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La Forge: “Captain, the tech is overteching.”
Picard: “Well, route the auxiliary tech to the tech, Mr. La Forge.”
La Forge: “No, Captain. Captain, I’ve tried to tech the tech, and it won’t
Picard: “Well, then we’re doomed.”
James Ellroy’s brand of extreme writing is fun to read. At its best, it could be addictive. The stories are told in a uniform, crazed, modern American vernacular, and with such breakneck speed, hairpin plot turns, compression, and telescoping of events that the reader needs to stop and rest from time to time. The standard noir subject matter of killings, beatings, and acts of revenge is all here, but the incidents are so closely packed and described with such loving attention to the injuries suffered that it’s hard not to feel that some limit of what the reader can bear is being toyed with:
He shot them in the back at point-blank range. Small-bore exit wounds —the cleanup wouldn’t be that big a deal….
Fulo smashed their teeth to powder. Pete burned their fingerprints off on a hotplate.
Fulo dug the spent rounds out of the wall and flushed them down the toilet. Pete quick-scorched the floor stains—spectrograph tests would read negative.
Fulo pulled down the living-room drapes and wrapped them around the bodies. The exit wounds had congealed—no blood seeped through.
Forget everything you’ve read about vampires so far. The current bloodsucking trend, achieving maximum ferocity in November with the release of the sequel to Twilight, isn’t about outsiders or immigrants or religion or even AIDS, as critics and bloggers have argued ad nauseam these past few months. There’s a much better, simpler, more obvious explanation: Vampires have overwhelmed pop culture because young straight women want to have sex with gay men. –“What’s Really Going on With All These Vampires?” by Stephen Marche, Esquire
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.”