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!
I received a number of nasty emails about my item yesterday on why I hate the U.S. soccer team. Keep them coming.
Look, I admit my aversion to the U.S. soccer team, initially explained here, is partly irrational and partly based on the media’s Nuremberg Rally-style coverage of the American team. But please don’t tell me I shouldn’t write anything about the topic because I don’t know anything about soccer. I’ve been following international soccer for a long time and have watched most games of every World Cup since 1986. (In fact, I’m watching Portugal-Ivory Coast as I type.)
Also, we’re not analyzing the human genome here; you know good soccer when you see it and the U.S. rarely plays good soccer.
I lived in Brazil for five years and I root for its team. That’s good soccer. (Though when my team plays badly, as in Brazil’s horrific choke against France in the last Cup — I can see it, unlike many of the star-struck U.S. supporters writing me now to talk up the team’s lame performance against England.)
I’m not expecting Brazil to win — I’m an eternal pessimist about everything; also, Brazil has to get through the “Group of Death” to get to the second round, where the brutal single-elimination format makes predicting the winner pure guesswork — so you don’t need to send gloating emails if and when it is eliminated.
Just as long as the United States doesn’t win — or even worse, Argentina — I’ll be happy.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
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.”