Context — December 11, 2018, 12:49 pm

Who Are Those Damned Yellow French?

“Who, save for the little barons of Wall Street, believes in the progressive virtues of capitalism?”

Context — June 7, 2018, 11:16 am

Not What It Takes

Running for president on less than $2,000 a day

Context — March 30, 2018, 1:18 pm

The End of Retirement

When you can’t afford to stop working

Context — November 8, 2017, 12:18 pm

Tomb Raiders

The afterlives of Lenin

Context — October 26, 2017, 10:55 am

Killing the Competition

Monopolization of our public markets is first and foremost a political crisis

Context — July 7, 2017, 8:00 am

Axioms of Evil

From a list of former North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il’s teachings translated into English and posted on a government website.

Context — May 16, 2017, 10:03 am

Everything in Moderation

The success of Germany’s AfD party has in good part been owed to its ability to put a friendly face on a nasty message.

Context — May 2, 2017, 4:31 pm

The Moderator in Manila

What the Trumps are building in the Philippines

Context — March 22, 2017, 1:51 pm

The National Mood

On Sunday, Jimmy Breslin, a longtime New York City newspaper columnists, died at 88. In this short essay, published on in 2010, Breslin reflects on the United States nearly a decade after 9/11.

Context — March 22, 2017, 1:32 pm

Letter to a Young Man About to Enter Publishing

On Monday, Robert Silvers, a founder of the New York Review of Books, died at 87. Before creating the Review, Silvers worked as an editor for Harper’s Magazine, where, in 1959, he edited a collection of essays called “Writing in America.” This work was originally published anonymously, but has since been attributed to Silvers.

Context — March 10, 2017, 1:41 pm

Tort Deform

"The assault by a thousand cuts never stops, but it’s hard for the public to see what is happening."

Context — January 25, 2017, 11:19 am

Crowd Control

A weekend of alternative estimations

Context — January 18, 2017, 1:54 pm

The Lords of Lambeau

On family, fate, and Packers football

Context — January 6, 2017, 3:02 pm

Misinformation Intern

My summer as a military propagandist in Iraq

Context — December 25, 2016, 8:00 am

Christmas in Prison

Greeting the holidays in an age of mass incarceration

Context — December 2, 2016, 5:52 pm

How to Rig an Election

The G.O.P. aims to paint the country red

Context — November 26, 2016, 11:54 am

Castro’s Cuba

The leader, in 1969

Context — November 25, 2016, 11:26 am

A Fate Worse Than Bush

Rudolph Giuliani and the politics of personality

Context — October 28, 2016, 11:35 am

The Great Republican Land Heist

Seven militants are acquitted in takeover of Oregon Wildlife Refuge; Christopher Ketcham traces the history of the Bureau of Land Management

Context — September 23, 2016, 1:49 pm

Beyond the Broken Window

Donald Trump advocates for stop-and-frisk; Petra Bartosiewicz considers the history of William Bratton’s policing policies

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October 2019


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.

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.

Power of Attorney·

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In a Walmart parking lot in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 2015, a white police officer named Stephen Rankin shot and killed an unarmed, eighteen-­year-­old black man named William Chapman. “This is my second one,” he told a bystander seconds after firing the fatal shots, seemingly in reference to an incident four years earlier, when he had shot and killed another unarmed man, an immigrant from Kazakhstan. Rankin, a Navy veteran, had been arresting Chapman for shoplifting when, he claimed, Chapman charged him in a manner so threatening that he feared for his life, leaving him no option but to shoot to kill—­the standard and almost invariably successful defense for officers when called to account for shooting civilians. Rankin had faced no charges for his earlier killing, but this time, something unexpected happened: Rankin was indicted on a charge of first-­degree murder by Portsmouth’s newly elected chief prosecutor, thirty-­one-year-­old Stephanie Morales. Furthermore, she announced that she would try the case herself, the first time she had ever prosecuted a homicide. “No one could remember us having an actual prosecution for the killing of an unarmed person by the police,” Morales told me. “I got a lot of feedback, a lot of people saying, ‘You shouldn’t try this case. If you don’t win, it may affect your reelection. Let someone else do it.’ ”

Carlitos in Charge·

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I was in Midtown, sitting by a dry fountain, making a list of all the men I’d slept with since my last checkup—doctor’s orders. Afterward, I would head downtown and wait for Quimby at the bar, where there were only alcoholics and the graveyard shift this early. I’d just left the United Nations after a Friday morning session—likely my last. The agenda had included resolutions about a worldwide ban on plastic bags, condemnation of a Slobodan Miloševic statue, sanctions on Israel, and a truth and reconciliation commission in El Salvador. Except for the proclamation opposing the war criminal’s marble replica, everything was thwarted by the United States and a small contingent of its allies. None of this should have surprised me. Some version of these outcomes had been repeating weekly since World War II.

Life after Life·

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

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:


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 group of researchers studying the Loch Ness Monster did not rule out the possibility of its existence, but speculated that it is possibly a giant eel.

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Happiness Is a Worn Gun


“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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