The author of Truly Tasteless Jokes unmasks herself.
The author of Truly Tasteless Jokes unmasks herself.
An art collector reflects back on the summer camp of her childhood, and a dreadful occurrence.
"[T]hese paintings are not landscape paintings. Because there aren’t any landscapes up there, not in the old, tidy European sense, with a gentle hill, a curving river, a cottage, a mountain in the background, a golden evening sky. lnstead there’s a tangle, a receding maze, in which you can become lost almost as soon as you step off the path. There are no backgrounds in any of these paintings, no vistas; only a great deal of foreground that goes back and back, endlessly, involving you in its twists and turns of tree and branch and rock. No matter how far back in you go, there will be more. And the trees themselves are hardly trees; they are currents of energy. charged with violent color."
A report from the trial of Ivan Demjanjuk—a.k.a. “The Last Nazi”—who died on March 17.
Idleness is not just a psychological necessity, requisite to the construction of a complete human being; it constitutes as well a kind of political space, a space as necessary to the workings of an actual democracy as, say, a free press.
The writer contemplates beauty and identity following reconstructive surgery.
There was a long period of time, almost a year, during which I never looked in a mirror. It wasn’t easy, for I’d never suspected just how omnipresent are our own images. I began by merely avoiding mirrors, but by the end of the year I found myself with an acute knowledge of the reflected image, its numerous tricks and wiles, how it can spring up at any moment: a glass tabletop, a well-polished door handle, a darkened window, a pair of sunglasses, a restaurant’s otherwise magnificent brass-plated coffee machine sitting innocently by the cash register.
There is so much talk now about the art of the film that we may be in danger of forgetting that most of the movies we enjoy are not works of art.
The author travels to North Korea in the years after Kim Jong Il’s succession. He also gets a haircut:
But suddenly the whole chair starts vibrating and I find myself surrendering to her, as she begins to knead the acupressure points on my forehead and neck. Next it's ginseng unguent all over my face. Gobs of pomade smelling like bubble gum go on my hair. Then, like a true daughter of the revolution, she upholsters her blow dryer and begins combing in the pomade and sculpting my now subdued hair. The pungent aroma of heated pomade, like fat frying in a pan, fills the room. My stylist gives my hair a little twist with the comb. It feels like she's making a Dairy Queen curl on top. Then she fries it in place with the dryer. Another dab of pomade. More mincing motions with the comb. Another blast of hot air. Suddenly I feel a moist breeze around my ears. She's taken out a can of imported aerosol spray and is cementing her creation in place. She's delicately patting my new coiffure now the way a baker taps a loaf of bread to see if it's springy to the touch. She murmurs something. I'm breathless with expectation. I open my eyes and gaze into the mirror. Magnifique! It looks like I have a loofah sponge on my head! I am reborn -- a cross between Elvis and a 1950s Bulgarian hydrology expert! At last I have become a true son of Pyongyang!
On the occasion of Hamid Karzai’s visit to the White House, a fever dream tour of the Afghanistan war through the eyes of the leaders who gave birth to its narrative.
On the world’s longest foot race, which takes place entirely within Queens, N.Y.:
Such were the hazards last summer in Jamaica, Queens, at the tenth running of the Self-Transcendence 3,100. The fifteen participants—all but two of them disciples of the Bengali Guru Sri Chinmoy, who has resided in the neighborhood for forty years—hailed from ten countries on three continents. They ran in all weather, seven days a week, from 6:00 a.m. to midnight, or until their bodies compelled them to rest. If they logged fewer than fifty miles on a given day, they risked disqualification. By their own reckoning, the runners climbed eight meters per lap, mounting and descending a spectral Everest every week and a half. They toiled in this fashion for six to eight weeks, however long it took them to complete 5,649 circuits—3,100 miles—around a single city block.
An investigation into The End.
Poe's "The Raven," reimagined
" That's right, buddy, the crow is talking. Pinch yourself; it isn't a dream. The crow is talking. Feed me meat."
An essay on gynobibliophobia and the critical reception of women writers.
Why your phone may (or may not) be killing you.
The author attends a Tolstoy conference as a grad student. She wears flip-flops, sweatpants and a flannel shirt, and tries to determine if Tolstoy was murdered.
This is the piece of writing that inspired me to make the turn from fiction and corporate research into journalism. It’s the best reframing of American society that I’ve ever read. And kudos to Harper’s for running it. It’s not often you see anarchist anthropologists making highly visible contributions to public discourse.
An undercover report on Afghanistan’s drug-smuggling border police that is now heavily used for intelligence training.
On the political climate in Arizona.
Scenario-based forecasts on the future of America, in the style of the C.I.A’s National Intelligence Estimate.
Prison medicine and the coming plague.
The author joins his father’s work crew, gutting out foreclosed houses in Florida and interviewing their former residents.
Our debt, conscious or unconscious, to what has come before, and what it can tell us about copyright, the public domain, and the complicated relationship between creators and consumers.
How the U.S. Army went evangelical and turned a war into a crusade.
The poet and his love affair with Italian motorbikes (and also lots of women.)
A war correspondent decides to rent a house in Baghdad to save money. Complications ensue.
A conversation with NYU Law Professor Philip Alston on the legality of ‘targeted killings’ by drones, which have made headlines in Pakistan, but also have been deployed by the C.I.A. in countries like Yemen.