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The February 2012 issue of Harper’s Magazine is with subscribers, for whom it is also available online, and it will be on newsstands for another few weeks yet. We’ve posted a number of pieces related to features in the issue since it came out. A summary is below, along with a few web links related to the issue.
Thomas Frank‘s Easy Chair column, “Act of Contrition” (p. 6) focuses on Jack Abramoff and the genre of the Washington D.C. contrition memoir. Frank is a veteran Abramoff-watcher, having written about the disgraced lobbyist in his 2008 book, The Wrecking Crew, which was excerpted in Harper’s with the pithy subtitle “How a gang of right-wing con men destroyed Washington and made a killing.” Harper’s Magazine contributing editor Scott Horton has also written extensively on Abramoff, most recently in “Abramoff 2.0.” We recommend, too, that subscribers surf to “We Know Jack,” a Reading from the June 2006 issue consisting of excerpts from letters written in support of Abramoff prior to his sentencing for fraud. Samples:
His first and foremost consideration was protecting America from its enemies. Only later did he cash in on the contacts he made from his idealistic endeavors.
Jack made every effort possible to secure funding for a film entitled The Day the Clown Cried, a movie about the importance of taking care of children, set in a WWII concentration camp.
In this month’s Readings section (p. 13), Andrew Bacevich asks what has happened to the ideal Henry Luce wrote of in his Life Magazine essay “The American Century,” which you can find here. We have also made available online “What Happened in Vegas,” a series of frustrated exchanges between the fact checker and author of a literary non-fiction feature for The Believer.
Barry C. Lynn’s “Killing the Competition” (p. 27) is excerpted on Harpers.org. Lynn also wrote a blog post on President Obama’s failure to tackle monopolies in America, while a past feature, “Breaking the Chain: The antitrust case against Wal-Mart,” is available for free online.
To his feature on the emergence of democracy in a Peruvian prison, “All Politics Is Local” (p. 35), Daniel Alarcón has added a supplementary online narrative, “Rigoberto,” about a prisoner he encountered at another jail in Lima. We also suggest that Spanish-speaking readers check out Alarcon’s new project, Radio Ambulante, a storytelling podcast.
Nathan Schneider‘s feature on the genesis of Occupy Wall Street, “Some Assembly Required” (p. 45), followed two blog posts by the author for Harpers.org. The first was a primer on the General Assembly, the primary decision-making forum for Occupations nation-wide; the second was a critique of the claim that occupations should be protected as free speech under the law. After the article was published, Schneider added a third post, “Planet Occupy,” in which he imagined the society the Occupy movement has been working toward. Also worth checking out is the website of Bob Arihood, whom Schneider mentions in his feature as having taken photographs at one of the first Occupy Wall Street planning meetings. The specific photo to which Schneider refers is here.
And last, the issue’s concluding Findings section (p. 80), where you will learn, among other necessary facts, that babies as young as eight enjoy seeing bad puppets punished. So watch yourselves, puppets.
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.'”