Issue Number 2

Happiness

Cover of Issue 2
  • The Intellectual Situation
    • Happiness

      The novel didn’t make any promises. Quite the opposite: it could have scared you off of life. But somehow its congenital unhappiness actually made you want to live. More…

    • Death Is Not the End

      Was theory a gigantic hoax? On the contrary. It was the only salvation, for a twenty year period, from two colossal abdications by American thinkers and writers. More…

    • Cancel Them

      A reading is like a bedside visit. The audience extends a giant moist hand and strokes the poor reader’s hair. More…

    • The Way Out Is In

      Let the comedians, the lip-gloss models, the movie directors, the journalists and historians be. Their work may be inferior to the novelist’s, but they do it better than he does. More…

    • French Sex Novel

      Cher Ami, I am depressed. Things are worse here than I thought. It’s a mess and what’s more it’s a provincial mess. But let me go back. A brief history of 20th-century French fiction. More…

  • Politics
    • Among the Believers

      The Hindu nationalists used the folksy symbols of Hinduism even as they struck deals with big businessmen and multinational corporations. They pointed to various terrorist and Islamic fundamentalist threats to India, and promised to restore national virility. More…

    • Shh . . . Swing Voters are Listening

      For now we are reduced to watching our government—not ours, really—as it winks at torturers, floats bad checks, and puts “science” inside of scare quotes. More…

  • Bad Education
    • Babel in California

      “Indeed,” I finally said, “as a six foot tall first-generation Turkish woman growing up in New Jersey, I cannot possibly know as much about alienation as you, a short American Jew.” He nodded: “So you see the problem.” More…

    • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

      In this way and others I was assured again and again: no Delgado by way of TMS. No mind control. No social danger. Pascual-Leone had been brainstorming aloud; or he had been attempting innocently to pique the curiosity of a visiting journalist. More…

    • Last Cigarettes

      Now I know that when shaggy, Dionysian Allen Ginsberg takes on the role of forbidding father, and you still take up smoking, you must really be on the wrong side of history. More…

    • Trends in Network Comedy

      Then there’s the comedy of Dennis Miller, who strings together cultural references into rambling sentences that have the rhythm of jokes but are not, frequently, jokes. He’ll say things like, “I haven’t seen a tax plan this poorly constructed since Tony Orlando did Jager shots with Buzz Aldrin,” and the crowd will, inexplicably, bust its gut. More…

  • Fiction
    • The Reaper

      Dear Beth—I liked your last letter. You are funny. Really. I’ll tell you, mostly there is just a lot of sitting around here doing nothing. I play cards and THIS IS THE REAPER! WHEN I AM BORED I MASTURBATE AND THINK ABOUT YOU. I’m so sorry. Oh my god. I can’t believe that just happened again. More…

    • The Vice President’s Daughter

      I did not come to Harvard so that my roommate could sleep with, or almost-sleep-with, the Vice President’s daughter. In my secret dreams, or even from past experience, I would have thought that it would be I who slept with, or almost-slept-with, the Veep’s handsome daughter. More…

  • Desperate Living
    • The Concept of Experience

      You could also easily say, how pointless—how uncomfortable I was, how much I disliked that person, how rotten I felt. somehow the experience seems definitive, for better and for worse. What was learned is not unlearned. More…

    • Three Poems

      I lost my way.

      Can I say that

      and still be trusted? More…

    • Diana Abbott

      If he desires to draw attention to suffering, doesn’t the apprehension of such become the more acute when full allowance is made for the possibility of happiness? More…

  • Translation
  • Reviews
    • Farewell, Hitch

      If a hall of fame were established for contemporary book reviewers, Christopher Hitchens would very likely be its second inductee. (James Wood, of course, would be the first.) More…

    • Seattle to Baghdad

      Klein, almost unique among political journalists, has struggled to make our post-9/11 moment continuous with the late 1990s. She has looked for the neoliberalism inside neoconservatism. More…

    • On Philip Roth

      It’s true that Roth hasn’t been funny lately. The humor largely went out of his work after Sabbath’s Theater, when he turned to writing historical tragedies. But never has the humor been so sorely needed. More…

    • Graphic Novels

      A German friend asked me if graphic novels were erotic. I said, “No, they’re neurotic.” So neurotic they’re appearing on English-department syllabi. More…

    • Apocalypse Deferred

      The book ends with a promise of direct political relevance, in which the foregoing analysis will help us to intervene in and fix the world. How? Never by restoring the power of parliaments, or the rule of law. It’s too late for that. More…