The Verbal Revolution. How the Prague Spring broke world communism’s main spring. W.H. Auden did not give this telling piece of brilliant doggerel a grandiose name. (He had, after all, called his finest poem “September 1, 1939,” simply after the day on which it was composed.) But just as anyone with a sense of history will know what is intended by that date, so it is that those eight lines, titled “August 1968,” evoke all the drama and tragedy of the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. — Slate
The 50 greatest arts videos on YouTube. YouTube is best known for its offbeat videos that become viral sensations. But among its millions of clips is a treasure trove of rare and fascinating arts footage, lovingly posted by fans. Ajesh Patalay selects 50 of the best – Joy Division’s TV debut, readings by Jack Kerouac, a Marlene Dietrich screen test, Madonna’s first performance… and much more. — The Guardian
Book Review – A Path out of the Desert. Reading this big, ambitious book by Kenneth M. Pollack, who is the head of research at Brookings’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy, it is hard not to wish that what he refers to as Washington’s “policy community” would more often realize that they are the problem. It would have been nice, for instance, had Pollack himself thought harder before arguing, in scholarly papers and his widely read 2002 book, “The Threatening Storm,” that America had “no choice” but to invade Iraq. That ostensibly sober appraisal, coming from a former C.I.A. analyst, Clinton official and self-described liberal, arguably added more gravitas to the shrill cries for war than any other voice. — NYT
America 2.0 – when Generation X reaches The White House. The American dream isn’t something anyone has talked about without a strong sense of irony for quite some time. It is a virus that infected the world more than 50 years ago that managed to wear itself out through its own self-importance, one that was caught when the world was sick and weary in the aftermath of World War 2, when the global populace was lost and ready to grasp on to anything that would lead them out of the land in which they’d lived for a decade. And we’re back there again. — David Gillespie
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