All entries by this author

Napoleon is Almost at the Gates *

Apr 8th, 2003 | Filed by

Franco-phobia and the long-standing joke about the leftist bias of the US media.… Read the rest

Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings

Apr 7th, 2003 6:25 pm | By

This is an interesting but irritating essay in the Guardian. It takes a look at the question of what books ‘everyone’ should have read by age eighteen or twenty, and also at the teaching and study of English literature at the secondary school level. It contains some peculiar albeit doubtless popular ideas about what literature is, what kind of people like it and why, what it tells us and does for us.

English is perceived as a “girly subject” and it struck me that the essence of the subject lies in being honest about your feelings – your personal response to texts. As Kate in the upper sixth says, it is about “empathy”…For me, this explained a great deal about

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Is Literature a Girly Subject? *

Apr 7th, 2003 | Filed by

Is it about ‘being honest about your feelings’? What should secondary school students read?… Read the rest

Which is Pollyanna, Which is Jeremiah? *

Apr 7th, 2003 | Filed by

Complacency about the status quo can be at least as dangerous as optimism about new technology, Matt Ridley argues.… Read the rest

Geeks Can Be Altruistic Too *

Apr 7th, 2003 | Filed by

They’re not all Ayn Randian Cyberselfish stock option millionaires, some are underpaid, overworked human rights researchers.… Read the rest

Greenhouse gases in the middle ages? *

Apr 7th, 2003 | Filed by

Perhaps global warming isn’t only a modern phenomenon…… Read the rest

Don’t Bury the Bones

Apr 7th, 2003 | By Tiffany Jenkins

A committee has met behind closed doors in London over the last two years to
decide the future of old bones in British cultural and scientific institutions.
Their deliberations and decision will have consequences for all of us. The skeletons
in the closets could tell us about history, humanity and our health, if only
we would let them.

There is a growing feeling amongst many in the museum profession that
old human remains should be returned to where they were originally found. Tony
Blair raised the issue of repatriation in 2000 when he agreed to increase efforts
to send back remains from Australian indigenous communities. The Department
for Culture Media and Sport subsequently set up a working group to examine … Read the rest

Those Endless Twin Studies *

Apr 6th, 2003 | Filed by

Exactly how much do genes determine? Natalie Angier says nobody knows yet.… Read the rest

‘The Hook-handed Cleric’ *

Apr 6th, 2003 | Filed by

Is it hysteria, or caution born of experience, that prompts fears about ‘radical Muslim clerics’?… Read the rest

Interview with Azar Nafisi *

Apr 5th, 2003 | Filed by

Female genital mutilation, oppression in general, should not be brushed off as someone’s ‘culture’, Iranian teacher in exile says.… Read the rest

‘Meritocracy’ is a Canard *

Apr 5th, 2003 | Filed by

Louis Menand says American education is not meritocratic and never has been.… Read the rest

Jagged and Brittle Style *

Apr 5th, 2003 | Filed by

Slate adds that the hostile voice of Kelly’s column was hard to square with his personality.… Read the rest

Michael Kelly *

Apr 5th, 2003 | Filed by

Four New Republic writers on disliking Kelly’s politics while loving his personal qualities.… Read the rest

Insightful on Flabby Presuppositions *

Apr 5th, 2003 | Filed by

Daniel Dennett joins his enthusiasm for Darwinian biology to years of thinking about free will in ‘Freedom Evolves’.… Read the rest

Hutton and Kagan

Apr 4th, 2003 5:41 pm | By

I usually whinge a lot about the mediocrity and tameness and blandness of the US public television network, but it does have one excellent show (no, two, Nova is a frequently-good science show): Frontline. It outdid itself last night with its account of Tony Blair’s struggle to keep George Bush and his neoconservative advisers from attacking Iraq without UN sanction. And today it offers an array of fascinating interviews, debates, email arguments on its website.

This one for instance between Will Hutton and Robert Kagan, in which Hutton reminds Kagan that the US is an Enlightenment product too, not a strange Martian novelty.

For what needs to be said as loudly and clearly as possible is that the U.S.A. is

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Background on Blair, Bush, and the War *

Apr 4th, 2003 | Filed by

The PBS show ‘Frontline’ offers a wealth of material on the negotiations over Iraq, the UN, diplomacy, pre-emptive war, and Blair’s role.… Read the rest

A Divided Left *

Apr 4th, 2003 | Filed by

Paul Berman, Timothy Garton Ash, David Rieff discuss the Iraq war.… Read the rest

Class Divide in Education *

Apr 3rd, 2003 | Filed by

Report ‘shows that educational success in Britain is more determined by social class than in any other country.’… Read the rest

Supremes Release Tape *

Apr 3rd, 2003 | Filed by

Wide interest in affirmative action case prompts the Supreme Court to release tape of the hearings.… Read the rest

Are Private Schools Unfair? *

Apr 3rd, 2003 | Filed by

Adam Swift’s new book argues that educational privilege is incompatible with equality of opportunity.… Read the rest