Odds and Ends, Going Nowhere

Okay, it’s magazine week again, so my take of the usual mags will follow in short order.

Harper’s Magazine, October 2013



Sometimes it’s near-impossible to draw a thematic thread through a magazine issue, and this month’s Harper’s is one, a rarity for this fine mag. Perhaps the key this time is a letter from the publisher, John R. MacArthur, concerning the future of magazines. The whole thing is an exercise in circular logic, it seems, and so are Thomas Frank’s thoughts on the value of education, as well as Jeff Madrick’s paean to Cory Booker regarding nutrition and learning. Pickings from the left side of the tree seem to be getting slim.

Then there’s Lawrence Douglas’ report, “A Kangaroo in Obama’s Court,” on possible legal happenstances way down there in Guantanamo, but since the military trials are moving at a glacial pace, it’s an exercise in “what-iffing.”

Jay Kirk’s piece, “Bartok’s Monster – Stalking the Dead Composer Through Transylvania,”stumbles hither and yon in true reality TV fashion, and I can’t say it dragged me from the doldrums even once.

T.C. Boyle’s story, “Sic Transit,” wanders compellingly for a while, and then completes an unfulfilled circle. And there’s a completely incoherent and overlong essay on Pynchon’s latest, “Bleeding Edge,” to wrap up.

All things considered, I’m left, well, circing…



Visit my website here, where you’ll have an opportunity to download an audio eversion of my latest, Sam’s Place, as well as select book review podcasts. Then there’s my FB Fan Page here. On both you’ll find more on ideas and events that matter to me – and possibly to you.


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