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Harper's Magazine

Harper's Magazine September 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
$9.03(Incl. tax)
$25.20(Incl. tax)
12 Issues

in this issue

5 min.

Promised Land As organizers mentioned in Audrea Lim’s essay on community land trusts [“We Shall Not Be Moved,” Report, July], we wanted to expand on why we have pursued this model. Mott Haven-Port Morris, where we live, is a vibrant neighborhood in the South Bronx, both a cradle of arts and culture and a survivor of decades of neglect, environmental injustice, and insidious, top-down decisions involving public land use. Under the premise of economic development, public land in our community has been zoned for noxious waste-treatment facilities and fossil-fuel power plants, while a highway system has callously divided neighbors. Following decades of planned shrinkage, the community is now fending off real estate speculation. New market-rate developments are bringing thousands of luxury residential units into a community where nearly half the children…

7 min.
editor’s desk

Ever since a New York Times newsroom revolt over a controversial op-ed, American media—if not American society at large—has been engaged in another round of debate about the limits of free expression. The Times has long maintained a firewall between its news operation and its editorial page, as well as a strict social-media policy barring reporters from expressing partisan opinions or taking positions on issues the Times is covering. But after the paper published Republican senator Tom Cotton’s call for the military to descend on protesters in American cities in an “overwhelming show of force,” dozens of Times staffers took to Twitter to condemn it. The column was pulled from the print edition, and editorial-page editor James Bennet was ultimately forced to resign. Some saw in all this a rare…

1 min.
the u.s. is at a turning point in race relations

Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat’s definitive and universally well-reviewed book on the 39th president, President Carter: The White House Years, is out now in paperback. It documents how a child of the Jim Crow South, who witnessed firsthand the brutality of racism and segregation, partnered with civil rights leaders to unlock unprecedented opportunities for African-Americans, Hispanics, and women in government, the judiciary, academia and business. The spirit of Carter’s work as president and the ethics and morality he brought to the Oval Office, and beyond, is ripe for being reawakened in the American consciousness. PRESIDENT CARTER: THE WHITE HOUSE YEARS NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK “Eizenstat’s account is fascinating: detailed, intimate, even page-turning. He tells little-known stories, in all sorts of areas. From Stuart Eizenstat, you can learn a great deal—about Carter, sure, but also about…

11 min.
easy chair

On December 20, 2014, a twenty-eight-year-old man named Ismaaiyl Brinsley walked up to a parked patrol car in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, pulled out a semiautomatic handgun, and fired several shots at the officers sitting inside, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, killing them both before either could draw his own gun. Brinsley then ran down into a subway station and killed himself. He had written on social media that he wanted revenge for Michael Brown and Eric Garner, two unarmed African-American men who had been killed by the police that summer. Brinsley was a troubled individual who earlier that day had expressed a desire to commit suicide, and had shot and wounded his ex-girlfriend before publishing an Instagram post expressing his plans to put “wings on pigs” and hopping…

26 min.

[Essay] DISAPPEARING INK By Claire Messud, from Kant’s Little Prussian Head and Other Reasons Why I Write, a collection of essays, which will be published next month by W. W. Norton. We live in an era crippled by our devotion to capitalism. We are beleaguered by hopelessness (what is the opioid epidemic if not the symptom of a people duped by false dreams?) and by rigorous utilitarianism (formed by a late-capitalist mindset, we ask always: What’s in it for me?). We inhabit a time and place in which falsehood and truth are fatally commingled; in which our ideals appear shattered and abandoned by leaders and priests and coaches who are unmasked as predators; and in which any sense of self is assaulted and abused by advertisers. In short, recent years have been a…

1 min.
the long goodbye

From sign-offs in the correspondence of the philosopher Gilles Deleuze, collected in Letters and Other Texts, which was published in July by Semiotext(e). Wishes, wishes, wishesFriendship and wishesThinking of your futureYou are among the greatest poetsLet me express the strong effect our meetings, both recent and upcoming, have on meHave a good conference, impose your talk, and stroke the good doctorForgive me for troubling you in this way, as I hope you will see it as proof of my great admirationI need some type of long sleep at present but cannotI am somewhat ill-suited for travelI am not furious, as you say, but very annoyedWith all my heart, you are a terrible battlefield, from which friendship can extract joy and complicityI have pushed back my departure for Paris, no way to…