I have been subscribing to Harper’s for over ten years, i.e., over a third of my entire life. It was crucial in my intellectual formation, presenting me with a left-wing viewpoint that was not liberal and not eager to find “common ground” — and thus probably laying the groundwork for my appreciation of Zizek. Like Zizek, Harper’s has had a tendency toward unfortunate “crackpot” material, such as an infamous article questioning the link between HIV and AIDS, but I was willing to forgive it all, perhaps out of a misplaced nostalgia.
Now, however, I’m seriously losing faith. This issue’s cover story is an argument in favor of fasting. As The Girlfriend points out, if this story were written by a woman, it would be interpreted as advocating anorexia and thus censored from many internet forums. Accompanying this is hard-hitting coverage of a pro-breast feeding cabal.
Coming in the wake of Zadie Smith’s truly heart-breaking decision to step down as author of the monthly “New Books” column, this may be more than I can take! I may let my subscription lapse — though they will be unlikely to get the message, given that for a while I had a habit of absent-mindedly responding to every renewal notice and am therefore subscribed through 2014.