SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
Writing in the (London) Sunday Times Sarah Baxter says the departure in disgrace of Paul Wolfowitz from the World Bank marks the “end of an ideological era” in Washington. I’m losing track of the number of times that the end of the Neocon regnum has been announced in the foreign press right now, and I’ll just observe for the moment that Prince Feliks Yusupov took the right precautions when he dealt with Rasputin. You’ll recall that after being invited to the Moika Palace, Rasputin was fed a dose of cyanide sufficient to kill ten men, then shot through the back with a revolver, and then shot three more times, he was bound in a sheet and then thrown through a hole in the ice in the Neva River (it was December). When an autopsy was performed it was found that neither the cyanide nor the bullets had killed Rasputin; he died of hypothermia. But Baxter’s piece is a fascinating read, especially in that it is able to write with candor about the Neocons and their manipulations – something which is still impossible to find, for instance, in the Washington Post or New York Times. Here are a couple of the more glittering nuggets from the piece:
The writer Christopher Hitchens, a friend of Wolfowitz and foe of Falwell, says: “The main noise in Washington right now is that of collapsing scenery. The Republican party is in total disarray. They’ve been dropping their most intelligent people over the side while the presidential candidates are all outbidding each other to be nice about the revolting carcass of Falwell.” …
According to Juan Cole, a professor of Middle Eastern history at the University of Michigan and a persistent critic of the Iraq war: “Wolfowitz has demonstrated a penchant for cronyism and for smearing and marginalising perceived rivals as tactics for getting his way. Indeed, these tactics are typical of what might be called the neoconservative style.”
By the time Wolfowitz was forced out, the ugly side of the World Bank boss was revealed in a memo in which he vowed in the style of a mafia don that “if they fuck with me or Shaha, I have enough on them to fuck them too”.
And the “fucking back,” Baxter notes, has been done with gusto by the Neocon’s house organ, the Wall Street Journal editorial page.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”