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Chile’s former dictator General Augusto Pinochet was arrested, in Chile.The terms of the amnesty he negotiated upon his abdication included murder but not kidnapping, and the bodies of nineteen people who were abducted by the “Caravan of death,” a helicopter-borne death squad led by one of Pinochet’s close aides, were never found, world-historical ruthlessness giving rise to world-historical ironyĂ˘Â?Â?which then devolved into farce when an appeals court suspended the arrest order.Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, his government about to fall, called for an early election.Mary Robinson, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, recommended sending international monitors to the West Bank and Gaza, saying that life for Palestinians under the Israeli occupation was “dehumanizing.” The Israeli government issued a report claiming that Palestinians and not Israeli defense forces actually shot and killed 12-year-old Mohammed al-Durah as he cowered with his father; the report, which relied heavily on civilians with no training in ballistics, was widely ridiculed. Israel’s daily paper Ha’aretz wrote: “It is hard to describe in mild terms the stupidity of this bizarre investigation.” Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers rebel group, announced that he was ready to negotiate a peace; the government issued a press release saying they would fight “until the enemy is totally eliminated.” Venezuela’s supreme court ruled that President Hugo ChĂ?Âˇvez can proceed with a referendum to ban independent laborunions and replace them with one national government-controlled union loyal to President Hugo ChĂ?Âˇvez.Another Nigerian state adopted the Islamic code.The governor of Alabama gave Rosa Parks a Medal of Honor For Extraordinary Courage.New Jersey confirmed that 80 percent of the searches performed by state troopers over the last decade were of cars driven by blacks or Hispanics but pointed out that the federal government’s Drug Enforcement Agency had encouraged racial profiling in the name of the War on Drugs.The United States Supreme Court said that random highway drug searches were unconstitutional.Romanians were concerned that a young anti-Semite might defeat an old Communist in a runoff election for president.Russians were busy paying “Freedom’s Toll,” wrote the New York Times, drinking hard and dying young.
Florida authorities arrested a young man whom they had photographed running through toll booths 705 separate times.Starbucks’ new coffee shop in Beijing’s Forbidden City was forced to remove its sign.Anarchists, Greens, and other anti-globalists nostalgically marked the anniversary of the so-called Battle of Seattle: “It will go down as the single most important event in American historyĂ˘Â?Â?more so than dropping the bomb, even,” a tofu salesman told a reporter.An investigation of Florida ballots found that at least 445 felons voted illegally in the presidential election, mostly in Palm Beach and Duval counties; many were registered Democrats, including 7 kidnappers, 16 rapists, 45 killers, 56 drug dealers, and 62 robbers.The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of a retardedTexas killer who believes in Santa Claus; he was scheduled to die but got a reprieve.The Pentagon was using sweatshop labor in Nicaragua to make uniforms.The United StatesArmy will undergo a refresher course in human rights to prevent abuses on peacekeeping missions.Several small “bomblets” filled with sarin nerve gas were found at an old bombing range near Denver; the Army will blow them up.Parents of the teen killers of Columbine High School offered a $1.6 million settlement to relatives of victims who are suing for damages.America’s Federal Aviation Administration ruled that US Airways was not wrong to allow a pig to fly first class even though the pig ran amok.
Russia’s lower house of parliament voted to give former presidents immunity from prosecution for acts committed while in office.Russia’s Orthodox Church named St. Matthew as the patron saint of taxpolice.CityNet Telecommunications announced plans to deploy robots to string fiber-optic cable through city sewer pipes in Albuquerque and Omaha.A tanker ran aground south of New Orleans and spilled about a half-million gallons of oil into the Mississippi River.An ice storm closed the last nuclear reactor at Chernobyl.Japan outlawed human cloning.Tony Blair’sparliament invoked emergency powers and enacted a law making it legal for sixteen-year-old boys to engage in homosexual acts with middle-aged members of parliament; the House of Lords had thrice rejected the legislation.France decided, after being pressured by the European Court of Justice, to allow women to work at night, which the government banned in the 19th century to promote good morality.Three American teenagers in Germany were being tried for killing two women by dropping stones on cars from a bridge.Exorcism was identified as a growth field for Roman Catholic priests.Holland legalized the killing of terminally ill patients by doctors; a provision that would have allowed children to choose death was withdrawn.PokĂ?Â©mon cartoons were inspiring young Turks to leap out of windows.
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 â€śhallwayâ€ť must have a nautical name. Why didnâ€™t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet heâ€™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 theyâ€™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 donâ€™t belong to, that doesnâ€™t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isnâ€™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 â€” because ocean life pays better than money! â€” 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.
Number of people stopped and frisked by the NYPD in 2011 for â€śfurtive movementsâ€ť:
The faces of Lego people were growing angrier.
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