Established in 1850, Harper's Magazine is an award-winning venue for socially concerned, well-educated men and women who treasure intriguing perspectives and superb writing. This magazine balances coverage of political, social, literary, scientific and cultural themes by running essays, fiction and articles by distinguished writers and promising new voices.
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I have been reading Harper's magazine sporadically for the past fifteen years, and bought my friend James, who reads it faithfully, a subscription all those years ago which he continually renews.
Harper's magazine is an upscale publication that caters to a somewhat educated, or at least well-informed, readership. The magazine has been around for over 150 years, so it seems that they are doing many things right.
Probably the most famous feature of this monthly publication is the Harper's Index, a list of quantifiable statistics related to a timely subject. For example, the January 2002 Index includes the following...
An anomaly amongst annals of Americana
Its slight pretensions (long-winded editor, occasional lapses in judgement particularly in regards to post-modern fiction) don't really detract from the overall quality; I've been reading this regularly for about a decade now and am still amazed by it -- not so much because it's an excellent magazine, but because it's still around, and it's been around for so long. When you look at the rest of the swill that's offered up as reading material for the great unwashed, you don't understand who's reading Harper's. Do they just read it and nothing else? Why aren't there more quality publications like it? If England's Punch couldn't survive this long, how did Harper's?...
Brain Candy and Bedding
There's a nasty rumor floating about that I like to roll around naked on magazines. Well, if that were true--and I'm not saying it is--I would feel honored to roll in Harper's.
I could do without Lewis Lapham's often overly political and esoteric column. But the Index always piques my interest with hilarious or poignant statistics, like:
Numbers of channels offered when TV came to Fiji's Nadraga province in 1995: 1 Percentage change since then in the incidence of self-induced vomiting among girls there: +300
Then you have the Readings, the digest part of the magazine where they excerpt highly intelligent, funny, or stupid material...
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