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December 5, 2005 | The Nation

In the Magazine

December 5, 2005

Cover: Cover by José Chicas/Avenging Angels

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As Lolita turns 50 Lila Azam Zanganeh assesses the
cultural impact of Nabokov's nymphet; John Banville reviews
Party in the Blitz, the final book in Nobel laureate Elias
Canetti's series of memoirs; and Richard Goldstein ponders Geena
Davis's telegenic version of an American President.

Letters

THE MAORI STILL FIGHT FOR JUSTICE

Somerville, Mass.

Editorials

Emile Capouya, literary editor of The Nation from 1970-1976, was
both a working man and an intellectual, who brought trade book
publishing to European standards and lived to oppose and be ground down
by conglomerates.

On November 11 longtime Nation contributor Robert Scheer
learned he'd been fired by the Los Angeles Times, where he has worked as
a reporter and columnist for thirty years.

Is Commander-in-Chief softening up the country for President
Hillary? Americans may not not be ready to put a woman in the White
House, but they may have calmed down enough to contemplate the
pleasures of female power.

Until the Bush Administration is held accountable by Congress for
its propaganda, manipulation of the truth and assaults on journalism,
freedom of the press will exist in name only.

The winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature wrote this 2005 editorial in The Nation, addressing the issue of the artistic imagination at risk in a repressive state.

Power-friendly reporters like Judith Miller are easily manipulated
by selective leaks. But what we need now is more civil disobedience by
whistle-blowers exposing renditions, acts of torture and the flagrant
abuse of power.

Undoing the savage inequalities of the Bush era will require a
titanic fight, but the new-found courage of GOP moderates hints that
significant changes are in the wind.

Columns

The conduct of the war in Iraq has embarrassed us, lowered us, endangered us and betrayed our best ideals. The debasement of our soldiers and the lawlessness of our leaders is shocking, merciless and infinitely destabilizing.

Lack of candor is not surprising from Bush or Ahmad Chalabi, but why does the New York Times continue to struggle with the truth about Judith Miller? The Gray Lady might solve the problem by banning anonymous Administration sources in its news reports. If they're going to lie to us anyway, why not under their own names?

Karl Rove and his Singing Slimemeisters riff You Go To My
Head.

Articles

Long before oil dominated geopolitics, rum was the original global
commodity, tying Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Caribbean in a
complex web of trade and credit. And Bacardi was the original
multinational.

Home equity--for those lucky enough to own a house or condo--is a
primary source of economic security. But unsold inventory, rising
interest rates and record levels of mortgage defaults are making the
future look grim.

The scramble for petroleum by developing countries worldwide is
reshaping global geopolitics in favor of oil-rich nations like Iran,
Venezuela and Sudan.

For twenty-five years, Kurdish guerrillas have battled the forces of
the Turkish state. For a while, things began to settle down, but the US
occupation of Iraq changed all that.

When George W. Bush met Muhammad Ali at the White House last week, the
Champ had one last rope-a-dope up his sleeve. You don't have to guess
who won this match.

If the United States is to extricate itself from the Iraq debacle, the
first step is to break up the cabal of Bush Administration officials
who have led the nation to war.

Capitalizing on Bob Woodward's revelation that he was one of the first
to learn about Valerie Plame's CIA status, Scooter Libby's legal team
hopes that will get their client off the hook. That turkey won't fly.

Books & the Arts

Book

American readers have long felt guilty about loving Lolita.
As Vladimir Nabokov's nymphet heroine turns 50, Lila Azam Zanganeh
traces the impact of a novel that has become both an icon and a
cultural cliche.

Book

Jerome Charyn's Savage Shorthand: The Life and Death of Isaac
Babel
examines the life the revolutionary idealist murdered by
Stalin in 1940 and explodes the literary myths that have thus far
defined his works.

Book

Gabriel García Márquez's new novella begins as an
autobiography, but the passion-filled story of an old man, mad with
love and clinging to life, weaves Marquez's other fiction into the
tale.

Book

Amartya Sen's latest collection of essays explores the rich flow of
various peoples in and out of India and how they shaped the politics
and spirituality of the nation today.

Book

The Caribbean island of Vieques is a fitting setting for Captain
of the Sleepers,
Cuban novelist Mayra Montero's engrossing story
premised on violations of the dead.

Book

New biographies of Rousseau and Voltaire help us appreciate how
very fragile the eighteenth century's great movement of ideas was, and how remarkable it is that the Enlightenment not only survived but flourished.

Book

Two new volumes in the Library of America series present the life
and work of James Agee, whose flashes of greatness as an essayist,
screenwriter, novelist and Nation film reviewer have
secured his place in the American literary canon.

Book

Is jazz really dead--or has it simply moved to a cooler location?
Four new books take a scholarly look at a musical genre that is on the
wane in America, but finding new life and new audiences in Europe.

Book

Andrew Delbanco's new biography of Herman Melville reveals that the
great writer came to realize that what torments men is not the longing
to believe that there is meaning in the universe, but that behind the
longing lies fear of nothingness.

Book

Admired from a distance and reviled up close, Laurence Olivier
could establish a relation with his audience that was like an
infection. His official biography chronicles a personal life of an
actor who altered the cultural compass of a nation.

Book

Party in the Blitz, the final volume of Nobel laureate Elias
Canetti's memoirs, is a chaotic, horribly fascinating memoir of a man
who was a slave to love, an omnivorous intellect and a literary giant.

Book

When Joe Louis defeated Nazi sympathizer Max Schmeling in 1938, it
was the boxing match that reverberated across the world. Three new
books chronicle the match and all the racial and political turmoil of
which it was an emblem.