Men at War


Photo of General George Patton urinating in the Rhine River

We’ll stipulate that of course the Marines who urinated on the bodies of dead Taliban in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, last year should be appropriately disciplined, assuming things are as they appear in the video.

But it’s also worth noting that pissing has a distinguished place in American military history. Most famously, General George S. Patton relieved himself in the Rhine on March 24, 1945—and made sure he was photographed doing so. Patton later recalled: “I drove to the Rhine River and went across on the pontoon bridge. I stopped in the middle to take a piss and then picked up some dirt on the far side in emulation of William the Conqueror.” (At the ...

Photo of the Constitution

Obama v. Constitution


Let us now praise the Supreme Court. We know that Newt Gingrich thinks the judiciary needs rebuking, and we agree with him to a point. But ...


AWW Shucks

The siren song of Washington, D.C.


Photo of Rick Santorum

After he almost won the Iowa caucuses earlier this month, Rick Santorum was instantly dubbed a “Washington outsider,” even an “antiestablishment candidate.” It was a convenient tag that made it easier for reporters to keep all these strange Republicans straight: Newt Gingrich, Washington insider; Michele Bachmann, mad housewife; Mitt Romney, establishment prom king; Jon Huntsman, moderate hair guy; Rick Santorum, antiestablishment Washington outsider. Like that.

But Santorum’s titles were rescinded as quickly as they were bestowed, for the press discovered certain details that undercut any claim he might have to be a Washington outsider, such as the fact that ...

Photo of media crowded together at a news conference

Much Ado About New Hampshire

What reporters say and do when there’s nothing to be said or done.


Manchester, N.H.

Photo of Mitt Romney with William J. Bain Jr. in 1990

The Bain of His Campaign

Could inflict considerable pain.


Question: Why would GOP candidates vying to establish themselves as the “conservative alternative” to Mitt Romney attack the one-time financier for ...

Photo of a donkey putting his arm around an elephant

The Circular Firing Squad

A GOP specialty.


The Republican death wish is back. It’s the habit of Republicans to do something crazy or stupid that diminishes their election prospects. Think of ...

Photo of Santorum speaking to a blue collar worker

A Sweater Vest and a Blue Collar



Manchester, N.H.
As Rick Santorum moved from Iowa to New Hampshire, his ...

Photo of Tarek Mehanna

Terrorism and the First Amendment

The right way to limit dangerous speech.


The left has not been happy with the Obama administration’s handling of the war on terror for some time now. In addition to leaving Guantánamo open, ...

Photo of Robert Gibbs, Valerie Jarrett, and President Obama at West Point

The Worst White House Aide

Valerie Jarrett’s perfect record . . . for giving bad advice.


If for nothing else, Jodi Kantor’s The Obamas will be remembered for an anecdote from 2010. After he spent hours disputing an allegation in ...

An Al Schmidt campaign poster

The GOP’s Philadelphia Story

Look which party finally won a municipal race.


Philadelphia has a lesson for national Republicans this year: Even a feuding, sometimes dysfunctional party can pull together a broad-based ...

Photo of money in a suitcase

Obama Burdens the Banks

The costliest regulation you’ve never heard of.


There are a number of pricey regulations that have received attention of late: net neutrality, new ozone standards, countless regulations stemming ...


Past Their Sell-By Date

A dwindling group of Occupiers take on the New Hampshire primary.


Photo of Vermin Supreme

Manchester, N.H.

The New Hampshire primary, more than most stops on the campaign trail, is no place for human dignity. It sits at the crossroads of abasement and overhype. It is populated by rubberneckers, drunks, moral pygmies, and publicity tapeworms—and that’s before you ever leave media HQ at the Radisson Hotel on Elm Street. 

But to make a reporter truly question his career choice, one need only cross the street to Veterans Memorial Park. While the election circus is ...

Books & Arts

Poet and Pioneer

The Keats brothers’ saga.


Painting of John Keats on his deathbed

John Keats was to Romantic poetry as James Dean was to cinema: young, gifted, and doomed. His charisma lies in the astonishing energy, humor, and inspiration that he packed into a small physical frame and an appallingly brief time frame: He died of tuberculosis aged barely 25. His eyes were always on the skies. He is the poet of the moon, of new planets and bright stars, of clouds, gold, grey, and dun, of mist, of snow, and Blue!—’Tis the life of heaven. His writing has the intensity and sensuality that belongs to us all in our twenties, when we first feel the power of our capacity to see, think, love, regret. But in Keats that luscious intimacy, that pleasurable ache of joy in beauty is made unbearably poignant by the lacerating knowledge of impending loss.

Denise Gigante takes a new approach to the familiar and tragic tale of John’s brief life, by pairing his biography with that of his younger brother ...

Photo of the Masonic eye above a pyramid

One World

Are we ready for rule by ‘the party of global governance’?


Whatever else the grandiose project of “building Europe” may have accomplished—and at this point the entire edifice seems to be teetering​—​it has proven an enormous boon to social scientists and legal scholars. Scores of research centers, study groups, and commissions ...

Image of Spinoza

Spinoza’s God

A cosmos in the mind of the harmonious philosopher.


Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) has long appealed to skeptics and secularists. In the 18th century, “Spinozism” was a synonym for atheism. Shelley channeled him in his own arguments for atheism, George Eliot translated him, Hegel and Marx admired him, and he was one of ...

Photo of snowy watchtower set in barren landscape

Dog Nights

The Gulag nightmare in an animal’s eye.


Late on a frozen, translucent night in Moscow in 1981, I took my collie out for a walk and let her off the leash on the snow-covered playground near our building in the foreigners’ compound where we lived. She was only a few months old and my half-hearted training ...

Photo of Stephen Fry in 2006

Man Onstage

The importance (?) of being Stephen Fry.


What makes Stephen Fry so (his words) “slappable .  .  . odious .  .  . punchable”? Part of it is the smug expression, the striped socks. We may also curse the ubiquity. Here he is on dramatic television (Bones), film (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of ...

Screen shot from Mission Impossible

Cruise Control

When the going gets tough, it’s deep-dish time.


On one of the lousier days of my life, taken up with hospital visits and worrisome health news about dearly loved ones, I made my exhausted way to an undeniably stupid movie on a giant IMAX screen with sound booming forth from approximately 279,000 ...


In the Bleak Midwinter

Philip Terzian, cold man


Cartoon of a man looking very happy in the snow

People are entitled to complain about bias in the media, but I’m largely indifferent to the problem. This is not because “liberal bias” doesn’t exist—I’ve been a journalist for 40 years and lifelong witness—but because it is so pervasive, and so impervious to challenge, that it is hardly worth mentioning. One might just as usefully complain about the weather. 

Or, as I prefer, about weathermen/women. I am speaking here of the meteorologists on the local news, the smiling, pivoting, late-evening forecasters who point at places on transparent maps, and keep us in a high-pressure state of anxiety about low-pressure systems coming in from the Great Lakes. I mean, I enjoy the geography lessons—Mobile is on the Gulf, Long Island is the storm-system gateway to New England—but I frankly resent their warm-weather bias. Moreover, it is just as widespread, and nearly as infuriating to me, as the other kind of bias.



In Tebow We Trust

Photo of Tim Tebow praying at a football game

Few athletes in recent years have made football as compelling to watch as Tim Tebow. The guy throws wounded-duck passes for three quarters, and still finds a way to win with overtime heroics, even though his player stats suggest that a victory is impossible. 

Of course, proclaiming his Christian faith on and off the field has made Tebow controversial to say the least. Sandra Fish, who teaches journalism at the University of Colorado, asks this supposedly provocative question at the Washington Post website: “Tim Tebow: Would we love him if he were Muslim?”


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