Skip to content

Friday’s Reading List

By Taylor Marvin


Manuel Panselinos, ‘Saint Mercurius and Artemius of Antioch’, 1310. Via Wikimedia.

What I read this week:

Factional infighting between Syria’s opposition fighters is increasing. Max Fisher asks if the fighting marks “a major shift for Syria’s two-year civil war, one with potentially disastrous implications for the country.”

Robert Mason calls for a new diplomatic initiative in Syria, stressing the need for a “comprehensive compact on violent Islamism that addresses Russia’s core concerns about Assad’s removal from power.” Barbara F. Walter sees Assad’s use of chemical weapons as a means of demonstrating to domestic and foreign fence-sitters that an American intervention in the war is not forthcoming. Danny Hirschel-Burns writes that the anti-war left needs better slogans.

Kenneth Anderson reviews two books on Saddam Hussein’s gassing of Iraqi Kurds.

Daniel Larison on why a “league of democracies” is a bad idea that refuses to die. Interestingly, the neoconservatives who typically endorse the idea seem to never think of such an organization’s view of Israel, which would likely be very unfavorable.

Is a window for diplomacy opening between Washington and Tehran? Laura Secor on why Obama should meet with Rouhani, and Brookings has a new report on Rouhani.

Via Josh Busby, NPR has a new series on Brazil in the lead up to the World Cup.

Erle C. Ellis on why overpopulation is not the problem: “The only limits to creating a planet that future generations will be proud of are our imaginations and our social systems.” Incidentally, overpopulation was one entry on io9’s recent list of science-fiction subgenres killed by scientific developments.

Stefan Sasse passes along an interesting take on German purists dedicated to keeping English loanwords out of their language. Aside from the effort being practically less “pro-German” and more “anti-English”, the piece raises interesting questions about loanwords themselves. If Germans refer to mobile phones as “handies” — an English word not used for phone in that language — should it be considered a loanword?

Speaking of language, lagom — the single word that sums up the Swedish psyche.

Paris thorough the lens of Nazi occupation — why vintage images showing Parisians enjoying life under German rule are controversial today.

And again, earlier in the week I collected links for Political Violence @ a Glance.

Niyaz — The Hunt.

By the way, this is my 500th blog post across this space and Prospect Journal.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Erle C. Ellis is a victim of upside down thinking.

    September 24, 2013
  2. In response to Dame Jane Goodall…

    Yes, hope is vital. But so is being intellectually honest and morally courageous enough to speak out loudly, clearly and often about what is real, according to the lights and science we possess. We cannot make a difference that makes a difference if we continue not to question the ubiquitously broadcasted delusions by the world leaders of my generation who are leading our youth down a ‘primrose path’ to surely precipitate the utter extirpation of global biodiversity, the irreversible degradation of Earth’s environs, the reckless dissipation of its limited resources and the destruction of life as we know it. The very thing our leaders claim to be protecting and preserving for children everywhere and coming generations.

    “The greatest danger to our planet is that we lose hope – especially if our youth loses hope. Because, if we have no hope, we give up and stop trying to do our bit to make a difference.” – Dr. Jane Goodall

    January 26, 2014

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: