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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:
Weekly Review — November 26, 2013, 8:00 am
The countries and companies responsible for climate change, nuclear options in Congress and Iran, and the extinction of Darwin’s frog
Official Business — October 23, 2013, 3:00 pm
Join us Saturday, October 26, at 6:30 p.m.
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.
Rank of Detroit among major U.S. cities whose residents give the largest portion of their income to charity:
A South Dakota researcher concluded that only scant blood spatter results when chain saws are used to dismember pigs.
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