Quote IconOne of the most grating myths in modern America: that travel engenders self-discovery. The very notion of “finding” yourself is comically absurd. You are you; there is not another version you out there in the world, just waiting to be found. And searching for this new you while, say, roaming the Amazon is liable only to make you feel more lost.

Finally, a Classic Portrayal of the Ugly American Backpacker. By Ryan Kearney. 

Tumblr fans, in case you’ve missed it, TNR’s latest issue is here!

In this issue, Alec MacGillis explains how Paul Ryan convinced Washington of his genius, Timothy Noah describes how Mitt Romney would squash the recovery, Molly Redden confronts the perils of running against Todd Akin, T.A. Frank rides out the recession at Disneyland, Ken Silverstein buckrakes around the world with Tony Blair, and Nathan Heller reflects on the cranky wisdom of Peter Kaplan.

PLUS, David Denby laments the profit motive in American movies, David Thomson wonders why American movies don’t aspire to greatness, Mark Lilla recounts how a religious revolution secularized society, and Ruth Franklin tackles Zadie Smith’s identity crisis. Also, don’t miss Robert Alter on the King James Bible, and Leon Wieseltier on U.S. foreign policy.

Click here to access the October 4th issue and much more!

Tinker, Tailor, Boredom, Why?

The first season of Showtime’s suspenseful television series “Homeland” came to a controversial close this past Sunday evening, and Tomas Alfredson’s film “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” has been released recently to lukewarm praise.

Both, are recent successful, high-profile spy thrillers. But do their portrayals of intelligence communities really get spy games right?

Read TNR film critic David Thomson on why so much is lost in translation in Hollywood’s attempts to depict intelligence communities, here.

Photo courtesy of USA Weekend.

You hear it said, now that the final Harry Potter movie is out, that we will all miss Harry, Ron, and Hermione, along with Daniel, Rupert, and Emma, and it may be that no trio of young actors has ever had such success in a series of pictures. But, fondness aside, I’m not sure how much more of these actors we’ll be seeing. They are no longer children; as young adults, they may find themselves chained to the Rowling franchise in the public mind, and they may seem old-fashioned. The timeless people I’ll miss are Voldemort and Snape, yet the Potter movies have done more than establish Ralph Fiennes and Alan Rickman. They have given these actors a threshold to greatness.