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!
Just because it’s always good to look at the past with open eyes, here’s a new piece by Matt Dallek:
Criticism of Reagan has been largely absent from the political discourse of the nation. Reagan’s most ardent supporters have refused to tolerate it. During the week of his funeral, “Those who weren’t remembering Reagan in the politically approved way—who credited him for his gracious demeanor, say, or sense of humor—were derided as patronizing,” wrote Thomas Kunkel, dean of the University of Maryland College of Journalism. “And those who actually had the audacity to point out that as president, Reagan alienated millions of people at home and abroad, were blasted as unpatriotic.” When CBS announced plans to air an unflattering television mini-series about Ronald and Nancy Reagan in 2003, conservatives boycotted the network. Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie called upon CBS to provide disclaimers announcing that the program was fiction. Instead, CBS canceled it and the cable network Showtime ran the series. When Barack Obama announced during the 2008 presidential campaign that he wanted to engage Iran using diplomacy, as Reagan had once done with the Soviet Union, William J. Bennett, Reagan’s secretary of education, responded by co-writing an article in National Review taking umbrage at any comparison between Reagan and Obama.
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.”