FROM Jane Loeffler
Should America Use 'Soft Power' in the Middle East? In the aftermath of World War II, the United States was known for generosity to allies and former enemies. Lately, the US is seen as an international bully as President Bush and his neo-conservative advisors project America's "hard power" militarily and economically. Now, isolated and overstretched, as the wars grind on in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US is losing the battles even some Administration officials now say should be fought with "soft power." Even Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a recent reference to this prime American asset when he said that American has "a variety of tools. Not all of them are hammers." What is "soft power?" Are Iran and China beating the US at what used to be its own game? How could "soft power" serve America's interests in a world of terrorism and nuclear weapons?
James Mangold on 'Logan' and fighting franchise fatigue Filmmaker James Mangold has been making character-driven dramas for more than 20 years, but lately, he's been in the X-Men superhero business. In his latest film, Logan, Hugh Jackman plays the slashing Marvel mutant one last time, so Mangold wanted to make something more nuanced than the usual comic-book movie.
LA's legendary restaurants, Gwen, cardoons, Dock to Dish 2.0 Melissa Clark switches up the dinner game with her latest cookbook, “Dinner,” and George Geary shares stories of the iconic restaurants where’s Tinseltown’s elite once dined. Jonathan Gold treats himself to meat from the butcher shop at Gwen, and Michael Cimarusti makes a pitch for a new seafood tracking system called Dock to Dish 2.0. Plus: Chef Casey Thompson shops for cardoons at the Santa Monica Farmers Market.
George Saunders: Lincoln in the Bardo (Part I) Lincoln in the Bardo dramatizes a grieving President Lincoln as he visits the grave of his beloved son Willie, who died at age eleven. In the novel, the buried dead believe they're not dead -- "they're sick and refer to their coffins as "sick boxes."