Cool links of the day
One of my nastier habits at my old blog was to link indiscriminately to lots of interesting articles without providing much commentary. This habit has, once again, overpowered me, but at least I've managed to confine my links to one post:
- About half of all Ph.D. students drop out of their programs, according to this Chicago Tribune article on the efforts of universities to fight high graduate school attrition rates.
- In The Chronicle Review, Ian Buruma discusses the phenomenon of "Occidentalism," arguing that Arab hatred of the West has its intellectual origins in Europe--and is part of a broad range of anti-Western feelings that cannot be explained simply by resentment of "American values," global capitalism, U.S. foreign policy, or the spread of Western pop culture.
- Was Charles Dickens the world's first pop star? The Guardian describes his hypnotic public performances, suggesting that his dramatic (and bizarre) appearances may even have shortened his life.
- Slate gives a quick overview of how faulty U.S. intelligence has led to war in the past.
- The Village Voice features a Rick Perlstein article about Howard Dean's impact on the Democratic race.
- Last Friday's Michele Berdy column in The Moscow Times discusses an interesting phenomenon: the Russian language included a number of words associated with philanthropy before the revolution, and when the Bolsheviks wiped out the old infrastructure of charities, this vocabulary died with it. With the collapse of Communism, Russian philanthropy has returned--but the language has borrowed Western words to describe it.
I'll probably comment on the Buruma essay later in the week: it's a fascinating--but ultimately unconvincing--effort to tie together movements as diverse as the Nazis, the Slavophiles, the Japanese imperialists of the 1930s, the Bolsheviks, and the Islamic terrorists of the present day. In fact, one of its weaknesses is that it's so eager to tie together everything anti-Western under a new "Occidentalist" rubric that the term loses a lot of its explanatory power.
Posted by Ed at February 3, 2004 08:22 PM