There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
If the phrase “Let freedom ring” makes you quiver with so much patriotic fervor that you dislodge two or three magnetic car ribbons, pause for a moment to consider why. In World as Laboratory: Experiments With Mice, Mazes, and Men, historian and anthropologist Rebecca Lemov writes of our country’s recurrent enthusiasm for human engineering: “If one could quantify and control the internal area of the personal self…then the running of a modern society would require less brute external force.” Puts a new spin on “Compassionate Conservatism,” doesn’t it? Lemov’s book explores the notorious CIA-backed psychedelic experiments of the mid-20th century, as well as many less insidious—or less obviously insidious—academic studies and social programs. If you don’t think that there’s only a hairbreadth between Americans controlling others and Americans controlling Americans, have a look at who’s making that ringing sound: It might be Pavlov. Ask for whom the bell tolls when Lemov reads at 1 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Pamela Murray Winters)