Simon Apter

Simon Maxwell Apter is a Prospect intern.

Recent Articles

Two Cheers for Floyd

Floyd Patterson had an ego the size of a soybean, and, sandwiched between Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali in the great scheme of boxing, he needed one that small. If getting knocked out in the first round by Sonny Liston twice within a 10-month span wasn't enough, Patterson had to sit back and watch Ali, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman -- the undisputed titans of the sport in the 1960s and '70s -- peck at and then whittle away and then eventually eclipse his legacy as a fighter. When he died Thursday, at age 71, finally succumbing to the one-two of Alzheimer's and prostate cancer, he had appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated exactly seven times, most recently (if that's the word) as a brooding, arms-crossed, scared-looking challenger before his ill-fated 1965 bout with Ali. In his 64 years, The Greatest has graced SI 's cover 37 times. Anyone who has seen the wonderfully satirical barbershop scene from Eddie Murphy's Coming to America (1988) can rightfully claim to know something...

Hastert Disaster

Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert, a 62-year-old career politician from--and Mike Myers' fans may be permitted a chuckle here--Aurora, Illinois, stands on the second rung of presidential succession, right after the veep. Should, as Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) is attempting to do, President Bush and Vice President Cheney be impeached and removed from office (a liberal lark, perhaps, but serious enough to attract the attention of The Nation 's Washington correspondent John Nichols, who reported on it Wednesday), Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert would become President Hastert, and America would enter the Hastert era. First Lady Laura will become First Lady Jean. Crawford will move to Yorkville, Illinois, on the Fox River. For those who don't remember Saturday Night Live 's “Wayne's World” sketch from the early '90s, Aurora, Illinois, lies about 30 minutes west of Chicago out Interstate 88. It's a suburban community, but still far enough from the metropolis to have its own...

Invisible Children

A new book investigates the oft-overlooked subject of children whose parents are serving hard time. TAP sits down with Nell Bernstein, author of All Alone in the World: Children of the Incarcerated (The New Press, 2005). Bernstein is an award-winning journalist whose stories have appeared in The Washington Post, Mother Jones, salon.com, and Newsday . She was a Soros Justice Media Fellow at the Open Society Institute of New York and she wrote the introduction to Juvenile , Joseph Rodriguez's 2004 monograph about jailed youths. She lives in Berkeley, California. Why did you choose to investigate this topic? I had worked with teenagers for many, many years. In college, I worked in a runaway shelter and then, after college, I worked in a group home. Then I spent nearly ten years editing a youth newspaper at Pacific News Service in California. I think I came to the topic more from an interest in family than from an interest in prison. I was working with these kids who were fighting tooth...

A Soldier's Song

Forget Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor from 2001. Forget Richard Fleischer's Tora! Tora! Tora! , an even better film about the December 7, 1941 attack, from 1970. Forget, even, Fahrenheit 9/11 . Forget the us-versus-them schlock, the tacked-on romantic subplots flourishing amidst a backdrop of total war, the mean-spirited finger-pointing. We're searching for the soul of war, here, the combat alma mater that emblazons itself on a soldier's body far more resonantly than does a symbol on a college sweater or high school letterman's jacket. We're searching, here, for JFK's axiomatic orphan of defeat, that crushed kid left disfigured, disheartened, and disavowed by his war experience. We're searching for that guy who actually did save asses in World War II, the guy who landed at Inchon, the guy who traded shots with the NVA across the Mekong. This is our soldier. This, as Americans, is our war. This, as Americans, is our tragedy. One by one, these are our guys. Listen. On December 2, 1970, a...

G'bye, Harriet; Hello … Janice?!

With Michael Jordan still on the table in the 1984 NBA draft, the Portland Trail Blazers used their first-round pick on Sam Bowie, a 7-foot-1 All-American string bean from Kentucky. Bowie, a walking injury, became a punch line for generations of NBA fans, missing hundreds of games while Air Jordan slowly ascended to greatest-of-all-time status. “We needed a center,” has been the championship-less team's mantra ever since. Now, with Harriet Miers having withdrawn herself as nominee to the Supreme Court, President Bush gets what the Blazers (and their fans) have craved for more than two decades: a second chance. The obvious thing for him to do, it seems, is to find a John Roberts–esque nominee -- obviously conservative, obviously qualified, and not obviously controversial. Federal appeals court judge Michael Luttig comes to mind. But what if Bush doesn't do the obvious? There's already a sense -- indeed, it was being whispered around town before Miers officially withdrew -- that...

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