Commentary — February 8, 2012, 12:16 pm

Web Content: The February 2012 Issue


Dear Readers,

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.

Statistics from the current Harper’s Index (p. 11) are tweeted throughout the month using the hashtag #HarpersIndex. Follow @harpers to see them as they go out.

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 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 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.

Single Page

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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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:

1 in 2

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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