Art for Issue 23


Evil but Stupid

One of the pleasures of reading Hersh’s account is the way it elegantly dismantles aspects of the story that seemed suspect from the beginning, and first among these is the notion that bin Laden, had he surrendered, would have been taken alive. “Let’s face it,” the retired intelligence officer told Hersh. “We’re going to commit a murder.”

No Revanchismo

B’s utilitarian assumption was just a version of what we’d all learn later — either in “cost-benefit” analyses (that charged euphemism) in economics and public-policy classes, or else in nonsensical “moral compass” tests in job interviews. B intuited a principle that underlies so many political decisions, from drone strikes to the building of World Cup stadiums. His stupidity was to say it out loud.

Nine Inherited Disorders

He wanted the reader to think to himself: “I just read about the Holocaust. Why am I picturing this fern? What is the matter with me?” Such was the literary effect he was aiming for.

Yarmouk Miniatures

It struck me on starting the first page of Historical Miniatures that Mazen had terribly misjudged my Arabic ability. I was ready for a challenge, but this was real literature, wildly above my level of comprehension.

How to Survive a Footnote

What happened in those years can’t be contained in a coda. Nor can it be credited with all the victories that came later — but it was an era in which AIDS activism began winning remarkable victories in the global arena, and the era in which the AIDS and LGBT agendas cleaved apart.

Architecture and/or Revolution

The architecture of the modern movement could not solve the problems generated by developmentalism, and in its proponents’ zeal to inflict enormous, increasingly standardized solutions on the urban landscape, it might even exacerbate them.


Dear Editors, I used to be a cop in Manhattan. By the close of 2011, I had spent countless hours policing Occupy Wall Street, traversing lower Manhattan alongside people shouting the same five or six things, day after day, accompanied by drums and sometimes brass instruments. In the beginning, there was a nervous anticipation among my fellow officers; we sensed that the protesters had tapped into a zeitgeist. If they could get even a few percent of the people of the metro area to come out on a single day to march, the crowd would be too large to regulate. They would have seized on ideas powerful enough to get the police themselves to join their ranks, and they would be on the path to a revolution.