The Crisis of the humanities is one of those perennial crises that pops up every year, every decade, seemingly every century. In the last decade, there are now one-third as many as English majors as there were a decade ago and nearly 20% fewer students are taking humanities courses as were 10 years earlier. Nathan Heller sets out to ask why the humanities are in crisis.
Henry Kissinger, Eric Schmidt and Daniel Huttenlocher have an important essay in which they argue that ChatGPT represents the potential of artificial intelligence “to transform the human cognitive process as it has not been shaken up since the invention of printing” and the enlightenment.
In my seminar on “Truth and Politics” this semester we are grappling with the pure weaponization of claims to truthfulness and lying. And this this weekend I’m at colloquium on federalism where one theme is how federalism is embraced by whichever party or group doesn’t control political power. Principled ideas of governance and politics are fully sacrificed to the overriding goal of winning. These ideas are grounded in a larger nihilist worldview, and one thinker who understood the full implications of nihilist politics was Carl Schmitt.
Hannah Arendt reminded us of the importance of impartiality in history, journalism, and scholarship. For Arendt, every selection of facts is, as a selection, partial. Bret Stephens writes about the crisis of confidence in journalism.
Louis Menand asks what happened to the power of the press? He argues that the culprit is simple: the breakdown of a white, liberal, internationalist mainstream ideology that united the government and the press for decades in the 20th century.
The apparent murder of Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers has once again thrust the issue of racialized policing into the spotlight. Juliette Kayyem argues that “because of the sheer number of times Americans have now confronted videos of police officers killing Black citizens, public officials have gotten better at managing the shock.”
Wyatt Mason revisits the 1987 action movie Predator and finds, to his horror, that it is a masterpiece and that he, in spite of himself, loves action movies. Amidst a tour de force romp through the history and structure of action movies and a romp through his personal history as a failed script writer, Mason reflects on the role of violence in film.