SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
The current uproar about John McCain’s remarks on health care is as dumb as the earlier uproar over Barack Obama and the “bittergate” scandal. McCain’s views on deregulation are important, but how much can really be read into the article he “authored” for Contingencies, that influential journal of opinion?
Here’s James Fallows on the matter:
Many people have noted that this past week was a bad time for John McCain to have published an article promising to deregulate the health insurance industry, “as we have done over the last decade in banking,” given the collapse of the banking industry due in part to that deregulation. True enough…
But my immediate reaction to the flap was to sympathize with whatever poor schlub had actually cranked out the article in question, which appeared in Contingencies, the closely-followed journal of the American Academy of Actuaries. The article just before it in Contingencies’s newest issue was “An Actuary Weighs the Proposals.” I love the magazine business.
Two things are 100% certain about this article:
1) John McCain did not write it;
2) Whoever did write it was just trying to get through the to-do deadline list for that day in the campaign office, and knew that the simplest way to do so was to cut-and-paste from existing statements on health policy.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”