If I were a conservative bent on converting the country to my ideology, I'd make sure more people watched Bill Maher's HBO show, Real Time. The audience, which is clearly chock-full of robotic liberals, breaks up every potentially good conversation by mindlessely clapping for even the most negligible talking point.
You are not going to believe this. John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry have written a book. When the Public Affairs Books Spring catalogue came along a few weeks ago, it didn't have a title. But by now, on the publisher's web site, it does. And, my God, would you believe it? It's called, This Moment on Earth: Today's New Environmentalists and Their Vision for the Future. Do you imagine that they've made room for Al Gore? It's 352 pages and cost $26.00, minus your discount at Powell's. I've not seen it.
Like Scott Lemieux, I wonder who gave Tom Vilsack the idea that the key to electoral success lay in proposing deep cuts to Social Security. A bit of an odd campaign strategy. On the other hand, after poking around the Vilsack '08 website, trying to find something nice to say about the guy, I should mention that he does have, hands down, the most ambitious energy and climate-change plan of any candidate in the field thus far. Not only is Vilsack proposing a 75 percent reduction in U.S.
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 ...