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Hidden Power

Noam Chomsky On Resurrecting The Revolutionary Spirit Of America

The history books say, “This great man gave us these rights.” But if you look at what actually happened, the rights were won from below, and the “great man” was dragged kicking and screaming into signing something.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Surviving The Body

Standing on a busy sidewalk in South Korea, I turned the map around in my hands, trying to orient myself. Traffic was bumper-to-bumper. Pedestrians and bicyclists vied for space on a street lined with noodle huts and digital billboards advertising cars, bourbon, cigarettes, and cruise holidays. A thick canopy of smells — car exhaust, rotting vegetables, melting tar — hung in the sweltering midafternoon air. As I stepped onto a narrow side street to escape the noise and crowds, my left leg buckled beneath me, and I fell down in a puddle of motor oil in front of a sidewalk stand.

A Boy Named Candy

West Whately Chapel is a stone’s throw from my childhood home. It sits in front of an earthen dike that holds back the old reservoir, which used to serve Northampton. Growing up, my siblings and I were aware of the enormous volume of water contained there. We knew that if the dam broke, our house would be swept away. It was tangible evidence of something we already felt: that we were never really safe.

And Passion Most Of All

“My life is leaking out of me like the water from this garden hose,” my friend says, and wiggles the spray nozzle at me. A trickle of water darkens the sleeve of her sweater. Some shrug of shoulder or downward turn of lip betrays my reluctance to surrender hope. She shakes her head and warns, “Shape up. You don’t have much time left to reach the stage of acceptance.”

Fiction

Not A Scratch

The first time he takes a shower after coming home, he looks himself over: Ten fingers. Ten toes. No scars beyond the ones he collected in childhood. The first day or two with his wife is awkward, each of them watching to see how the other may have changed during his deployment. Her hair is longer. Otherwise she seems the same. He doesn’t feel that different either.

Sawdust

Mr. Bulfamante smelled like oil of wintergreen. I swear he greased back his gray curls with the stuff. He had a chunky head and cauliflower ears and carried a ball-peen hammer everywhere, as if it were the key to unlock his days. That hammer: a dainty object of brass, so small it disappeared inside his fist. He’d been a boxer in the French Navy, he said, and carried his shoulders scrunched high, as if warding off imaginary blows to his ears.

Readers Write

Small Victories

“I hope you’re good at C-sections, ’cause you’re gonna have to cut this calf out,” Dwayne said as he climbed out of his pickup.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Sy Safransky's Notebook

April 2005

I dreamt that I voted for George W. Bush for president, then gathered with fellow Republicans on election night to watch the returns. When it began to look as if Bush had been defeated, several of us started to weep. Suddenly I realized I must be dreaming, because I remembered that Bush had actually won. I was about to tell everyone the good news when I also remembered that I’d voted for John Kerry. So I just kept weeping.

Musings From Our Founder ▸
Quotations

Sunbeams

I bet, after seeing us, George Washington would sue us for calling him “father.”

Will Rogers

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