Mark S. Weiner

Archive for March, 2013|Monthly archive page

“Breviosity” Review

In Rule of the Clan on March 29, 2013 at 6:38 pm

The blog Breviosity, created by Martin Hewson, Professor of Political Science at the University of Regina, in Saskatchewan, Canada, has published a brief, very kind review of The Rule of the Clan, here, after publishing an earlier comment about the book (here). I really enjoy the thoughtful, meditative tone Hewson takes on his blog—it’s well worth visiting!


“Think”: Why We Need to Embrace Public Institutions

In Conversations, Rule of law on March 27, 2013 at 6:42 pm

I was interviewed today by Krys Boyd for her program “Think” on KERA, a National Public Radio affiliate for North Texas based in Dallas. Krys was an excellent and intelligent interviewer, and she clearly had read my book carefully. We had a lively, wide-ranging conversation for about an hour. You can download a podcast of the show here. A streaming version is available here. Or—just use this audio player:

I’ve spent a lot of time in Texas—in Austin, in the Rio Grande Valley, and in East Texas—and I love the state, so I was especially happy to appear on KERA. Plus there was an added treat. As soon as my interview ended, I learned that the next author to be interviewed, immediately up, was Anne Lamott! Her book Bird by Bird was really important to me when I read it back in 1995, and I happened to take it off the shelf and put it on my desk just two days ago.


“In Praise of Forced Marriage”

In Afghanistan, Cross-cultural encounters & comparisons, Gender, Pakistan, Rule of the Clan on March 26, 2013 at 9:22 am

This morning the Wall Street Journal published this critical review of The Rule of the Clan by Felipe Fernández-Armesto, a professor of history the University of Notre Dame. I’m happy to receive the review (as I’ve noted here, I begin each morning with a bracing perusal of the Journal’s editorial page), and I send my greetings across the blogosphere to Fernández-Armesto and to readers who support his views—from which, I hope, all right-minded people will recoil in head-shaking disbelief.

Without writing more extensively about the review than it warrants, I’d like to use it as an opportunity to clarify my own views, because Fernández-Armesto’s remarks represent the kind of worrying trend in American political culture and intellectual life I criticize in the book: the rejection of the modernist values of the liberal Enlightenment.

Fernández-Armesto frames his review by recounting a story I tell in Chapter Three involving a civilian analyst for the U.S. Central Command. During one of his tours of Afghanistan, the analyst witnesses the proceedings of a Pashtun tribal jirga adjudicating a case of murder. In a practice known as swara, the council prevents a blood feud between the victim’s family and the perpetrator’s family by forcing the sister of the murderer to marry the brother of the murdered man.

As Fernández-Armesto notes, I indicate that “the young woman had no choice in the matter,” and I criticize the custom because it violates her autonomy.

Fernández-Armesto takes me to task for precisely this criticism, suggesting that I “can’t appreciate” that the “Afghan newlyweds may feel fulfilled as peacemakers.” He accuses me of endorsing “one-size [fits all] individualism.” Read the rest of this entry »

Why Clans Now? An Interview on Concurring Opinions

In Conversations, Guest Posts, India, Rule of the Clan on March 19, 2013 at 2:03 pm

The blog Concurring Opinions has published this interview with me about The Rule of the Clan conducted by Deven Desai. I talk with Deven about some of the ideas in the book and how I came to write it.

My only regret is that we sensibly decided to cut part of the interview in which I warn Deven that my ability to sing Bollywood songs in the original Hindi has expanded beyond this classic—and that he’ll be subjected to my expanded repertoire the next time he visits Connecticut:

Indian friends will know the meaning of the words.

“Accessible, mesmerizing, and compelling”

In Rule of the Clan on March 18, 2013 at 10:01 am

A positive review of The Rule of the Clan by Jillian Abbott was posted today in the New York Journal of Books.

Interview on WNYC

In Conversations, Rule of the Clan on March 13, 2013 at 8:00 pm

I was interviewed today on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC. To listen to the interview, click here—or use the audio player directly below. Happily, while I was in the studio, I also had the chance to meet performance artist Marina Abramović, and on my way down the elevator, I saw John Sexton, president of NYU, waiting in the lobby. After the interview, my wife and I had a celebratory lunch at Chipotle, and then we took in the wonderful first installment of the Audubon show at the New York Historical Society.

Thanks to everyone at WNYC for an enjoyable conversation!


A Writing Playlist

In Autobiographical, Guest Posts, Rule of the Clan on March 12, 2013 at 8:45 am

Here is a piece that appeared on Farrar, Straus and Giroux’s The Hive about the music I listened to while writing The Rule of the Clan—which is out today!

Want to protect individual freedom? Have a strong central government

In Conversations, Rule of the Clan on March 11, 2013 at 2:12 pm

The American Bar Association just posted this interview with me about The Rule of the Clan. You can listen to my conversation with editor Lee Rawles of the ABA Journal directly on the website or download it as an audio file—or you can use the audio player below. The book will be released tomorrow.

Object Lessons

In Autobiographical, Rule of the Clan on March 4, 2013 at 3:09 pm

With just eight days to go until the release of The Rule of the Clan, I’ve created an autobiographical photo essay for my publisher. You can access it on Flickr here. You can become part of Farrar, Straus and Giroux’s online Facebook community, The Hive, here.

P1020145 copy