A Nasty Piece of Work Unhitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchens Verso Books, 160 pages One of the journalistic impulses for which the late Christopher Hitchens will be remembered was a propensity for writing nasty obituaries of people he loathed immediately after their deaths. It was only a matter of days, sometimes hours, following the expiration of figures such as...

Life in the Iron Closet Out in Ost Berlin: Lesbians and Gays in the GDR In 1968, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) legalized homosexuality. Same-sex relations had long been proscribed by the infamous Paragraph 175, the Nazi-era law that not only criminalized homosexuality but led to the imprisonment and murder of thousands of gay people during the Holocaust. The GDR’s...

Inside Scientology's Secret World Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief By Lawrence Wright Knopf, 448 pages, $28.95 Two years ago, New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright published an exhaustive report about screenwriter and director Paul Haggis’s theretofore unknown travails in and out of the Church of Scientology. Alongside global celebrities Tom Cruise and John Travolta, Haggis, (who...

Rotten in Denmark A Danish art exhibit attacks public figures who ‘insult’ but not those who issue death threats in response

Is "The Dictator" Racist? Even before it hit theaters, Sacha Baron Cohen’s “The Dictator” – a gross-out parody of autocrats and the Western leftists who romanticize them – was met with cries that it’s racist. “Judging from the trailer,” Palestinian-American comedian Dean Obeidallah declared in a commentary for CNN.com, Baron Cohen’s portrayal is “essentially the same as white performers...

Whitewash Ron Paul’s Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired Brian Doherty, Broadside Books, 304 pages If there’s one thing that the 2012 campaign has taught us about Ron Paul, it’s that he is a bald-faced liar. Not just a run-of-the-mill liar like most politicians, but a liar so shameless that only the most slavish...

Peter Beinart's Crisis of Oversimplifying American Jews Peter Beinart wants to be able to be proud of Israel.

Daze of War: The Russia-Georgia Conflict on Film 5 Days of War a film by Renny Harlin (Anchor Bay, USA, 2011) The new film 5 Days of War, which purports to recount the 2008 conflict between Russia and Georgia, opens with an epigraph attributed to the American politician Hiram Warren Johnson: “The first casualty of war is truth.” It’s a strange way to begin...