Vince Passaro

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Reviews — From the August 2019 issue

Maigret All Day

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On the comforts of Simenon’s famed detective

Criticism — From the December 2017 issue

Framing The Shadows

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The luminary vision of W. Eugene Smith

Story — From the May 2016 issue

A Shrinking World, An Opening Sky

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Reviews — From the October 2012 issue

Death’s Triumph

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The medieval tales of Cronenberg and DeLillo

Article — From the July 2011 issue

Scorsese on the cross

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America’s last best tragedian

Reviews — From the August 1999 issue

Unlikely stories

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The quiet renaissance of American short fiction

Article — From the April 1998 issue

The forgotten killer

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The work of William S. Burroughs, once dangerous, is in danger itself

Reviews — From the November 1997 issue

The unsparing vision of Don Delillo

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In his new novel, Underworld, an American fresco

Reviews — From the July 1997 issue

Black letters on a white page

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In a new compendium of African American literature, a world of politics

Reviews — From the January 1997 issue

A flapping of scolds

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The literary establishment descends on T.S. Eliot

Reviews — From the September 1996 issue

Dragon fiction

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The (very lucrative) advent of the Christian thriller

Reviews — From the October 1995 issue

New flash from an old isle

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Kazuo Ishiguro’s latest novel exhibits Britain’s literary vigor

Article — From the May 1994 issue

On the examining table

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A patient’s wary encounter with managed health care

Article — From the December 1990 issue

Funds for the enfeebled

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The NEA wrangle

Readings — From the May 1985 issue

Neruda and the Mets

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Secrets and Lies·

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In 1973, when Barry Singer was a fifteen-year-old student at New York’s Yeshiva University High School for Boys, the vice principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, stopped him in a stairwell. Claiming he wanted to check his tzitzit—the strings attached to Singer’s prayer shawl—Finkelstein, Singer says, pushed the boy over the third-floor banister, in full view of his classmates, and reached down his pants. “If he’s not wearing tzitzit,” Finkelstein told the surrounding children, “he’s going over the stairs!”

“He played it as a joke, but I was completely at his mercy,” Singer recalled. For the rest of his time at Yeshiva, Singer would often wear his tzitzit on the outside of his shirt—though this was regarded as rebellious—for fear that Finkelstein might find an excuse to assault him again.

Article
Good Bad Bad Good·

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About fifteen years ago, my roommate and I developed a classification system for TV and movies. Each title was slotted into one of four categories: Good-Good; Bad-Good; Good-Bad; Bad-Bad. The first qualifier was qualitative, while the second represented a high-low binary, the title’s aspiration toward capital-A Art or lack thereof.

Some taxonomies were inarguable. The O.C., a Fox series about California rich kids and their beautiful swimming pools, was delightfully Good-Bad. Paul Haggis’s heavy-handed morality play, Crash, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, was gallingly Bad-Good. The films of Francois Truffaut, Good-Good; the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, Bad-Bad.

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Poem for Harm·

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Reflections on harm in language and the trouble with Whitman

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Constitution in Crisis·

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America’s Constitution was once celebrated as a radical and successful blueprint for democratic governance, a model for fledgling republics across the world. But decades of political gridlock, electoral corruption, and dysfunction in our system of government have forced scholars, activists, and citizens to question the document’s ability to address the thorniest issues of modern ­political life.

Does the path out of our current era of stalemate, minority rule, and executive abuse require amending the Constitution? Do we need a new constitutional convention to rewrite the document and update it for the twenty-­first century? Should we abolish it entirely?

This spring, Harper’s Magazine invited five lawmakers and scholars to New York University’s law school to consider the constitutional crisis of the twenty-­first century. The event was moderated by Rosa Brooks, a law professor at Georgetown and the author of How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon.

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Life after Life·

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For time ylost, this know ye,
By no way may recovered be.
—Chaucer

I spent thirty-eight years in prison and have been a free man for just under two. After killing a man named Thomas Allen Fellowes in a drunken, drugged-up fistfight in 1980, when I was nineteen years old, I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Former California governor Jerry Brown commuted my sentence and I was released in 2017, five days before Christmas. The law in California, like in most states, grants the governor the right to alter sentences. After many years of advocating for the reformation of the prison system into one that encourages rehabilitation, I had my life restored to me.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

A solid-gold toilet named “America” was stolen from Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, in Oxfordshire, England.

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Happiness Is a Worn Gun

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“Nowadays, most states let just about anybody who wants a concealed-handgun permit have one; in seventeen states, you don’t even have to be a resident. Nobody knows exactly how many Americans carry guns, because not all states release their numbers, and even if they did, not all permit holders carry all the time. But it’s safe to assume that as many as 6 million Americans are walking around with firearms under their clothes.”

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