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!
End Zone isn’t really a book about football or a book about warfare or a book about football as metaphor for warfare. It isn’t even a book about the cliché of football as metaphor for warfare. It’s a book about cliché, about metaphor. About aboutness. It’s a book about the words that exist beyond speech, about the sinister beauty that arrives when words escape their meaning. End Zone is a book about the secret practices hidden from sight within the world of Logos. It’s about the substitutes we need, not in spite of but because of the fact that we have the real thing. It’s about the game we all play at one time or another where we pretend that our finger is a gun. –“On Don Delillo’s End Zone“ by editor Christopher R. Beha, in Tin House
Horrible or wonderful: Devo’s focus-grouped comeback album;
related: how much does it cost to buy a pot for the world’s most expensive flowers?;
The first recorded use of the word revenge occurred in 1375, and porn came into common parlance in 1962, as shorthand for pornography. But the combination of the words is very much of the moment. Indeed, revenge porn popped up on Urban Dictionary as recently as October 2007, defined as “homemade porn uploaded by an ex-girlfriend or (usually) ex-boyfriend after particularly vicious breakup as a means of humiliating the ex.” While the act can lead to criminal charges, there’s some debate over whether revenge porn, per se, ought to be codified as a crime. What’s clear, however, is that it is part of the digital-age Zeitgeist. The ease of recording and transmitting sexually explicit images, the rise of Internet exhibitionism, and the ubiquity of a Girls Gone Wild mentality have created the contemporary version of writing “Jenny gives good head” on the bathroom wall. –“Revenge Porn,” Richard Morgan, Details
If advertising is indeed a powerful medium for truth-telling, then so what, right? Watch Mary Wells, founder of Wells Rich Greene and one of the most successful and influential ad executives of the 1960s and 1970s, explain how she helped Braniff Airlines make air travel hip and fashionable by convincing the company to paint its planes, redecorate their interiors, and clothe its stewardesses in new uniforms. Watch Tommy Hilfiger explain how, after George Lois devised a campaign that equated the then-unknown designer with Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, he worked harder than he ever had on his next clothing line to measure up. Great advertising, these anecdotes suggest, isn’t about figuring out clever ways to hide a product’s flaws or tricking us into buying things we don’t really want or need. It’s about showcasing a product’s inherent desirability in ways that resonate, even if that means going back to the drawing board and revising the product itself. Wells’ campaign for Braniff turned a formerly utilitarian part of travel—getting there—into an entertaining experience. The artificial status Lois conferred on Hilfiger inspired him to produce his best-designed clothing yet. Advertising, in short, can make the world better. –“The Visible Persuaders: Advertising as a medium for truth-telling,” Gary Beato, Reason
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.
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.”