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!
On my posting this morning, in which I tried not to be cynical:
I understand your cynicism about the money Obama took from the people you call (and rightly so) “the usual suspects,” but he also took money from a lot of people like me, people who never gave to a Presidential campaign before and people who gave in small amounts. Millions of us. I’m not sure what my personal contribution was, but if it topped $100, it wasn’t by much. I think that shouldn’t be dismissed. Sure, The Usuals will hope that their money has bought them influence, but so does another interest group, the small folk who gave in money, time, and enthusiasm to a degree that far overshadows the checkwriting capabilities of The Usuals. I may be wrong about this–I’m no stranger to being wrong–but I think the signal importance of Sen. Obama’s victory is that it represents a new paradigm in American politics.
I also think that he is misunderstood by those who relentlessly view politics through an ideological lens. He’s neither a liberal or a conservative but is, I suspect, a pragmatist, which is a refreshing change from what I’ve had to live through for most of my life.
I feel like I’m a citizen again.
Anyway, since we cannot have a rational republic without a questioning press, question bravely and always expose shadowy cant to the light. Good luck.
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
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.
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 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.
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.”