By Nathan Bierma

Content & Context

The Books & Culture Weblog

2 of 2iconview all


• Religion, or profession of it, will play a role in this year's presidential election, as noted last week. But which religion? George W. Bush is an ex-Episcopalian, ex-Presbyterian Methodist. Howard Dean is an ex-Catholic Episcopalian. Wesley Clark says he is a Catholic who goes to a Presbyterian church. "In most of the world, faith-hopping of this sort is simply unheard of," writes David Brooks in the New York Times . But not in the United States, where religion emphasizes personal experience over tradition and is generally "optimistic and easygoing," Brooks says. Secular elites continue to worry about religious fundamentalists, but "real-life belief, especially these days, is mobile, elusive and flexible." Brooks doesn't say whether this is good or bad (risking the implication that it is good), but he does note that politics remains an area where dogmatic rhetoric endures, suggesting an odd scenario: "If George Bush and Howard Dean met each other on a political platform, they would fight and feud. If they met in a Bible study group and talked about their eternal souls, they'd probably embrace." Full story/bloggers' response

Alan Wolfe: a "one-nation" election strategy on religion, in the Boston Globe
First Things on Wolfe's new book about generic religion in America
  • Fourth of July parades, the American Revolution is remembered as a valiant populist triumph over an oppressive empire. But to a sizable minority of colonial settlers loyal to the throne—including Benjamin Franklin's estranged son—the rebellion was an exercise in arrogance and sanction for their persecution. After the war, many Loyalists fled the new country, some to Central America, others to Canada's Atlantic coast. David DeVoss travels to New Brunswick for Smithsonian magazine to sit in on a meeting of historical reenactors celebrating the struggle of the Loyalists and the American roots of their town.  Excerpt and PDF
  • for centuries, cod have been fished in the northeast Atlantic ocean and the Irish sea. Now overfishing and warmer water are threatening cod, hake and other white fish with extinction. The trick for the European Union, which regulates fishing off the continent, is to reduce fishing to allow cod to breed without devastating the fishing industry. The London Guardian reports on what the EU has decided. Full story/series
Related: War over whaling and fishing, from the Economist
Earlier:  Fishing and the world's oceans (fourth item here)

•Know this about the colon: academic publishers would suffer without it, says the Chronicle of Higher Education. The colon has become a regular in titles produced by university presses, irritating some. "We joke about the title and subtitle needing colonoscopies," says an editor at the University of Chicago Press. The Chronicle suggests the colon is inserted for business purposes. Twenty years ago, libraries were four-fifths of the market for academic publishers; now general audiences make up four-fifths of sales. To lure them, publishers will give a book a snappy title, relegating the longer one to the subtitle after the colon. Then again, says one publisher, "There have always been a lot of colons in academic publishing. It's not the colon that's a problem. It's whether the title is clunky or not." Full story

Related: Lynne Truss's surprise best-seller on punctuation, from the New York Times

* Links with an asterisk request registration, or you can log in with member name and password of "bcread"

Previous/Archive/About/Feedback/Links/CT blog

Nathan Bierma is editorial assistant at Books & Culture.

2 of 2iconview all

Most ReadMost Shared