The Daily Digest of Arts and Argument

TOOBIN VS. THE WORLD First Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff complained, and Jeffrey Toobin, the author of the Clinton scandal book A Vast Conspiracy had to make changes to the book’s paperback edition. Now everyone’s demanding a correction. Plus, kausfiles gloats.

WOULD IT KILL YOU TO FLY? Why, yes, in fact, it might. A pilot explains why and when airplanes go into deadly spirals. And see the Atlantic Monthly’s William Langewiesche on the unsuspected hazards of the banked turn. For the mysteries and pleasures of flight, read James Fallows. To read National Transportation Safety Board reports on airplane accidents, click here. AviationWeb and Aviation Weekly provide useful news on airplane safety and development. To monitor the progress of a domestic flight, click here.

I, INIGO A number of readers of this page have asked me about my name. I am not the Inigo Thomas who wrote “Spherical Retinal Flow for a Fixating Observer,” nor the subject of a painting mislaid by the British government (scroll down), nor a relation of a 19th-century garden designer. Inigo Jones was a 17th-century architect and set designer. Inigo Montoya was played by Mandy Patinkin in The Princess Bride. Ignatius de Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, was originally called Inigo. The Feast Day of St. Inigo is June 1. And Inigo, more properly, should be Iñigo

MEET MARTIN AMIS His memoir, Experience, arrives in stores this week. To read excerpts, click here; to read an early review, click here; to read an Amis interview with Saul Bellow, click here; for everything you ever wanted to know about Martin Amis—interviews, essays, etc.—click here

Welcome to the war over genetically modified comestibles. The New Scientist asks whether GM potatoes are toxic. Greenpeace argues that GM food should be banned, while the Food and Drug Administration beefs up its oversight and explains why GM foods are safe. Writing in the Scientist, Henry Miller sorts through the recent controversy over a National Academy of Sciences report on how DNA-manipulated plants should be regulated.  

EXPERIENCE FRANK GEHRY Frank Gehry’s latest building, the Experience Music Project in Seattle, will house Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s museum for contemporary music. Has Gehry become the greatest architect alive?

GOSSIP, GOSSIP EVERYWHERE The Internet has transformed information; it’s also transformed gossip. Hardly a week goes by without the arrival of a new site devoted to “inside” news. The latest,, launched last Wednesday. Other well-informed sites include Jim Romenesko’s MediaNews, Page Six, Gossip Central (an index of all the major gossip columnists), Mediaweek, and Publishers Lunch

D.L. Ashliman’s Folklore and Mythology Web site is an incomparable guide to fairytales ancient and modern. For tales of frog kings click here, for child-custody battles (timeless Elián González tales, you could say) click here, and for various versions of Snow White click here

A new book on Darwinism by bioethicist Peter Singer splits the difference between left and right: Human nature may not be cooperative, says Singer, but that doesn’t mean society must be competitive. And by the way, whatever happened to Darwin’s collaborator, Alfred Russell Wallace?

THANK INDIA Martha Nussbaum reads India’s constitution as a challenge to the feminist view that privacy is antithetical to equality. Related: Roe vs. Wade.

QUANTUM COMPUTING = LIFE A new book wonders whether the universe is essentially a quantum computer—and physics and computer science nothing more than “different ways of describing the same phenomena.” Also, Thomas Powers reviews Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen, a play about the moral dimensions of physics. And novelist A.S. Byatt considers how the scientific consciousness is transforming art.

Eating oysters may alleviate a testosterone deficiency. Also, Andrew Sullivan’s paean to the male libido  and Culturebox’s reply.

BETTY FRIEDAN’S LIFE SO FAR Friedan says her husband attacked her. He denies it: “I am proud of what Betty did in the world, but she is slightly on the insane side,” he tells the Boston Globe. “He was no wife-beater,” says Friedan, “and I was no passive victim. I’m very hot-tempered and so is he. He’s bigger than me. So I ended up with the black eyes.”

“Over the past few years, Americans of the educated class have … taken perverted sex, which for centuries has been thought to be arousing or sinful or possibly dangerous, and … attempted to make it socially constructive.”—David Brooks in an excerpt from his new book, Bobos in Paradise. —Related: Why is there so much sex on television?

HIS HUMAN STAIN “[Philip Roth] has become a vulgar naturalist of the emotions, a kind of H.G. Wells of the inner life—bludgeoningly explicit, crudely emphatic, always turning the convoy of consciousness into a freight train of emotions,” says James Wood in the New Republic. OK, OK, but can he write about African-Americans? Brent Staples says, yes, he can, and darned well. “[The novel’s] particular hero-fool is arguably the most socially intriguing character to whom Roth has ever devoted himself,” says Lorrie Moore in the New York Times Book Review.  Charles McGrath interviews Roth.

Illustrations by Nina Frenkel. Photographs of: Experience Music Project from Reuters/Corbis; Betty Friedan from AFP.