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James Arnett

Inside Detroit , Bergmann's Getting Ghost

Despite its recent Academy Award for Best Picture, Slumdog Millionaire is not without its detractors. Critics have called the film overrated, over-hyped, exploitative, lacking in substance, and wholly unrealistic.

A Brief History of Violence

David Neiwert, The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Racialized the American Right (Pollpoint Press)

China Syndromes

As a precocious child growing up the 1980s, I became unduly interested in nuclear weapons, nuclear power, and espionage. This was probably due to the inundation of media scare stories about Russians and nuclear winter, as well as ABC’s frequent showings of old James Bond movies.

Expanding the Circle

The 2004 Presidential election was an emotional race—certainly the most emotional one that I’ve lived through. In the aftermath of the 2000 Florida debacle, September 11th and the invasion of Iraq, there seemed to be a lot on the line.

The Right to a Fair Trial

Of all the bedrock founding principles of this country, the idea of a fair and truly just judiciary has always held its place as the central underpinning of the American experiment. The judiciary branch provides needed checks and balances on the legislative and executive branches.

Inside the GOP Playbook

How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative, chronicles Allen Raymond’s decade-long career with the GOP, a path that leads him from the mires of local New Jersey politics to the heights of the 2000 Forbes presidential campaign, and eventually to a stint in federal prison due to his involvement with a phone-jamming operation during the 2002 elections.

Not Just Science Fiction

Recently, my brother—fully aware of my adolescent predilection for science fiction—asked me why futuristic tales seemed to be so universally set in some sort of dystopia rather than a utopian society.

Area Man Interviews Humor Writer

The Onion’s forthcoming Our Front Pages is one of the rare cases in which one gets exactly what is advertised upon purchase. The book is a massive collection of front pages from the venerable satiric newspaper; while not fully comprehensive, the book includes dozens of memorable front pages from each year of The Onion’s existence.

Addicted to Polymers

My review copy of Susan Freinkel’s forthcoming Plastic: A Toxic Love Story featured a blurb in the biography declaring that Freinkel’s previous effort, American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree, was “a perfect book.”

Diamonds in the Rough

Once in an undergraduate class on American literature, one of my classmates noted that our teaching assistant had referenced The Simpsons during the discussion of nearly every text we had read. The student was not a fan of the show and was somewhat irritated that a prime-time cartoon frequently infringed upon our debates over Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Melville.

Amis and Islam

Though it has been mostly overlooked in the American press, a firestorm among English literati has recently been brewing over inflammatory comments regarding Muslims that novelist Martin Amis made during an interview with The Times’ Ginny Dougary.

A Dark Forecast

Questioning a random person in the street about the current state of the economy will likely elicit some sort of comment on the hemorrhaging mortgage and credit markets; ask the same person for their opinions on how, say, collateralized debt obligations have contributed to this situation, and you’ll likely be met with a blank stare.

The Great Game

In the immediate aftermath of September 11, one thing seemed perfectly clear. Whether one was a Republican or a Democrat, a pacifist or a hawk, nearly everyone I knew agreed that some sort of military foray into Afghanistan was the best and most direct method of both eliminating the threat of further terrorism sponsored by al-Qaeda and also meting out some justice and retribution to the perpetrators of the September 11th attacks. Several of my acquaintances volunteered for the service during this period.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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