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!
Gaitskill’s compassionate analysis of sexual urges that could be lazily labeled “extreme” or “subversive” is most explicit in her recent collection, Don’t Cry (2009), which often invokes suffering and its alleviation through reflection rather than dialogue and action. In “Folksong,” the narrator reads a news item about a woman who has sex with 1,000 men in a row in hopes of breaking a world record. The narrator then imagines the complexity behind this woman’s attempt to turn herself into a “fucking machine.” Unlike Millet, whose sole concern would seem to be a graphic representation of her couplings, Gaitskill describes the marathon sex almost solely through the music playing, “a hammering dance music” that is “like a high-speed purgatory where the body is disintegrated and reanimated over and over again until the soul is a whipsawed blur. It is fun!” –“The Vertical Altar,” Hannah Tenant-Moore, N+1
Until now, we have had no trial for Communism, though real Communism killed or mutilated more victims than Nazism and Fascism combined. Communism’s trial has never taken place, outside the intellectual sphere, for two reasons. First, Communism enjoys a kind of ideological immunity because it claims to be on the side of progress. Second, Communists remain in power in Beijing, Pyongyang, Hanoi, and Havana. And in areas where they’ve lost power—as in the former Soviet Union—the Communists arranged their own immunity by converting themselves into social democrats, businessmen, or nationalist leaders. –“Communism’s Nuremberg,” Guy Sorman, City Journal
The radicalism of the executive prerogative asserted in this case is breathtaking, yet such is the state of American justice. According to our laws, the search of an American’s home requires a search warrant issued by a judge, but our present chief magistrate claims the power to execute summarily a citizen who has not been shown to be directly engaged in violent activity or combat. Apparently, this is what Obama means by pragmatism: that laws may be suspended at will in the name of convenience. We shall simply murder our ideological adversaries and then brag about it in the press, blithely assuming that such crimes will silence the chorus of enemies. What all-important tactical aim will the extrajudicial murder of this disloyal American citizen achieve? His sermons are already widely available; his incitements would live on after him, endowed with a made-in-America aura of martyrdom. If anything, Awlaki’s assassination would constitute a proof of his argument. –“Obama’s Tyranny,” Roger Hodge,” Daily Beast
More from TedRoss:
Chances that a Soviet woman’s first pregnancy will end in abortion:
Peaceful fungus-farming ants are sometimes protected against nomadic raider ants by sedentary invader ants.
In San Antonio, a 150-pound pet tortoise knocked over a lamp, igniting a mattress fire that spread to a neighbor’s home.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."