The meaning of Google+ When I first encountered Google+, I was delighted. And then, shortly after that, I was bored. Like so many American cultural events – like the premiere of The Hills or the release of George W. Bush’s memoir – Google+ manages to evoke delight and boredom simultaneously, to give one the feeling of beholding something beautiful and ... Read More
Anyone who’s inclined to blame Islam for Arab authoritarianism ought to read these two passages. The first is from Bernard Lewis in “Freedom and Justice in the Modern Middle East”: Some critics may point out that regardless of theory [that Islam has a strong tradition of governance by consent and rule by elected leaders], in reality a pattern of arbitrary, tyrannical, ... Read More
Cynics will look at the Groupon IPO and see a seminal event in the history of the second tech bubble: the day the bubble floated to Main Street. Here’s how the story goes: Groupon’s business model isn’t defensible, because anyone can set up an email list with coupons; its business practices aren’t profitable, indeed they’re losing the company so much money ... Read More
I suggest tuning into the medium-sized brouhaha that has emerged in the wake of "A Gay Girl in Damascus" - an affair far more morally and politically significant than what a Long Island congressman decided to do with his digitally-rendered private parts.
The relationship between representative and represented is sacred, and by trading political admiration for sexual gratification, Anthony Weiner corrupted that relationship.
An Activist’s Year in Review Last week, reporter Monica Dodge wrote the Crimson’s update on student activism in 2010-2011. Her article, “The Evolution of Activism,” argued that students have now put “classes before causes” and more frequently rely on internet messaging instead of inter-personal organizing; student activists at Harvard “are less eager to leave behind their laptops and pick up ... Read More
Matt Yglesias’s critique of Harvard’s “Senior Gift” provoked an interesting debate across the Ivy-league-osphere. I responded here; Emma Saunders-Hastings, a PhD student in the philosophy department, out-classed us both at The Utopian; then Yglesias responds; and now, once more, I offer my thoughts. Here’s a copy of my response, cross-posted from The Utopian: Matt Yglesias and I agree that giving $10 to ... Read More
Matt Yglesias recently took to his blog to decry one of the great evils of our time: Harvard students who donate $10 to support their school. To make his case, he sets up a straw man — namely, the idea that we give Senior Gifts primarily to “promote social justice”: [L]ook, if you’re considering giving $10 to Harvard or lighting a ... Read More
In the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s death, the merits of enhanced interrogation are at issue again. Required reading on the topic is Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) op-ed in the Washington Post on Thursday. For anyone who distinguishes between “new McCain” and “old McCain,” this is old McCain at his finest: principled, independent, and convincing. The headlines responding to McCain ... Read More
For the past ten weeks, writers from the Harvard Political Review have been meeting with 6th graders from the Clarence R Edwards Middle School in Charlestown, MA to talk about politics and the fundamentals of journalism. Together, we’ve taken on some of the biggest issues facing our country — from health care reform, to education policy, to high-stakes international politics. We’ve ... Read More
The historical precedent for Google's "Knowledge Group"
James Fallows’ awesomely-titled article on the future of journalism – “Learning to Love the (Shallow, Divisive, Unreliable) New Media” – is well worth reading in full, like almost everything he writes. It’s one of those articles that validates its central thesis by virtue of its existence: Fallows is a perfect example of what the future of journalism might look like. To ... Read More
As a member of the audience for the panel discussion on challenges facing the US and Mexico, I really enjoyed the discussion on the drug war and its implications for public policy. Moderated by Harvard Law School Professor Phillip Heymann, there was plenty of discussion about the implications of sustained violence and drug trafficking from what Angela Kocherga, US-Mexico Bureau Chief ... Read More