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We’re sitting at the Best Buns Bread Company in the Village at Shirlington, a sort of prefab town square in Arlington, Virginia, designed to be quaint and homey. The streets are fresh red brick. The lampposts are faux antique. The trees are evenly spaced. A color-coded map explains the area’s layout, like a mall. The neighborhood’s culinary diversity—Aladdin’s Eatery abuts Bonsai Restaurant abuts Guapo’s—is matched only by its patrons’ ethnic lack thereof. We are sipping coffees and munching on identical Ginger Crinkle cookies, when it occurs to me: I am in a David Brooks book. We are Bobos. This is Paradise. –“A Reasonable Man,” Christopher Beam, New York
How did you think up the design? How do you know what a vampire penis is supposed to look like?
Well, it was a pretty fun act of the imagination. The color was the biggest thing. It had to look like vampire skin. It took me and the head of production two and a half months to get the color we were looking for. She has 10 other ones that are various shades that didn’t work. Way too pink, way too pale, it took a long time to make a pale flesh tone. The other problem was the sparkle: It had to sparkle in the sunlight. If it didn’t sparkle in the sunlight, the whole idea was dead. –“Meet the ‘Twilight” dildo designer,” Margaret Eby, Salon
Terrell didn’t make the comparison, but he, like others in journalism, especially editors and publishers, seems to regard reporting as analogous to playing professional sports. After the first few years, achievement in reporting is widely viewed more as a function of energy than of experience. The middle-aged reporter is looked upon as a Jimmy Connors or Pete Rose, waging a futile battle to keep hitting the ball the way he did when he was in his prime. The reporter is supposed to retire gracefully before somebody has to be dispatched to escort him to the showers. –“Why I would rather report–at fifty–than edit at any age,” Chris Welles, Columbia Journalism Review
More from Rafe Bartholomew:
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Average portion of its yearly household expenditures that a South African family will spend on a funeral:
Neuroscientists were hoping to use rat brain waves to find people buried by earthquakes.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature