"The Mocking Cure
I admire the depth of Christine Smallwood’s impressive research into bed-wetting therapies ['Are You Sleeping?,' Forum, August]. One treatment she neglected to mention, however, was the method my mother used: she brought me in from playing outdoors, stood me before my bed, forced my head down, and rubbed my face in the soiled sheet. I’ll bet her 'cure' was not an uncommon practice back in the 1940s. And while I did later have occasional incontinence issues on the playground, I never again wet the bed. Success — except for the sad memories.
Noreen Ayres Henryville, Pa."
"The symptoms of this malady, named after the longtime editor of Harper’s, Lewis H. Lapham (now of Lapham’s Quarterly), include an elevated, orotund, deeply ironic prose style that, in severe cases, reveals almost nothing about what the topic is or what the author wishes to say about it except for a general sense of superiority to everyone and everything around." —Michael Kinsley, who both succeeded and preceded Lewis Lapham as editor of Harper's, explains "Lapham's Disease." The diagnosis does not appear to be new.
Earlier today we linked to a selection of questions answered by author Dan Baum about his latest Harper's cover story, "Happiness is a Worn Gun." Baum's examination of the feelings about carrying a concealed handgun may on the surface appear reasonable and inoffensive. A deeper look proves this is not the case. That's not all that surprising from a writer who starts his reasoning on gun research, "Why do we need to explain why we like guns? Nobody feels a need to explain why people like guitars, or radios, or model trains. What makes guns different?" The obvious answer to Baum's dumb question is "because guitars and model [...]
Paul Ford is an associate editor at Harper's Magazine. His duties include the full operation of the website. We requested that he join us for a conversation about the magazine, its website and the site's paywall choices and goals.
Choire: Hey Paul! Thank you for joining me. At the outset, let me disclaim that we are somewhat friendly, and in fact for one night shared a bedroom in Sag Harbor, though not in any way that calls your heterosexuality into question. Paul: That was a beautiful weekend. Choire: Ha, well you just made that sound a lot worse for you, but okay! Innuendo aside, I requested your [...]