Art for

Contents

Listen Up, Ladies

What do women have to do with the internet? We submit that, at least in the eyes of media executives, women are the internet. Women, we mean the internet, are commanding a larger share of the print market. The internet, we mean women, never pays for its content—or for their drinks!

Let Them Eat Print!

The magazine for men is not the Atlantic, which treats the internet like a woman and placates it, but Harper’s, which treats the internet like a woman and ignores it. Harper’s remains almost entirely male and for all practical purposes appears exclusively in print, where it pursues its passion for solving arithmetic problems, arranging newspaper clippings, and recounting logistically complicated vacations.

Back from the Dead

An original schism—original sin—simmers beneath every article extolling the virtues of print and lamenting the waning of its empire. For what is it that made magazines so good, anyway? What was their private and singular claim to the truth, and the authority to tell it? That they were not like the stuff women read, or wrote.

Complacencies of a Beach Towel

We love the new Paris Review, partly because it always makes us forget what year it is, but never in a depressing way, like Harper’s. We opened a recent issue and found all our favorite hits from the archives: poems from an ancient civilization, an experimental short story by a woman, some brightly colored art that must have been very expensive to print, and obscene fiction by a Jewish person.

Maidenhair

I cannot get my fill of the map you included of your island homeland, the painstaking labor of your inspired imperial cartographers. And you know, I just may pin it up here on the wall. I’ll look at it and try to guess where you are there right now, among those mountains, deserts, lakes, felt-tip bushes, and capitals. What have you been up to?

Slickheads

The Oxfords went for exhibition and fullness, the whole way, and took it straight to those break-dancing older slickhead clowns from Woodlawn. Yeah, they was popping and breaking, helicopter and all that, but that shit is for tourists. I copped our step from this old head who rocked coach’s shorts and a touring cap, and who gave up the flow downtown every summer.

Letters from Oslo

Anders Breivik is so fair you can barely see his eyebrows. He blinks and flutters his eyes in an uncomfortable way, as one might to adjust contact lenses. His face appeared so immobile while the prosecutor read the charges against him that he reminded me of a newborn.

The Long Eighties

Spend time among the Chinese intelligentsia today and you’ll hear many frank expressions of nostalgia for the 1980s. “Our Eighties are like your Sixties,” someone inevitably will say—in other words, the moment when the possibility of tremendous political transformation flared up only to be extinguished, sending shocks of longing through the dark years that followed.

How to Quit

Outside, people are climbing up the steep slope of the bridge’s pedestrian walkway, on foot or skateboard or bicycle. Only a few look at the building, and even fewer try to glimpse inside. I am in here, watching the bridge and chain-smoking.

On Shulamith Firestone

When I think of Shulie, it is not to those now-mythical meetings I return, not even to the astonishing book, but to the very beginning of our movement for women’s liberation, that scene in Chicago in 1967, when Shulie and Jo Freeman faced humiliation, sexual insult, and ridicule, and responded to men of the left with rage and magnificent indignation. Where did they find the nerve, the strength to confront male contempt?

Nothing But Freedom

In its 1960s contraception rulings and the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the Court used the language of privacy to identify several relationships that merited special protection from state interference. The Court’s decisions were a substantive victory for women’s access to reproductive health care. But its focus on privacy put legal liberals in the increasingly common position of supporting the retreat of public power.

On Jeanette Winterson

Winterson often conveys “failure of feeling”—which she cites in her memoir as the cause of her own biggest mistakes—by depicting marriages that are maintained only for convenience. On the whole, her work argues for the rejection of the prescribed social roles that are satirized by writers like Amis and considered philosophically by writers like Barnes.

The Journalist and the Poor

Property is social: we buy it from other people, using money acquired from another set of people, and our claim is recognized by people who act for the state. Even when we have titles, we can’t occupy property for long without the help and support of many others — and when people take possession of it by force, they never do it alone. When people occupy property without legal titles — when they simply squat on land — the coordination needed to retain that property is even greater.

Letters

The spectacle of a clique of Ivy League alumni loudly renouncing the conditions of their own success — a familiar enough piece of bourgeois psychodrama — might pass without comment. But “Death by Degrees” betrays a deeper state of political disorientation. While there can be no doubt that institutions of higher education reflect and reproduce existing class divisions, they do not create them.