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Jackson Lears: Ralph Nader’s novel

8 April 2010
Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 
by Ralph Nader.
Seven Stories, 733 pp., $27.50, September 2009, 978 1 58322 903 3
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... In certain precincts of American political culture, the mere mention of the name RalphNader still provokes scowls. Many Democrats remain convinced that Nader’s presidential campaign in 2000 cost Al Gore the White House and ushered in the calamitous reign of George W. Bush. The obsession with Nader is at first puzzling: blame for Bush’s ascendancy can ...

Speaking Azza

Martin Jay: Where are you coming from?

28 November 2002
Situatedness; Or, Why We Keep Saying Where We’re Coming From 
by David Simpson.
Duke, 290 pp., £14.50, March 2002, 0 8223 2839 9
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... American, a Catholic, a breast cancer survivor, upper-middle class, a college drop-out, twice divorced, a fashion victim or second in birth order in her family in understanding why she campaigned for RalphNader in the last American Presidential election? Which of these characteristics defines her identity? Is it, moreover, really possible to embed opinions and prejudices squarely in a specific ...

How Do You Pay?

Bee Wilson: Falling for Michael Moore

1 November 2007
Citizen Moore: An American Maverick 
by Roger Rapoport.
Methuen, 361 pp., £8.99, July 2007, 978 0 413 77649 5
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Manufacturing Dissent 
directed by Rick Caine and Debbie Melnyk.
October 2007
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directed by Michael Moore.
October 2007
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... how to cover the Sandinistas, but it seems that Moore had also alienated most of the staff and consistently failed to meet deadlines); and Moore’s Weekly, a kind of media watch funded in part by RalphNader. Each of his editorships had the same faults: a focus on a tediously small range of subjects, a tendency to preach to the converted, a lack of attention to detail, a brash tone, too much ...


Jonathan Lethem: My Egyptian Cousin

12 December 2002
... still serves a purpose. I have tried to understand it this way: imagine that the President of the United States, rather than ignoring the bee-stings of a dissident leftist – Noam Chomsky, say, or RalphNader, perhaps Michael Moore – had had him imprisoned. Astonishment would quickly give way to fear of speaking out. The incarceration of one person, the right person, can be an act of the most ...

In No Hurry

Charles Glass: Anthony Shadid

21 February 2013
House of Stone 
by Anthony Shadid.
Granta, 336 pp., £14.99, August 2012, 978 1 84708 735 5
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... they had forgotten their Arabic and were deserting their churches. They graduated from peddling linens and household gadgets to practising law and medicine. Prominent Lebanese Americans like RalphNader, Michael DeBakey, William Peter Blatty, Senator James Abourezk and General John Abizaid rarely visited Lebanon itself. As attached as some were to their grandmothers’ cooking and to bits of ...

The Fight for Eyeballs

John Sutherland: The Drudge Report

1 October 1998
... and has a new arrangement with Fox which seems to be holding (although they may well drop him if his forthcoming legal problem – read on – turns ugly). These, presumably, pay his overheads. Like RalphNader, Matt Drudge’s hermit lifestyle validates his bona fides. Romantically he likes to pose for publicity photographs in battered fedora and trenchcoat, like a Thirties city desk news hound. If ...
17 December 1992
The American way of Birth 
by Jessica Mitford.
Gollancz, 237 pp., £16.99, October 1992, 0 575 05430 1
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... Birth we have experienced Woodward and Bernstein on Watergate, documentary photos from Vietnam, the Iran-Contra hearings, Foucault’s deconstructions of the ideology of institutions, the reports of RalphNader and his consumer watchdogs, feminist critiques of the crimes of an all-pervasive patriarchy, revelations of widespread child abuse and incest, new-journalistic explorations of the criminal mind ...

Plan it mañana

Geoffrey Hawthorn: Albert O. Hirschman

10 September 2014
Wordly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman 
by Jeremy Adelman.
Princeton, 740 pp., £27.95, April 2013, 978 0 691 15567 8
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The Essential Hirschman 
edited by Jeremy Adelman.
Princeton, 367 pp., £19.95, October 2013, 978 0 691 15990 4
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... was the economists’ answer. If something is too expensive or won’t do for other reasons, one tries something else. This is choice, and the way perfect markets work. Hirschman corresponded with RalphNader, who sent a stream of examples; ‘our system,’ as Nader put it, ‘has institutionalised “exit” into an ideology and remedy for a wide variety of abuses.’ But the defective cars that ...
30 November 2000
... another retreat. This is not a good omen of leadership to come. Every vote counts: that is more a question than a lesson of this election. Yet a lesson about our democracy did come courtesy of Ralph ‘I’m No Scapegoat’ Nader. Vote your conscience, he urged us, as if the election were not winner-take-all, as if ours were a system with proportional representation. Many of his supporters have ...

Grande Dame

D.A.N. Jones

18 July 1985
With Open Eyes: Conversations with Matthieu Galey 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated by Arthur Goldhammer.
Beacon, 271 pp., £19.95, October 1984, 0 8070 6354 1
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The Dark Brain of Piranesi, and Other Essays 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated with the author Richard Howard.
Aidan Ellis, 232 pp., £9.50, June 1985, 0 85628 140 9
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by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated with the author Walter Kaiser.
Aidan Ellis, 105 pp., £8.95, January 1984, 0 85628 138 7
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Coup de Grâce 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated with the author Grace Frick .
Black Swan, 112 pp., £2.50, October 1984, 9780552991216
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... of international rebellion against the Vietnam war. When Galey tries to place her in some ‘Left’ or ‘Right’ Parisian category, she instructs him about ecology and conservation (‘The name of RalphNader is little-known in France ...’) and the malevolent influence of television and advertising (‘I don’t need salesmen coming into my house to hawk their wares ...’). He asks: ‘Would you ...

‘My God was bigger than his’

Colin Kidd: The Republicans

4 November 2004
The Right Nation: Why America Is Different 
by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge.
Allen Lane, 450 pp., £14.99, August 2004, 0 7139 9738 9
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Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet 
by James Mann.
Penguin, 448 pp., $16, September 2004, 0 14 303489 8
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Nixon’s Shadow: The History of an Image 
by David Greenberg.
Norton, 496 pp., £9.99, November 2004, 0 393 32616 0
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America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism 
by Anatol Lieven.
HarperCollins, 274 pp., £18.99, October 2004, 0 00 716456 4
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... prepared to abandon laissez-faire economics when wage and price controls seemed a more promising means of confronting inflation. On the bare facts of policy Nixon appears to have more in common with RalphNader than with today’s Republican leaders. Yet the electorate knew – and some of them liked it – that the authentic voice of Nixonian politics was the snarl of resentment. Anatol Lieven’s ...

Hedonistic Fruit Bombs

Steven Shapin: How good is Château Pavie?

3 February 2005
by Robert Parker.
Dorling Kindersley, 1244 pp., £45, December 2003, 1 4053 0566 5
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The Wine Buyer’s Guide 
by Robert Parker and Pierre-Antoine Rovani.
Dorling Kindersley, two volumes, £50, December 2002, 0 7513 4979 8
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directed by Jonathan Nossiter.
November 2004
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... much of the bullshit, and strives for as much descriptive reference as he’s capable of and which the language allows. Parker sees his vocation as that of ‘consumer advocate’ and his hero is RalphNader. Before Parker came to the rescue, the wine consumer had, in his view, been taken for a ride: the class-ridden Anglo-French trade and their British wine-writer lackeys had mystified wine; they ...

Cheese and Late Modernity

Steven Shapin: The changing rind of Camembert

20 November 2003
Camembert: A National Myth 
by Pierre Boisard, translated by Richard Miller.
California, 254 pp., £19.95, June 2003, 0 520 22550 3
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... why Bové spent only six weeks in jail, and why Lionel Jospin called his action ‘just’: the defence of fine French food against American anti-cuisine was recognised as a moral act. Invited by RalphNader later that year to the demonstrations against the World Trade Organisation in Seattle, Bové underlined the point, smuggling some unpasteurised Roquefort past American customs officers and ...

Obama v. Clinton: A Retrospective

Eliot Weinberger: A Tale of Two Candidates

3 July 2008
... each in different ways, hopeless. He has generated little enthusiasm among Republicans: in the last two months of the primaries, after he had already won, 25 per cent of them voted against him. As RalphNader did to Gore in 2000, the Libertarians Bob Barr and Ron Paul will chip away Republican votes. McCain’s reputation as a ‘maverick’ on the Straight Talk Express is based on the McCain of ...
25 October 2012
Age of Fracture 
by Daniel Rodgers.
Harvard, 360 pp., £14.95, September 2012, 978 0 674 06436 2
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... the free market. But few movements achieve all of their aims; failure, as Weber taught us, is an occupational hazard in any kind of politics. Rodgers adds that it was often liberals like Breyer, RalphNader and Ted Kennedy who helped pioneer the political turn to the market. In 1975, Kennedy sponsored legislative hearings about the negative market effects of federal regulation of the airlines – ...

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