Close Reader

In Paris, the Olympics are all about judo

Jingoism is bad enough but someone else’s jingoism is truly excruciating

The Syrian gun market as horoscope

New York Times reporter C. J. Chivers says weapons are expensive so bad things lie ahead

Arafat poisoned, world fails to notice

Al Jazeera asks: was Arafat murdered using radioactive polonium, like Russian dissident Litvinenko?


Fast and Furious ‘scandal’ is a GOP hatchet job

The gun lobby lambasts the Obama administration for not seizing enough guns. An election year irony

Zadie Smith on libraries and the state of the state

How did something as fine and useful as a public library become an ideological issue?

Did Bashar al-Assad pay for this photo?

In 2008, French President Nicolas Sarkozy brought Bashar al-Assad in from the cold. Why?


What made Khaled Saeed a symbol?

All humans are imperfect but imperfect symbols don’t work: they get vilified for political purposes

Art = money, surprise!

The Barnes Foundation and a Gerhard Richter show make an old point about art and money in a new way

Horst Faas: the man who shot the Vietnam War

Many of the photos we know from the Vietnam War are due to Horst Faas, even ones he didn’t shoot


What did Nixon really know about Watergate?

Ron Rosenbaum points out Nixon ran the cover up but we still don’t know if he ordered the burglary

Kony2012, the final indignity

What if you throw a party for one hundred million people and no one comes?

Mad Men is populated by Richard Nixon’s silent majority

When it comes to race, has Mad Men left the biggest lie until last?


What Steve Jobs saw in 1985

The most compelling reason to buy a home computer 27 years ago? The internet.

Why the global warming skeptics are skeptical

It is politics, not science. Global warming skeptics fear opening the door to government regulation

Why is it so hard to get word out of Syria?

Homs is bad enough but what is happening right now in Aleppo, in Suweida, in Deir ez-Zur?


The New York Times opens up its photo morgue

The coolest thing? The backs of the prints. The most surprising? The site is on Tumblr

Did the Renaissance invent individuality in portraiture?

Andrew Butterfield says yes; the Fayum portraits suggest no

Romney has not gotten a job in a decade

It is a good thing Romney is rich because he is basically unemployable


Ghost of Judith Miller returns to the NY Times

In the form of Ronen Bergman, whose cover story on Israel attacking Iran reads as propaganda

Ahmed Basiony and the cost of revolution

The protesters in Tahrir Square preached non-violence, but the Mubarak regime did not

What the New York police are taught about Islam

Muslims are taking over the world. Run! No, fight! No, run!


The ‘inheritance project’ and Mubarak’s last hours

The film hindi going on behind the scenes during the last days of Egypt’s First Family

The Fantastic Four of the Republican race

A robot, a kook, and two flawed moralizing Catholics is really the best that the GOP can offer us?

Finally, propaganda I can believe in

The UK Foreign Office makes a stout defense of multiculturalism, just in time for the Olympics