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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 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.
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“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.”