Traversing The Atlantic
Let's see what the boys at theAtlantic have cooked up for us this month, in the magazine's March issue. There's war, and the economy, and Christianity—timeless subjects, all! There's also Christopher Hitchens, trying to one-up Adam Gopnik the only way he knows how: by writing disparaging remarks in Sharpie on his face.
"How the Crash Will Reshape America": Richard "Flo Rida" Florida has a gargantuan piece about the economy. Have you heard? The economy... it's so now! Anyway Richard "III" Florida looks specifically at how badly the depression will affect certain areas of the country versus others. So, all those exurbs in golfing-friendly climes have about a 4 second half-life, whereas the village alcove of Manhattan will probably do just fine (so don't worry about your Wonkette intern, etc.!). It turns out that the cities that have the least to do with the complete collapse of the financial system (see: sunbelt, the) are going to suffer the worst—but what they lose in jobs, capital, expendable income, residents, urban infrastructure, they're going to make up for in life lessons (?). And of course, no article about anything having to do with the economy, or money, or really facts in any of their guises is complete without a Thomas Friedman demi-takedown. [How the Crash Will Reshape America]
"The Velvet Reformation": This profile of the Archbishop of Canterbury is about Christianity's gay problem. So paraphraseth Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury: "WHAN that Aprille with his shoures soote, gays should eventually be a part of Church life but only as soon as it won't upset everyone too too much." So yes, the Anglican Church is kind of caught in a weird place, because unlike some other branches of Christianity (Presbyterian, Evangelical) are "out" in support of or against gays in Church, respectively, the Anglican Church is seemingly unsure what should be done with The Gays. Williams has an idea, but certain anti-gays-in-church people aren't going to like it. [The Velvet Reformation]
"Demos and Dictionaries": Lebanese heavyweight prize-fighter Christopher Hitchens reviews Peter Martin's new Samuel Johnson biography. Maybe you already read Adam Gopnik's review of this same book in December's New Yorker, but maybe you read it and sort of couldn't enjoy it because it was, in fact, written by Adam Gopnik. Hey, that's fair. In any event, the new biography accurately captures a lot of Johnson's self-loathing, his restlessness, and his tendency to speak (and write) in epigrams. Hitchens and Martin say all these character traits are also readily apparent in Johnson's dictionary. Also, there's this cool thing the internet now does that posts a photograph of a segment of Johnson's dictionary every day, which you can use keep busy reading until TNR also finally publishes the inevitable review of this biography in 6 months or so. [Demons and Dictionaries]
"Tragic Heroes": Apparently some are displeased with the quality of recent war flicks, and it's come to the attention of someone in power that maybe zeitgeist-porn like Stop: Loss et al. doesn't really offer actual sodliers any sort of insight into... anything. The Theater of War project is substituting Phillipe for Philoctetes (who is actually Paul Giamatti, but still aren't we all Philocetes?) by comparing experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan to those in Greece and Rome. "A war is a war is a war," some modernist psychiatrist points out. [Tragic Heroes]