Magazine March 24, 2014, Issue

Through a Glass, Very Darkly

Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy, and the Secret History of the Russian State, by Mark Lawrence Schrad (Oxford, 512 pp., $35)

If you cannot face going to Russia to see the real thing — in a dank Moscow underpass perhaps, or a broken attempt at a village — the best introduction to that nation’s drinking culture is to meet up with Venya, the narrator of Venedikt Erofeev’s Moscow to the End of the Line, a strange, bleakly comic, forbidden masterpiece of the early Brezhnev era. In the course of its first page, he drinks four vodkas, two beers, port “straight from the bottle,” and then, more vaguely, “something else.” It’s downhill from there.

In meandering, chaotic prose, Erofeev describes a drink-sodden, phantasmagoric

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

We Few, We Very Few

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed Defense Department budget for fiscal year 2015, unveiled in late February, has set off a firestorm of outrage, and for good reason. Of course, in one ...
Politics & Policy

The Greatest

‘Even before Liston had become world heavyweight champion,” Muhammad Ali recounted in The Greatest: My Own Story, “I knew he was the fighter I would have to beat if I ...

Features

Politics & Policy

Cross Purposes

The good news coming out of the just-concluded legislative battle in Arizona is that religious freedom remains what it has been there, undiminished by Governor Jan Brewer’s veto of a ...
Politics & Policy

Oil Flowing Freely

Mexico City — ‘Although the neoliberal dogma was already forgotten in other countries, including those that imposed it decades ago,” writes Jesús Ortega, editor of a prominent Mexican left-wing magazine, ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

The Master

Since its publication last October, Charles Krauthammer’s Things That Matter has been a runaway bestseller. As of this writing, it has spent 17 weeks on the New York Times bestseller ...
Politics & Policy

Message Movie

In this authoritative telling of the making of Sidney Lumet’s widely admired 1976 film Network, Dave Itzkoff leaves no stone unturned. Included are endlessly detailed accounts of every stage of ...
Politics & Policy

Brick House

Contemporary Hollywood is built around projects that studio types like to describe as “pre-sold,” meaning that they have titles and stories that prospective audiences instantly recognize, and brands that require ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Seeger Singing If I were sure that more than 10 percent of National Review readers were fully aware of the range of contributions to music by Pete Seeger — his reputation ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Maybe the president should visit Alaska: He can’t quite see a credible Russia policy from his house. ‐ Following the path of least resistance, Republicans have decided on a 2014 ...
The Long View

NSA Surveillance

Document Extract: Telephone intercepts, Oval Office   10:43 Begin Extract: POTUS: “Hello?” Unidentified Female Voice: “Yes? Hello? Who is this please?” POTUS: “May I speak to Mr. Putin, please?” UFV: “Oh, no, no. Mr. Putin is ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

LEGACY Let God persuade you What it’s going to mean, How thoroughly You will be off the scene; And hand it over now: The shade you chose For the walls, your coffee maker, Climbing rose. No archive and no Velvet ...
Happy Warrior

Multiply and Be Fruitful

Last May, Harvard economic historian Niall Ferguson stepped on a cultural landmine. He joked that sainted liberal economist John Maynard Keynes supported deficit spending because he was gay. Spoken by ...

Most Popular

Elections

About the ‘Suitcase’ Video

The video is more powerful than anything the Trump team has come up with to this point because (1) it’s video, which is always more powerful; (2) the story seemingly told by the snippet so intuitively lines up with the fraud narrative — Republican observers are asked to leave late at night and then, boom, new ... Read More
Elections

About the ‘Suitcase’ Video

The video is more powerful than anything the Trump team has come up with to this point because (1) it’s video, which is always more powerful; (2) the story seemingly told by the snippet so intuitively lines up with the fraud narrative — Republican observers are asked to leave late at night and then, boom, new ... Read More
Media

‘The Children of Pornhub’

In a lengthy reported piece for the New York Times out today, columnist Nicholas Kristof tells the stories of children who were raped or sexually abused and who had videos of their mistreatment uploaded to the Internet pornography site Pornhub. From Kristof’s reporting: Its site is infested with rape videos. ... Read More
Media

‘The Children of Pornhub’

In a lengthy reported piece for the New York Times out today, columnist Nicholas Kristof tells the stories of children who were raped or sexually abused and who had videos of their mistreatment uploaded to the Internet pornography site Pornhub. From Kristof’s reporting: Its site is infested with rape videos. ... Read More
World

Trump Pulls American Troops Out of Somalia

President Trump on Friday ordered almost all American troops to be withdrawn from Somalia, following similar reductions in U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Pentagon announced that the majority of the approximately 700 troops in Somalia will leave the area by January 15. Many are expected to ... Read More
World

Trump Pulls American Troops Out of Somalia

President Trump on Friday ordered almost all American troops to be withdrawn from Somalia, following similar reductions in U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Pentagon announced that the majority of the approximately 700 troops in Somalia will leave the area by January 15. Many are expected to ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Can Joe Biden Pardon Himself?

John Yoo argues that once he’s president, he can. He mentions the contrary possibility that the pardon power mentioned in the Constitution was understood to refer to a power to pardon someone other than the pardoner. He does not, however, defeat this possibility. He stacks the deck by presenting the argument ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Can Joe Biden Pardon Himself?

John Yoo argues that once he’s president, he can. He mentions the contrary possibility that the pardon power mentioned in the Constitution was understood to refer to a power to pardon someone other than the pardoner. He does not, however, defeat this possibility. He stacks the deck by presenting the argument ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Biden’s Unhelpful Mask Stance

On the menu today: Joe Biden brings his own problems to the national stage, declaring that he wants Americans to wear masks until the end of his first 100 days in office -- well after the 100 million most vulnerable Americans will be vaccinated! -- and warns that the nation’s death toll from the pandemic will ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Biden’s Unhelpful Mask Stance

On the menu today: Joe Biden brings his own problems to the national stage, declaring that he wants Americans to wear masks until the end of his first 100 days in office -- well after the 100 million most vulnerable Americans will be vaccinated! -- and warns that the nation’s death toll from the pandemic will ... Read More