Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst stands alongside his painting, 'Men Shall Know Nothing 2008' / AP

Damien Hirst’s wares are exhibited in one room of the National Gallery, a cramped elevator lobby on the bottom floor that leads directly into a gift shop. For anyone else, the placement could be mistaken for an insult; for Hirst, the metaphor fits. Hirst came from humble and troubled beginnings—from the bottom floor of society, so to speak. Early in life he fell in with a bad crowd and had several run-ins with the law, but soon after discovered his talent for showmanship and salesmanship. His professional ascent was meteoric, easily outstripping the young Brits who competed against him for attention in the 1990s. Now the begoggled businessman sits commandingly in the industry C-suite.

Editor's Blog

Russia: U.S. Must Separate Syrian Rebels, Terrorists Before Condemning Assad

AP

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday the United States needs to fulfill its commitment to separate moderate Syrian rebel forces from terrorist groups before condemning the Bashar al Assad regime over a new United Nations report finding Syria has continued chemical weapons attacks against civilians.

The Middle East’s Good Old Days

Syrian citizens gather at the scene where two blasts exploded in the pro-government neighborhood of Zahraa, in Homs province, Syria in Feb. 2016 / AP

After nearly eight years in office, most observers would conclude that President Barack Obama has done little to advance, and may well have undermined, American interests in the Middle East. While he would tout the Iran nuclear deal as perhaps his greatest foreign policy achievement, a debatable proposition in itself, the region is embroiled in a series of crises the current administration seems unable to address or understand.

In their masterful new book, Ray Takeyh and Steve Simon contend that in the not too distant past the United States was far more successful in the region.

Poor Little Rich Girl

Patty Hearst

Who now remembers Barbara Hutton, the poor little rich girl? Oh, we might be able to dredge up from the recesses of memory or the depths of Wikipedia a few stray facts about her—the much-married heiress of the Woolworth five-and-dime fortune, perhaps the richest girl in the world, who managed to fritter away the equivalent of a billion dollars between her coming-out party at age 18 in 1930 and her death at age 66 in 1979.

We might even remember the original cause of her fame or infamy: that coming-out party, a debutante ball that cost nearly a million dollars (in today’s terms) during the depths of the Great Depression.

Can American Colleges Be Fixed?

Oregon State University

It’s a common complaint among conservatives that tenured professors at many state schools “radicalize” students with Marx and gender theory rather than teach them and are lazy, living royally off of state funding and federal student loans. Online and competency-based education will fix both, according to critics like Ron Johnson and Scott Walker, by limiting professors’ unchecked power and improving efficiency with market-based solutions.

There’s just one problem, according to Peter Augustine Lawler, the Dana Professor of Government at Berry College and a regular contributor to National Review, Modern Age, and many other conservative publications: It won’t work.

Kafka in the Pampas

Antonio di Benedetto

There are three types of novels. Antonio di Benedetto’s Zama, an Argentinian novel from 1956 now republished by New York Review Classics in a new English translation, is the third type. And that is both the good news and the bad.

The first kind of novel is the kind most people think of as defining the very notion of the novel, the kind that reached full flower in the 19th century, the realistic novel. Its most well known practitioners are authors like Austen, Dickens, and Thackeray in England, as well as authors further afield such as Tolstoy in Russia, and Flaubert or Zola in France. Its American oddball relatives include Twain and Melville.

Government Funds to Mylan Spiked After Manchin’s Daughter Became CEO

Heather Bresch

Government funds awarded to Mylan, Inc. increased drastically after Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D., W.Va.) daughter took over as its chief executive officer.

The pharmaceutical company Mylan has come under scrutiny this week for the price hike of its EpiPen, an autoinjector used to counter allergic reactions. The life-saving device was sold wholesale at $55.64 in 2009. The price for the EpiPen had skyrocketed to $317.82 by 2015, an increase of 416 percent.

The Middle East’s Good Old Days

Syrian citizens gather at the scene where two blasts exploded in the pro-government neighborhood of Zahraa, in Homs province, Syria in Feb. 2016 / AP

After nearly eight years in office, most observers would conclude that President Barack Obama has done little to advance, and may well have undermined, American interests in the Middle East. While he would tout the Iran nuclear deal as perhaps his greatest foreign policy achievement, a debatable proposition in itself, the region is embroiled in a series of crises the current administration seems unable to address or understand.

In their masterful new book, Ray Takeyh and Steve Simon contend that in the not too distant past the United States was far more successful in the region.

Poor Little Rich Girl

Patty Hearst

Who now remembers Barbara Hutton, the poor little rich girl? Oh, we might be able to dredge up from the recesses of memory or the depths of Wikipedia a few stray facts about her—the much-married heiress of the Woolworth five-and-dime fortune, perhaps the richest girl in the world, who managed to fritter away the equivalent of a billion dollars between her coming-out party at age 18 in 1930 and her death at age 66 in 1979.

We might even remember the original cause of her fame or infamy: that coming-out party, a debutante ball that cost nearly a million dollars (in today’s terms) during the depths of the Great Depression.

Can American Colleges Be Fixed?

Oregon State University

It’s a common complaint among conservatives that tenured professors at many state schools “radicalize” students with Marx and gender theory rather than teach them and are lazy, living royally off of state funding and federal student loans. Online and competency-based education will fix both, according to critics like Ron Johnson and Scott Walker, by limiting professors’ unchecked power and improving efficiency with market-based solutions.

There’s just one problem, according to Peter Augustine Lawler, the Dana Professor of Government at Berry College and a regular contributor to National Review, Modern Age, and many other conservative publications: It won’t work.

Kafka in the Pampas

Antonio di Benedetto

There are three types of novels. Antonio di Benedetto’s Zama, an Argentinian novel from 1956 now republished by New York Review Classics in a new English translation, is the third type. And that is both the good news and the bad.

The first kind of novel is the kind most people think of as defining the very notion of the novel, the kind that reached full flower in the 19th century, the realistic novel. Its most well known practitioners are authors like Austen, Dickens, and Thackeray in England, as well as authors further afield such as Tolstoy in Russia, and Flaubert or Zola in France. Its American oddball relatives include Twain and Melville.

Government Funds to Mylan Spiked After Manchin’s Daughter Became CEO

Heather Bresch

Government funds awarded to Mylan, Inc. increased drastically after Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D., W.Va.) daughter took over as its chief executive officer.

The pharmaceutical company Mylan has come under scrutiny this week for the price hike of its EpiPen, an autoinjector used to counter allergic reactions. The life-saving device was sold wholesale at $55.64 in 2009. The price for the EpiPen had skyrocketed to $317.82 by 2015, an increase of 416 percent.