Archive for the 'Current Affairs' Category

THE DIN IN THE HEAD, by Cynthia Ozick
(Houghton Mifflin, $24; release date June 2, 2006)

Published on June 2, 2006

Admit it — if you aren’t seventysomething yet, sometimes you wish you were, because then you could get away with speaking truth to power whenever the bloody hell you felt like it: either because no one would dare to punch a silver-haired dissenter in the mouth, because the elderly have acquired a lifetime of confidence [...]

INTELLIGENT THOUGHT: Science Versus the Intelligent Design Movement, edited by John Brockman
(Vintage, $14; release date May 9, 2006)

Published on May 17, 2006

The “debate” (and even that term is overly kind) between evolution and the repackaged creationism known as “intelligent design” has been played out on local school boards and in the editorial offices of textbook publishers across the country for almost a decade now. (And for over a century before that under different euphemisms as well.) [...]

MY BAD, by Paul Slanksy and Arleen Sorkin
(Bloomsbury, $15.95; May 9, 2006)

Published on May 15, 2006

From Dolly Parton (apologizing for claiming that Jews control Hollywood) to David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz (apologizing for killing people), this densely packed grab bag — subtitled “25 years of public apologies and the appalling behavior that inspired them” presents transcripts of mea-culpas from famous figures in many fields alongside capsule reminders of what they [...]

UNSPEAK, by Steven Poole
(Grove, $23; release date April 28, 2006)

Published on May 11, 2006

“Unspeak” is Poole’s alternate word for euphemisms, which are, as we know, alternate words for other words. Pledging to unravel today’s cleverest and most devious semantic knots while exposing lying liars, the edgy Brit lashes out at those who say, for instance, “tragedy” and “terrorist,” arguing that these are political expediencies rather than true descriptions. [...]

HOUSE OF WAR, by James Carroll
(Houghton Mifflin, $30; release date May 16, 2006)

Published on

With the revealing subtitle The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power, this is essentially an expanded rewrite of Smedley Butler’s 1935 anti-war pamphlet War Is a Racket. Carroll traces the history of the Pentagon, and the entire military apparatus of the United States — working on the fundamental assumption that all of America’s [...]