Editor's Note — June 13, 2013, 2:39 pm

Introducing the July 2013 Issue of Harper’s Magazine

A global-warming get-rich-quick scheme, a magic-mushroom murder, and more

July 2013

Our cover story this month takes on some of the biggest crises of the day: financial fraud, climate change, and water shortages. All three come together in the story of Otto Spork, a Canadian dentist who persuaded hundreds of investors to buy into a phony plan to sell water from Iceland’s glaciers directly to the drought-prone nations of the world. After his scam collapsed — leading some to compare him to Bernie Madoff — he disappeared. Our reporter McKenzie Funk spent five years chasing after Spork, traveling from Ontario to Iceland to Palm Beach and talking with a variety of shadowy informants and grifters looking to cash in on climate change. Funk’s Spork saga (say it three times fast) is a crash course in the absurdity of the financial world and a preview of the thirsty future that awaits us all.

In “Blood Spore,” the intrepid Hamilton Morris delves into the 1980 murder of Dr. Stephen Pollock, whose pioneering research on magic mushrooms also made him into something of a mycological kingpin, selling psychedelic spores via mail order. This true-crime story takes the author from San Antonio, Texas (where Pollock died), to Amsterdam, where two entrepreneurs known as the Truffle Brothers manufacture nearly 20,000 tons of fungal gold per year. Morris never quite unravels the mystery of Pollock’s death, although a conversation preserved on an ancient cassette tape points glaringly toward collusion by the local police. But he does provide a vivid, comical, and frequently surreal window into the world of mycological obsessives, who wander the earth with their “eyes perpetually narrowed, minds bent on finding the precious fruit others squash under heel and haunted by the knowledge that no matter how hard they look something will always have escaped them.”

Elsewhere in the issue, Mark Edmundson deplores the state of American poetry, with its narcissistic tone and puny ambition. Thomas Frank considers a trio of Eighties-era empire builders (Margaret Thatcher, Al Neuharth, and Howard Phillips), Jeff Madrick argues that bankruptcy isn’t so bad after all,  and Jane Smiley surveys several new memoirs — a form she calls “tempting but treacherous.” Russell Mokhiber’s Annotation, “Plaque Ops,” reveals the corporate conquest of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. And Julie Hecht’s story, “May I Touch Your Hair?,” looks back to summers spent at the beach during the Fifties — a touching remembrance of a coiffure-fixated childhood.

Share
Single Page

More from Harper’s Magazine:

Memento Mori September 2, 2014, 5:33 pm

Charles Bowden (1945–2014)

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

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

October 2014

Cassandra Among the
Creeps

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Today Is Better Than Tomorrow”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

PBS Self-Destructs

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Monkey Did It

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
 
Rebecca Solnit on silencing women, a Marine commander returns to Iraq, the decline of PBS, and more
Article
Cassandra Among the Creeps·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On silencing women
“The old framework of feminine mendacity and murky-mindedness is still routinely trotted out, and we should learn to recognize it for what it is.”
Photograph © Sallie Dean Shatz
Post
Ending College Sexual Assault·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“This is not a fable about a young woman whose dreams were dashed by a sexual predator. Maya’s narrative is one of institutional failure at a school desperately trying to adapt.”
Photograph © AP/Josh Reynolds
Post
 
"Clothes are a bit like eating: you have to dress yourself. You have to eat, and even if you eat pizza all day long, that’s still a choice."
Photograph © G Powell
Article
“Today Is Better Than Tomorrow”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Iraq has every disease there is; its mind is deranged with too many voices, its organs corrupted, its limbs only long enough to tear at its own body.”
Photograph by Benjamin Busch

Abortions per 1,000 live births in New York City:

852

Researchers discovered an “Obama effect”: African Americans’ performance on a verbal test improved, to equal that of white Americans, immediately after Obama’s nomination and his election.

“All I saw,” said a 12-year-old neighbor of visits to the man’s house, “was just cats in little diapers.”

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

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.

Subscribe Today