Nothing major. Read if you want.
A really great interview with Angus Deaton and Amartya Sen, mostly about Sen's career and thinking on politics and economics. Very much worth a read--highly recommended!
The anthropologist Webb Keane on a new book on critique, and the prospects for critique. Like many things of Keane’s, it’s not exactly clear what he is arguing for, and the diffusiveness of what one might call “mentions” in his text further refract the light, so we perceive at the end more a prism than a laser-beam; but still, worth reading.
Really want to read this book, and the review (by Virginia Heffernan, a very strong writer who’s been less prominent recently? Why??) is terrific too:
There are so many scintillating aperçus in Daub’s book that I gave up underlining. But I couldn’t let “Disruption is a theodicy of hypercapitalism” pass. Not only does Daub’s point ring true — ennobling destruction and sabotage makes the most brutal forms of capitalism seem like God’s will — but the words themselves sound like one of the verses of a German punk-socialist anthem.
Cool: Where to find radio from around the world.
Michael Dirda takes time in the pandemic to read Tocqueville’s DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA. He makes a good point about its multiple effective styles, But he misses how powerfully pedagogical Tocqueville’s writing can be. This is perhaps unsurprising, as I am a teacher and he is a literary critic. But I would say anyone can pick up this book and read it, and understand America, and democracy, anew; and more important, see a very early example of the lucid kind of intellectual style which so rewards rereading and ingesting. An egalitarian , non-technical style, I think, of writing and thinking.
The New York Times’s “At War” column, or branch, or whatever, may be shutting down. This is a shame. It has been one of the places most intentional about studying not just war, but its effects over the lifespan of people, and beyond, and their children and loved ones and our society as a whole. It has produced some amazing articles, some of which are mentioned in this last dispatch. I am sad they are going away, and I will miss them.
Be safe, be well, twelve days till a new Presidency begins.