Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Arabs Will Have Their Gettysburgs. By Leon Hadar.

The Arabs Will Have Their Gettysburgs. By Leon Hadar. The National Interest, July 17, 2013.

Tomorrow There Will Be No More Two-State Solution—and Then What? By Yuval Diskin.

Tomorrow There Will Be No More Two-State Solution—and Then What? By Yuval Diskin. Tablet, July 17, 2013.

The Boring Palestinians. By Bret Stephens.

The Boring Palestinians. By Bret Stephens. Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2013.


And yet for all its presumed importance, the Palestinian saga has gotten awfully boring, hasn't it? The grievances that remain unchanged, a cast of characters that never alters, the same schematics, the clich├ęs that were shopworn decades ago. If it were a TV drama, it would be “The X-Files”—in its 46th season. The truth is out there. Still. We get it. We just don't give a damn anymore.
Little wonder that when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was interviewed over the weekend by CBS’s Bob Schieffer, the topics were Iran, Egypt and Syria, with no mention of Palestinians. Granted, news is a fickle business and what bleeds leads, but the omission was telling all the same. The region is moving tumultuously forward. Israel is dynamic, threatened, divided, innovative, evolving. Egypt careens between revolution and restoration. Lebanon is on the brink, Iran is on the march, Syria is in its agony. America is beating a retreat.
Only the Palestinians remain trapped in ideological amber. How long can the world be expected to keep staring at this four-million-year-old mosquito?
For the usual stalwarts and diehards, the answer will always be: as long as it takes. Palestinians will say it’s on account of their supposedly unique experience of injustice and oppression. Professional peace processors think it’s because of the supposed centrality of the Palestinian drama to all other Middle Eastern conflicts. The Israeli left and its sympathizers in the West are convinced that Palestine is the key to Israel’s survival as a Jewish and democratic state.
All of which is stale bread. Take the most jaundiced view of Israeli behavior toward the Palestinians over the past dozen years: Does it hold a candle to what Bashar Assad does in any given week to his own people in Homs and Aleppo? Take the most exaggerated view of the dearness of Palestine to Egyptians on the streets of Cairo or Turks in the squares of Istanbul: How does their sympathy for Gaza compare with their outrage toward their own governments?
As for the view that Israel needs to separate itself from Palestinians for its own good, that’s as true as it is beside the point. The issue for Israel isn’t whether it has a theoretical interest in a Palestinian state. It does.
But everything hinges on whether such a state evolves into another Costa Rica—or descends into another Yemen. So far the evidence points toward Yemen. Is it any wonder that, given the choice between a long-term moral threat to their character as a state and a near-term physical threat to their existence as a nation, ordinary Israelis should be more concerned with the latter?

Mindless Hatred on the Ninth of Av. By Jonathan S. Tobin.

Mindless Hatred on the Ninth of Av. By Jonathan S. Tobin. Commentary, July 16, 2013.

Tisha B’Av: The Great Divide. By Paula R. Stern. The Times of Israel, July 16, 2013.

The Scourge of Mideast Skepticism. By Jeremy Ben-Ami.

The Scourge of Mideast Skepticism. By Jeremy Ben-Ami. New York Times, June 16, 2013.

Palestinians Protest Against Normalization with Israel. By Khaled Abu Toameh.

Palestinians protest against meetings between PLO officials, Israeli politicians. By Khaled Abu Toameh. Jerusalem Post, July 15, 2013.

Demonstrators condemn meetings, call for "cleansing" the PLO of “the generals of normalization with Israel.”

The U.S. Should Not Suspend Aid to Egypt. By Aaron David Miller.

Dumb and Dumber. By Aaron David Miller. Foreign Policy, July 15, 2013.

No, the United States should not suspend aid to Egypt.

New EU Directive Bars All Dealings with Israeli-held Areas Over the Pre-1967 Lines. By Gavriel Fiske.

New EU directive bars all dealings with Israeli-held areas over the pre-1967 lines. By Gavriel Fiske. The Times of Israel, July 16, 2013.

When Europe demanded Israel surrender the Western Wall. By Haviv Rettig Gur. The Times of Israel, July 16, 2013.

The first casualty of the EU settlement directive: John Kerry. By Avi Isaacharoff. The Times of Israel, July 17, 2013.

“What occupation?” Naftali Bennett asks, rejecting Palestinian state. By Gavriel Fiske and Elie Leshem. The Times of Israel, June 17, 2013.

Medical Mystery Solved: Rochelle Harris, 27-Year Old British Woman, Has Maggots Removed From Her Ear.

Rochelle Harris, British Woman, Has Flesh-Eating Worms Removed From Her Ear. By Marc Lallanilla. The Huffington Post, July 17, 2013.

Horrified British woman, 27, discovers that headaches and scratching sounds inside her head are FLESH-EATING MAGGOTS after trip to Peru. By Rachel Reilly. Daily Mail, July 16, 2013.

On Wall Street, a Culture of Greed Won’t Let Go. By Andrew Ross Sorkin.

On Wall Street, a Culture of Greed Won’t Let Go. By Andrew Ross Sorkin. New York Times, July 15, 2013.

Wall Street in Crisis: A Perfect Storm Looming. Labaton Sucharow’s U.S. Financial Services Industry Survey, July 2013.

Race, Politics and the Zimmerman Trial. By Jason L. Riley.

Race, Politics and the Zimmerman Trial. By Jason L. Riley. Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2013.

Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too. By Kate Taylor.

Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too. By Kate Taylor. New York Times, July 12, 2013.

“Sex on Campus” Writer Responds to Questions and Complaints. By Margaret Sullivan. New York Times, June 16, 2013.

What Hooking Up at Penn Is Really About. By Amanda Wolkin. Philly Magazine, July 15, 2013.

Young People Who Sacrifice Romance for “Unencumbered Striving.” By Conor Friedersdorf. The Atlantic, July 15, 2013.

Sex and the College Girl. By Nora Johnson. The Atlantic, November 1957.

Sex and the College Girl, 1957 vs. 2013. By Caroline Kitchener. The Atlantic, July 16, 2013.

Northeastern Liberal Elites in an Uproar After New York Times Magazine Discovers Women Driving the Hookup Culture. By Rush Limbaugh., July 17, 2013.

Advice for the Young Women of Princeton: Find a Husband. By Susan A. Patton. NJBR, April 1, 2013. With related articles.

Who Ruined the Humanities? By Lee Siegel.

Who Ruined the Humanities? By Lee Siegel. Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2013. Also here.

Who Ruined the Humanities: A Response to Lee Siegel’s WSJ Essay. Schola Stephaniae, July 25, 2013.

Response to the Wall Street Journal’s “Who Ruined the Humanities?” The Grad Student, July 28, 2013.

The Humanities in Crisis? Not at Most Schools. By Scott Saul. NJBR, July 3, 2013.

Humanities Committee Sounds and Alarm. By Jennifer Schuessler. NJBR, June 22, 2013. With related articles.

The Higher Education Scandal. By Harvey Mansfield. NJBR, May 20, 2013.

Why Grad Schools Should Require Students to Blog. By Maria Konnikova. NJBR, April 21, 2013.

Professors on the Production Line, Students on Their Own. By Mark Bauerlein. NJBR, February 23, 2013.

The Humanities and Common Sense. By Roger Berkowitz. NJBR, February 20, 2013.

On the Obsolescence of the Jacksonian Male. By David Brooks.

Men on the Threshold. By David Brooks. New York Times, July 15, 2013.

Why Can’t Men Get Jobs. By Walter Russell Mead. Via Meadia, July 17, 2013.


As every discerning person knows, “The Searchers” is the greatest movie ever made. It is loosely based on the real story of Cynthia Ann Parker, who was abducted from her East Texas home in 1836 when she was 9 years old by Comanche raiders, who then raised her and kept her for 24 years.
John Ford’s 1956 movie focuses not on the abducted girl but on her uncle and adopted brother, who, in that telling, spend seven years tracking her and her abductors down.
The center of the movie is Ethan Edwards, played by John Wayne. He is as morally ambiguous a figure as movies can produce, at once brave, loyal, caring and honest, but also vengeful, hateful, dangerous and tainted by racism. As Glenn Frankel notes in “The Searchers,” his recent book on the movie, Edwards spends much of the film in pursuit of an old-fashioned honor killing. At least at first, he doesn’t want to rescue his niece; he wants to find her and kill her to enforce his brand of racial and sexual purity.
Classics can be interpreted in different ways. These days, “The Searchers” can be profitably seen as a story about men who are caught on the wrong side of a historical transition.
The movie’s West was a wild, lawless place, requiring a certain sort of person to tame it. As the University of Virginia literary critic Paul Cantor has pointed out, that person had prepolitical virtues, a willingness to seek revenge, to mete out justice on his own. That kind of person, the hero of most westerns, is hard, confrontational, raw and tough to control.
But, as this sort of classic western hero tames the West, he makes himself obsolete. Once the western towns have been pacified, there’s no need for his capacity for violence, nor his righteous fury.
As Cantor notes, “The Searchers” is about this moment of transition. Civilization is coming. New sorts of people are bringing education, refinement, marriage and institutionalized justice. Crimes are no longer to be punished by the righteous gunfighter but by law.
Ethan Edwards made this world possible, but he is unfit to live in it. At the end of the movie, after seven years of effort, he brings the abducted young woman home. The girl is ushered inside, but, in one of the iconic images in Hollywood history, Edwards can’t cross the threshold. Because he is tainted by violence, he can’t be part of domestic joy he made possible. He is framed by the doorway and eventually walks away.
That image of the man outside the doorway is germane today, in a different and even more tragic manner. Over the past few decades, millions of men have been caught on the wrong side of a historic transition, unable to cross the threshold into the new economy.
Their plight is captured in the labor statistics. Male labor force participation has been in steady decline for generations. In addition, as Floyd Norris noted in The Times on Saturday, all the private sector jobs lost by women during the Great Recession have been recaptured, but men still have a long way to go.
In 1954, 96 percent of American men between 25 and 54 years old worked. Today, 80 percent do. One-fifth of men in their prime working ages are out of the labor force.
As Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute has put it, “The situation here is basically a disaster, a crisis far worse than most commentators and policy makers seem to recognize, and with no clear prospects for appreciable improvement over the near-term horizon.”
The definitive explanation for this catastrophe has yet to be written. Some of the problem clearly has to do with changes in family structure. Work by David Autor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that men raised in fatherless homes, without as many immediate masculine role models, do worse in the labor force. Some of the problem probably has to do with a mismatch between boy culture and school culture, especially in the early years.
But, surely, there has been some ineffable shift in the definition of dignity. Many men were raised with a certain image of male dignity, which emphasized autonomy, reticence, ruggedness, invulnerability and the competitive virtues. Now, thanks to a communications economy, they find themselves in a world that values expressiveness, interpersonal ease, vulnerability and the cooperative virtues.
Surely, part of the situation is that many men simply do not want to put themselves in positions they find humiliating. A high school student doesn’t want to persist in a school where he feels looked down on. A guy in his 50s doesn’t want to find work in a place where he’ll be told what to do by savvy young things.
There are millions of men on the threshold. They can see through the doorway to what’s inside. But they’re unable or unwilling to come across.