Luxembourg

Do America's tech giants have anything to fear?

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These are not bright times. We see the world in shades of gray. So gallerygoers may be especially interested in artists who work in mixtures of black and white—in what for centuries has been known as grisaille. Of course, I’m not so sure that gray times inspire a taste for gray paintings. Formal values are not necessarily so closely related to social experience. And yet the thought has crossed my mind as I contemplate “Grisaille,” a group show currently at Luxembourg and Dayan in New York.

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Open Wide

In 1992, the foreign minister of Luxembourg, Jacques Poos, declared that “the hour of Europe” had arrived. The minister pronounced this falsehood in relation to the catastrophe in Bosnia, where, he assured, the reach of Luxembourg and that of its European neighbors would soon put an end to the slaughter. The hour of Europe stretched across three sickening years, culminating in the spectacle of Dutch troops cuffed to lampposts and ending only when an American column of 70-ton tanks from the First Armored Division crossed the Danube. Fast forward to 2011.

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It has become a sign of spring: as swallows crowd the sky over Madrid, Real is eliminated at the knock-out stage of the European Champions League. Yet again, the richest club in the world has spent obscene amounts of money with the sole intention of winning the most important club competition in the world, but on March 10, they were knocked out from the last 16 for the sixth year in a row (in 2003, they were eliminated from the last eight). This time, they were brought low by Olympic Lyon, who beat them at home and tied them in Madrid.

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Dancing In the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression By Morris Dickstein (W.W. Norton, 598 pp., $29.95) Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits By Linda Gordon (W.W. Norton, 536 pp., $35) American Hungers: The Problem of Poverty In U.S. Literature, 1840-1945 By Gavin Jones (Princeton University Press, 248 pp., $38.50)   “Let me tell you about the very rich,” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in a story of 1926, at the height of the economic boom and his own creative powers.

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Perfect Strangers

In the popular imagination, the United States and Europe are assumed to be radically opposing poles--"Mars" and "Venus"--on issues such as market regulation, public education, social policy, health care, crime, and the environment. But is that really the case? The numbers would suggest otherwise. My book, The Narcissism of Minor Differences: How America and Europe are Alike, presents quantifiable data on a wide array of social conditions on each side of the Atlantic.

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The other day, as I was walking to the grocery store, I strategically moved toward the far edge of the sidewalk to put distance between myself and a pile of large, black trash bags haphazardly stacked against the side of a building. This sight is common in downtown Manhattan, as was the rustling I heard among the bags, which nevertheless made me start. Rats or mice, I thought, as I instinctively crossed the street to avoid them, but it was still light out, too early, it seemed to me, for these nocturnal creatures to be rummaging for food.

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The Revolving Door

There is realty only one industry of any consequence in Washington, DC. Whatever else that goes on spins in some orbit around the federal government. So when an incumbent President is turned out of office, the revolving door starts spinning too. Nobody leaves town, they just trade places. It occurs at every level. Members of congressional and committee staffs who spent the last several years developing legislative programs and engaging in "oversight," as it's called, have now moved with the new administration into the agencies they previously oversaw to direct the programs they created.

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On October 2 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a public hearing on former White House aide Peter Flanigan's nomination by President Ford to be US ambassador to Spain. Even before it was officially announced the Flanigan nomination had stirred up opposition among Senate Democrats such as Majority Whip Robert Byrd and Thomas Eagleton. Byrd was bothered by Flanigan's role in the unusual settlement of the ITT antitrust case, and Eagleton had encountered Flanigan while investigating White House pressures on the Environmental Protection Agency.

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The North Atlantic pact, which involves one of the most fateful decisions in American history, is being discussed in a series of articles in the New Republic. Last week Captain B. H. Liddell Hart, noted British military expert, analyzed the defensibility of Western Europe, and in an editorial we gave our reasons for believing that the North Atlantic pact deserves support. The article below, by Blair Bolles, offering an argument against the plan, is published for its intrinsic interest.

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