[Guest Post by Isaac Chotiner]  While watching the Ravens game, I switched over to C-Span during a commercial and found Rick Santorum speaking to South Carolina voters. He mentioned that Barack Obama wants to degrade America's military, and added that Europe proved countries could not maintain a welfare state and a strong military. And then he turned to the British Empire. I don't yet have a transcript of Santorum's remarks, but he quite definitively stated that, long ago, "the sun never set" on the British Empire.

Silliest Sentence of the Year
December 05, 2011

[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] This comes courtesy of Jordan Michael Smith in Salon, from a piece about America and Pakistan titled 'America: The Ally From Hell.' According to Smith, American arrogance explains why Pakistan has been such a poor ally; what do you expect after demanding that another country follow your interests rather than its own?

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