–A challenge to libertarians on the coecivene power of private entities.
–A.O. Scott on superhero movies as a Ponzi scheme.
–Richard Beck of Experimental Theology on why he blogs.
–A political typology quiz from the Pew Research Center. (I scored as a “solid libera.l” Although I’d take issue with the way some of the choices were presented.)
–An end to “bad guys.”
–Def Leppard’s Hysteria and the changing meaning of having a “number 1″ album.
–The folks at the Moral Mindfield have been blogging on the ethical implications of killing bin Laden, from a variety of perspectives.
–Ta-Nehisi Coates on Abraham Lincoln and slavery.
–Marvin had a good post earlier this week on the death of bin Laden and Christian pacifism.
–Christopher has a post on problems with the language of “inclusion” and “exclusion” in the church.
–I don’t always agree with Glenn Greenwald, but I’m glad he’s out there asking the questions he asks. He’s been blogging up a storm this week on the circumstances surrounding bin Laden’s death.
–Brandon has a concise summary of the history behind Cinco de Mayo.
ADDED LATER: How do you feed 10 billion people? By eating less meat for starters.
–John Cohn at The New Republic on the end of “compassionate conservatism.”
–Should life be more like a game?
– The rise of white identity politics in DC?
–From Book Forum, a collection of links on how we treat animals. (I guess that makes this a meta-link?)
–How Pearl Jam went from being the biggest rock band in the world to a niche act.
–The Thomas Paine-John Adams debate about economic equality in the early American republic.
–I’m not sure the Ramones were the best candidate for an AV Club “Gateways to Geekery” feature. What band could be easier to get into? Just start listening with the first album–it pretty much establishes the template for everything else.
–Joe Klein is shrill.
I probably should’ve read this years ago, maybe as an angry 19-year-old (though, come to think of it, I wasn’t really that angry when I was 19), but I recently started Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. So far I’m pretty impressed: I was expecting a political harangue, but what Zinn’s doing is subtler than that. He’s trying to tell the story of America from the perspective of those who were often on the losing end of things: the Indians, African slaves, white indentured servants, the working poor, etc. Zinn freely admits that his history is selective, but as he points out, all history is selective, whether it’s told from the point of view of the elite or the masses. In the standard narrative of American history, the costs inflicted on the marginalized and dispossessed are, at best, treated as anomalies or simply part of the price we pay for the long, glorious march of progress. The way the traditional story is told tends to mask deep conflicts of interests, virtually identifying the history of the nation with the “winners” (i.e., the political and economic elite). Zinn argues that it’s worth looking more closely at the other side of the story and considering whether what we assume to be “progress” really is. Given how much influence traditional assumptions about American history continue to wield in contemporary politics, Zinn’s work strikes me as a still-needed corrective.
(I realize this will all sound painfully obvious to many.)