What Do Immigrants Owe America? Apparently Nothing!
May 11, 2010
A dazzling essay by Fouad Ajami in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal made the point, apropos Faisal Shahzad, that the bestowal of citizenship “gave him the precious gift of an American passport but made no demands on him.” It also allowed him to travel 13 times to Pakistan and back over the last seven years—just one exemplar of the hundreds of thousands (more likely millions) of youngish men who have both domicile and liberties in the West but burn with fire for the perilous fevers of the Old Country.
Forget About “The New Middle East.” Israel Belongs To The First World, And Its Neighbors To The Third.
May 11, 2010
Everybody actually knows that. “The new Middle East” is a psychedelic fantasy of the perennially intoxicated peace processors. The dream will go on forever. And maybe it will be punctuated positively a tiny bit by practical arrangements on the ground.
The Limits of Limits
May 05, 2010
Does the Constitution Follow the Flag?: The Evolution of Territoriality in American Law By Kal Raustiala (Oxford University Press, 328 pp., $29.95) In 1898, American and Spanish officials signed the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Spanish-American War. Spain ceded Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and other colonial possessions to the United States. The Spanish-American War had been fought in the name of Cuban freedom, and sentiment in the United States favored Cuban independence.
The Prisoner Intellectuals
May 05, 2010
The key to understanding radical Islam and Communism? Prison culture.
April 28, 2010
Last week, the tech blog Gizmodo scored a major scoop by publishing images and video of the brand new iPhone 4G, blasting the website's traffic into the stratosphere, embarassing the notoriously secretive Apple company, and prompting a police raid on Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's house. How did Gizmodo find the phone? A careless Apple engineer left the prototype in a bar. The story has dominated media conversations ever since, so we thought we'd put together some other tales of infamous items lost, stolen, or simply misplaced. Item: The U.S.
L’Affaire to Remember
April 21, 2010
Paris The impish headlines in Le Canard enchaîné, the satirical weekly that happens to be the most informative newspaper in France, rarely translate well. An exception might be the recent front-page lead: “SARKO EST D’UNE RUMEUR MASSACRANTE.” This play on the expression être d’une humeur massacrante—roughly, “angry enough to kill”—concerns the distemper of Nicolas Sarkozy over a certain rumeur massacrante (“foul rumor”) swirling around the French president’s two-year marriage to former supermodel Carla Bruni.
Between the Potency and the Existence
April 20, 2010
The Letters of T.S. Eliot: Volume 1 (1898–1922) Edited by Valerie Eliot and Hugh Haughton (Faber and Faber, 871 pp., £35) The Letters of T.S. Eliot: Volume 2 (1923–25) Edited by Valerie Eliot and Hugh Haughton (Faber and Faber, 878 pp., £35) In these two volumes we find more than 1,600 pages of letters and T.S. Eliot is not yet forty.
THE PICTURE: Balthus Fantasy
April 13, 2010
I stumbled into a secret the other day. Or at least I think I did. I cannot be absolutely sure. I had gone to the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, to look at “Giovanni Boldini in Impressionist Paris,” the first American retrospective in 20 years of an artist who was almost 90 when he died in 1931. I’ve always been mildly curious about Boldini, a specialist in chic portraiture with a sideline in avant-gardist attitudinizing, but the show was mostly sugarcoated bombast.
The Madness of Bud Powell
April 02, 2010
Every artist has a story, or so we in the audience for art like to believe. In music, certainly—particularly in styles of music rich in abstraction, such as the avant-garde and jazz—it’s easier for us to make something of challenging work if we can conceive of the composer or performer in easy-to-grasp narrative terms. If we imagine John Coltrane as a sojourning mystic, we can process his difficult late work as mystical sojourning.
THE PICTURE: Time in Milwaukee
March 31, 2010
Richard and Erna Flagg were married in Frankfurt, Germany in 1932. Richard was Jewish, the son of a wealthy businessman. Erna was Protestant; her father, Bernhard Zubrod, was an architect. I had not heard of the Flaggs until a couple of years ago, when I first visited the Milwaukee Art Museum, and found myself lingering over a display of sixteenth and seventeenth-century clocks, fantastically intricate creations, which the Flaggs gave to the museum in the early 1990s.