Commentary — September 1, 2011, 9:38 am

September Issue Links

Dear Readers,

The September issue should now be in subscribers’ hands. If you’re not yet a subscriber and haven’t picked up a copy of the magazine, it’s also on newsstands around the country. (Subscribing is, of course, an excellent idea, at $19.97 for 12 issues or $29.97 for 24, plus access to an archive that reaches back more than 160 years.)

For those who have the issue or want a preview, we’ve assembled some web links to sources and other material related to our September columns and features:

In “A Letter to Barack Obama,” George McGovern discusses possible cuts to the U.S. defense budget, as proposed by Lawrence J. Korb of the Center for American Progress. Korb’s findings are summarized over at CNN. Since the September issue went to press, he has also written a follow-up article at CAP in which he refines his ideas in light of the debt-ceiling deal.

Darryl Pinckney’s “Deep in the Bowl” traces the history of the New Orleans mayorship since Ernest “Dutch” Morial became the city’s first black mayor. (Ray Nagin, mayor during Hurricane Katrina, was its fourth.) If you have a few hours to spend absorbing late-1980s funeral rites, Dutch’s memorial is online. But you might prefer to remember him by this 1979 speech to the NAACP:

Pinckney also mentions the stunning architecture of New Orleans’s cemeteries, which are well represented on YouTube — particularly the St. Louis Cemetery, the city’s oldest and most renowned sarcophagorium. The best way to sample New Orleans’s boneyard architecture, though, is obviously to watch the NOLA acid-dropping scene from Easy Rider:

Bruce Davenport Jr.’s New Orleans portfolio “Parade’s End” contained an incorrectly oriented image. The illustration is displayed properly below, and you can click here for a larger version:

Elif Batuman alludes to iPhone footage of the Dante Marathon in Florence in “A Divine Comedy.” This clip, set to a truly infernal Los Campesinos! song, lends a sense of the festival (formally named the 100 canti per firenze), while the one below shows an impassioned reading from Canto XXXIII of the Inferno, the same section from which Batuman’s reading was drawn:

Grammarphiles will also want to read Batuman’s two blog posts about the debate she and her editor had over her use of the word “douchebags” in the following passage: “[T]his is one of the basic messages in Dante: nothing is ever truly lost. Dante goes to the afterworld and everyone is there: Homer, Moses, Judas, Jesus, Brunetto Latini, Beatrice, all the thousand and one douchebags of Florence.” After a flirtation with “sleazebags,” it was decided that “douchebags” would be the descriptive noun of record. (In case you think us uptight, please note that an earlier reference to The Big Lebowski passed without incident.) Two final web-friendly tidbits from the piece: The image of Dante’s reconstructed head, and the website of Dante’s descendants, the Serego Alighieri.

The form used in Anthony Lydgate’s Annotation, “Conduct Unbecoming,” can be found on the U.S. military’s website, and we agree with Jonathan Dee in “The Pretender” that the MySpace page of the musician Richard Frasca, a.k.a. Jon Denmar, is worth a visit.

Single Page

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“One of the peculiar things about economic inequality is that the people who are most articulate about it are not poor, while the poor themselves have said little, at least in print, about their situation.”
Photograph © Reuters/Brendan McDermid
“It would be nice to get through this review without recourse to the term ‘writer’s writer.’ The thing is, in the case of Joy Williams, I have seen the cliché made flesh.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
“Miniatures originated in Persia and were brought to the Indian subcontinent when the Mughals conquered it in the sixteenth century. They could take on almost any subject: landscapes or portraits; stories of love, war, or play.”
Painting by by Imran Qureshi.
“The business of being a country veterinarian is increasingly precarious. The heartland has been emptying of large-animal vets for at least two decades, as agribusiness changed the employment picture and people left the region.”
Photograph by Lance Rosenfield
“Rosie and her husband had burned through their small savings in the first few months after she lost her job. Now their family of five relied on his minimum-wage paychecks, plus Rosie’s unemployment and food stamps, which, combined, brought them to around $2,000 per month, just above the poverty line.”
Illustrations by Taylor Callery

Ratio of children’s emergency-room visits for injuries related to fireworks last year to those related to “desk supplies”:


The ecosystems around Chernobyl, Ukraine, are now healthier than they were before the nuclear disaster, though radiation levels are still too high for human habitation.

The Islamic State opened two new theme parks featuring a Ferris wheel, teacup rides, and bumper cars.

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