The End of the Beginning
September 28, 2009
With apologies to Winston Churchill, President Obama may not have presided over the beginning of the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict last week in New York, but he seems finally to have marked the end of an embarrassing beginning to his Middle East diplomacy. The president and his senior advisors came to office nine months ago eager to say and do what George W. Bush didn’t.
Tucker Max Isn't Just A Jerk. He's Pitiable.
September 27, 2009
Few movies released in recent years--or, let's be honest, ever--look as abysmal as I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, a beer-and-boobs-saturated bro flick that came out Friday. Based on the book of the same name, the movie is a vehicle for popular blogger Tucker Max, whose claim to fame, put bluntly, is thinking that he's totally awesome because he parties and sleeps with women (allegedly). Lots of women (allegedly). And then, he writes about it. His blog, Tuckermax.com, begins with the salutation, "My name is Tucker Max, and I am an asshole." Charming.
A Just Withdrawal
September 25, 2009
The headlines of the last few months make it clear that there are going to be no free passes for America when it comes to getting its troops out of Iraq. The recent bombing of a Shiite mosque in Baghdad, like the internal warfare in Sunni-dominated Anbar Provice, shows how many Iraqi security problems persist. But as President Obama continues the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, he should do more than pay attention to conditions on the ground.
Love and Capitalism
September 25, 2009
Caritas in Veritate: On Integral Human Development in Charity and Truth By Pope Benedict XVI (Ignatius Press, 157 pp., $14.95) I. Are we facing an economic crisis? I do not mean the crisis of the credit markets that has wiped trillions off the global balance sheet and plunged the world into recession. I mean a spiritual crisis, of which the crash is but a symptom. According to Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, we are in the midst of a “late capitalist . . .
CORRESPONDENCE: Defending 'The Evolution of God'
September 24, 2009
Robert Wright responds: The title of my book refers not to biological evolution but to the evolution of the human conception of God. So it's odd that The New Republic chose a biologist, Jerry A. Coyne, to review the book ("Creationism for Liberals," August 12). But it turns out that Coyne's misplaced expertise wasn't the main problem. Of his many serious misrepresentations of my book, most seem rooted in a simple failure to read it--or read it attentively, at least. Here is a small sample of Coyne's errors.
September 24, 2009
With the 2008 presidential campaign in full swing two summers ago, Joe Biden, then making his own bid for the White House, ridiculed Barack Obama on a momentous issue: Afghanistan. The occasion was an August 2007 speech by Obama outlining his plans to fight Al Qaeda, which included sending an influx of American troops and aid to the country. Later that day, Biden issued a snarky press release gloating about his own extensive record of pushing similar policies, and which cast Obama as a naïve newcomer.
What Would Jesus Drive?
September 22, 2009
This Saturday afternoon, at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, the time for ideological issue training had arrived, and a breakout session on climate change was packed.
David Brooks and Anti-Anti-Racism
September 18, 2009
It's been a big week for anti-anti-racism. Virtually the entire conservative world has waxed indignant about Jimmy Carter's suggestion that racism is responsible for the unusual virulence of anti-Obama sentiment. Listening to it all, you'd think the so-called "race card" was a much bigger problem in American society than racism itself, and that does seem to be what a lot of conservatives think. But it's getting to the point where the argument seems to be that if anti-Obama protesters have any non-racial motives for their behavior, then mentioning race as any sort of factor (hard to avoid g
September 16, 2009
In 1943, the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, who was living in Nazi-occupied Warsaw, wrote “Campo dei Fiori,” his great poem about the coexistence of normality and atrocity. The Campo dei Fiori is the plaza in Rome where, in the year 1600, the heretical philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned alive by the Catholic Church; “before the flames had died,” Milosz writes, “the taverns were full again.” The same willed blindness could be noted in Warsaw, the poem declares.
What Tyler Perry and Bill Cosby Have in Common: On the Occasion of "I Can Do Bad All By Myself"
September 14, 2009
At a Christmas party in 2004, a cousin asked me "Do you like Medea?" For a minute I was a confused, since it didn’t seem to be the occasion for sharing our impressions of Greek mythology. But it turned out she was talking about Madea, the massive, loudmouthed, pistol-packing black grandmother who Tyler Perry performs as in drag in a series of "chitlin' circuit" touring shows. Perry sells DVDs of the shows on line, and ten minutes after my cousin put one on I was hooked. I’m not alone. Madea was the biggest new phenom in black America until Obamamania.