Best of the Moment
Dave Hickey's Politics Of Beauty
Laurie Fendrich | Chronicle Of Higher Education | 2 January 2013
Profile of maverick art critic. The first half is a bore. The second half, when Hickey takes over the narrative, is a joy. Here he is on the art market: "Taste is transformed into appetite by a nonpecuniary cloud of discourse that surrounds the negotiation"
What Wingate Wrought
Max Boot | Weekly Standard | 3 January 2013
Colourful portrait of unruly British WW2 general who became a "fanatical" Zionist in the 1930s, pioneered special operations in Abyssinia and Burma, died at 41. "His character was a blend of mysticism, anger, love, passion, and dark hatred"
Big Issues In Macroeconomics: The Fiscal Multiplier
John Quiggin | Crooked Timber | 4 January 2013
For: Useful primer for intelligent general reader on big but contentious topic. Includes entertaining rant against economics profession. Against: If you are seriously interested in the subject, you (should) know most of this already
The Great Aid Mystery
Jonathan Foreman | Spectator | 3 January 2013
"One of the more bizarre mysteries of contemporary British politics is the ironclad, almost fanatical intensity of the government’s commitment to foreign aid spending. Aid is at best useless and at worst counterproductive"
The Moral Thing To Do
James Meek | London Review Of Books | 3 January 2013
Smart, funny long essay on the TV series "Breaking Bad" and its central character Walter White: "It turns out his idea of confession is Skyler telling him what she suspects him of, so that he can work out how to deny it"
How Obama Decides Your Fate If He Thinks You're A Terrorist
Daniel Byman and Benjamin Wittes | Atlantic | 3 January 2013
"The criteria and decision points that can lead to a suspect terrorist's being ignored as a minor nuisance, prosecuted in federal court, held in a Pakistani prison, or met with the business end of a Hellfire missile". With flowchart