Monday, April 25, 2005
THE LARGER MEANING OF THE LEBANESE "INTIFADA"...against continuing Syrian domination is examined in this article from Foreign Affairs by Fouad Ajami. As usual it displays his rich political sophistication and historical knowledge and his ever-present concern for the redemption of freedom in the Middle East.
PUTIN TELLS IT LIKE IT IS...or so he avers in this speech delivered yesterday to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Confederation. Does one detect from this former KGBnik a nostalgic glimmer of regret at the collapse of the Soviet Union? At any rate it is clear that they are now in comparatively bad shape. Fascinating stuff!
THE NEW YORKER EVALUATES THE NEW POPE...in this just-published article by Jane Kramer. What it lacks in sympathetic endorsement it makes up in undisguised disappointment.
AN ALTERNATIVE VIEW OF RATZINGER...is provided in the Washington Times by the Jewish mother-in-law of a man who, as a teenager, was tutored by the new Pope during a religious retreat.
ARE WE, AFTER ALL, ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE? Paula Bourgess-Walldeg thinks that just may be the case and believing that does not neccessarily condemn you as an anthropocentrist. This challenging article from Butterflies and Wheels is worth serious consideration--but we still choose to bet on the likelihood of extra-terrestrial life.
IN DEFENSE OF (SLIGHT) PUDGINESS: David Brooks of the New York Times finds, in a recent report from the AMA, a proper (i.e. "scientific") justification for his "raison de manger."
THE LITERACY GAP...remains the basic defect in American education; at every level American students are, on average, far "below average." The problem has political dimensions--and possible political answers--according to these thoughtful specialists writing for Policy Review, the journal of The Hoover Institution.
THE COMING OF THE POST-JOURNALISM AGE...is George Will's concern in this recent column. What he doesn't say--but surely knows--is that the massive decline in the reading of newspapers and magazines (and even in the watching of TV newscasts) may forecast an equal decline in the capacity for independent thought about public issues and, thus, the growth of an ever-more propagandistically-maniputable mass.
THE BLOGGING PROCLIVITES OF PROFESSORS...are somewhat less common than actively blogging professors think. But something is moving and who knows how it will alter official intellectual life? Not the author of this interesting survey published in the Village Voice...but the article does nevertheless hint at the coming tectonic-blogospheric shift.
THE BRITISH FLIRTATION WITH FASCISM...went deeper than many now remember. Two new books on that chapter in almost-modern British history are reviewed here in the U.K. Guardian.
A BIOGRAPHICAL MISCELLANY...including Pol Pot, Franz Kafka, M.F.K Fisher, Shakespeare and yet others. These excellent review/essays of recent biographies are all from the Times (U.K. not N.Y.) Literary Supplement.
THE GREAT P.G. WODEHOUSE IS REMEMBERED...and celebrated in a new biography which is, in turn, appreciatively reviewed here for the Hindu Times by S. Ramachander.