Weekly Review — April 16, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

A bombing at the Boston Marathon, a gun suicide at an NRA-sponsored event, and Anne Frank’s beliebf

ALL IN MY EYE.Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people, including an eight-year-old boy, and injuring at least 140. The blasts occurred on Boylston Street, near Copley Square, at 2:50 p.m., while 5,742 of the race’s 23,326 runners were still on the course. “These runners just finished and they don’t have legs now,” said marathoner Roupen Bastajian. “There are so many people without legs.” The Federal Aviation Administration instituted a no-fly zone over part of the city, authorities blew up several bags likely belonging to runners, and President Barack Obama made a televised address in which he noted that the bombings had happened on Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts. “It is a criminal investigation that is a potential terrorist investigation,” said FBI official Richard DesLauriers of the bureau’s probe. At almost the same time as the bombs went off, a fire started at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, three miles away, but was believed to be unrelated.[1][2][3][4][5][6] North Korea marked the 101st birthday of its deceased founder, Kim Il Sung, without conducting nuclear-missile tests that had been predicted by international observers after the country made several threats against South Korea and its allies. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency expressed “moderate confidence” that North Korea had developed warheads small enough to be mounted on ballistic missiles, South Korea said it did not believe the North had yet miniaturized a nuclear weapon, and a Pyongyang flower show displayed models of red-tipped missiles amid “Kimilsungia” orchids. “It is because we have a nuclear deterrent,” said a greenhouse worker, “that we are able to . . . have a beautiful flower exhibition like this.”[7][8][9][10][11][12][13] A man shot himself in the head in the infield of a National Rifle Association–sponsored NASCAR race in Fort Worth, Texas.[14] Tim McLaughlin, the former U.S. Marine who supplied the American flag that was draped over the Saddam Hussein statue toppled in Firdous Square to mark the capture of Baghdad ten years ago, refused to lend the flag to the U.S. military for anniversary celebrations. “I don’t like that it facilitated the media’s narrative of wars as neat and tidy things,” he said. “For me it was a period of death and killing people.” A former SAS paratrooper said he hopes to sell a two-foot-wide chunk of buttock that he chiseled from the statue in 2003.[15][16]

After rapper Jay-Z boasted in a new song that he had “White House clearance” for a recent trip to Cuba, presidential press secretary Jay Carney responded that such clearance can only be granted by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. “OFAC, Treasury, these are tough words to rhyme,” said Carney. “Obama said, ‘Chill you’re going to get me impeached’/ You don’t need this shit anyway, chill with me on the beach,” rapped Jay-Z.[17] Malawi accused Madonna of bullying it, and a campaign by opponents of recently deceased British prime minister Margaret Thatcher pushed “Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead” to number two on the British music charts; number 35 was “I’m in Love with Margaret Thatcher” by punk band the Notsensibles.[18][19] A San Francisco man attempted to assist police in catching a woman who had rammed his car by providing a detailed description of her cleavage, and a professor in Besançon, France, who had spent 15 years measuring the orientation of young women’s breasts with a slide rule and caliper determined that bras were unnecessary, but cautioned that his study had been limited to women aged 18 to 35. “It would be of no benefit to a 45-year-old mother,” said professor Jean-Denis Rouillon, “to stop wearing a bra.”[20][21] File-sharing news website TorrentFreak revealed that someone inside the Holy See had been illegally downloading hardcore pornography. “It doesn’t change my stand against piracy,” said Tiffany Starr, a transwoman who appears in some of the clips, “but I was pretty excited.”[22][23] A beaver killed a Belarusian fisherman as he attempted to pose for a photo next to the animal, and the owner of the Dog Lane Fishery in the English parish of Napton-on-the-Hill was investigated for banning Eastern Europeans from his lake.[24][25] In Bavaria, authorities seized a driver’s license presented by a train passenger because it bore the name and photograph of Russian president Vladimir Putin, who was accosted in Hannover by a topless protester calling him a dictator. “As for the protest,” said Putin, “I liked it.”[26][27]

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A man shot an arrow into a security guard named James Bowling at the Ball Gentleman’s club in South Knoxville, Tennessee.[28] A New York City business group sought regulation of costumed Times Square buskers. “Super Mario groped the woman,” said the president of the Times Square Alliance. “Elmo was ranting anti-Semitic things. Spider-Man punched a woman in the face.”[29] Animal-predation experts in Sweden’s Skåne region were planning to use llamas to protect sheep from wolves, and a team of beribboned alpacas was visiting senior centers and rehab hospitals in the Pacific Northwest. “Tears of joy,” said the owners of Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas, “when we make in-room visits.”[30][31] Singer Justin Bieber toured the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. “Anne was a great girl,” Bieber wrote in the museum’s guest book. “Hopefully she would have been a belieber.”[32] A mother in Washington State reported earning thousands of dollars from photographs of herself with food balanced on her “butt shelf,” and Chinese surgeons removed a live 20-inch Asian swamp eel from the rectum of a 39-year-old man who was recreating a scene from a porn film. “It was still alive when we got it out but it died soon afterwards,” said a doctor, “which was probably a mercy.”[33][34]


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The new docudrama The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX) isn’t really about Orenthal James Simpson. It’s about the trials that ran alongside his — those informal, unboundaried, court-of-public-opinion trials in which evidence was heard for and against the murder victims, the defense and the prosecution, the judge, the jury, and the Los Angeles Police Department, to say nothing of white and black America. History has freed us from suspense about Simpson’s verdict, so that the man himself (played here by Cuba Gooding Jr.) is less the tragic hero he seemed in the mid-Nineties than a curiously minor character. He comes to the center of our attention only once, in Episode 2, at the end of the lengthy Ford Bronco chase scene — which in real life was followed by a surreal cavalcade of police cars and media helicopters, as well as an estimated 95 million live viewers — when Simpson repeatedly, and with apparent sincerity, apologizes for taking up so much of so many people’s time. It is an uncannily ordinary moment of social decorum, a sort of could-you-please-pass-the-salt gesture on a sinking Titanic, in which Simpson briefly becomes more than just an archetype.

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With its lens shifting from the courtroom to the newsroom to people’s back yards, the series evokes the way in which, for a brief, delusory moment, the O. J. verdict seemed to deliver justice for all black men.
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