Jan. 1, 2011 | Weak writing, amateurish acting, haphazard plotting: Mad Men says little of substance about the world it depicts. So what explains its widespread appeal? Daniel Mendelsohn has a theory... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Icon of a revolution. Four-term president. When Vaclav Havel retired, many expected him to fade away. He had another idea: direct his first film. "It is the last adventure of my life"... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'What happened to Andrew Ross? The studliest cultural-studies stud of the 90s used to theorize about porn and Madonna. Now he''s turning out wonky treatises on labor policy'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'Marriage. Children. Career. Why rush? You''re affluent, educated, and in your 20s; slacking is a form of self-discovery. This trend demands scholarly justification. Thus, "emerging adulthood"'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'The media don''t shape the culture; they merely reflect it, giving rise to today''s common readers: Those who have fallen in love with their own mediocre taste'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Welcome to the new age of cultural populism: Elites are in retreat; hoi polloi have taken over. Could anything be more American?... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Egypt is shaking. All eyes are on the Muslim Brotherhood, the oldest and strongest opposition movement in the country. Who are these people? What do they want? ... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'When it comes to writing sentences, we''re told - by Orwell, by Strunk & White - that brevity is best. But a minimalist style can encourage minimalist thought, and that''s a problem'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Living morally can be an arduous and unpleasant business. So why bother? Because living well depends on that very struggle. Ronald Dworkin explains... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'The trouble with today''s elites isn''t that they attended Harvard or Yale. It''s that during their time there they cultivated a taste for challenging books, big words, and boring films'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Both novelists and philosophers ask big questions and try to impose order on the muddle of the world. But can a novelist write philosophically?... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | In the developing world, the wacky, superstitious, cuckoo aspects of some religious beliefs can seem as rational as Western science... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'Literary fiction is a sanctuary from everything coarse and shallow. Or so many novelists believe. It might explain why they''ve long ignored the Internet'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | The photos of Eadweard Muybridge were a technological triumph. Industrialization, however, inflicted damage; Muybridge captured that too... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Our problems require solutions that neither the pure market, nor pure liberal democracy can adequately deal with, says Eric Hobsbawm. We need a different mix... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Among other faults, Mao lacked a sense of humor. Sarcasm, parody, and mockery were snuffed out of communist China. Irony, however, is now making a comeback... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'Have you heard the one about how postmodern extremists on a vendetta against science have overrun anthropology? Hugh Gusterson has, and he''s not amused'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Central bankers were to be the austere, ever-watchful last line of defense against financial crisis. At that they succeeded - and therein lies the problem... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'Allen Ginsberg had a serene air about him, like Yoda, but with bigger ears. At least that''s what Tyler Stoddard Smith remembers about him. Oh, and that Ginsberg peed on his shoes'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Political violence today is undertaken without explanation: No appeal to conscience, law, or the opinion of mankind. Permission to kill anybody is now assumed... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | We are in the middle of a revolution in consciousness, writes David Brooks. Like theology and philosophy, brain science will change how we view ourselves and the world... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'Paul Theroux is 69, a good age to begin an autobiography. But after 500 words, he stopped with a realization: He can''t be trusted to tell the truth about himself'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | 'Science is capable of defeating death? That''s an old delusion, writes John Gray. "Science enlarges what humans can do. It cannot reprieve them from being what they are"'... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | Few tyrannies will be tweeted out of power. But over years and decades, social media will enhance democracy. Be patient, urges Clay Shirky... more »


Jan. 1, 2011 | For centuries of writers, New York City has been hard to resist. Walt Whitman was entranced: "There is no place with an atom of its glory, pride, and exultancy"... more »


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