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It’s a new Georgetown cocktail-party game: name the single stupidest piece to run in Fred Hiatt’s opinion pages this week. So many to choose from. After a week of colossal idiocies—for instance, running an editorial arguing that the Nobel Peace Prize should have gone to a martyr of the Green Revolution in Iran, when the terms of the prize require the recipient to be alive—Gawker asks the obvious question:
Under editor Fred Hiatt, the Post op-ed page has gone completely off the rails. They picked up Bill Kristol after the Times dumped him for being not just wrong but boring and lazy. They openly allow George Will to lie, to straight-up lie, without fact-checking or corrections, because we all know reality is open to different “interpretations” and if a prominent columnist writes something patently untrue the best response is to then publish a “true” column by someone else as a counterpoint, because that doesn’t just represent everything misleading and terrible about the moden political press. They still publish Richard Cohen. The regular columnists are, for the most part, interchangeable ancient “moderate” liberals who haven’t written or thought anything vaguely interesting since 1974. Anne Applebaum was allowed to publish a blog post in support of Roman Polanski without disclosing that her husband is Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who opposes extradition. Richard Cohen, again.
And David Broder doesn’t even get a mention! But maybe the question should be put differently. What did the reporters of the Post, who are plainly at the top of the profession, do to deserve such an embarrassing editorial page?
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
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.”