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1980 / August | View All Issues |

August 1980

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The easy chair

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On the despotisms of everyday life

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The overset·

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One man, one moat

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Well-meaning government·

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Size and possibility

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Buttressed by gold

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God’s own network·

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The TV kingdom of Pat Robertson

In our time

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Fiction

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A short story

The counsel of the dead

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Is art all there is? Creators of the world·

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Decoding Roland Barthes·

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The obit of a structuralist

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"We all know in France that as soon as a politician starts saying that some problem will be solved at the European level, that means no one is going to do anything."
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Tom Bissell on touring Israel with Christian Zionists, Joy Gordon on the Cuban embargo, Lawrence Jackson on Freddie Gray and the makings of an American uprising, a story by Paul Yoon, and more

Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.

The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.

Artwork: Camels, Jerusalem (detail) copyright Martin Parr/Magnum Photos
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Even if federal gun-control advocates got everything they wanted, they couldn’t prevent America’s most popular rifle from being made, sold, and used. Understanding why this is true requires an examination of how the firearm is made.
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"Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing."
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Average speed of Heinz ketchup, from the mouth of an upended bottle, in miles per year:

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After studying the fall of 64,000 individual raindrops, scientists found that some small raindrops fall faster than they ought to.

The Playboy mansion in California was bought by the heir to the Twinkie fortune, and a New Mexico man set fire to his apartment to protest his neighbors’ loud lovemaking.

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Mississippi Drift

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Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'

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