The Case Against New Ideas
July 11, 2005
Ideas--the idea of ideas, anyway--have always held a lofty place in our political culture. But perhaps never before have they been imbued with such power as at this particular moment. Since last November, conservatives have been braying about their victory in the war of ideas, often with a whiff of Marxian assurance. "Conservatism is the ideology of the future," gloated Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman.
March 21, 2005
THE MORNING AFTER the Supreme Court struck down the juvenile death penalty as a form of cruel and unusual punishment in Roper v. Simmons, the reaction in the Supreme Court press room was unusually scathing.
Out of Africa
February 14, 2005
Melville J. Herskovits and the Racial Politics of Knowledge By Jerry Gershenhorn (University of Nevada Press, 338 pp., $65) Melville J.
Body of Evidence
February 14, 2005
There are many iconic photographs of Marie Curie: Early on with her husband, Pierre, with whom she shared the first of her Nobel Prizes; and, after his death, standing alone with her instruments in the lab. But there are other, more telling, images as well: With her peers--among them Michelson, Rutherford, Millikan, Poincare, Kapitza, Pauli, Bohr, Fermi, and, of course, Einstein--always the lone woman. In a 1911 photograph, she is surrounded by 23 men at the Solvay physics conference in Brussels. In a photograph at Lausanne, she sits, front-row, dead center, between Einstein and Fermi in a con
October 29, 2004
What is present other than all those things--physical, objects, ideas, and sensibilities as well as their traces and fragments--that have somehow persisted into our own time? It is a characteristic, yet peculiar condition of modern life: Even though our world is made up of just these things from the past, more often than not, they have become unintelligible to us, if not invisible.
The Bill Clinton Show
August 09, 2004
My Life By Bill Clinton (Alfred A. Knopf, 957 pp., $35) Click here to purchase the book. Bill Clinton used to tell us that he wanted to feel our pain, even though he often gave us one. In this characteristically garrulous volume of almost one thousand pages, he tells us all about his own pain.
June 07, 2004
After Theory By Terry Eagleton (Basic Books, 231 pp., $25) I. When I attended Cambridge in the mid-1980s, "theory" was sickly ripe. What looked like its fiercest flush of life, the red of its triumph, was in fact the unnatural coloring of fever. Paul de Man had just died, Harold Bloom was preparing his second career as a weak misreader of Clifton Fadiman, Roland Barthes was gone, the Yale gang of deconstructionists was breaking up, and much postmodern silliness among the signifiers was just around the corner.
The End of an Elite
June 07, 2004
The Guardians: Kingman Brewster, His Circle, and the Rise of the Liberal Establishment By Geoffrey Kabaservice (Henry Holt, 573 pp., $30) The commitment of America's great universities to admitting students on the basis of merit rather than lineage--whether or not that commitment is wholly observed in practice--is today virtually uncontested. Similarly, the belief in the value of diversity, while under assault in courts and legislatures, is a core conviction of almost all educators.
What the Boom Forgot
May 03, 2004
IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD: TOUGH CHOICES FROM WALL STREET TO WASHINGTON By Robert E. Rubin and Jacob Weisberg (Random House, 427 pp., $35) THE CHASTENING: INSIDE THE CRISIS THAT ROCKED THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL SYSTEM AND HUMBLED THE IMF, Revised and Updated By Paul Blustein (PublicAffairs, 435 pp., $18) THE ROARING NINETIES: A NEW HISTORY OF THE WORLD'S MOST PROSPEROUS DECADE By Joseph E. Stiglitz (W.W.
February 09, 2004
RETIRED GENERAL Wesley Clark has faced many enemies in his career, from the Viet Cong to Slobodan Milosevic. At last week’s Democratic debate in New Hampshire, however, Clark was ambushed by an unexpected foe. ABC News anchor Peter Jennings took the general to task for staying silent while liberal filmmaker—and Clark supporter—Michael Moore labeled President Bush a “deserter” at a campaign rally. “That’s a reckless charge not supported by the facts,” Jennings admonished Clark, all but demanding that he exhibit “a better example of ethical behavior” by repudiating the claim. An off-guard Clark