Weekly Review — May 6, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Tempest, December 1878]

Cyclone Nargis tore off roofs, shredded trees, overturned cars, and killed more than 10,000 people in Myanmar.Local 6Tens of thousands of Somalis rioted in Mogadishu over the high cost of food,CNNPresident Bush pledged $770 million in international food aid,BBCand an inmate awaiting trial for murder sued an Arkansas county jail for underfeeding him after he shed 105 pounds from his 413-pound frame. “About an hour after each meal,” he stated in a complaint, “my stomach starts to hurt and growl [and] I feel hungry again. We are literally being starved to death.”CBSThe sister-in-law of Josef Fritzl, the Austrian electrician accused of locking his daughter in a basement dungeon for 24 years and fathering seven children with her, told the Associated Press that Fritzl hadn’t had sex with his wife in many years: “I believe it was because my sister had been getting bigger,” she said. “He never liked fat women.”AP via GooglePolice in Germany discovered the bodies of three dead babies stored in a freezer in the cellar of a family home, after two of the family’s older children went rummaging for a frozen pizza,CNNand a former Mr Gay UK charged with murder was accused of carving up, dicing, cooking, and eating his victim’s leg.BBCTelegraph UKPhilipp Freiherr von Boeselager, believed to be the last surviving member of the circle of plotters who attempted to kill Adolf Hitler with a briefcase bomb, died at the age of 90.CNN

A Japanese government employee was found to have viewed online pornography at work more than 780,000 times in nine months,BBCand an Ecuadorian politician proposed that a woman’s right to sexual pleasure be made part of the country’s new constitution.BBCWestern Australia’s Liberal Party leader, Troy Buswell, admitted to having sniffed the chair of a female staffer in 2005.The AustralianAt a town-hall meeting in Iowa, Baptist minister Marty Parrish asked Republican presidential nominee John McCain whether it was true that he had called his wife, Cindy, a “cunt” in 1992. “You know,” McCain replied, “that’s the great thing about town-hall meetings, sir, but we really don’t, there’s people here who don’t respect that kind of language. So I’ll move on.” Parrish was then escorted from the meeting by the Secret Service and local police. The Huffington PostIn western Indiana, the president of the Sheet Metal Workers’ Union attributed his support for Hillary Clinton to her “testicular fortitude” in facing problems like NAFTA.CBSAfter Hillary Clinton proposed that she and Barack Obama compete in a Lincoln-Douglas-style debate, Fox News broadcast an image of Abraham Lincoln facing off against ex-slave Frederick Douglass instead of 1860 Democratic presidential nominee Stephen A. Douglas.The AtlanticA filly named Eight Belles, Hillary Clinton’s pick, came in second in the Kentucky Derby, while victory went to the agile colt Big Brown; after losing, Eight Belles broke both front ankles and was promptly euthanized.The IndependentABCSpeaking to North CarolinaDemocrats,Clinton promised, “If Senator Obama is the nominee, you better believe I’ll work my heart out for him.”CBS

An Italian police officer shot herself in the head outside a stadium during a second-division soccer match,Sports IllustratedBrazilian football star Ronaldo picked up and was blackmailed by three transvestite prostitutes,.BBCand an eight-year-old boy in Arizona died after a goal post fell on him during a soccer game.Fox NewsAn Illinois newspaper carrier rescued an elderly woman whose leg had been pinned for four days under the dead body of her obese 77-year-old husband.Fox NewsSeven hundred and fifty thousand people made reservations to visit the exhumed corpse of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy. Padre Pio, who exhibited the stigmata, and who once wrestled with the devil, died in 1968.News DailyScientists reported that echolocating bats cry out loud to detect their prey, emitting sounds louder than those at a rock concert,PlosoneScience Dailywhile spiders “talk” to potential mates using a type of light not visible to the human eye.BBCAlbert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who invented LSD and credited it with allowing him to see “the wonder of creation, the magnificence of nature and of the animal and plant kingdom,” died in his hilltop home at the age of 102.The New York Times

Share
Single Page

More from Gemma Sieff:

Weekly Review January 20, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review January 6, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review November 18, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

September 2015

Tremendous Machine

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Goose in a Dress

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Genealogy of Orals

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Neoliberal Arts

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
New Television·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In Season 5 of Louie (FX), Louie is a new kind of superhero. Like Wonder Woman, the canonical superhero he most resembles, Louie’s distinctive superpower is love.”
Illustration by Demetrios Psillos
Article
Romancing Kano·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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.

Article
The Prisoner of Sex·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“It is disappointing that parts of Purity read as though Franzen urgently wanted to telegraph a message to anyone who would defend his fiction from charges of chauvinism: ‘No, you’ve got me wrong. I really am sexist.’”
Illustration by Shonagh Rae
Article
Gangs of Karachi·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In Karachi, sometimes only the thinnest of polite fictions separates the politicians from the men who kill and extort on their behalf.”
Photograph © Asim Rafiqui/NOOR Images
Article
Weed Whackers·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Defining 'native' and 'invasive' in an ever-shifting natural world poses some problems. The camel, after all, is native to North America, though it went extinct here 8,000 years ago, while the sacrosanct redwood tree is invasive, having snuck in at some point in the past 65 million years.”
Photograph by Chad Ress

Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:

65

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!

HARPER’S FINEST

Subways Are for Sleeping

By

“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.”

Subscribe Today