Roth, whose sexually scandalous comic novel “Portnoy’s Complaint” brought him literary celebrity after its publication in 1969 and who was eventually hailed as one of America’s greatest living authors for the blunt force and controlled fury of his dozens of later works
.. His lifelong themes included sex and desire, health and mortality, and Jewishness and its obligations — arguably his most definitive subject
.. He could write about these international issues because he was truly cosmopolitan, a global citizen who was grounded by American culture.”
.. A 2006 survey by the New York Times Book Review of the best books since 1981 found an astonishing six of Mr. Roth’s novels among the top 22.
.. “Going wild in public is the last thing in the world that a Jew is expected to do.”
.. In 1962, Mr. Roth shared a panel with “Invisible Man” author Ralph Ellison and Italian novelist Pietro di Donato during a symposium at Yeshiva University. Again he was denounced by questioners who thought he was undermining Jews. Mr. Roth later recycled the incident in “The Ghost Writer,”
.. it also won praise from prominent reviewers for being playful and moving, a masterpiece on guilt.
.. “Nathan Zuckerman is an act. Making fake biography, false history, concocting a half-imaginary existence out of the actual drama of my life is my life. There has to be some pleasure in this job, and that’s it. To go around in disguise. To act a character. To pass oneself off as what one is not. To pretend. The sly and cunning masquerade.”
.. In her book, Bloom draws herself as caged by an often wrathful Mr. Roth, describing his emotional gamesmanship as “Machiavellian.”
“Philip’s novels provided all one needed to know about his relationships with women,” Bloom wrote, “most of which had been just short of catastrophic.”
.. Mr. Roth’s powerful, probing, mocking literary voice largely failed to translate in Hollywood
.. “He goes on and on about the same subject in almost every single book,” Callil said. “It’s as though he’s sitting on your face and you can’t breathe.”
.. Yet when Mr. Roth announced his retirement in 2012, it was soon revealed that the author was cooperating with biographer Blake Bailey.
The Necessary Immigration Debate
as mass immigration increases diversity, it reduces social cohesion and civic trust
.. the trust problem is not a simple matter of racist natives mistrusting foreigners, since social trust is often weakest among minorities — which is one reason why the most diverse generation in American history, the millennials, is also the least trusting.
.. It’s one reason why campus politics are so toxic, why Democrats struggle to keep their diverse coalition politically engaged
.. Then linked to these ethno-cultural tensions are the tensions of class, where mass immigration favors stratification and elite self-segregation.
.. regions and cities with the largest immigrant populations are often the wealthiest and most dynamic.
.. The hinterlands are also filled with people who might want to move to wealthier regions (or who used to live there) but can’t because an immigrants-and-professionals ecosystem effectively prices out the middle class.
.. Thus our rich and diverse states also often feature high poverty rates when their cost of living is considered, while second and third-generation immigrants often drift into the same stagnation as the white working class
.. Which in turn encourages them toward mild contempt for their fellow countrymen who don’t want to live under a cosmopolitan-ruled caste system
.. For some pro-immigration Republicans this contempt is Ayn Randian: We’ll all be better off with more hard-working immigrants and fewer shiftless mooching natives. For pro-immigration liberals it’s the predictable cultural triumphalism: The arc of history is long, but thanks to immigration we won’t have to cater to heartland gun-clingers any longer.
In both cases there’s a fantasy of replacement that’s politically corrosive, and that’s one reason why Donald Trump is president and Jeb! and Hillary are not.
.. Hence my own view that keeping current immigration levels while bringing in more immigrants to compete with our economy’s winners and fewer to compete for low-wage work represents a reasonable middle ground.
Stephen Miller blasted a reporter as ‘cosmopolitan.’ But he lives in a $1 million CityCenter condo.
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller famously used the adjective “cosmopolitan” to insult CNN’s Jim Acosta during an exchange in the White House briefing room last week, implying that the journalist somehow bore an air of swampy elitism.
But wait, what’s that expression about people in glass houses?
It turns out that Miller calls home a nearly $1 million condo in CityCenter, one of Washington’s poshest addresses and a complex that proudly offers residents an upscale, urbane lifestyle. With high-end international retailers such as Hermès and Gucci on the street level alongside fancy Italian, Asian and French eateries, the building is billed as “the new ideal for sophisticated, modern, urban living.” Also in the marketing materials is the slogan: “You are where you live.”
.. Miller bought the two-bedroom CityCenter condo in 2014 for $973,000, according to property records. The unit comes with a hefty condo fee of nearly $1,800 a month. At the time, he was a 28-year-old Senate staffer with a $129,000 salary — not too shabby for a public servant. He plopped down a half-million dollars toward the purchase price, according to records.
.. The buyer for the property is listed as “Stephen Miller Cordary, Inc.,” a company whose address is the same as that of Cordary Inc., the Los Angeles-based real estate company that his father, Michael Miller, owns. Cordary operates condo complexes called California Villages, and on his congressional financial disclosure forms, Stephen Miller identifies himself as holding an unpaid position of vice president with that company dating to 2010.
Trump Knows How to Push Our Buttons
The Trump administration hopes “Democrats will react by defending immigration and look ‘soft on gangs,’ ” aware that “if they push the envelope on this issue they can get coverage for their efforts and drown out Democratic efforts to change the topic.”
.. Brodnitz described Trump’s tactics as offering “ideas that sound really outlandish but that they believe have popular support — at least with their core voters” and that the Long Island speech was based on “the hope that Democrats would look more concerned about criminals than about crime and its victims.”
.. it has been difficult for the Democrats to recruit key white voters to consider an economic agenda in the face of concerted efforts by the Trump campaign and his administration to shift the focus to crime.
.. the percentage of Americans who said they had “great respect” for the police had risen from 64 percent in 2015 to 76 percent in 2016.
.. I think, yeah, a lot of people, whites anyway, think that the police are too constrained. When I watch the anarchists tear up Oakland, which happens pretty regularly, a part of me thinks “where are the 1968 Chicago police when we really need them?” These thugs behave the way they do in part because there are no consequences. Also, we see a lot of cases on TV where someone is resisting arrest, the police wrestle him down and hit him a few times, and then there are complaints about excessive force. Heavens’ sakes, if someone doesn’t comply with an order, what are the police supposed to do?
.. “Trump is endorsing the lex talionis — an eye for an eye,” Jonathan Haidt, the author of “The Righteous Mind” and a professor of ethical leadership at N.Y.U.’s Stern School of Business, wrote in an email. In his own surveys, conducted at YourMorals.org, “only a subset of people on the right endorse such beliefs; it’s basically the authoritarians, not the Burkean or ‘status quo’ conservatives.”
.. One question Haidt’s survey asks respondents is whether they agree or disagree with the idea that “a criminal should be made to suffer in the same way that his victim suffered.”
Haidt said “progressives strongly reject it, and it correlates fairly well with politics — the farther right you are, the more you endorse it.”
.. It appeals to one of our worst angels, the desire for “rough justice” — quick and brutal revenge inflicted on a suspected wrongdoer. The ultimate evolutionary rationale for revenge, vendettas, blood feuds, mob violence, summary justice, lynching, vigilantes, deadly ethnic riots, the code of the streets, and other forms of rough justice is deterrence: if a person anticipates getting beaten up for exploiting people, he’ll think twice about exploiting them.
Trump, in Pinker’s view, has focused on the most primitive and regressive emotions among voters:
.. Pinker sees this as part of an ongoing struggle.
The appeal of regressive impulses is perennial. The forces of liberalism, modernity, cosmopolitanism, the open society, and Enlightenment values always have to push against our innate tribalism, authoritarianism, and thirst for vengeance.
at times in history the darker forces prevail — the two world wars, the American crime wave from the 1960s to early 1990s, the rise of civil war in the developing world over that same period. These darker forces, moreover, are not just raw instincts, but often rationalized in ideologies.
.. This puts the Democrats in a dangerous position. The more they succeed in pushing Trump up against a wall, politically speaking, the more they risk the possibility that the he will inflict real damage, whether it is hostile engagement abroad or increasingly aggressive attacks on democratic institutions at home.
.. In an excerpt that was published by Politico, Flake describes
the strange specter of an American president’s seeming affection for strongmen and authoritarians created such a cognitive dissonance among my generation of conservatives — who had come of age under existential threat from the Soviet Union — that it was almost impossible to believe.
.. What Flake recognizes, and what Democrats are only coming to realize, is that Trump represents a systemic assault on the legitimacy of America’s democratic processes, an attack that needs to be countered by far more that a modest collection of economic policies organized under the rubric “a better deal.”