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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:
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.
More from Harper’s Magazine:
Official Business — March 17, 2015, 4:01 am
Listen to the broadcast version of “American Hustle,” Alexandra Starr’s story, for the April 2015 issue of Harper’s Magazine, about how elite youth basketball exploits African athletes.
Official Business — January 8, 2015, 3:57 pm
We defend Charlie Hebdo’s right to publish its cartoons—and our right to critique them.
i. stand with israel
I listen to a lot of conservative talk radio. Confident masculine voices telling me the enemy is everywhere and victory is near — I often find it affirming: there’s a reason I don’t think that way. Last spring, many right-wing commentators made much of a Bloomberg poll that asked Americans, “Are you more sympathetic to Netanyahu or Obama?” Republicans picked the Israeli prime minister over their own president, 67 to 16 percent. There was a lot of affected shock that things had come to this. Rush Limbaugh said of Netanyahu that he wished “we had this kind of forceful moral, ethical clarity leading our own country”; Mark Levin described him as “the leader of the free world.” For a few days there I yelled quite a bit in my car.
The one conservative radio show I do find myself enjoying is hosted by Dennis Prager. At the Thanksgiving dinner of American radio personalities (Limbaugh is your jittery brother-in-law, Michael Savage is your racist uncle, Hugh Hewitt is Hugh Hewitt) Dennis Prager is the turkey-carving patriarch trying to keep the conversation moderately high-minded. While Prager obviously doesn’t like liberals — “The gaps between the left and right on almost every issue that matters are in fact unbridgeable,” he has said — he often invites them onto his show for debate, which is rare among right-wing hosts. Yet his gently exasperated take on the Obama–Netanyahu matchup was among the least charitable: “Those who do not confront evil resent those who do.”
Average number of Americans who are injured by chain saws each year:
A farmer in Kenya bit a python who tried to eat him.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”