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Weekly Roundup

· 7 min read
Weekly Roundup
Weekly Roundup, March 26th, 2022

Dear Reader,

We have a tremendous depth and breadth of articles for you to peruse this week. Of course, Ukraine dominates our attention, as it does most of the world. Paying subscribers can access the Quillette editorial on the invasion, Shmuel Bar provides extensive analysis of geopolitical strategy, Alexey Muraviev looks at tactical and operational issues on the ground, and Robert Ginzburg looks at the alarming rhetoric delivered by Putin to Russians at home.

Other essays which are of remarkable quality this week include AWOL Black Fathers, an astonishing memoir written by father and grandfather, John Washington, who grew up in the Jim Crow South. Putin's Russia vs Pushkin's Russia is a touching tribute to Russian literature by professor of Russian literature, Gary Saul Morson. And finally, in Anatomy of a Murder, literary scholar Jonathan Gottschall responds to a malicious review of his new book published recently in the New York Times.

Finally, don't miss our podcasts this week—and yes, that's right we have two—not just one. Jon Kay talks to the always engaging Sam Harris about Islam, Joe Rogan, vaccines, meditation, Ricky Gervais and the myth of free will.

And Scott Newman, Quillette's energetic associate editor has launched his own podcast titled 27 Rouge, with the first episode featuring Rolling Stone editor Matt Taibbi. I know you will enjoy it—have a listen.

Thanks again for all of your continuing support.

Until next week,


Ukraine’s Suffering Shows Culture Warriors What a Real War Looks Like: a Quillette Editorial
Free Thought Lives
Deterrence After Ukraine—A Critical Analysis
On February 24th, Russia invaded Ukraine with the explicit goal of eliminating its existence as an independent country. Why was Russian President Vladimir Putin not deterred by the risk of a response from the West/NATO? This question requires a review of the fundamentals of conventional deterrence,…
How Many Wars Is Russia Fighting in Ukraine?
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine began in 2014 with annexation of Crimea. The current active phase of the conflict, launched on February 24th, is characterised by the sheer scale of the invasion, the high levels of systematic violence, and Russia’s declared and undeclared objectives. The campaign…
Monkey with a Grenade
“Not even a pig shits where it eats.” So said Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev when attacking Nobel Laureate Boris Pasternak for publishing his masterpiece Dr. Zhivago abroad while still living in Russia. Mao railed against the “running dogs” of capitalism. Stalinist propaganda posters vilified prie…


AWOL Black Fathers
When my mother called me in from play one afternoon to meet the man seated in our living room, her introduction was redundant—I immediately knew who he was. And, right off, I did not like him. His absence had been a painful matter in my life. The house that
A Suicide Foretold: How Social Justice Rhetoric is Turning People off Human Rights
Something strange is happening to the human rights discourse. Few people are paying attention, but like a cat whose hair bristles before the unknown, close observers have switched to alert mode. What are we talking about? New phraseologies. Established human rights language giving way to slogans. Ne…
Putin’s Russia vs. Pushkin’s Russia
When Paolo Nori’s series of lectures on Dostoevsky at the University of Milano-Bicocca was canceled “to avoid any controversy … during a time of strong tensions” related to the Ukraine invasion, he replied: “I realize what is happening in Ukraine is horrible, and I feel like crying just thinking abo…
Anatomy of a Murder
On New Year’s Eve 2021 news of my killing began to circulate on Twitter. holy shit this is a murder — Julia Carrie Wong (@juliacarriew) January 1, 2022 I scrolled through scores of posts before I could stop myself, pausing to read replies and retweets.
Heading Into the Atom Age—Pat Frank’s Perpetually Relevant Novels
NOTE: The following essay contains spoilers. British journalist Ed West recently published an excellent essay entitled “Children of Men Is Really Happening,” in which he tied together the shrinking fertility rate wreaking demographic havoc across the globe and the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, wh…
The Death of Authority in the American Classroom
“I learned ancient Greek just so I could read Aristotle in his own language.” It was early in the fall semester of my freshman year of college and we were reading a passage from Aristotle’s Politics in a political philosophy seminar. In addition to learning Aristotle’s view that
The Western Reinvented. Again.
It has been 30 years since a Western last won the Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards. That was in 1992 and the film was Unforgiven, directed by Clint Eastwood, who also starred in it alongside Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman, and Richard Harris. On Sunday, Jane Campion’s The

Free Speech

Stephen Kershnar and the Importance of Unaskable Questions
Unpopular, unorthodox and extreme opinions no less than any others need their spokesmen, in order that our chances of discovering truths and making wise decisions be increased. ~Joel Feinberg In January of this year, SUNY Fredonia ethicist Stephen Kershnar appeared on an episode of our philosop…
How Much Real-World Extremism Does Online Hate Actually Cause?
While calls to censor hate speech and violent extremist content on social media platforms are common, there’s little evidence that online incitement leads to real-world radicalization. Ironically, such calls may actually galvanize extremists, who interpret hostile media coverage, commentary, and cen…


On DarkHorse, Ivermectin, and Vaccine Hesitancy
The following transcript comes from an interview for Iconoclast: Ideas that have Shaped the Culture Wars. It was conducted by Mark Halloran with Eric Topol on October 14th, 2021. Mark Halloran is Editor of Iconoclast. He holds a PhD in biochemistry and a BA in Behavioural Science. Eric Topol is


Quillette Podcast #184: Sam Harris on Islam, Joe Rogan, Vaccines, Meditation, Ricky Gervais, and the Myth of Free Will
Quillette podcast host Jonathan Kay asks neuroscientist, philosopher, best-selling author, and celebrity podcaster Sam Harris about the key to living a fulfilling and satisfying life (and whether it’s okay to tell your children they’re bad at sports).

27 Rouge is a podcast about nothing in particular, a sort of renaissance man’s conversation guide named in tribute to the 27 Club. Each week, Associate Editor Scott Newman sits down with interesting people to discuss everything from cocktail napkin anecdotes to the state of world affairs, cultural issues, books, movies, science, fashion, and everything in between. His first guess is Rolling Stone editor and bestselling author Matt Taibbi.

Claire Lehmann

Claire Lehmann is the founder of Quillette and a regular contributor to The Australian. Follow her on Instagram @clairelehmann

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