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The October issue is upon us: subscribers should have their copies, and newsstands should be displaying the white, black, and blue (the last courtesy of a particularly fetching newsstand wrap backdrop). The issue is well worth the cover price, of course, but we encourage you to subscribe, which is much the better deal.
For those who have the issue or want a preview, we’ve assembled some links to web material related to this month’s pieces:
Amid Jonathan Lethem’s rundown of ’90s tech culture in “Radisson Confidential” (p. 17) lies a reference to Donna “Cyborg Manifesto” Haraway. If you haven’t read said manifesto, prepare to have your inadequate organic brain blown:
Of course, you may not have time to decode passages like “Cyborg ‘sex’ restores some of the lovely replicative baroque of ferns and invertebrates (such nice organic prophylactics against heterosexism),” so here are a few sentences to give you a better idea of where Haraway is coming from: “From one perspective, a cyborg world is about the final imposition of a grid of control on the planet, about the final abstraction embodied in a Star Wars apocalypse waged in the name of defence, about the final appropriation of women’s bodies in a masculinist orgy of war. . . . From another perspective, a cyborg world might be about lived social and bodily realities in which people are not afraid of their joint kinship with animals and machines, not afraid of permanently partial identities and contradictory standpoints.”
If that last sentence sounds appealing, consider picking up a few tips from University of Toronto engineering professor/human cyborg Steve Mann on your journey toward hot, non-heterosexist, human-machine kinship:
Also worth checking out from Readings: this Al Arabiya news report on Al-Sayed al-Essawy, the Egyptian lion-fighter whose interview was excerpted in “Cat Match Fever” (p. 21), and this trailer for the Afghan TV show The Ministry, whose characters were described in “Family Ties.”
In “Among the Banana Eaters” (p. 43), Patrick Graham writes about his accidental translator, Abdullah al-Fasi, who aspired to join the Libyan rebel forces fighting to remove Muammar Qaddafi from power. At press time, al-Fasi had yet to leave his home city of Benghazi, but he later hopped aboard a boat bound for Tripoli. Graham composed a yarn for harpers.org about al-Fasi’s experience.
Harper’s associate editor Christopher R. Beha wrote about Phoenix University in “Leveling the Field” (p. 51). He has since penned for harpers.org a critique of the notion that university education will improve America’s economic lot.
Richard Ross’s photo essay “Juvenile Injustice” (p. 59) features images from youth prisons around the country. For harpers.org, we asked Ross to reveal more about one of his subjects. He sent us an image of Ronald Franklin, who was thirteen at the time of his incarceration in 2008, as well as an edited transcript from two interviews he conducted with the young man.
When Tom Engelhardt isn’t writing memoirs like “Movies Saved My Life” (p. 64), he’s maintaining the website TomDispatch, a project of the Nation Institute.
??In Zadie Smith’s final New Books column (p. 75)—at least for a while, she hastened to specify—she refers to Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Staying Awake While We Read,” which was published in Harper’s as “Staying Awake: Notes on the alleged decline of reading” in February 2008. The original essay is available for free here.
And fear not, readers; the also-brilliant Larry McMurtry will be taking over the column.
Last, you can find the October Findings section here.
More from Jeremy Keehn:
Weekly Review — November 19, 2013, 8:00 am
Casualty counts and corruption in the Philippines, protest and repression in Russia, and the usual news from Toronto
Official Business — November 15, 2013, 11:53 am
Introducing the Harper’s app
Weekly Review — October 8, 2013, 8:00 am
The U.S. government shuts down, African migrants capsize in the Mediterranean, and miscellaneous global crushings
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Number of people stopped and frisked by the NYPD in 2011 for “furtive movements”:
The faces of Lego people were growing angrier.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature