The Reality of Things

It’s magazine week again, so let’s dispense with the political smoke today and move on.

Harper’s Monthly – November 2012


We here in the U.S. have been ensnared of late with presidential election kerfuffles, both candidates and their surrogates disputing the claims of the other, and a cottage industry of fact-checkers is blooming. Harper’s Monthly must be feeling those vibes, because a lot of their November issue has to deal with the reality of things.

Victoria Miller’s article, “How To Rig an Election,” has to do with the age-old urge to rig elections in one group or another’s favor. This time, says the author, the GOP, feeling the seismic demographic shift in the U.S. away from a previously dominated WASP nation, is the culprit.

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett engage us with their article, “The Mad Mullah Myth,” in which their claim is that the ruling theocracy of Iran isn’t the bat-crap crazy bunch our Neocons and others claim them to be. The authors strive to give us evidence that Iran has since its theocratic inception acted in a politically rational fashion.

Ian Volner writes – and gives us photos – in his article, “The Invisible Stimulus,” of the U.S.‘s much maligned economic stimulus package, indicating that yes, the stimulus did indeed produce results in both infrastructure and jobs. The problem is that these funds were packaged with other federal, state and local funds to accomplish their ends, and that makes it hard for the current administration to claim that the stimulus alone created good things.

To underscore this confusion of the real and the unreal, Harper’s gives us Heidi Julavits’ very clever short story, “This Feels so Real,” in which a woman’s former lover, unwilling to believe that he’s been spurned – and against prevailing evidence – all but stalks her.

An enjoyable and informative, albeit  argumentative issue – something all good magazines should be giving us.





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