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The Point - Spring 2011

  • Issue Number: Issue 4
  • Published Date: Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle: Biannual

The Point is a sophisticated 187-paged Chicago-based literary magazine about contemporary life and culture. The Spring issue's most frequent theme is sports entertainment and rationale, although its five sections, "Letters from the Editors," "Essays," "Art," "Symposium," and "Reviews" include other topics. It's good that it is a biannual, as its many articles require, more often than not, erudite engagement, and certainly more than one sitting.

The "Letters from the Editors" consists of six pages of quotes about freedom by politicians, authors, musicians, philosophers, and economists, from Member of Congress Michele Bachmann to Milton Friedman, from Thoreau to Lenin, Kant, Sartre, et al.

The "Essays" cover such things as games, theology, hermeneutics, education, and digestion with articles such as "Did Drugs Kill Sports," "Pornography as a Way of Life," rap music, problems with authority, and "A Philosopher's Sickness."

The arts section, "Lifestyle," describes the "Wild Alps, a Photo Essay" by Nicolo Degiorges with twelve pages of color photos of the back-to-nature, sort of Native American, lifestyle of three families in the northern German-speaking region of Trentino-Alto Adige in Italy, who are practically self-sufficient, "estranged from industrial and technological development."

Part four's "Symposium," twenty-seven pages on soccer, cricket, basketball, American football, and healthy rivalry, explores athletic entertainment with much intellectual analysis, even an article about the ancient Greek/Athenian penchant for the sound body producing sound minds, ergo the necessity for physical education as opposed to a curricula of math, science, history, and literature. Physical competition provides more than physical fitness; it teaches participants about life. "Soccer and Schizophrenia," "The Sweatiest of the Liberal Arts," "March Madness," "Healthy Rivalry, and "Hail Mary Time" are the articles in "Symposium." "Hail Mary Time," about the 1906 football revolution, after eighteen players died and 159 were injured the year before, was particularly informative, but author Jonny Thakkar's main point was how plutocracy distorts society. One wonders, however, what the yearly injury rates have been since 1906.

"Reviews" include author/artist "Chris Ware's ANL #20," television's Sarah Palin's Alaska, the film Chicago Heights, and "Chicago's Political Theater," the latter reviewing the three stage plays Cherrywood, Detroit, and Frost/Nixon, respectively about "transform[ing] our bad present," “a fitting midterm report for the age of Obama, at a point where talk of hope has bleakly curdled," and a "delectable glimpse at the birth of politics of resentment whose echoes […] saturate our polity today."

The writers are erudite, often esoteric, and showcase their profound knowledge. The only articles that weren't so recondite were the "Wild Alps, a Photo Essay" and Jessica Weisberg's review of television's "Sarah Palin's Alaska."

Included is a separate and impressive list of "Resources," used by some of the authors and would probably be recognized only by scholars. These resources are not referenced as footnotes accompanying the articles, which is annoying, but then only the literati would recognize them anyway. Also missing is brief biographical information about the authors. Professors, artistes, and other intellectuals would like The Point.

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Review Posted on November 14, 2011

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