URLs du Jour


  • Tyler Cowen, blogging at Marginal Revolution, strikes me as being a prime example of urbane equanimity: nothing seems to upset him much, and he's seen it all.

    But he can be set off by extreme cases, apparently, and one is the new book by Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. His review in the New York Sun is here. A snippet:

    Ms. Klein's rhetoric is ridiculous. For instance, she attaches import to the fact that the word "tank" appears in the label "think tank." In her book, free market advocates are tarred with the brush of torture, because free market advocates often support unpopular policies, and torture also often supports unpopular policies. Clearly, by her tactic of freewheeling association, free market advocates must support torture. Often Ms. Klein's proffered connections are so impressionistic and so reliant on a smarmy wink to the knowing that it is impossible to present them, much less critique them, in the short space of a book review.
    Over at the Cato blog, Klein's book is critiqued by Tim Lee and Justin Long. Long points to a Klein interview over at the Huffington Post conducted by the movie star John Cusack. His conclusion:
    One might expect this type of nonsense from Klein, but it's really disappointing to see John Cusack do the interview with his eyebrows raised about an inch and a half above his eyes, apparently floored by Klein's analytical brilliance. A shame, really—the guy's made some pretty good movies.
    But as we know: "Who mouths inanity disorders thought for all who listen."

  • Continuing in the book theme, genius Harvard psych prof Stephen Pinker has a new one out, and that means interviews appearing in the press. Certainly you'd want to read one of those interviews that contains this:
    "Although you wouldn't believe the kind of hate mail I get about my work on irregular verbs," Pinker says, over tea in the library of a central London hotel.
    (Via Language Log.)

  • And still in the book theme, you might have heard that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has a book out exploring his life up to his confirmation; that's served to reanimate the old Anita Hill controversy. Matthew Frank notices a Ruth Marcus column in the WaPo, and describes some witnesses that Ms. Marcus has seemingly forgotten about. Tsk!