Sound Smart, Read These: Torture, Dementia, Murder, The Peace Corps and Jonathan Lethem

by |
05/22/2009 4:25 PM |

Is torture a perversion of American ideals, or a logical result? Noam Chomsky has an opinion. Would you like to guess what it is?

Live long and prosper (mentally): the keys to remaining lucid after 90 are mental stimulation and social interaction. Or, as the ladies of the Laguna Woods retirement community call it, bridge. (Is this that noteworthy, or am I just foisting my long-range fears and obsessions on you here?)

“Thus the choice is: the Peace Corps as instrument of America’s soft power, deploying marines without rifles — or the Peace Corps as educator of upper-middle-class Americans, opening the eyes of the privileged to destitution.” Examining the Peace Corps and American volunteerism.

“Police in Iran believe they have caught the country’s first female serial killer and are claiming she has disclosed a literary inspiration behind her attempts to evade detection: the crime novels of Agatha Christie.” I’m going to need to let this settle a bit before I come up with a satisfactory response.

New fiction from Jonathan Lethem, in this week’s New Yorker.