The first shots were fired last summer, when Jennifer Weiner and Jodi Picoult called the New York Times Book Review a boys’ club. (I weighed in then, too, calling on the Times to respond to statistics posted by Double X regarding the disparity between books by male authors and female authors reviewed in their pages.) Now, the war is on. A few days ago, VIDA, a women’s literary organization, posted on its website a stark illustration of what appears to be gender bias in the book review sections of magazines and literary journals.
Don DeLillo’s 2007 novel Point Omega begins with an anonymous man, standing in the Museum of Modern Art, watching Douglas Gordon’s 24 Hour Psycho, which stretches the Hitchcock film to diurnal length, turning mere frames into emergent stories. “Suspense is trying to build,” DeLillo writes, “but the silence and stillness outlive it.” DeLillo says Point Omega was inspired by his own accidental encounter with Gordon’s work.
One of the odder things I've heard in China is that a good number of people see North Korea as a prime tourism destination. I didn't really believe it until reading Jon Cannon's piece in the London Review of Books about Dandong, a city that straddles the border between the two countries: A lot of Chinese tourists visit Dandong simply ‘because it’s there’. It is the only major city in China actually situated on one of the country’s external borders, and the view into another country is an attraction in itself.
The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 484 pp., $26) In October 2002, Osama bin Laden issued a statement in which he analyzed America's inexhaustible number of sins and prescribed ways of repenting for many of them. The statement was, by the standards of bin Laden's cave encyclicals, unusually coherent.
What does Jerry Falwell have in common with Paul Wolfowitz and Howard Dean? What links columnist George Will with The New Republic? All, according to a recently issued "working paper," a shortened version of which appeared in the London Review of Books, are agents of an amorphous but incalculably powerful "Israel Lobby." That same inscrutable organization, the paper alleges, has dictated the decisions of politicians from George W. Bush to Jimmy Carter and determined the content of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. The goal of the lobby?
Everywhere I turn, I meet opinions about Islam. I confess that I do not have one myself. I am not sure how to form one. The notion itself seems a little fatuous. Since I know what it is to know a tradition, I know what it is not to know a tradition. I read the Koran a long time ago, and like all scriptures that are read as if they are books this scripture left me respectfully bewildered.