Open University

John Dewey Hangs Ten
June 28, 2007

by Eric Rauchway A bit of an HBO roundup: In this week's New Yorker, Nancy Franklin quotes David Milch saying about his new television series, "John from Cincinnati," If God were trying to reach out to us, and if he felt a certain urgency about it...that's what it's about.... And if God were trying to reach out to us, and teach us something about the deepest nature of matter, he might use some drugged-out surfers. Isn't Milch paraphrasing Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.'s description of John Dewey's writing?

The Global Warming Hoax
June 25, 2007

by Cass Sunstein What follows is a short op-ed I recently received from a climate change skeptic at a well-known conservative institution. Because it captures some widespread views, I thought that I would reprint it here. (Or might it be a parody, produced right here at Open University? To see what it might be parodying, see the over-the-top op-ed by Vaclav Klaus--President of the Czech Republic!--in the Financial Times.

Interesting Times
June 21, 2007

by Eric Rauchway "Interesting" is of course exactly what you don't want international monetary affairs to be. From Brad Setser, an exchange with a "global equity portfolio manager," including the below-quoted speculation on what an adjustment might look like (beyond, as he elsewhere says, "[t]he J-curve from Hades." This is the most, er, interesting part to me, but the whole thing is worth your reading. We've never had a deval like the USD, including loss of reserve currency status.

A Short Further Note On Word Choice
June 20, 2007

by Eric Rauchway Tony Blair's long goodbye includes a speech in which he criticizes the media for behaving "a feral beast." Note that he didn't say "wild"; "feral" describes a tame creature now gone independent. I suspect Blair misses his pet press.

To Live And Die For Albania
June 19, 2007

by Sanford Levinson I can still vividly remember when I met my first Albanian: It was at a gathering of lawyers in Hungary, in 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet empire, and nothing symbolized that more than actually encountering a living, breathing person from Albania. Albania had long symbolized the Other, whether because of the exotic name of Albania's former King Zog or the because of the peculiar malevolence of their longtime Communist leader Enver Hoxha, the only Eastern European to remain loyal to China in the Russo-Sino split within the Communist world.

The N-word--plus & Ccedil;a Change
June 19, 2007

by John McWhorter Discussion in the media and in forums on race tends to imply that the use of "nigger" among blacks as a term of affection is roughly twenty five years old, and that it has its origins in rap lyrics--or at least that rap created an explosion in its usage. The assumption seems to be that this in-group use of the word is roughly 25 years old. This occasions three useful observations. One: "Nigger" was used this way long before rap. Exhibit A: Claude Brown's biographical account of growing up in Harlem in the 1940s and 1950s, Manchild in the Promised Land.

Kennedy Continued
June 14, 2007

by Jacob T. Levy Apropos of Jeffrey Rosen's new piece on Justice Kennedy's penchant for freelance moral abstraction, I thought I'd note an instance Rosen didn't mention. (I'm drawing on my paper "Three Perversities of Indian Law.") Under traditional American jurisprudence, American Indian tribal governments have self-governing authority that predates and is not dependent on the American constitutional order.

Rorty Deserved More
June 13, 2007

by Casey N. Blake I am disappointed that The New Republic's only response to Richard Rorty's passing is Damon Linker's article, which is at best grudging in its appreciation of his contribution and otherwise dismissive of a body of work noteworthy for its originality and significance.

June 13, 2007

by David A. Bell With the large lead taken by his UMP party in the first round of French parliamentary elections last Sunday, Nicolas Sarkozy continues his almost flawless political season. He ran a superb presidential campaign this spring, tacking far enough to the right with his talk of "national identity" and France's "Christian roots" to marginalize the far-right National Front, while also sounding enough notes about inclusion, diversity and compassion to keep a critical mass of centrists in his camp.

Two Tonys
June 12, 2007

by John McWhorterReturning to the U.S. after a week in Italy, I found myself disappointed by two Tonys. I must admit that I found the ending of "The Sopranos" less bracing than Richard Stern. Ambiguity is nice and literary and all, but for the action to simply black out at an arbitrary point--leaving me wondering, like apparently many across the nation did, if something had gone wrong with my Tivo--left me feeling as if David Chase simply neglected to give the majestic saga an ending. I wanted one.