the New York Times
Bill Keller can't sleep. It is four o'clock on a sticky morning in the summer of 2007, and the executive editor of The New York Times is pacing his home, cursing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Here is the root of his insomnia: A few months earlier, the Democrats recaptured the House.
Last week, I went searching the liberal Web for discussions of Idomeneo. The Deutsche Oper, a Berlin opera house, had recently canceled the Mozart classic because it feared Muslims would react violently to a scene featuring Mohammed's severed head. Germans declared that free speech was under siege. The New York Times covered every wrinkle. Right-wing websites buzzed. And, on the big liberal blogs, virtual silence. If pressed, most liberal bloggers would probably have condemned the opera house's decision. But they didn't feel pressed.
Divas and Scholars: Performing Italian Opera By Philip Gossett (University of Chicago Press, 675 pp., $35) At the end of Voltaire's tragedy about the Babylonian queen Semiramis, her son Arsace kills his own mother. The great bel canto composer Rossini later took over the story for a tragic opera, and his work also ended with the same fearful matricide.
When it comes to nuclear secrets, we've learned the hard way that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's government leaks like a sieve. But, when it comes to the juicy bits from his new memoir, In the Line of Fire, Musharraf's lips are sealed. That was clear during his U.S. publicity tour this week, which even included a visit with "The Daily Show"'s Jon Stewart.
Monday, October 9 Dear Damon, On your blog, which you've recently shut down, you posted links to two diametrically opposed reviews of your new book, The Theocons: Secular America Under Siege. One, by Adrian Wooldridge in The New York Times, calls your tone "admirably restrained, dispassionate and scholarly when it could so easily have been rank and recriminatory." The other, by Commonweal Editor Paul Baumann, accuses you of being "exaggerated and alarmist," not to mention "tendentious" and "frequently cartoonish" in your portrait of your former compatriots on the religious right.
Reading Leo Strauss: Politics, Philosophy, Judaism By Steven B. Smith (University of Chicago Press, 256 pp., $32.50) Leo Strauss and the Theologico-Political Problem By Heinrich Meier (Cambridge University Press, 183 pp., $60) I. Of the many emigre scholars to leave a mark on American intellectual life in the latter half of the twentieth century, none has sparked greater controversy than Leo Strauss. In the years since his death, in 1973, he has repeatedly been accused of exercising a sinister influence on the country.
Black Swan Green By David Mitchell (Random House, 294 pp., $23.95) I. 'I liked it." Is there anything less interesting to say about a book? Every negative piece is negative in its own way: we remember with a grim chuckle Mark Twain's enumeration of James Fenimore Cooper's literary offenses ("There have been daring people in the world who claimed that Cooper could write English, but they are all dead now"), or Nabokov's epistolary rebuke of Edmund Wilson ("A patient confidant of his long and hopeless infatuation with the Russian language, I have always done my best to explain to him his mistake
It took Dave Marash about four years as a Washington anchor to become disgusted with the pandering, the triviality, and the sensationalism of TV news. Marash was a paragon of seriousness, as his bearded chin and intense eyes announced to even casual viewers of WRC-TV, Washington's local NBC affiliate, and, by 1989, he was fed up.
'Don't like it!" my two-year-old pronounced over his bowl of homemade rice pudding the other day. This is the rice pudding into which I had (lovingly! painstakingly!) added hand-grated Vietnamese cinnamon and organic raisins. Budding food critic that he is, he reminded me of how a chef's life can be a total drag: Regardless of how delicious your concoction, your success depends entirely upon the whims of your diner's taste. That's the way it used to be, at least. Now? Not so much.
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?