Europe's Jews, Michel Houellebecq, Robert Putnam, Charles Bowden, Miscellany, TripAdvisor

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Is It Time For The Jews To Leave Europe?

Jeffrey Goldberg | Atlantic | 14th March 2015

In brief: Yes. Jews are in danger. Pre-war antisemitism is returning, and the threat from radicalised European Muslims is rising. "I am predisposed to believe that there is no great future for the Jews in Europe, because evidence to support this belief is accumulating so quickly. I am also predisposed to think this because I am an American Jew — a person who exists because his ancestors made a run for it when they could" (11,300 words)

Slouching Towards Mecca

Mark Lilla | New York Review Of Books | 16th March 2015

Review of Michel Houellebecq's Soumission, currently the best-selling novel in Europe, published on the day of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. The story foresees a Muslim takeover of France, but portrays Islam sympathetically. "Soumission is a classic novel of European cultural pessimism that belongs in whatever category we put books like Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain and Robert Musil’s The Man Without Qualities" (3,850 words)

Robert Putnam’s American Dream

Marc Parry | Chronicle Review | 12th March 2015

Putnam's latest and probably last book, Our Kids, warns that social mobility is "poised to plunge" in America, as the class divide grows. Putnam bases his argument on the idea of "social capital" that he developed in Bowling Alone: Social capital comes from social networks, and the children of less-educated parents have almost no hope of escaping the low-value networks into which they are born (3,180 words)

The Final Rhapsody Of Charles Bowden

Scott Carrier | Mother Jones | 15th March 2015

Charles Bowden was covering crime for the Tucson Citizen when he started digging deep into the Mexican drug trade, and he could scarcely support the horror of what he found. For 30 years he chronicled the murders and tortures and rapes of the drug cartels and the Mexican police. He was arguably the greatest crime reporter of our time. But he changed nothing. He supplied more truth than the market could bear (4,100 words)


Rafil Kroll-Zaidi | Harper's | 13th March 2015

Miscellany of recent news: "Penguins have lost the ability to taste fish. A South Korean woman’s hair was eaten by a robot. Swiss prison guards report contentedness. Undersea volcanoes erupt almost always between January and June. The sulfur bacteria of Western Australia have not evolved in 2.3 billion years. The British government granted an unplanned beaver family on the River Otter leave to remain" (560 words)

The World Of TripAdvisor

Tom Vanderbilt | Outside | 13th March 2015

How TripAdvisor keeps the hotel industry on its toes. If the shower-head doesn't work you can tell the world about it. TripAdvisor has 200 million comments on its website and adds 115 every minute. Customer ratings are mainly indexed to value: “For what I paid, how delighted was I?” Service is the key variable. Branding counts for little. "The number-one hotel in a major market is often not the hotel you would expect” (5,020 words)

Video of the day: The Vanity Fair Decades — The 1940s

What to expect: Cartoon. A short history of the 1940s, featuring J.D. Salinger, war, and lots of tattoos (4'44")

Thought for the day

To explode a myth is not to deny the facts, but to re-allocate them
Gilbert Ryle (

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