I happened to be perusing The New Criterion archives last night—what better way to spend a Tuesday evening?—when I came across a wonderful essay by Norman Podhoretz about the French intellectual Albert Camus that drew me in. Podhoretz, writing in 1982 just as The New Criterion was getting off the ground, considers Camus in the three roles that he played throughout his life: There was Camus the Resistance hero, Camus the philosopher, and Camus the political thinker. Here is Podhoretz on Camus’ interesting and unorthodox politics:
We mourn the passing of the great architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable, a friend of and contributor to The New Criterion.
From the Wall Street Journal:
After reading and writing about two books that include lengthy discussions of the origins of religion—E. O. Wilson’s The Social Conquest of the Earth for The New Criterion and Oliver Sacks’ Hallucinations for the Washington Times—I have been wondering whether the more spiritual aspects of life, things like religion, God, and transcendence, exist independently of the human mind or are products of neurochemical firings of the brain. When Saul had his revelatory experience on the road to Damascus, for instance, had he fallen under the spell of a seizure, as some have claimed, or was it a flash of the divine that caused his conversion to Christianity? When Fyodor Dostoevsky experienced the self-transcendent moment he describes below, was he momentarily elevated into a mysterious mystical realm or was he having a fit of temporal lobe epilepsy?
Thanks to our readers and online community, The New Criterion is now closer than ever to its goal of raising $340,000 by the end of the year!
Since launching our online campaign on December 20, hundreds of you have come forward to support the efforts of The New Criterion and www.newcriterion.com with contributions big and small.
However, The New Criterion needs additional donors to contribute to this online appeal by midnight tonight if we are to reach our goal.
The New Criterion and the staff of Encounter Books invite our Friends, Young Friends, and authors to join us to celebrate the holiday season. We will be gathering for drinks, crudites, and general merriment on Thursday December 13 from 6pm to 8pm. We hope to see you there. Please RSVP to me, Emily Smith, for location at smith[at]newcriterion.com.
If you are interested in attending, please consider joining our Friends or Young Friends program for exclusive invitations to this and other events. To give you a taste of the kind of intellectually stimulating events we host--and which you can experience firsthand in New York!--next week, we are hosting a symposium on "America's Fourth Revolution" at the Princeton Club, which you can read more about here.
To become part of our Friends and Young Friends circle, follow this link.
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Attention Readers, Friends, and Young Friends: The New Criterion will remain closed (and e-mail and phone will be down) until power is restored to our building. The elucidation of works of art and the correction of taste, we hope, will recommence by this weekend. Until then, be sure to browse through our excellent November issue, which has just been published online.
The New Criterion is still looking forward to seeing our Friends and Young Friends at its election night party in Tribeca. Given the timetables provided by con-ed, we believe lower Manhattan will be up and running in time for Tuesday's party. Assuming so, please indicate whether you still plan to come to the party or if your plans have changed. As mentioned, our phone and e-mail are down, so please contact me at emilyesfahanismith[at]gmail[dot]com with your update or for more information about the event.
We hope to see you Tuesday!
E-mail to friend
Awe is a beautiful little emotion, but one that is not very well understood. In the field of psychology, where emotions are academically studied, awe has received very little attention. In a way, it makes sense. Awe, which Harvard psychiatrist George Vaillant calls, “the most ‘spiritual’ of the positive emotions,” is not exactly suited to our secular times.
"Piss Christ” has been resurrected.
Or, at least, the controversy surrounding it has been raised from the dead, now that it is back in New York at the Edward Tyler Nahem gallery (through October 26) in an exhibit called “Body and Spirit” which celebrates the life and work of its creator, the artist Andres Serrano, whom we've written about before.
Over twenty years ago, in 1989, the hazy image of a crucified Christ, submerged in a jar of Serrano’s urine, created a public firestorm when conservative Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (NY) deplored it on the Senate floor as a “despicable display of vulgarity”—one that had, no less, been funded by taxpayers. Serrano was radical, but he wasn’t that radical: The so-called avant-garde artist received government support to the tune of $15,000 for the work.
In 2010, Hanna Rosin wrote a pretty devastating feature article in The Atlantic titled The End of Men, which argued that women are outpacing and outperforming men in the postindustrial economy. That article has since been transformed into a book by Rosin that will be coming out next month. Her most recent article in The Atlantic, Boys on the Side, is adapted from this forthcoming book. In the piece, she takes up what are, to her, the merits of the hook-up culture. That the hook-up culture is thriving on college campuses--thanks, in large part, to the women who drive it--is another sign that women are replacing men as the alphas of society. So Rosin's argument goes. She writes:
The sex-crazy magazine Cosmopolitan, whose revolutionary longtime editrix Helen Gurley Brown recently passed away, is a force of nature. Not only is it the best selling magazine on the newstands in the United States, but it is also making serious waves worldwide with 64 international editions (Marie Claire has 35 and Glamour only 16)--a topic which was recently covered by the New York Times Magazine "99 Ways to be Naughty in Kazakhstan: How Cosmo Conquered the World":
( AHR-mah wih-ROOM-kweh)
In the Aeneid, the Roman poet Virgil sang of "arms and a man" (Arma virumque cano). Month in and month out, The New Criterion expounds with great clarity and wit on the art, culture, and political controversies of our times. With postings of reviews, essays, links, recs, and news, Armavirumque seeks to continue this mission in accordance with the timetable of the digital age.
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