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Republicans formally nominated George W. Bush as presidential candidate at their convention in Philadelphia; a display of dark-skinned speakers elicited much comment from journalists who noticed the contrast with rank-and-file Republicans on the convention floor. Former President Gerald Ford suffered a mild stroke. Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate, made a brief appearance, much to the delight of bored journalists, before he was removed by Republican officials. It was the tenth anniversary of Iraq’sinvasion of Kuwait; Alaa Hussein Ali, who led Kuwait’s puppet government during the occupation, filed suit against Saddam Hussein for compelling him to collaborate with Iraqi forces. Ali is currently on death row. German foreign minister Joschka Fischer suggested that many Germans silently support recent anti-immigrant violence. The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service naturalized 180,000 immigrants without performing proper background checks, according to a Justice Department report; the report failed to support the Republican charge that the Clinton administration rushed the approvals in hopes of acquiring additional Democratic voters in the 1996 election. A Justice Department investigation was announced in response to charges of discrimination against Asians at the Los Alamos National Laboratories. Chinese protestors set fire to Hong Kong’s immigration office, after dousing its lobby with gasoline, injuring fifty. The NAACP will move its annual convention from its customary location in South Carolina to protest the continued presence of the Confederate Battle Flag on a Civil War monument near the state capitol. Democrats complained that George W. Bush plagiarized President Clinton in his nomination acceptance speech. The company that manufactures Wonder Bread was ordered to pay $120 million in a racial discrimination law suit.
Voters in the Kansas Republican primary selected pro-evolution candidates for the state school board, ensuring thereby that the state’s current science standards, which for the last three years have required the teaching of creationism in the schools, will be overturned. Scientists sequenced the genome of the cholera bacterium. Microbes survived a brief experimental space flight. Monsanto said it would release patent rights to golden rice, a strain of genetically-altered rice that is rich in vitamin A, in order to help poor countries fight malnutrition. According to a new study, viruses may cause obesity. DNA Sciences, a new dot com company in California, established a “gene trust” and invited people to volunteer DNA samples for scientific study; the company, which expects to make a profit, will not compensate DNA donors. A new drug to combat troublesome female facial hair was introduced. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother of England turned 100. The world’s largest fungus was discovered in Oregon; the fungus, which covers 2,400 acres, is believed to be 2,400 years old. Argentine ants have formed a 600-mile-long colony in California.
Beaches were closed on both East and West coasts due to high concentrations of bacteria associated with sewage. A federal judge ruled that laws regulating kosher restaurants were unconstitutional. California was in the midst of a power shortage; residents faced the prospect of rolling black outs and many began, hesitantly, to question the wisdom of energyderegulation. The supreme leader of the Taliban said that Afghanistan’s severe drought was sent by God to punish the people for neglecting their religious duties and failing to show proper gratitude toward their rulers. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the rightist Israeli Shas Party, declared that the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust were reincarnated sinners who rightly suffered the wrath of God. Islamic law was adopted in yet another Nigerian province. Organizers of the United Nations Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders failed to invite the Tibetan Dalai Lama because doing so would offend China. Scientists learned that women who are abused at an early age are likely to suffer from stress later in life. Political massacres continued in India, as did heavy rains, which led to the displacement of 2.5 million people. Wild fires were burning across the American West.
More from Roger D. Hodge:
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Rank of Detroit among major U.S. cities whose residents give the largest portion of their income to charity:
A South Dakota researcher concluded that only scant blood spatter results when chain saws are used to dismember pigs.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature