The New Normal
February 10, 2011
And the Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris By Alan Riding (Alfred A. Knopf, 399 pp., $28.95) By the ghastly standards of World War II, the history of France from 1939 to 1944 was a sideshow. Poland, with a smaller pre-war population, suffered at least ten times as many wartime deaths. The Soviet Union, four times larger in 1939, had fully forty times more losses. French cities, in comparison with Polish or Soviet or German cities, survived the war relatively unscathed.
The Prisoner Intellectuals
May 05, 2010
The key to understanding radical Islam and Communism? Prison culture.
From the Chait Vault: Race to the Bottom
January 25, 2010
Another Chait classic is this 1999 gem, written just about a year before the public--er, the Supreme Court--delivered us President George W. Bush. Turns out Sarah Palin wasn't the first one to epically fail a journalist's "pop-quiz." After Bush was unable to name various heads of state in an interview, Jon argues why in the 2000 election, it was smart to be dumb: It would seem, on the face of it, that the only thing standing between George W. Bush and the presidency is a persistent reservation about his intellect.
A Woman In Full
June 06, 2008
It is time that we pay tribute to Simone de Beauvoir. Posterity being what it is--unjust, capricious, confusing and chaotic, making a great deal out of very little, force-feeding us May '68 nostalgia and treating the dead as if they have not lost any of their formidable, vibrant virulence (not that this is, in this case, such a terrible thing)--it is time we celebrate Simone de Beauvoir on a scale commensurate with the 100th anniversary of her birth, which passed nearly unnoticed on Jan.
Race to the Bottom
December 23, 1999
It would seem, on the face of it, that the only thing standing between George W. Bush and the presidency is a persistent reservation about his intellect. The doubts have crystallized around a reporter's now-famous pop quiz, in which the Texas governor could not identify various difficult-to-pronounce heads of state. Bush, according to many in the press, needs to wonk himself up, and fast. He needs to cocoon himself with all those Stanford Ph.D.s and reemerge with a deep, studied interest in the stability of Central Asia and the efficacy of scattered-site housing.