Don’t Run, Elizabeth!

Garry Wills

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Believers in the good and true have for some time been urging Elizabeth Warren to run for president. They don’t, most of them, expect her to win—just to hold Hillary Clinton’s feet to the fire. But Warren is already doing that, by her stellar work on the concrete issues that have long animated her—jobs, wages, bank excesses, mortgages, student loans.

Iran: The Deal on the Deal

Elizabeth Drew

Jim Lo Scalzo/epa/Corbis

Inevitably, there was much self-congratulating last week when the Senate adopted by an overwhelming bipartisan majority a proposal that would allow Congress to vote on whether to approve a final nuclear deal with Iran. But the Corker-Cardin amendment was actually quite circumscribed in its reach and import.

Bellow After Death

Gary Shteyngart

Ferdinando Scianna/Magnum Photos

The first time I tackled Saul Bellow’s Ravelstein, back in 2000, this American mind was as open to long-form fiction as any other and I wolfed the novel down in one Saturday between helpings of oxygen and water and little else. Today I find that Bellow’s comment, “It is never an easy task to take the mental measure of your readers,” is more apt than ever. As I try to read the first pages of Ravelstein, my iPhone pings and squawks with increasing distress.

The Cost of Child Poverty

Jeff Madrick

Christopher Anderson/Magnum Photos

Among the many forces contributing to the recent epidemic of tension between police and mostly black urban communities, from Ferguson to Cleveland to Baltimore, one in particular has been all too little acknowledged: America’s child poverty crisis.

Frei Otto’s Airborne Architecture

Martin Filler


Over the four decades since the Pritzker Architecture Prize was founded, its jury has taken remarkably varied approaches to the accolade. This year’s award, which will be presented in Miami next week, has taken an unprecedented twist. Two months after being informed confidentially that he’d been named the fortieth Pritzker recipient, the German architect and engineer Frei Otto died.

Stories We Can’t See

Tim Parks

Convent of San Nicolò, Treviso/Scala/Art Resource

What do we see when we read? First the page, of course, and the words printed on it. We do not really “see” characters such as Anna Karenina or Captain Ahab, or indeed the places described in novels, and insofar as we do, what we are seeing is something we have imagined, not what the author saw. Meantime, characters and places are given to us in discontinuous fragments—this kind of nose, that kind of hair, a scar, a limp, a grimace.

Tikrit: Iraq’s Abandoned City

Zaid Al-Ali

Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters

By the time Iraqi forces backed by US warplanes finally retook Tikrit from ISIS on April 3, the city was a hollow shell of its former self, and almost all of its population of about 200,000 was displaced. In the weeks since the liberation, many are seeking answers to some vital questions: How did ISIS take over the city so quickly in the first place? And what does Tikrit’s experience reveal about the way ISIS rules?

The Portrait of Miss Bart

Michael Gorra

Waddesdon Manor/National Trust

In the tableaux vivants scene of Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth, Lily Bart’s posture announces that she is herself as a work of art. She stands on display, showing what she has, and the moment at which she is most herself is also the one in which she most becomes a thing, an object consumed by those eyes, and consumed perhaps in other ways as well. For art is often sold. Lily has here turned herself into a commodity, and poses as if she’s up for auction. The scene works to literalize the idea of the marriage market.

Gay Marriage: Unthinkable or Inevitable?

David Cole

Scala/Art Resource

Twenty-five years ago, same-sex marriage was for all practical purposes unthinkable. Today, it seems close to inevitable. This remarkable shift highlights the particular difficulty of the marriage equality case that came before the Supreme Court on Tuesday—but also points to the right result. The Court has only two choices: to vindicate the demands of equality and liberty, or to validate discrimination.