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
For the past three years my dosimeter had sat silently on a narrow shelf just inside the door of a house in Tokyo, upticking its final digit every twenty-four hours by one or two, the increase never failing — for radiation is the ruthless companion of time. Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly. During those three years, my American neighbors had lost sight of the accident at Fukushima. In March 2011, a tsunami had killed hundreds, or thousands; yes, they remembered that. Several also recollected the earthquake that caused it, but as for the hydrogen explosion and containment breach at Nuclear Plant No. 1, that must have been fixed by now — for its effluents no longer shone forth from our national news. Meanwhile, my dosimeter increased its figure, one or two digits per day, more or less as it would have in San Francisco — well, a trifle more, actually. And in Tokyo, as in San Francisco, people went about their business, except on Friday nights, when the stretch between the Kasumigaseki and Kokkai-Gijido-mae subway stations — half a dozen blocks of sidewalk, which commenced at an antinuclear tent that had already been on this spot for more than 900 days and ended at the prime minister’s lair — became a dim and feeble carnival of pamphleteers and Fukushima refugees peddling handicrafts.
One Friday evening, the refugees’ half of the sidewalk was demarcated by police barriers, and a line of officers slouched at ease in the street, some with yellow bullhorns hanging from their necks. At the very end of the street, where the National Diet glowed white and strange behind other buildings, a policeman set up a microphone, then deployed a small video camera in the direction of the muscular young people in drums against fascists jackets who now, at six-thirty sharp, began chanting: “We don’t need nuclear energy! Stop nuclear power plants! Stop them, stop them, stop them! No restart! No restart!” The police assumed a stiffer stance; the drumming and chanting were almost uncomfortably loud. Commuters hurried past along the open space between the police and the protesters, staring straight ahead, covering their ears. Finally, a fellow in a shabby sweater appeared, and murmured along with the chants as he rounded the corner. He was the only one who seemed to sympathize; few others reacted at all.
Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:
Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.
An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”