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Harper's MagazineHarper's Magazine

Harper's Magazine

December 2019

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.

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Harper's Magazine Foundation
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12 Issues

IN THIS ISSUE

1 min.
harper's magazine

JOHN R. MACARTHUR, PRESIDENT AND PUBLISHER Editorial Director ELLEN ROSENBUSH Executive Editor CHRISTOPHER BEHA Managing Editor KATHERINE RYDER Senior Editors CHRISTOPHER CARROLL, RACHEL POSER, MATTHEW SHERRILL Art Director KATHRYN HUMPHRIES Editor Emeritus LEWIS H. LAPHAM Washington Editor ANDREW COCKBURN Poetry Editor BEN LERNER Web Editor VIOLET LUCCA Associate Editors ELIZABETH BRYANT, JOE KLOC, STEPHANIE McFEETERS Assistant Editors WILL AUGEROT, JOSEPH FRISCHMUTH, ADRIAN KNEUBUHL, JOHN SHERMAN, WILL STEPHENSON Art Researcher ALYSSA COPPELMAN Editorial Interns TEDDY BURNETTE, CLAUDIA CROOK, LAUREL McCAULL, DANIEL RATHBURN Art Intern CLARA VON TURKOVICH Contributing Editors ANDREW J. BACEVICH, KEVIN BAKER, DAN BAUM, TOM BISSELL, JOSHUA COHEN, JOHN CROWLEY, WES ENZINNA, TANYA GOLD, GARY GREENBERG, JACK HITT, EDWARD HOAGLAND, SCOTT HORTON, FREDERICK KAUFMAN, GARRET KEIZER, MARK KINGWELL, WALTER KIRN, RAFIL KROLL-ZAIDI, GIDEON LEWIS-KRAUS, RICHARD MANNING, CLANCY MARTIN, DUNCAN MURRELL, VINCE PASSARO, FRANCINE PROSE, JEFF SHARLET, CHRISTINE SMALLWOOD, ZADIE SMITH, REBECCA SOLNIT, MATTHEW STEVENSON,…

4 min.
letters

Lost Clauses The participants in the Forum on the Constitution [“Constitution in Crisis,” October] offer wonderful insights. However, they do not sufficiently celebrate the Constitution’s virtues—nor do they address its flaws in a constructive way. David Law expresses skepticism as to the very desirability of a written constitution, pointing to other countries without them. But this ignores the Constitution’s overwhelming success and durability. We have enjoyed more than two hundred years of democratic rule with orderly transfers of power. We have endured a civil war and survived depressions and recessions without yielding to the temptation of totalitarianism. Overall, the Constitution has allowed for a great and ongoing expansion of freedom and equality. Of course, it is also a deeply flawed document. When it was written, in 1787, it institutionalized and protected slavery.…

11 min.
easy chair

The only letter I’ve ever sent to the New York Times was in the 1980s, objecting to the paper’s suddenly pestilent use of “draconian.” During Iran–Contra the complaint must have seemed trivial; the letter never saw print. Yet that seminal annoyance in my twenties marked an awakening to word-as-contagion. Every era has its fashionable argot. Take the turn of this century, when we were eternally “on the same page” and getting “wake-up calls” while confessing “My bad!” or pronouncing ourselves “good to go.” Meanwhile, the British were christening everything in sight “brilliant” and prefacing their every sentence with “to be honest.” Alas, the Brits’ grating compulsion to denounce initiatives and bodies as “not fit for purpose” has yet to burn out. Maybe it’s time to write another letter. Propelled by digital technology…

1 min.
new from zed books

The Red Years Forbidden Poems from Inside North Korea Bandi Translated by Heinz Insu Fenkl Singularly poignant and evocative, Bandi’s poetry gives us a rare glimpse into everyday life and survival in North Korea. Paper $14.95 Secrets and Siblings The Vanished Lives of China’s One Child Policy Mari Manninen Secrets and Siblings outlines the scale of the tragic consequences of China’s One-Child Policy, showing how Chinese families and society have been forever changed. Paper $18.95 Paper Dragons China and the Next Crash Walden Bello “A stark warning about the vulnerable state of global financial markets from one of our most acute and prescient thinkers.”—Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything Cloth $28.95 China and Her Neighbours Asian Diplomacy from Ancient History to the Present Michael Tai “A book on how to deepen mutual understanding between the peoples of East Asia. A valuable contribution to the peaceful and harmonious evolution…

3 min.
harper’s index

Number of new Christmas films that will debut on Hallmark channels this year : 40 Percentage of the world’s internet traffic that is attributable to Netflix : 12 Percentage increase since 1996 in the average price of a movie ticket in the United States : 106 In the average price of a concert ticket : 256 Estimated annual amount that U.S. book publishers lose to piracy : $315,000,000 Percentage of people downloading pirated e-books who make $100,000 or more a year : 29 Number of requests Google has received since 2014 to delete search results based on the E.U.’s “right to be forgotten” law : 3,300,000 Percentage of those requests Google has granted (see page 12) : 45 Factor by which the U.S. public trusts law enforcement more than advertisers to use facial-recognition technology “responsibly” : 3 Amount that…

7 min.
being in nothingness

By Kyle Chayka, from The Longing for Less: Living with Minimalism, a work of criticism that will be published next month by Bloomsbury. In the midst of existence, most living things deny time. They grow and reproduce in order to fight the inevitable. Life strives to be permanent, though it cannot be. Even the slow natural decay of a flower in the ground is a consequence of this struggle to survive as long as possible. In 1953, the Kyoto School philosopher Keiji Nishitani wrote an essay on ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging. The arranger selects a very few seasonal blooms or branches, cuts them, and places them in a handmade ceramic vase or bowl so that the plants extend upward and outward like energetic strokes of calligraphy, framed within…