Weekly Review — October 2, 2001, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor told a New York audience that “we’re likely to experience more restrictions on our personal freedom than has ever been the case in our country.” White House spokesman Ari Fleischer denounced television personality Bill Maher for saying that firing cruise missiles at targets 2,000 miles away was perhaps more cowardly that flying a plane into a tall building: “There are reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do, and this is not a time for remarks like that; there never is.” “Watch what they say,” which was captured on tape, was omitted from the official White House transcript. The White House retreated from its claim that a threat to Air Force One was received on September 11 after no record was found of such a call. A professor at the University of New Mexico was in big trouble for joking that “anyone who can blow up the Pentagon gets my vote“; university officials were calling for his resignation. Two small-town journalists were fired for criticizing the President. A consortium of newspapers including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal decided not to announce the results of its recount and analysis of 200,000 disputed Florida ballots. It was revealed that in the days just after September 11 former president George Bush advised his son to tone down his bellicose rhetoric. Britain was planning to institute a national ID card, a scheme that has the support of 85 percent of the population. Lawmakers were concerned that antiterrorism legislation proposed by the Bush Administration contained language that would define common criminals as terrorists. Republicans were arguing that drilling for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was now a matter of national security. The percentage of Americans who said they were “completely satisfied” with their lives went from 30 to 40 percent in the days after September 11. A new poll of New Yorkers found that one third favored putting “individuals who authorities identify as being sympathetic to terrorist causes” in concentration camps.

Prime Minister Berlusconi of Italy defended his remarks that Western civilization is superior to Islam and that it “is bound to occidentalize and conquer new people.” He said that criticism of his views was “artificial” and “based on nothing.” Benito Mussolini was enjoying a renaissance in Italy; portraits of Il Duce were showing up on wine bottles in Rome, as were pictures of Hitler. American troops were reportedly on the ground in or near Afghanistan. Thomas L. Friedman, the New York Times columnist, suggested hiring the Russian Mafia to assassinateOsama bin Laden. Another syndicated columnist called for the deportation of all Muslim aliens. Beef prices in Japan were dropping after a British lab confirmed a case of mad cow disease near Tokyo, by which time the diseased carcass had been lost. It was later discovered that the carcass had been recycled as bone meal; the government was attempting to recall the 145 tons of bone meal that might have been contaminated. Some people in India were using cow urine to cure indigestion and skin cancer. The British Potato Council was embarking on an advertising campaign to make potatoes sexy; the ad agency Naked Communication was retained to promote the potato’s qualities as an aphrodisiac. Yuppies in London will be offered free massages and salsa lessons. In an attempt to address an alarming 15-20 percent condom failure rate, India’s health officials announced a project to determine the true dimensions of the Indian penis. Scientists in Nashville, Tennessee, found that most women laugh using a voiced, songlike giggle whereas men are more likely to grunt or snort.

Germany’s minister for cultural affairs released an official definition of rock music: “an entity of all musical forms that are usually created with the help of electronic amplifiers and follows the broader taste in music, usually for dancing, that is spread through the media and live concerts.” Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was overheard humming a tune by his favorite band, The Scorpions. People in Tijuana, Mexico, were upset about their new area code, 666, the Number of the Beast. Jeffrey Immelt, the new chairman of General Electric, told analysts in New York City that things were looking good for the company: “I was chairman for two days, and then I had jets with my engines hit a building I insured, which was covered by a network I owned, and we are still growing 2001 earnings by 11 percent.”Drug smuggling was down, as was the stock market. Weapons-industry stocks did rather well, however. Financial regulators said there was no evidence that terrorists had tried to profit from the September 11 attack by betting against airline and insurance stocks. American Airlines, which will receive about $808 million in bailout money from the federal government, announced that it will invoke an emergency clause in its contracts to avoid paying severance to the 200,000 workers it plans to lay off. Britishscientists revealed that Viagra makes men breathe easier at high altitudes. In Colorado, a man found a three-inch severed penis in his bottle of Ora Potency Fruit Punch. Rodney King was arrested in California for exposing himself. Police in New Zealandarrested a naked man pushing a baby carriage that contained a stolen shrub in a terra-cotta pot. Al Gore, still wearing a beard, declared that “George W. Bush is my commander in chief.” North Korea issued a statement of support for President Bush’s crusade against terrorism. The age of irony came to an end.

Share
Single Page

More from Roger D. Hodge:

From the October 2010 issue

Speak, Money

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2014

Gateway to Freedom

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Guns and Poses

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Christmas in Prison

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Poison Apples

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Growing Up

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Beeper World·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The beeper, for a certain kind of Miami teenager in the Nineties, was an essential evolutionary adaptation.”
Photograph by Curran Hatleberg
Article
Hammer Island·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The place could have sprung from someone’s jealous dream about white people.”
Photograph by Emily Stein
Article
Growing Up·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The best coming-of-age stories have a hole in the middle. They pretend to be about knowledge, but they are usually about grasping, long after it could be of any use, one’s irretrievable ignorance.”
Photograph by Ben Pier
Article
Guns and Poses·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“‘It’s open shopping,’ he said. ‘A warehouse. The whole of Libya.’”
Map by Mike Reagan
Article
Christmas in Prison·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Just so you motherfuckers know, I’ll be spending Christmas with my family, eating a good meal, and you’ll all be here, right where you belong.”
Photographer unknown. Artwork courtesy Alyse Emdur

Amount that President Obama has added to America’s “brand value” according to the Nation Brands Index:

$2,100,000,000,000

A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.

A Utah woman named Cameo Crispi pleaded guilty to having drunkenly attempted to burn down her ex-boyfriend’s house by igniting bacon on his kitchen stove.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today