Reading

The Inner Clamor
October 26, 2011

Alfred Kazin’s Journals Selected and edited by Richard M. Cook (Yale University Press, 598 pp., $45)  “As a man is, so he sees. As the eye is formed, such are its powers.” Alfred Kazin reveled in William Blake’s words in 1944, at the age of twenty-nine, as he stood in the Huntington Library turning the pages of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. When he described this epiphany in New York Jew, the third volume of his memoirs, Kazin clearly wanted the reader to be swept up, as he was, by the sovereignty of the Blakean self: “All is within the vaulting leaping mind of man,” he continues.

The Internet Intellectual
October 12, 2011

Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live  By Jeff Jarvis  (Simon & Schuster, 263 pp., $26.99) In 1975, Malcolm Bradbury published The History Man, a piercing satire of the narcissistic pseudo-intellectualism of modern academia. The novel recounts a year in the life of the young radical sociologist Howard Kirk—“a theoretician of sociability”—who is working on a book called The Defeat of Privacy.

The New Republic Commemorates 9/11 at the Kennedy Center
and
September 10, 2011

On Thursday, September 8, The New Republic, in partnership with the Kennedy Center and the Pentagon, commemorated the tenth anniversary of the attacks of September 11. Moderated by Christiane Amanpour, the event featured addresses by former Secretaries of State Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, and Madeleine Albright; readings of verse by actress Melissa Leo; and musical performances by Wynton Marsalis, Emmylou Harris, and the National Symphony Orchestra, among others. Watch the event in its entirety at kennedycenter.org. National Anthem: 00:00:00 The U.S.

Happy Birthday, ‘Catch-22’: Reading the Novel in a Time of War
July 06, 2011

I initially read Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 while squirreled away in a Toronto hotel room during the 1997 Modern Language Association (MLA) convention. It was December, and I had just finished my first semester teaching English at West Point. Heller’s novel was a revelation—an outrageous fiction opening a window onto the various paradoxes and pathologies that characterize institutional cultures everywhere. More important, it helped me to make sense of my recent introduction to military culture. Heller’s glorious caricatures—ex-P.F.C.

Palin’s Emails: What Her Remarkably Lucid Prose Says About the Art of Teaching Writing
June 16, 2011

Sarah Palin’s emails are telling us something about remedial writing classes at our universities and colleges, and it’s not what you think.

Not Always Bingo
April 06, 2011

Even if the crime rate in New York City had not dropped over the last few decades to a level that makes Broadway feel more like Main Street, the murder of Daniel Malakov, an orthodontist shot at a Queens playground in 2007, would have been notable. Malakov and his estranged wife, both doctors, were immigrants from Uzbekistan who lived among a tightly knit community of Bukharan Jews, a group known for their secrecy and impenetrability to outsiders. The couple were embroiled in a tense divorce and custody battle over their four-year-old daughter.

In Defense of Reforming Teacher Evaluations
February 08, 2011

One of the hot debates in education policy centers around the use of quantitative measures to evaluate teachers -- measuring student achievement and tying teacher compensation, in some way, to that. Jim Manzi has some interesting, though flawed, thoughts about the problems with such measuring systems: I’ve seen a number of such analytically-driven evaluation efforts up close. They usually fail.

The Price of Nice
September 01, 2010

How much are Ohio’s state leaders willing to sacrifice to be nice? The state’s commission on local government reform and collaboration is obligated to release a report today that will recommend eminently reasonable steps the state could take to nudge Ohio’s 3,800 local governments (including 250 cities, 695 villages, and 1,308 townships) along the path of greater collaboration and cost-saving shared services.

Does Benefiting from Government Make You Hate It?
August 19, 2010

[Guest post by Noam Scheiber:] Michael Powell has an interesting piece in today's New York Times probing Alaskans' paradoxical contempt for government spending--paradoxical because they benefit from it more than citizens of any other state. (Our own Frank Foer also wrote a great piece along these lines several years ago.) Reading Powell's piece gives you insight not just into the incoherence of the average Alaskan, but some insight into why the stimulus may be so unpopular, even if, as many economists believe, it's worked pretty well.

Summer Reading
August 11, 2010

This summer my son learned to read. Like all the childhood milestones, it seemed to happen all at once. One day he was wobbling on his seat, teetering back and forth, liable to fall on his face at any moment; the next he could sit up. One day he could cruise around the room only by holding onto the furniture; the next he was taking a single independent step, and then another, and then another.

Pages