The Atlantic Monthly (two issues)

March 2008: Which religion will win, asks the cover?  Eliza Griswold predicts that in Nigeria, the winners will eventually be those Christians and Muslims who can put sectarian animosity aside and live together in peace.  Granted, this prediction comes at the end of a staggering catalogue of extreme violence between the followers of the religions, but such is her prediction.  Alan Wolfe also foresees religious peace.  Walter Russell Mead predicts that the next generation of America’s elite will largely consist of people with evangelical Christian upbringings.  Lori Gottlieb urges her fellow single women to marry the first guy who comes along.  Francis X. Rocca visits the monastery Generalissimo Francisco Franco built to surround his tomb.  Sandra Tsing Loh writes about her experience as a mother of public-school students. 

April 2008: Some showbiz stories- a profile of paparazzi who make their living stalking Britney Spears, a review of a biography of 30’s star Joan Crawford, and a piece about Hollywood’s ongoing attempt to recapture its glory days of the 1970’s.  Lawrence Scott Sheets writes about some cases of attempted Uranium smuggling, one of which eerily recalls Ken Kalfus’ novella Pu-239.  B.R. Myers, assigned to review Ian Robinson’s Untied Kingdom, lavishes praise on the author’s 1973 book The Survival of English before noting that his current book his cranky, ill-informed, and bigoted.  Myers does put in a half-defense of Robinson’s identification as a “conservative Christian,” mentioning something disgusting from a recent Academy Award winning movie and pointing out: “the only people who actually object to this sort of thing are the religious right.  We of the non-faith either applaud the ‘pushing of the envelope’ or look the other way; it’s just culture, after all.”  I think Myers is onto something here; it strikes me that one of the great weaknesses of liberalism in all its varieties is a failure to engage with culture, to take it as seriously as it takes the claims of the marketplace.  Corby Kummer writes about the power of community gardens to create a peaceful space in violent neighborhoods.  Barbara Wallraff explains the origin of the phrase “cut to the chase” and explores popular unwillingness to accept the evidence of its recent appearance, then discusses ways in which dictionaries may differ from one another.

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