Friday, April 22, 2005
THE NAZI EXPERIENCE OF POPE BENEDICT XVI...began with his forced enrollment in the Hitler Jugend and, according to this informative article from the San Francisco Chronicle, continued through his military service during WWII.
IS EGYPT READY FOR REFORM? One hopes that the answer is not a variant of alderman Paddy Bauler's famous judgment many years ago that "Chicago ain't ready for reform." Here, in a New Republic article by a former member of the Egyptian parliament it does appear that Cairo is maturing faster than Chicago.
THE KING OF JORDAN...seems decent, statesmanlike and wise beyond his years in this most informative interview just published at the Middle East Quarterly.
ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY IN EUROPE...may well enter into a century of competition. Just as some Europeans are now converting to Islam, an opposite pattern of conversion might develop and/or might be fostered by the new Pope. So says this fascinating--but highly speculative--article from the Hong Kong-based Asia Times.
THE QUEST FOR EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL LIFE...continues and may, sooner than we think, yield some positive findings. Just about everything you want to know about that quest is covered here in the text and links of this article from New Scientist.
THE ONCE AND FUTURE DOMINANCE OF THE ANGLOSPHERE...is the subject and enthusiasm of a major new work which gets two cheers from Australia's leading historian in this review published a few days ago at National Review.
WHY "LIBERAL" TALK RADIO CAN'T COMPETE WITH "CONSERVATIVE"...is the question raised, and persuasively answered, in this article from the Los Angeles Times which is, to be sure, a "liberal" newspaper. The author, Brian Anderson, is second-in-command at City Journal.
THE LION IN WINTER...remembers the spring and summer of his literary career. These reminiscences by Saul Bellow, as solicited by and sent to Philip Roth, are truly fascinating and have just been published in the New Yorker.
SO WHAT ABOUT CARL JUNG? Now that his sometime mentor, Sigmund Freud, has been found to be far less of a scientist and far more of a fictionalizer of case histories than was once thought--how does his escaped disciple from Switzerland stack up? Anthony Daniels, a psychiatrist who can tell a hawk from a handsaw, offers a rather caustic evaluation in this article from New Criterion.
MORE FROM THE DANIELS FILE: Here, the master of disillusion and skepticism takes his hand to a rather stupid book about North Korea and its current "Dear Leader" while drawing, as well, upon his own visit to the land of the Kims, pater et filius.
OF THE MAKING OF HOAX PAPERS THERE IS NO END: From the great contributions produced by Postmodernism Generator to the Alan Sokall imposture and down to this story from yesterday's Chicago Tribune it is clear that intended nonsense will usually get accepted at "scholarly" conferences.
A VAST NEW WORLD OF FAKERY...has opened up with the widespread diffusion of cell-phone culture. This story fron the New York Times by way of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is as enlightening as it is dismaying...or, of course, vice versa.
RAVEL'S DON QUIXOTE...is heard here in the superb song-sequence originally recorded by Feodor Chaliapin. This and chamber compositions by Poulenc and Prokofiev are done here in live performance at the Lugano Festival.
Monday, April 18, 2005
THE PAPABILI AND THE VATICAN POWER BROKERS...gather in conclave today, as you well know. But who are the likely candidates and their managers? This biographical run-down from BBC is the scorecard without which you can't tell the players.
HITCHENS WEIGHS IN ON ISLAMIC JIHADISM IN THE NETHERLANDS...and, as he reviews the by now well-known facts about the murder of Theo Van Gogh, enjoins an abandonment of "Christian love" for the enemy.
THE DECLINE OF FRANCE...may be well underway even as its former foreign minister aspires to Chirac's office from which he expects to replace the American dominance with the French. Much hangs on the Villepin-Sarkozy contest to come...and The National Interest knows what side it is on.
THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS...either with a whimper or a bang and, as the Astronomer Royal conjectures, possibly in the present century. Naahhhh!
SUMMERS IS STILL A'CUMIN IN...or is, at least, not a'goin out from the presidency of Harvard. This informative update on the fracas in Cambridge--and its possibly larger significance--is from the Washington Post.
THE BIG ELECTION AT DARTMOUTH...may turn the academic tide against "speech codes." This article from the Weekly Standard gives the background and the presently crucial facts. All Dartmouth alumni are free to vote but, alas, former Dartmouth professors (the proprietor of this blog is one of those) are not.
ISRAELOPHOBIA, THE DIVERSITY DODGE AND COMMITTEE CORRUPTION...at a "major American university" (Columbia, as it happens) are examined here in a penetrating analysis by Victor Davis Hanson.
THE BLOGGISH TRANSFORMATION OF ACADEMIA...is already quite visible and (to invoke the old mode of Timespeak) where it will all end knows God...or maybe the folks at the Village Voice who put this survey together.
A FABULOUS LIFE WE HAD NEVER HEARD OF...is memorialized in what sounds like a "must-order" book reviewed here by Thomas Keneally for the U.K. Guardian.
L'ETERNAL RETOUR...or, the once and future Betty Crocker is given full "biographic" treatment in the new book on "the secret life of America's first lady of food" which will be under discussion on tonight's program. Scroll down to the review from the Wall Street Journal.
GOOD FINGERSPITZENGEFUHL FOR OTHER LANGUAGES...will often fill in the expressive gaps says Safire the Language Maven. But at other times the good journalist will have to invent for himself as Joe Kraft did with "exit strategy."
DO YOU WANT A GEHRY AUDITORIUM IN YOUR TOWN? Yes they have them in Bilbao, in Seattle and now (gasp) here in Chicago...but you might want to get your local, monumental-architecture-prone elite to read this article (from the London Review of Books) before they act too hastily.
SWING DURING THE WAR YEARS: This generous collection of original recordings offers many delights that are far from merely nostalgic. Try Peggy Lee, the Andrews Sisters, Andy Russell, Jimmy Dorsey and, of course, Major Glenn Miller.