Noted Here and There ...
Boss Tweed: Pete Hamill's"Boss Tweed: The Fellowship of the Ring" is an excellent review of Ken Ackerman's The Rise and Fall of the Corrupt Pol Who Conceived the Soul of Modern New York. Once you've read Hamill's essay, you too may yearn for a time when our politicians were merely corrupt.
DeLay: If you haven't read Walter F. Roche, Jr., and Sam Howe Verhovek,"DeLay's Own Tragic Crossroads," LA Times, 27 March, don't miss it. It helps to clarify why some of us would be nostalgic for a Boss Tweed.
Harvard: Rachel Donadio's"Tempest in the Ivory Tower," New York Times, 17 March, is well worth a read, if you haven't read it already.
History by Barbie: If you begin with a thing so distorted as Barbie is, then try to give it some serious purpose, like teaching history to our children, it is still likely to be, well, distorted. See: Bob Thompson's"The World According to Barbie," Washington Post, 27 March. And while I'm thinking about it, wouldn't the Barbie phenomenon be another thing we need to throw into the calculus about the damage done by the 1960s? Isn't its influence more substantial and destructive than a left-lining academe?
Morality and Reality: If you missed the conversation over the weekend, begin with David Brooks,"Morality and Reality" New York Times 26 March; follow it to Matt Yglesias on"Relativism and Schiavo" and"Relativism and Choice" and John Holbo's"Two Varieties of Absolutism" at Crooked Timber.
Paglia: I agree with Liberty & Power's David Beito that Clive James review of her new anthology, Break Blow Burn, in the New York Times is pretty convincing evidence that we must take Paglia seriously as a critic and lover of poetry. And, so must she.
Political History: My colleague, KC Johnson, has a fine piece"In Defense of Old Fashioned Political History" over on HNN's mainpage. The title dis-serves KC's position in much the same way that"In Defense of Old Fashioned Military History" would dis-serve an article by Mark Grimsley.
Renaissance Japan: At Frog in a Well, Jon Dresner has a thoughtful piece about whether and how we can understand the spread of populist devotional Buddhisms in 13th and 14th century Japan as comparable to the Reformation in early modern Europe. And can there be a Reformation without a Renaissance?
Sepoy: At Chapati Mystery, Sepoy appears to deny having run buck naked through the streets of Dayton, Ohio, with a writhing python around his neck. I want to know, then, what was that thing around his neck.
Tides of Fashion: Finally, on a more serious note, eb at delayed reaction has a fascinating comment about the possible return of diplomatic, military, and political history to fashion. It reads like something that might have been said yesterday at Cliopatria. Garrett Mattingly wrote it in .... Well, go look for yourself.