October 10, 2004

Sunday Morning Links

I haven't had much time to update during my visit to Chicago, but here are a few links:

  • Gordon Bendersky, a pediatric cardiologist who wrote neat-sounding studies of the history of sports injuries in ancient Greece, has died at 74. The classicist Michael Grant has also died.
  • The Boston Globe profiles Michael Ledeen, a historian-of-fascism-turned-conservative-activist, and looks at the relationship between his scholarship and his advocacy. Laura Rozen, meanwhile, examines the issue of Iranian regime change.
  • Judge Richard Posner recently attacked the deductive methods of Sherlock Holmes in a New Republic article. In The Boston Globe, Joshua Glenn responds with an amusing question: Could Posner have a personal reason to dislike analyses that make conclusions about a person's past based on his or her appearance?
  • The New York Times Magazine looks at pharmacogenetics and the science of race.
  • The Guardian profiles David Starkey, an Elizabethan historian sometimes called "the rudest man in Britain." (I just wish it explained whether his books are worth looking at...)
  • Another Guardian article discusses the work of E. Nesbit, the Victorian-era children's fantasy novelist.
  • Scott McLemee reviews a book based on the psychiatric interviews of Nazis during the Nuremberg Trials.
  • Newsday has published a lengthy profile of the fantasy writer Susanna Clarke.
  • The Boston Review discusses the cultural Cold War.
  • Alan Keyes, the Republican candidate for the Senate here in Illinois, recently claimed that Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter was living a sinful, hedonistic life. Now it appears that Keyes's own daughter is lesbian too. In The Chicago Reader, Michael Miner discusses whether the Chicago dailies should have reported on the issue.
  • In The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell discusses "the ketchup conundrum": why is it easy to buy many varieties of mustard, but just one of ketchup?

Random thought: Napoleon Dynamite just might be the most over-rated movie of the year. I found it off-putting and thought it kept repeating the same tired jokes again and again; some real talent went into making the movie, but there was only enough material for a 10-minute film or an amusing side character in a completely different movie. Most of the people who really liked it are the sort of reviewers whose opinion I don't think much of, but a surprising number of smart critics really enjoyed it. I'm puzzled. I tend to dislike movies which derive their humor from the mockery of their main subjects; this movie is a classic example of that, and added a self-consciousness that seemed tailor-made to make viewers feel superior to others (both the people on the screen and the people who "didn't get" the movie's humor.) Life's too short to spend watching movies like this.

Update: Richard Posner, it seems, has made his Sherlock Holmes article available online. It's a charming read, and you should check it out.

Posted by Ed at October 10, 2004 10:28 AM
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