Back with another set of those thought-rocking links

April 26, 2022

Sorry/not sorry for being away--I've been traveling to Do Scholarship and see friends (happily the two perfectly intersected) and so I've been distracted by things.  But don't worry the piles keep suggesting they've become heaps.  So I must expel the trivia, and dump it all on you.  Some of it at least is interesting.


There’s a bookstore in Mosul, Iraq, that is helping the city’s recovery from its occupation by ISIS and the Iraqi campaign to drive ISIS out, which resulted in much of the city being flattened.  Mosul, by the way, has another, ancient name: Nineveh.  (If you haven't read They Will Have to Die Now, or seen the Netflix movie Mosul, I highly recommend both, btw.  But they are bleak.)


Not at all a bad review, by Daniel Dennett, who most definitely had it within him to write a bad review, in several senses, so we should all be grateful, of Richard Rorty’s latest posthumous book.  One wonders when Rorty will slow down his publishing mania, and learn to stop and smell the roses, from below.


There is good advice in this piece about how to develop a body of secondary sources to interact with in your research and writing.


A great story about a very different time in Hollywood--the 1990s.


Good on French laïcité: “Everyone knows about “Liberté, egalité, fraternité.” But it is laïcité that defines the most ferociously contested battle lines in contemporary France. The term has come to express a uniquely French insistence that religion, along with religious symbols and dress, should be absent from the public sphere.“


This, from last year, is clever. “Biden’s strategy of boringness is a fascinating counterpoint to a career spent trying desperately to be interesting.” As we notice the way the US's campaign to support Ukraine is going--and how disciplined it mostly is, except for occasional chest-beating verbal gaffes--it's interesting to reflect on this "strategy of boringness" as a strategy.  Reminds me of some of what John Padgett has been doing on the early Medicis in Florence, how often vacuuous their formal messages were to underlings and partners.


Interesting fight being waged on the future of the US Marine Corps. And more on this fight.


Cities got hammered in the pandemic, speaking demographically, this piece explains some of that and more.


“The Tennessee outcomes shined a light on the ways in which we are failing our youngest children by trying to hurry their childhood.” A sobering look that suggests that what needs to be in place for a successful pre-K program is not simply getting a lot of kids in one room—there needs to be engagement and discovery and play.


Nice piece on one of my favorite podcasts, “Know Your Enemy,” a left guide to right wing thought.  ““Our premise is not some, like, liberal fantasy of bipartisanship, but I do think that just rejecting the conflation of a deep understanding with cooperation as the goal is a feature of the podcast,” Adler-Bell said. “Once you give up on the idea that taking your political opponents seriously means that you sympathize with what they want to do, it opens up your intellectual horizons quite a lot.””


This tweet-storm by Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer (@jeangene_vilmer) is good: "Report on “Chinese Influence Operations: A Machiavellian moment” by @PaulCharon and myself is now available in English! Download the full version (more than 650 pages, 3000 footnotes) on "


This is a good review of a really thought-provoking book: “What The Right to Sex does make clear, however, is that we rarely talk about sex when we talk about sex. We talk about rape, we talk about pornography, we talk (perhaps) about desirability, about entitlements and obligations, but sex itself is not under discussion. It is, itself, completely absent.”


Take care, everyone!