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American Exceptionalism

May 15, 2012 | By Robin Abcarian
On Monday, shortly after delivering a speech to the graduating class of Barnard College extolling the role of women in public life, President Obama continued his theme with a visit to ABC's “The View.” His appearance will be broadcasted Tuesday. It was his fourth time on the show, his second as president. The ladies of “The View” like the president, and as it turns out, he's pretty good for them; in July 2010, the president helped the distaff gabfest earn its best ratings ever (6.59 million people watched the show, according to the network)
February 5, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Despite persistent polarization in Washington, a bipartisan consensus is emerging around the proposition that too many Americans are incarcerated for too long. Democrats tend to emphasize the injustice of excessive sentences that disproportionately affect racial minorities. Republicans are more likely to stress the cost of over-incarceration. But the common ground is real and significant. Last week, by a vote of 13 to 5, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Smarter Sentencing Act, sponsored by Sens.
February 12, 2012 | By Frederick Lynch, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Coming Apart The State of White America, 1960-2010 Charles Murray Crown Forum: 407 pp., $27 Charles Murray's new book is hardly the bombshell that placed him on the Politically Incorrect Ten Most Wanted list 18 years ago when he co-wrote "The Bell Curve" with Richard J. Herrnstein in 1994. But by providing a data-driven argument for inequality's cultural and sociological roots, "Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010" arrives just in time for the central political and policy debate in the 2012 elections: What is the nature of the widening gap between the rich and everyone else - and what can, or should, be done about it?
March 2, 2004 | David Greenberg, David Greenberg's new book, "Nixon's Shadow: The History of an Image," recently won the Washington Monthly Political Book Award for 2003.
By the end of his career, the Pulitzer Prize-wining historian Daniel Boorstin, who died last weekend at 89, had come to be derided in some quarters as a conservative. In an age that viewed national myths with skepticism, Boorstin celebrated American exceptionalism and touted Western achievements.
December 2, 2011 | By Tom Engelhardt
If you want a gauge of an America on the downward slope, you could look at the recent poll commissioned by the newspaper the Hill, in which a startling 69% of respondents said they considered the country to be in decline. Or you could just consider the soaring language of this season's presidential candidates. Mitt Romney, in a recent Republican debate on foreign policy, was typical, insisting that "this century must be an American century" in which "America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world.
September 17, 2013
Re "The end of U.S. exceptionalism," Opinion, Sept. 12 Apparently vexed by the "oddness" of President Obama's speech on Syria last week, Timothy Garton Ash's commentary is an odd piece itself. The term "exceptionalism" was used in the title but never again appeared or explained thereafter, hence leaving the reader guessing. "Exceptionalism" in this article could mean "isolationist" at times and "interventionist" at others, or both, depending on the zeitgeist. Parenthetically, for your "average" American reader, "exceptionalism" has often been thought of as American material and cultural superiority.
October 24, 2010 | By Jon Caramanica, Special to the Los Angeles Times
So the options are these: You laugh with Kenny Powers, you laugh at Kenny Powers, you laugh at yourself for not laughing at Kenny Powers, you laugh at everyone else who does laugh at Kenny Powers. How about just not laughing? Now in the middle of its second season on HBO, "Eastbound & Down" remains one of the most perverse, confounding shows on television, a miasma of upturned middle fingers, offhand racism, casual drug use and profanity, all buoyed by a potent sense of American exceptionalism.
September 21, 2012 | By Benjamin R. Barber
The outcome of November's presidential election will affect the entire world. Yet until the attack on our consulate in Libya, issues of foreign policy and globalization were nearly absent from the political discourse. There was talk at both parties' political conventions about American exceptionalism and the nation's exalted place in the world, but little was said about the need for common action with other nations to secure our imperiled common planet. Even former President Clinton stuck to the domestic agenda at his party's Charlotte, N.C., convention.
March 26, 2011 | By Susan Salter Reynolds, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Sarah Vowell is an intellectual melting pot. Her cleverness is gorgeously American: She collects facts and stores them like a nervous chipmunk, digesting them only for the sake of argument. Her curiosity is fueled by indignation. She insists, like a good empiricist, on seeing the people and places she writes about. She is the queen of that great American institution: the road trip. Pride, irritation and a kind of slightly sour laugh that is a common result of high irony are frequent responses to her work.
September 10, 2012 | By Paul H. Robinson
It can sometimes take a tragedy to reveal a truth. Who does not remember where they were on Sept. 11 when they heard that the towers had come down? But terrible times also can provide insight that might otherwise never come. In 2001, I was teaching in Chicago. My main break from work was frequent participation in a daily pickup soccer game that I stumbled onto soon after arriving in town. It was a virtual United Nations, with players from Argentina, Russia, Germany, Iran, Italy, Turkey, Georgia, Brazil, Poland, Korea, China and Mexico.
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