June 28, 2004
A mainstream liberal consensus on Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 has emerged quickly. It goes something like this: Moore's a nutty conspiracy theorist, and parts of the movie--in which he suggests, among other things, that we invaded Afghanistan not because of 9/11 but because we wanted to build a natural gas pipeline--showcase Moore at his least responsible.
The End of an Elite
June 07, 2004
The Guardians: Kingman Brewster, His Circle, and the Rise of the Liberal Establishment By Geoffrey Kabaservice (Henry Holt, 573 pp., $30) The commitment of America's great universities to admitting students on the basis of merit rather than lineage--whether or not that commitment is wholly observed in practice--is today virtually uncontested. Similarly, the belief in the value of diversity, while under assault in courts and legislatures, is a core conviction of almost all educators.
March 22, 2004
THOUGH THE DECEMBER movie Mona Lisa Smile failed at the box office, its romanticized portrayal of Wellesley College in the 1950s as a place where well-coiffed women had little ambition beyond learning proper etiquette reignited a heated debate on the virtues of single-sex schools. In fact, three months later, Wellesley's alumnae website still offers an interactive section devoted to a discussion of the film and the future of single-sex education. As one graduate summed up in an article for Boston magazine: "If Wellesley women are so smart and talented ...
May 05, 2003
Silence on the Mountain: Stories of Terror, Betrayal, and Forgetting in Guatemala By Daniel Wilkinson (Houghton Mifflin, 373 pp., $24) In September, a Guatemalan court convicted an army colonel of ordering the assassination of one of my colleagues, the anthropologist Myrna Mack. Mack had been interviewing victims of counterinsurgency operations when she was knifed to death on a busy afternoon street in Guatemala City. Colonel Juan Valencia Osorio worked for the presidential security staff.
July 02, 2001
Saving Milly: Love, Politics, and Parkinson’s Disease by Morton Kondracke By Morton Kondracke (PublicAffairs, 275 pp., $25) Narratives of illness have deep roots in our culture. For millennia, interpretations of disease--the reasons for the malady and the source of its solution--were grounded in the Bible. Miriam, in the Book of Numbers, develops leprosy after voicing resentment and disseminating doubt about Moses's leadership. Leprosy, a disease of relentless physical decomposition, is measured recompense for a sin that dismembers the cohesion of the community.
The Southern Coup
June 19, 1995
When the new Republican Congress was sworn in last January, the South finally conquered Washington. The defeated Democratic leadership had been almost exclusively from the Northeast, the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest, with Speaker Tom Foley of Washington, Majority Leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri and Majority Whip David Bonior of Michigan in the House, and, on the Senate side, Majority Leader George Mitchell from Maine. The only Southerner in the Democratic congressional leadership was Senate Majority Whip Wendell Ford of Kentucky.
October 31, 1988
Despite his pee-pants performance in the Omaha debate against Lloyd Bentsen, it looks as if Dan Quayle, 41, will be president one of these days. Consider the politico-actuarial probabilities. Assuming the Republican lead endures, the junior senator from Indiana will be elected vice president. This alone will give him an even chance of becoming president. Three out of the last five presidents were vice president first. Seven out of the last ten vice presidents have ended up heading a national ticket, and four (five if you presumptively count George Bush) got all the way to the Oval Office.
The Triumph of Asian-Americans
July 15, 1985
David A. Bell: How one group of immigrants found its place in America.
The Knighthood of J.D. Salinger
January 01, 1970
Assessing Salinger, eight years after his magnum opus.
Lindsay—The First Six Months
July 16, 1966
“New York City needs, and must have, a change. It must change completely in all of its institutions from top to bottom.”—CANDIDATE JOHN LINDSAY, a week before his election as mayor. Lindsay is often called “the Republican Kennedy.” There is some resemblance. Like the late President, he is forever tilting with a lethargic bureaucracy, trying to impart to it some of his own dash and sense of urgency. Kennedy tried, but soon abandoned, the experiment of sitting in on a State Department staff meeting and startling middle-echelon officials by telephoning them to ask their opinions.