Weekly Review — December 4, 2012, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

A kinkajou.

Car bombs in Damascus killed more than 50 people in advance of nationwide Internet and telecommunications blackouts, attributed by many to President Bashar al-Assad’s administration, that crippled Syrians’ capacity to self-report on the country’s civil war. Hacker collective Anonymous attacked the websites of Syrian embassies, and the Syrian military relocated chemical-weapons stockpiles, prompting the United States to threaten intervention.[1][2][3][4] In Hillah, Iraq, bombings at a roadside campsite for Shia pilgrims left at least 29 dead, and in Bahrain police fired teargas on protesters condemning Kim Kardashian’s visit to promote a new branch of her milkshake franchise.[5][6] The United Nations held a day of solidarity with Palestinians, on which its general assembly voted 138–9 to recognize the state of Palestine. In response, Israel announced that it would build 3,000 new homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and would withhold more than $100 million in tax revenue raised for the Palestinian government, dealing what U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called an “almost fatal blow” to the prospect of peace.[7][8][9] The U.S. Navy was planning to reduce its reliance on dolphin labor, and an international coalition of researchers concluded that more than 4 trillion tons of ice in Greenland and Antarctica have melted in the past twenty years, causing the world’s sea level to rise by 11 millimeters.[10][11] Iceland exported over two tons of ram penis to China, and North Korea’s state news agency reported the discovery of a unicorn lair in Pyongyang.[12][13]

President Barack Obama introduced a proposal to prevent the United States from falling over the “fiscal cliff.” The plan, which includes such measures as higher tax rates on wealthy citizens and a $400-billion cut to federal health programs, caused Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) to burst into laughter. “Right now, I would say we’re nowhere, period,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio), outside whose office nude activists protested potential cuts to HIV programs. “I think it’s important Congress acts now, I mean right now,” said Vice President Joe Biden at the opening day of the first Costco in Washington, D.C. “I’m looking for pies.”[14][15][16][17][18] Obama and Mitt Romney met for the first time since the U.S. presidential election, over a luncheon of turkey chili at the White House.[19] eBay pulled a listing for Obama in Pee Pee, an artwork by conservative television host Glenn Beck that features a bobblehead of the president purportedly submerged in Beck’s urine, and Bill Clinton disclosed that during his presidency he sent only two emails, one to troops in the Balkans and the other in response to a message sent from space by astronaut John Glenn. “We have gone almost a third of the way around the world in the time it has taken me to write this letter,” wrote Glenn. “The rest of the crew is waiting.”[20][21][22]

Scientists determined that lying increases the temperature of one’s nose, that having a lot of Facebook friends leads to anxiety, and that hyperparasitic wasps, which lay eggs in parasitic wasps that lay eggs in caterpillars, are sometimes parasitized by other hyperparasitic wasps.[23][24][25] Germany moved to criminalize sex with animals, leading zoophilia lobbyist Michael Kiok, who lives with an Alsatian named Cessie, to threaten legal action. “We see animals as partners and not as a means of gratification,” said Kiok. “We don’t force them to do anything.”[26] A Florida woman was arrested after she assaulted her boyfriend for climaxing first.[27] The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge[*] announced that they were expecting a royal baby, and a lexicographer published arguments that Robert Burchfield, a former Oxford English Dictionary editor popularly credited with overcoming the dictionary’s Anglocentrism during the 1970s and 1980s, had actually expunged thousands of English words with foreign origins. “If a word gets into the OED, it never leaves,” said the lexicographer. “If it becomes obsolete, we put a dagger beside it, but it never leaves.”[28][29] The Associated Press eliminated homophobia from its stylebook, and four gay men filed suit against JONAH, a Jewish conversion-therapy office in Jersey City, New Jersey, for defrauding them of thousands of dollars spent on such allegedly curative techniques as visiting bathhouses and beating effigies of their mothers with a tennis racket. “Our therapy,” said JONAH’s co-director, “is very conventional.”[30][31][32]


* Letter

Dear Harper’s Magazine,

I am a fervent subscriber (if there can be such a thing) to your excellent magazine: we have nothing equivalent in England, and I am very grateful to you for being so challenging and thought-provoking.

However, the English pedant in me is reeling at your otherwise excellent Harper’s Weekly in which you announce that “Prince WIlliam and Princess Kate” are having a baby. Yikes! They’re the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. She’s not Princess Kate, as she’s not a princess in her own right; she’s Princess William of Wales, otherwise known as the Duchess of Cambridge, until the Prince of Wales dies, when she’ll be the Princess of Wales, and not Kate, Princess of Wales. 

Sigh. I know I am fighting a long and hopeless battle. Even British journalists can’t get it right these days. 

Yours sincerely, and with much admiration for your continued superlative magazinistic efforts,

Philip Womack

Share
Single Page
undefined

More from Justin Stone:

Weekly Review October 23, 2012, 12:25 pm

Weekly Review

Weekly Review September 10, 2012, 4:26 pm

Weekly Review

Weekly Review July 16, 2012, 5:08 pm

Weekly Review

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

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

February 2016

The Trouble with Iowa

The Queen and I

Disunified Front

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

We Don’t Have Rights, But We Are Alive

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Isn’t It Romantic?

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Trusted Traveler

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Isn’t It Romantic?·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“He had paid for much of her schooling, something he cannot help but mention, since the aftermath of any failed relationship brings an ungenerous and impossible impulse to claw back one’s misspent resources.”
Illustration by Shonagh Rae
Article
The Trouble with Iowa·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“It seems to defy reason that this anachronistic farm state — a demographic outlier, with no major cities and just 3 million people, nine out of ten of them white — should play such an outsized role in American politics.”
Photograph (detail) © Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Article
Rule, Britannica·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“This is the strange magic of an arrangement of all the world’s knowledge in alphabetical order: any search for anything passes through things that have nothing in common with it but an initial letter.”
Artwork by Brian Dettmer. Courtesy the artist and P.P.O.W., New York City.
Article
The Queen and I·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Buckingham Palace is a theater in need of renovation. There is something pathetic about a fiercely vacuumed throne room. The plants are tired. Plastic is nailed to walls and mirrors. The ballroom is set for a ghostly banquet. Everyone is whispering, for we are in a mad kind of church. A child weeps.”
Photograph (detail) © Martin Parr/Magnum Photos
Article
We Don’t Have Rights, But We Are Alive·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“If I really wanted to learn about the Islamic State, Hassan told me, I ought to speak to his friend Samir, a young gay soldier in the Syrian Army who’d been fighting jihadis intermittently for the past four years.”
Photograph (detail) by Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty

Amount by which the number of government jobs in the U.S. exceeds the number of manufacturing jobs:

5,129,000

The sound of mice being clicked may induce seizures in house cats.

In Turlock, California, nearly 3,500 samples of bull semen were stolen from the back of a truck.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Two Christmas Mornings of the Great War

By

Civilization masks us with a screen, from ourselves and from one another, with thin depth of unreality. We habitually live — do we not? — in a world self-created, half established, of false values arbitrarily upheld, largely inspired by misconception, misapprehension, wrong perspective, and defective proportion, misapplication.

Subscribe Today