Editor's Note — March 13, 2014, 8:00 am

Introducing the April 2014 Issue

How to be your own best doctor, a drone’s-eye view of America, and drought threatens the Southwest

Harper's Magazine, April 2014The older I get, the more I relish a little certainty in my life — and like most people, I look to doctors to supply it, at least to some degree. But in a world of futuristic instruments, shiny white furniture, and snappy assistants, that certainty is harder and harder to come by. For Heidi Julavits, who wrote “Diagnosis This,” the cover story for the April 2014 issue, the medical world is a gray zone, filled with conflicting views and endless, expensive conjecture. Attempting to determine the cause of a mysterious ailment, she consults a series of specialists — but also turns to literature and the Internet as diagnostic tools. Her quest is a fascinating look at modern medicine and how it is administered.

Contributing editor Christopher Ketcham, who last wrote for the magazine on a homeowners’ revolt against the banks, reports this month on the dying Colorado River, which has been diverted by a series of dams to supply water to the parched Southwest. Ketcham rafts down the river from Utah to Arizona with an environmentalist and the water manager for the city of Denver — two men with dramatically opposed views on how this precious resource should be used. But a solution must be found, since neither the cities of the Southwest nor California agriculture can ultimately survive if the river runs dry.

This month marks the first time we’ve used photography as our Folio. Tomas van Houtryve bought a drone on Amazon.com and modified it to accommodate a small camera and equipment for transmitting video back to the ground. The aerial photographs he took — of groups of people at weddings, funerals, and prisons — are eerie reminders of the drones the U.S. government deploys to carry out airstrikes in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, and of their even more troubling use as tools of domestic surveillance.

Our short fiction is an imaginative reconstruction of what happened between Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Nafissatou Diallo on May 14, 2011, at New York’s Sofitel. Told from Strauss-Kahn’s point of view, Ken Kalfus’s “Coup de Foudre” plausibly explains some of the more inexplicable details behind that historic, distinctly unsavory encounter, all the while treading a fine line between satire and satyriasis.

Also in this issue: Christopher Cox explores the balance between safety and surveillance, highlighting New York City mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to halt the police department’s stop-and-frisk program and the National Security Agency’s ongoing obfuscations; Andrew J. Bacevich skewers the diaries of American diplomat George F. Kennan, one of the prime architects of the Cold War; and Lawrence Jackson examines the life of Carl Van Vechten, an American writer and photographer who promoted many black artists and neatly blurred the line between fan, impresario, and (in the words of his biographer) “sideshow gimcrack barker.”

Share
Single Page

More from Ellen Rosenbush:

Editor's Note July 21, 2016, 3:35 pm

Inside the August Issue

Martin Amis on the rise of Trump, Tom Wolfe on the origins of speech, Art Spiegelman on Si Lewen, fiction by Diane Williams, and more

Editor's Note June 16, 2016, 3:38 pm

Inside the July Issue

Tom Bissell on touring Israel with Christian Zionists, Joy Gordon on the Cuban embargo, Lawrence Jackson on Freddie Gray and the makings of an American uprising, a story by Paul Yoon, and more

Editor's Note May 13, 2016, 1:31 pm

Inside the June Issue

Helen Ouyang on the cost of crowd-sourcing drugs, Paul Wood on Trump’s supporters, Walter Kirn on political predictions, Sonia Faleiro on a man’s search for his kidnapped children, and Rivka Galchen on The People v. O. J. Simpson.

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

Feburary 2017

Blood and Soil

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Grim Fairy Tale

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Trump: A Resister’s Guide

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Little Things

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Patient War

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Remainers

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
Illustration (detail) by Steve Brodner
Article
The Patient War·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

(1) To need his glasses and be struck by an awareness that they are not at hand, an ordinary enough circumstance for Frederick Douglass, except sometimes it’s accompanied by a flash of extraordinary dread. If not quite panic, certainly an unease disproportionate to a simple recurring situation. Dread that may be immediately extinguished if he locates his horn-rimmed, owlish-eyed spectacles exactly where he anticipated they should be. He sees them and almost sighs. Nearly feels their slightly uncomfortable weight palpable on his nose. Finding the glasses enough to reassure him that he remains here among the living in this material …
Photograph (detail) © Andrew Quilty/Oculi/Redux
Article
Little Things·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

(1) To need his glasses and be struck by an awareness that they are not at hand, an ordinary enough circumstance for Frederick Douglass, except sometimes it’s accompanied by a flash of extraordinary dread. If not quite panic, certainly an unease disproportionate to a simple recurring situation. Dread that may be immediately extinguished if he locates his horn-rimmed, owlish-eyed spectacles exactly where he anticipated they should be. He sees them and almost sighs. Nearly feels their slightly uncomfortable weight palpable on his nose. Finding the glasses enough to reassure him that he remains here among the living in this material …
Photograph (detail) of miniatures by Lori DeBacker by Thomas Allen
Article
Blood and Soil·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

(1) To need his glasses and be struck by an awareness that they are not at hand, an ordinary enough circumstance for Frederick Douglass, except sometimes it’s accompanied by a flash of extraordinary dread. If not quite panic, certainly an unease disproportionate to a simple recurring situation. Dread that may be immediately extinguished if he locates his horn-rimmed, owlish-eyed spectacles exactly where he anticipated they should be. He sees them and almost sighs. Nearly feels their slightly uncomfortable weight palpable on his nose. Finding the glasses enough to reassure him that he remains here among the living in this material …
Illustration (detail) by Nate Kitch
Article
JB & FD·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

(1) To need his glasses and be struck by an awareness that they are not at hand, an ordinary enough circumstance for Frederick Douglass, except sometimes it’s accompanied by a flash of extraordinary dread. If not quite panic, certainly an unease disproportionate to a simple recurring situation. Dread that may be immediately extinguished if he locates his horn-rimmed, owlish-eyed spectacles exactly where he anticipated they should be. He sees them and almost sighs. Nearly feels their slightly uncomfortable weight palpable on his nose. Finding the glasses enough to reassure him that he remains here among the living in this material …
Illustration (detail) by Matthew Richardson

Price of ten pencils made from “recycled twigs,” from the Nature Company:

$39.50

A loggerhead turtle in a Kobe aquarium at last achieved swimming success with her twenty-seventh set of prosthetic fins. “When her children hatch,” said the aquarium’s director, “well, I just feel that would make all the trauma in her life worthwhile.”

In Colombia, U.N. delegates sent to serve as impartial observers of the peace process aimed at ending the half-century-long war between the FARC and the Colombian government were chastised after they were filmed dancing and getting drunk with FARC fighters at a New Year’s Eve party.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Who Goes Nazi?

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."

Subscribe Today