The December issue of _Harper's_ just arrived to subscribers, and I'd be hard-pressed to imagine a magazine issue more filled with fodder for mind-twisting, bandwidth-sucking arguments on RCM. OT quacks, cranks, and curmudgeons will find it packed with enough ammunition and moving targets to twist the NG into a knot until Christmas, including these bits:
"The Line is Hot: A history of the machine gun, shot," a look at machine guns from the unusual perspective of a literary-type writer who knows his guns, paced with a running narrative of his adventures at the machine-gun shoot at Knob Creek Gun Range in Kentucky. An interesting historical bit: Henry Raymond, former _Harper's_ editor and owner of _The New York Times_, successfully defended his newspaper's favorable opinion of draft exemptions for the wealthy in 1863 by pointing two Gatling guns into the street from his office windows. Must reading.
"Academic Cross-Dressing: How Intelligent Design gets its arguments from the left," by (yes, it's really him) Stanley Fish, much-hated Yale professor of post-modernist theory, who drives a green Jaguar reported to be frequently stuffed with co-ed crumpet, and yours isn't. Fish traces how Phillip E. Johnson, a leading ID advocate, among others, has intentionally and admittedly borrowed ideas from multiculturalism and post-modernism to promote his cause. It will make you clench your fists.
"Jesus Without the Miracles: Thomas Jefferson's Bible and the Gospel of Thomas," which provides some insights into the difference between Thomas Jefferson's Jesus and that of say, Pat Robertson. Interesting, not too tart. Information about what happened to the copy of the Bible that Thomas Jefferson once...ah, "edited," with a pair of scissors.
"The Great Leap: Scenes from China's Industrial Revolution," it ain't all roses in this account that you won't read in _Business Week_.
And, guaranteed to make blood boil and teeth knash (as always) among the conservative set, Lewis Lapham's editorial, "A Simple Life," which compares the Bush administration to a clique of spoiled teenagers "who don't want to hear it from anybody telling them what to do -- which shoes to wear, how to behave in a dance club, when to speak to the caddie or the French ambassador, why it might not be a good idea to wreck the Social Security system, redirect the flow of the Missouri river, or invade Iraq..."
The "Harper's Index" is fun ("Number of Alabama state senators co-sponsoring a bill last summer to 'protect' public displays of the Ten Commandments: 10. Number of them who could list the Commandments: 1"). Don't miss "Soccer Imams," about a soccer fatwah issued by a Saudi Sheikh ("If a player falls during the game and breaks his hand or his foot, he shall not say 'foul' and shall not stop playing because of his injury. The one who caused his injury shall not receive a yellow or red card by rather the case shall be judged according to Muslim law.")
Enjoy. It will be on the newsstands at big bookstores, college bookstores, and libraries by the end of next week. If it provokes any OT "discussions," I will not participate but I will be counting unread and blocked posts.