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Archive: 2012

Anarchist Calisthenics

From Two Cheers for Anarchism, published last month by Princeton University Press. Scott is Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University. In the summer of 1990, in an effort…

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Findings

Rich men with big biceps tend to oppose the redistribution of wealth and poor men with big biceps tend to support it, whereas the weak are less strongly opinionated. The…

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Christmas Party

Harold Bilodeau’s ex-wife, Sheila, remarried, and Harold did not, and though he told people there was a woman down in Saratoga Springs he was seeing on the occasional weekend, he…

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A Tone Licked Clean

Discussed in this essay: The Annotated Brothers Grimm, by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Edited by Maria Tatar. W. W. Norton. 552 pages. $35. Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A…

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The Jew

Dedicated to poet Jerome Rothenberg on the occasion of his eightieth birthday last year. Bernstein’s Recalculating will be published this spring by The University of Chicago Press. The town is…

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Man Underwater

Discussed in this essay: Jubilee Hitchhiker: The Life and Times of Richard Brautigan, by William Hjortsberg. Counterpoint. 880 pages. $42.50. Every year, countless people submit their fiction and non-fiction to…

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One-point Perspective

From This Is Yellowism, the website of Marcin Lodyga and Vladimir Umanets. In October, Umanets took credit for writing “Vladimir Umanets ’12, a potential piece of yellowism” on a painting…

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Collateral Damage

From more than 8,000 letters to executives and directors of banks, posted last fall on the website Occupy the Boardroom and emailed to the addressees. A selection of 150 letters,…

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Harper’s Index

Estimated percentage of North American pit-viper litters that are “virgin births” : 5 Percentage of freshmen at four-year colleges who declare “Roman Catholic” as their religious affiliation : 26 Who declare “None” : 25 Percentage of…

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A Question of Circumstances

From Servabo: A Fin de Siècle Memoir, first published in Italian in 1991, and included in Memories from the Twentieth Century, edited by Alberto Toscano, a collection of three of…

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Caliph of the Tricksters

On a visit several years ago to Afghanistan, in a Kabul restaurant of the better kind, I met a policeman named Hossein Fakhri. A laconic, handsome, tense sort of man,…

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Grounded for Life

From God’s Law: The Only Political Solution, by Charles R. Fuqua, an e-book published in April and aiming to show how the Bible can be applied to U.S. law. Fuqua,…

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Half Empty

The American dream has never been the rags-to-riches fable of the Horatio Alger stories. But there once was a real American dream, and it went like this: If you work…

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I Am Your Conscious, I Am Love

if i was your girlfriend  Dick jokes, ass jokes, black-women-versus-white-women jokes, Taliban jokes, Whitney Houston jokes, more sex jokes, and then, finally, the best joke of all, because it plays…

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Cop au vin

From an April 18, 2011, letter by Didier Mangione, the national secretary of the French union Unité SGP Police, to Hubert Weigel, head of France’s riot police. Weigel banned on-duty…

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New Books

The Gregorian, Julian, Coptic, Buddhist, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Tibetan, Zoroastrian, and Mesoamerican calendars—and the Mayan, which predicts that the world will end just days after this issue reaches your hands—all…

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Bubble Indemnity

From the July 2007 issue of HMI Profil, the newsletter of Hamburg-Mannheimer International, a German insurance company. In June 2007, HMI hired at least twenty prostitutes to entertain insurance salesmen…

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Appetite for Destruction

Apocalypses are lots of fun. They bring excitement to our otherwise boring lives. They smash through the smug façade of everyday authority. And it’s a blast to imagine the exact…

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Hallelujah

FIRST PART 1. sinfonia (overture) Christmas is all about taxes. Or at least that is what is in the passage in Luke that is invariably read out at Christmas services:…

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Letters

In Memoriam Harper’s Magazine is deeply saddened by the recent deaths of two good friends. George McGovern had served on the Harper’s Magazine Foundation board of directors since 1990, Nikolai…

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Fulsome Prison

From a letter sent in January to the Gaston Gazette, a North Carolina newspaper, by Danny Hembree, a fifty-year-old death-row inmate at Raleigh’s Central Prison. Hembree was found guilty last…

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Our Place in the Universe

My most vivid encounter with the vastness of nature occurred years ago on the Aegean Sea. My wife and I had chartered a sailboat for a two-week holiday in the…

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Harper’s Index

Percentage change since 2010 in the per-pound cost of a Thanksgiving turkey : +22 Portion of the total U.S. corn crop that goes to make ethanol : 2/5 Estimated number of chickens killed after…

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