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1980 / October | View All Issues |

October 1980

Letters

4-5, 8 PDF

Letters·

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Article

5, 8 PDF

The heavenly city·

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The easy chair

10, 12-13 PDF

Ordeal by fire·

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Casting the candidates into bronze

Article

14-16, 18, 20 PDF

Terms of endearment·

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Legislating love

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21-26 PDF

Conservatism in America·

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A small circle of friends

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28, 30-31 PDF

Respectable terrorism·

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When its victims become violent

Article

33--36, 38-40 PDF

Unprofitable war·

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Debasing the currency with arms

Fiction

57-61 PDF

The copper balloons·

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A short story

Poetry

62 PDF

In the beginning was the word·

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Poetry

62 PDF

To you·

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Collection

62-63 PDF

Four poems·

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Poetry

63 PDF

Song of the hogan·

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Poetry

63 PDF

Promises·

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Article

64-68, 70-72, 74 PDF

Moscow games·

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Notebook from a forbidden Olympics

In our time

75 PDF

In our time·

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In our time

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Style note·

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The counsel of the dead

76 PDF

The counsel of the dead·

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The counsel of the dead

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The counsel of the dead·

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Movies

78-80, 82-85 PDF

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Movies

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The man in the movies·

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Books

86-89 PDF

Rescuing the ark·

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Conservation and paternalism in Madagascar

In print

90-91 PDF

In print·

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In print

90-91 PDF

Literary gluttony·

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Sating the binge-reader

American miscellany

92-93 PDF

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American miscellany

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Fantastic voyage·

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In the realm of pure thought

Puzzle

96 PDF

New directions·

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“In Season 5 of Louie (FX), Louie is a new kind of superhero. Like Wonder Woman, the canonical superhero he most resembles, Louie’s distinctive superpower is love.”
Illustration by Demetrios Psillos
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On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.

In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.

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“It is disappointing that parts of Purity read as though Franzen urgently wanted to telegraph a message to anyone who would defend his fiction from charges of chauvinism: ‘No, you’ve got me wrong. I really am sexist.’”
Illustration by Shonagh Rae
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“In Karachi, sometimes only the thinnest of polite fictions separates the politicians from the men who kill and extort on their behalf.”
Photograph © Asim Rafiqui/NOOR Images
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“Defining 'native' and 'invasive' in an ever-shifting natural world poses some problems. The camel, after all, is native to North America, though it went extinct here 8,000 years ago, while the sacrosanct redwood tree is invasive, having snuck in at some point in the past 65 million years.”
Photograph by Chad Ress

Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:

65

An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.

A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.

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