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.

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More from Harper’s Magazine:

Mentions July 16, 2014, 7:00 pm

“The End of Retirement” on MSNBC

Watch Jessica Bruder on MSNBC’s The Cycle

Official Business June 25, 2014, 8:00 am

Garry Winogrand at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

A retrospective exhibition from June 27 to September 21 in New York City

Heart of Empire, Mentions June 20, 2014, 11:41 am

Andrew Cockburn on Democracy Now

Andrew Cockburn discusses the origins and possible fate of Nouri al-Maliki’s prime ministership

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On Free Will

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Arab artists take up — and look past — regional politics
“When everyday life regularly throws up images of terror and drama and the technological sublime, how can a photographer compete?”
“Qalandia 2087, 2009,” by Wafa Hourani
“There was torture by the previous regime and by the current Iraqi regime,” Dr. Amin said. “Torture by our Kurdish government, torture by Syrians, torture by the U.S.”
Visiting His Own Grave © Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
The Tale of the Tape·

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“Heroin isn’t the weakness Art Pepper submits to; it’s the passion he revels in.”
Photograph (detail) © Laurie Pepper
The Soft-Kill Solution·

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"Policymakers, recognizing the growing influence of civil disobedience and riots on the direction of the nation, had already begun turning to science for a response."
Illustration by Richard Mia
New Books
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“Almond insists that watching football does more than feed an appetite for violence. It’s a kind of modern-day human sacrifice, and it makes us more likely to go to war.”
Photograph by Harold Edgerton

Chance that a movie script copyrighted in the U.S. before 1925 was written by a woman:

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Engineers funded by the United States military were working on electrical brain implants that will enable the creation of remote-controlled sharks.

Malaysian police were seeking fifteen people who appeared in an online video of the Malaysia-International Nude Sports Games 2014 Extravaganza, and Spanish police fined six Swiss tourists conducting an orgy in the back of a moving van for not wearing their seatbelts.

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In Praise of Idleness


I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

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