Josh Rogin in the Washington Post asked readers to choose the public figures they would most like to hear comment on our present era. Tanner Greer published his answer: Hannah Arendt. What Greer welcomes above all in Arendt is her independence. That she approaches every issue fresh. And that before you read what she writes, you don’t know what she will be arguing or how she will get there.
Anya Schiffrin writes about how Varian Fry helped a number of German intellectuals, Jews, and leftists emigrate from Germany. Fry co-founded the Emergency Rescue Committee, which later became the International Rescue Committee. Among those Fry helped save include Hannah Arendt, Marc Chagall, and Victor Serge.
On the eve of the Hannah Arendt Center’s Conference Racism and Antisemitism, it is worth thinking about Malcolm Gladwell’s new book Talking To Strangers. Gladwell seeks to understand what happened to Sandra Bland that led to her hanging in a Texas prison. It is known that Bland was pulled over in the Prairie View, Texas by officer Brian Encinia.
Judith Butler reviewed Bari Weiss’s new book How to Fight Anti-Semitism for Jewish Currents. Butler’s book review is notable for a couple of reasons and worth reading whether one finds oneself politically closer to Butler or Weiss. The primary reason being: It’s rare to read a real book review these days that systematically works through the arguments in a text. Butler, a pro-BDS supporter, argues that Weiss lacks an historical understanding of antisemitism.
George Packer has a long and thoughtful essay about culture wars, meritocracy, and our children. The structure of the essay follows Packer and his wife as they navigate the New York City public and private schools. They pull their son out of an expensive private school to send him to a public school that is 38% white, 29% black, 24% Latino, and 7% Asian, closely representative of the city’s population. But the school is less academically rich than the private school...
As World War II came to an end, the German philosopher Karl Jaspers republished a revised edition of his 1923 book The Idea of the University. Jaspers saw universities as essential to the maintenance of a vibrant democracy. He was worried that the universities in Germany had become overly specialized and technical and that they had lost their true calling as institutions dedicated to communication and truth.