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Harper's Magazine

Harper's Magazine April 2020

HARPER’S MAGAZINE, the oldest general interest monthly in America, explores the issues that drive our national conversation through such celebrated features as Readings, Annotation, and Findings, as well as the iconic Harper’s Index.

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United States
Harper's Magazine Foundation
$9.49(Incl. tax)
$25.20(Incl. tax)
12 Issues

in this issue

3 min.

Radical Pique William Howe was not a “total radical,” as Thomas Meaney quotes me as saying in his report from last summer’s National Conservatism Conference [“Trumpism After Trump,” Report, February]. He was a moderate Whig, and is not, despite Meaney’s recollection of my views, remotely comparable to Bill Ayers. Enoch Powell, for that matter, was no one’s idea of Sylvia Plath’s fascist Daddy. He was a classical scholar, a bisexual poet, the youngest brigadier in Britain’s army, and the last Victorian statesman in Parliament. For an “alt-right pamphleteer,” I sure get called “(((Moldberg)))” by white nationalists a lot, and as a “young man,” I must be the Adonis of the Brown class of ’92. These and other careless errors are not just characteristic of Meaney’s endless essay. They are about all there…

12 min.
easy chair

I landed in Lisbon late on a temperate Thursday in January. This was the end of an unusually pan-European week for me. I’d spent the previous two days in a newly provincial-feeling London that was one week away from executing an international retreat driven largely by xenophobia. Before that, I’d been in Berlin, where I’d attended a reception for Angela Merkel, who was being honored by the American Academy for her remarkably steady stewardship of Germany over the past decade and a half, a definitive moment of which was her 2015 decision to admit over a million refugees fleeing war and poverty. I’d set off from my apartment in Paris before dawn on Monday, reaching the airport by way of the Porte de la Chapelle, where there is an astonishing…

3 min.
harper’s index

Percentage of Americans who said in 1995 that immigration should be reduced : 65 Who say so today : 35 Number of pregnant women jailed in the United States for immigration violations in 2018 : 2,098 Portion of new U.S. military recruits who have a parent who served : ¼ Who have a relative who served : ¾ Amount that the United States has spent on reconstruction in Afghanistan since 2001 : $137,000,000,000 Amount, adjusted for inflation, that it spent on reconstruction in Europe after World War II : $135,000,000,000 Percentage of U.S. Protestant churches with security protocols that involve armed church members : 45 Number of pets owned by the average American who attends religious services once a week or more : 1.35 By the average American who never attends religious services : 1.95 Percentage by which the number…

36 min.

[Essay] COLOR THEORY By Frank B. Wilderson III, from Afropessimism, which will be published this month by Liveright. In February 2001, I attended the Race Rave conference at the University of California, Santa Cruz, with my wife, Alice. Between two hundred and three hundred activists, scholars, students, and others met “to explore racism and the intersections of oppression, to promote reparations and healing, and to develop the framework for a truth and reconciliation process in the United States.” It was billed as the first of a series of such gatherings on college campuses across the country. The organizers told us to break into groups that reflected how we were seen by the police. This meant that there would be a white group, a black group, a brown group, a red group, and a yellow…

1 min.
sorry to bother you

To discuss a neighbor who hangs underwear outa window to dryTo obtain information about dry cleaningTo ask whether cat litter is recyclableTo ask about renting a wastebasketTo ask whether Medicaid can be used to pay fora cat’s surgeryTo inquire on what to do with an unwanted petTo ask whether a dog can be claimed onincome taxesTo obtain information about tax fraudTo ask how to get a television screen to stopdisplaying “stand by”To determine who won American IdolTo ask how to check text messagesTo report an email scamTo make a noise complaint about a soundcoming from a refrigeratorTo ask how to dispose of a refrigeratorTo inquire about X-ray machinesTo report a naked neighborTo obtain information about becoming a lifeguardTo ask whether knowing how to swim is aprerequisite for becoming a lifeguard…

1 min.
after i turn sixty-nine

I don’t imagine that a chariot is hurrying near but that a sleek car is speeding upI have started a list of the costumes I want to be buried in, beginning with horny centaurI try to put aside obituaries but I am unable to do so for very long (maybe ten minutes)I eat the same meal every night while reading recipes of dishes I have never tastedI shudder nearly every time I read the phrase “Lifetime Guarantee or Your Money Back.”I no longer find it necessary to stop and look at what is going on at a construction siteI decide I won’t tell people to stop sending me books even if I will never read themI stop and watch ambulances trying to get past cars that don’t want to move…