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Harper's Magazine

Harper's Magazine May 2020

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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
$8.86(Incl. tax)
$25.20(Incl. tax)
12 Issues

in this issue

4 min.

Fables of the Reconstruction Kevin Baker’s essay [“Losing My Religion,” Easy Chair, March] voices a concern I’ve seen articulated with increasing frequency and alarm since the election of Donald Trump: What if it isn’t just the politicians who are corrupt, but the voters, too? “So determined are otherwise intelligent commentators to believe in the people,” he writes, “that it warps their political judgment.” Baker’s implication seems to be that there’s too much democracy, that we are beholden to the will of the people to our eternal detriment. In making his case, he elides several facts: that our president lost the popular vote, that the four justices constituting the Supreme Court’s right wing were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote, and that the Republicans controlling the Senate represent a minority of…

1 min.
essential new books from nyupress

SHORTLISTED Women in the Shadows of the Supreme Court by Hannah Brenner Johnson and Renee Knake Jefferson “[Shortlisted] tells the political and personal sagas of women publicly considered for appointment to the Supreme Court but never actually nominated by a president … With fresh research, the authors effectively humanize the women who never received the nominations they deserved.” —Kirkus Reviews IMPOSTURES by al-Hariri Translated by Michael Cooperson From the Library of Arabic Literature “Impostures is a wild romp through languages and literatures, places and times, that bears out and celebrates Borges’s dictum: ‘Erudition is the modern form of the fantastic.’” —Esther Allen, translator of Zama, winner of the 2017 National Translation Award COMICS AND STUFF by Henry Jenkins Pioneering media scholar Henry Jenkins considers how comics display our everyday stu.—junk drawers, bookshelves, attics—as a way into understanding how we represent…

11 min.
easy chair

“I was not elected to do small things,” President Donald Trump said upon announcing his new Middle East peace plan at the end of January. Trump was not elected to do big things, either. He was not elected to do anything at all, really, except to steward the same failed domestic and foreign policy agendas America has pursued for decades. Tax cuts for the wealthiest. The war on terror, now to be won with the lives of our regional “allies” at minimal expense. The perpetual abuse and exploitation of would-be immigrants. Inaction on climate change, even as the oceans lap at the fringes of our coastal cities. As much as Trump’s handlers like to portray him as a “disrupter”—a juvenile concept to begin with—he is nothing of the sort. His recent Middle…

3 min.
harper’s index

Percentage of Americans who operate doors and sinks in public restrooms with paper towels to avoid germs : 65 Who flush with their feet : 44 Who hover over the toilet seat : 29 Portion of global ocean currents that have sped up since 1990 : ¾ Average percentage by which those currents have accelerated : 10 Number of hurricane names that have been officially retired : 89 Number of countries that are carbon-negative : 2 Number of times that the price of an average U.S. domestic flight changes in a week : 59 Average percentage by which the price fluctuates with each change : 25 Minimum number of motor vehicles that crashed into non-residential buildings in the United States last year : 20,000 Minimum number of people inside those buildings who were killed : 500 Percentage of time that ride-hailing…

24 min.

[Essay] TO INFINITY AND BEYOND By Maël Renouard, from Fragments of an Infinite Memory: My Life with the Internet, a memoir, which will be published in November by New York Review Books. Translated from the French by Peter Behr man de Sinéty. David Lodge published Small World in 1984. The book, a campus novel, follows a group of academics as they travel the globe attending conferences. But this “small world” isn’t merely that of international university circles—without borders, but strictly for initiates—where scholars debate the merits of structuralism, deconstruction, and old-fashioned literary history. It’s a world linked by telephones and traversed by jet planes. Morris Zapp, one of the novel’s main characters, formulates a theory of sorts that applies beyond scholarship, despite what he says. “There are,” he claims, “three things which have…

1 min.
permanent record

Bringing a bag of wine to classTaking shots of vodka during classPossessing explosivesThreatening to blow up the classDropping a gun on the playgroundLeaving a gun in the bathroomBringing a gun and two knives into the classroomThreatening to shoot a studentFiring a gun in the classroomImprisoning a studentForcibly cutting a student’s hairHolding a student upside down by the anklesSlapping a studentPunching a studentKicking a studentThrowing a student to the groundBuying drugs for a studentSmoking weed with studentsCrushing a pill during class and then snorting it and falling asleepSmoking meth before class, taking a Xanax at lunch, and then going to Burger King and falling asleep…