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!
Yet castrated boys paid a price—physically, emotionally and socially—in exchange for subsistence or betterment, as the case might be. First and foremost, the boys—as young as seven and as old as 13 or 14 (onset of puberty was later in those days)—had to endure the operation itself, typically performed by itinerant licensed surgeons from the town of Norcia in the province of Umbria….As to how the operations were performed…[writes]Nicholas Clapton, countertenor and author of “Alessandro Moreschi and the Voice of the Castrato” (Haus Publishing), apparently the most frequently used procedure was one in which the boy was made drunk or semi-conscious by means of alcohol and/or opium, or else by pressure on the carotid artery—even more dangerous. He was then placed in a warm bath to ‘loosen up’ the relevant parts of the anatomy, and the spermatic ducts were then cut by incision. A more extreme procedure removed the whole scrotum and its contents with a slicer called a castratore.” –“Age of the Castrato,” Jason Zasky, Failure
Instead of having matches in the traditional sense, for example, anarchists could just kick the ball around. Or they could organise “open-ended pick-up games”, in which no-one keeps score, people join in and leave when they feel like it, and play continues until too many players have wandered off the pitch, or everyone is tired. A third option is for players to swap sides occasionally, discouraging team loyalties. Or three or more teams take turns to play, with the “losers” being replaced each time someone scores. –“Kick it Good,” Laura Spinney, More Intelligent Life
Yankee subculture is another example of the modified import. In the Yankee subculture, a group of under aged boys with slick, oiled hair, ride motorcycles that sound the theme song from The Godfather. They smoke and suffer from teenage angst reminiscent of James Dean in A Rebel without a Cause, all in the sprawling suburbia of Tokyo – the replica of the glorious age of Eisenhower America. Once these boys have managed to drop out of high school or have maybe been thrown into juvenile prisons, they graduate from their gang. Some join right-wing groups to drive around Tokyo in dark colored trucks decorated with a gigantic chrysanthemum – the emperor’s insignia – replaying the right-wing rhetoric of patriotic, anti-American, pro-emperor slogans. Their appearance – Yankee – does not match their rhetoric – Yamato-damashi, or Japanese spirit, anti-American. –“A Preface,” Mariko Nagai, The Chattahoochee Review
More from TedRoss:
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.”