From today's Washington Post feature "Goodbye to Girlhood": "Throughout U.S. culture, and particularly in mainstream media, women and girls are depicted in a sexualizing manner," declares the American Psychological Association's Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls, in a report issued Monday.
On the evidence in Talkbacks to The Spine, some readers are annoyed with me for what they think is my picking on poor George Soros. Well, if you care about responsible capitalism--which maybe Soros doesn't--the performance of Jet Blue in the past few days has been nothing less than appalling. I know that Soros can't be blamed for the weather. (That's clearly George Bush's fault.) But the founder and leading stockholder of an airline does have some duty to its passengers. The stock is not doing badly, down to $13.56 from its year high of of $17.02, but way up from its low of $8.93.
Someone at Sunday lunch reported that he'd heard on the radio that Ralph Nader was thinking of running for president again. I tried to confirm it on a Nader web site, and somehow was sent to MySpace. There is some kind of Nader venue there. But I couldn't find anything more conclusive than an ad for a Nader T-shirt. Still, his ego is so enormous--isn't it anomalous that a saint should have an enormous ego?--that he might be considering a third try.
by Richard Stern In certain movies of the Thirties and Forties, one motif was "Let's Put On a Show," and sure enough, the local adolescents, the best-known of whom were Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, were soon singing and dancing up a storm before the hearty appreciation of their peers and elders. The intellectual equivalent of this phenomenon in my lifetime has been "Let's Start a Magazine." I myself have been involved in various publications of various worth, which have lasted anywhere from one issue to a dozen.
by Linda Hirshman Hallelujah! Real book reviews. Now that I am only writing and thus able to read some stuff outside my field, I am marooned between the utter garbage commercial publishers apparently think is all the general public will buy and the never-met-a-note-card-I-didn't-like/jargon-filled academic writing I know none of us would ever indulge in. I, too, volunteer to review, short or long. At the risk of sounding like a one trick pony, I urge you to remember the ladies.
by Steven Pinker I second the concerns of Linda Hirshman and Eric Rauchway. The justification for a new book review forum is not just to create something that's fun to read but a vehicle with a responsibility to the country's intellectual culture. In that regard it should take steps to avoid some of the shortcomings of NYRB. NYRB has published some outstanding pieces, but its effects on intellectual life are questionable.
The Sultan of Oman Professor of International Relations at Harvard University is Joseph Nye. He is one of those facile meliorists who seems to believe that any and all international crises can be solved with a decent measure of good will and a bit of ingenuity. After all, his last book was Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics, A Twelve Step Method. No, I'm only kidding. There's no twelve step anything in Nye's book. But ...
Everyone is writing about Russia these days. And in Moscow, Putin is planning for the future, elevating his defense minister, Sergei Ivanov, to the post of deputy prime minister.
by Jeffrey Herf Our country and our culture badly need a new weekly review of books. Currently, most of our major book reviews are failing to inform a non-specialist but sophisticated audience about American scholarship. The American Association of University Presses estimates that the 95 university presses in this country publish about 10,000 books a year. The New York Times Book Review, not to mention the book reviews at The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Wall Street Journal devote a tiny fraction of their reviews to these works of scholarship.
by David A. Bell Three cheers to Jeff Herf for his call for an American Review of Books. Like other OU contributors, I couldn't agree more about the crying need in American intellectual life for a magazine of this sort. I do wonder, though, what form it should take, and whether a paper version similar to Britain's TLS would be financially viable. The TLS is supported by the Times of London, is printed on cheap newsprint and runs a fairly large number of ads. Even so, it charges an exorbitant $180 per year for subscriptions in the U.K.