Magazine | December 29, 2008, Issue


(Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)


Halfway between the familiar harbor
And our destination, soon it seemed
Partway between nowhere and nowhere;
The stars we counted on to plot our course
Fled before a mass of ghostly clouds.
And there was nothing more to guide us
But the ship’s log and compass,
A scribbled record of our starting out
And the wobbling arrow of direction,
Vague tokens of the past and present,
And the sensation of speed and distance
In the puffed sail, the rope in our wake.
As for the future: The vision of a coast
Unknown and indescribable seemed
The more precious the longer we were lost.
Day dawned upon fog as dense as night.
And some, after many days like this
Turn upon each other in blind rage,
Dive headlong from the foretop,
Or drown in grog, forgetting
Why we ever left home, signed on
For such a voyage, to a land unknown
When nothing had been promised beyond hope.

In This Issue


Books, Arts & Manners


Most Popular


Jussie Smollett Jokes Declared Off-Limits

The Jussie Smollett story has been declared not fit for jokes. "It's a straight-up tragedy," declares the co-creator of a Comedy Central show, South Side, set in Chicago. Bashir Salahuddin, a former Jimmy Fallon writer, says “The whole situation is unfortunate. Particularly for the city, there’s bigger ... Read More

What The 1619 Project Leaves Out

“The goal of The 1619 Project, a major initiative from The New York Times that this issue of the magazine inaugurates, is to reframe American history by considering what it would mean to regard 1619 as our nation’s birth year,” The New York Times Magazine editors declare. “Doing so requires us to place ... Read More
PC Culture

Courage Is the Cure for Political Correctness

This might come as some surprise to observers of our campus culture wars, but there was a time, not long ago, when the situation in American higher education was much worse. There a wave of vicious campus activism aimed at silencing heterodox speakers, and it was typically empowered by a comprehensive regime of ... Read More
Film & TV

The Movies Take On Limbaugh, Levin, et al.

Oh, good, here’s the lefty British comic Steve Coogan to give us his take on American right-wing talk radio. Let’s all settle in for some deep insights. The comedy-drama is dismally titled Hot Air. No, seriously. That’s what they came up with. Coogan’s Lionel Macomb is introduced to us via his ... Read More
White House

Trump’s Ignorant Comments on Israel

Making the click-through worthwhile: figuring out what President Trump meant when he said Jews who vote for Democrats show “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty”; examining the data on how American Jews actually feel about Israel; and why Democrats will always find a way or a reason to avert ... Read More