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From Jacob Heilbrunn in National Interest:
Only now does Charles Freeman become truly interesting. Freeman, who has withdrawn from being named chairman of the National Intelligence Council, triggered an intense dispute over his suitability for the post. On the one side are neoconservatives and liberal hawks. On the other side are realists and chastened hawks, such as Andrew Sullivan, who has deemed the campaign waged against Freeman “repulsive.”
Of course Sullivan is right. By this point, it’s difficult not to be repelled by many of the tactics used to tar Freeman as a Saudi mole or a China stooge or anti-Israel, or all three at one and the same time…
There were legitimate reasons to question Freeman’s appointment, most notably his stance on China. But his statements about Israel hardly reached the level of animus that, for example, the National Review detected, deeming him a “savage critic of Israel.” This was absurd. But conducting an open, fair interrogation of his views was clearly not the aim of his critics. Instead, the affair has had the whiff of a purge trial, in which the hanging judges had decided his fate from the outset.
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.
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“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.”