Rebecca Mead

George Eliot's Strangely Modern Life
February 21, 2014

George Eliot may have been born in the last year of George III’s reign, but her life story reads like a 1970s feminist coming-of-age tale.

Who's Smarter, Obama Or Bush?
April 14, 2010

Former Bush aide Tevi Troy's essay in National Affairs, "Bush, Obama, and the Intellectuals," is kind of strange. It begins by promising to confound the popular impression that Barack Obama is an intellectual and George W. Bush is not: America's intellectual class seems to adore President Barack Obama nearly as much as it reviled his predecessor. While George W. Bush was routinely derided for his purported lack of intelligence and learning, Obama has been embraced by the intellectuals as one of their own — to a degree unmatched by any president since perhaps Woodrow Wilson.

The Deadly Jester
December 02, 2008

In Defense of Lost Causesby Slavoj Žižek(Verso, 504 pp., $34.95)Violenceby Slavoj Žižek(Picador, 272 pp., $14)I.Last year the Slovenian philosopher SlavojŽižek published a piece in The New York Times deploring America's use of torture to extract a co