March 19, 2001

The latest Harper's Magazine has been a feast for my hungry mind:


Harper's Index

Human Nature and Human Rights
an excerpt from an essay which looks to biology and sociology to investigate whether "human rights" are the same as "natural rights"

Itemized Abductions
"Can the parents of a minor child who was kidnapped by a person not related to the child take a dependency exception for the child in the year of the kidnapping if the child is missing at the end of the year?"

Conspiracy Theory
"From a September 27, 1970, cable sent by CIA officials in Langley, Virginia, to covert operatives in Santiago, Chile. Twelve days earlier, Richard Nixon had ordered the CIA to foment a military takeover to block the November inauguration of Salvador Allende, a democratically elected Socialist."

Whatever We Did is No Good
"From the transcript of the cockpit voice recorder of Alaska Airlines Flight 261, which crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Los Angeles on January 31, 2000". (Some of the most affecting words I have read as of late)

Broken Arrow
"In March 1958, a B47 Stratojet accidentally dropped a nuclear bomb in Gregg's garden near Florence, South Carolina."

Puppy Doggs
"From lyrics posted on The Playground, an online rap competition hosted by the official Lil Bow Wow website.

Fiction: "Curly Red" by Joyce Carol Oats
With such strange truths found in Harpers, I rarely read its fiction.

main course: folio

Tense Present: Democracy, English and the Wars over Usage 
by David Foster Wallace
"Did you know that probing the seamy underbelly of U.S. lexicography reveals ideological strife and controversy and intrigue and nastiness and fervor on a nearly hanging-chad scale?"

side dish: book review

Out of Print: Publishing's future, seen from the inside
Discussed in this essay:
The Business of Books, by Andre Schiffrin
Book Business, by Jason Epstein


Bad Sports 
Or: how we learned to stop worrying and love the SUV
"But by the late 1980's, Detroit marketers had begun to identify a new class of driver - a pleasure-seeking, "self-oriented" man or woman who liked to drive fast, cared deeply about a car's appearance, had an above-average fear of road dangers (including crime), and wasn't exactly eager to advertise his or her married status."