Bravo, TNR!

The New Republic has just put out one of their best issues in years. It’s hard to know which article to recommend first. Included in an issue that focuses on the death (or dearth) of book reviewing (on the face of it, a topic that would make only authors upset, though the mag prove otherwise) are some first-rate pieces. Included are: Christopher Benfey on Edmund Wilson’s dedication to the art (and calling) of the book reviewer. Franklin Foer’s fascinating (and painful) dissection of TNR’s "Baghdad Diarist" problems. (For those who haven’t been following the controversy, one of the mag’s recent columnists, a soldier stationed in Iraq, had written a few scabrous stories that were eyed suspiciously by bloggers. In the end the magazine does not stand by what he wrote.) Their best writer, the estimable Stanley Kauffmann, considering the new films "American Gangster" and "Before the Devil Knows Your Dead." (I loved "Devil," Kauffmann didn’t, but he still writes a smart review.) Plus a smart piece by James Wolcott of Gail Pool’s book on book reviewing, "Faint Praise." (Wolcott reminds us, toward the end of his essay, of the fun of reading a really good bad review. Unless you’re the author, of course.) Most interesting for "In All Things" readers, will probably be Damon Linker’s dissection of the "new atheists," Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, et. al., in which he rightfully shows how their attacks on God, and on the legal protection that enables one to practice one’s own religion are, at heart, illiberal attacks on freedom. His concise piece is " Atheism’s Wrong Turn " One question I wished he had answered more fully is whether he believes, after his reading of all these books the "new atheists" are really against God or against religion. To me, it seems a little of the first, a lot of the second.
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10 years 1 month ago
Jed Perl’s discussion of current exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is another noteworthy article in the same issue. He makes the bold claim that “right now the Metropolitan is the most exciting museum in the world...”
10 years 1 month ago
Dear Fr. Martin, Off topic (sorry): Maybe somebody can start a thread about the basic theology of Mormonism and the Church's official teaching about Mormonism. This would seem to be timely. Few of us know much about this.
10 years 1 month ago
Greg: You might try "Mormon America: Power and Promise," by Richard Ostling. I've not read it but Ostling is one of the best religion journalists around. He used to be with the Associated Press until recently. It sounds like a good place to start.

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