Weekly Review — May 7, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

One World Trade Center gets its spire, the Gitmo hunger strike continues, and the OED explores revirginize

A Humbug (Weekly)In Lower Manhattan, where police crews removed a recently discovered wing fragment from one of the airliners piloted into the World Trade Center towers on 9/11, builders hoisted a 22-ton, 408-foot spire to the top of One World Trade Center. “It’s a pretty eerie feeling,” said a forensic investigator of the fragment. “We are back and we are better than ever,” said a construction worker of the spire.[1][2] Forty medical personnel arrived at the U.S. military’s detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to help manage the care of at least 100 inmates engaged in a hunger strike, of whom 21 were being force-fed through nasal tubes, a practice senior United Nations officials called “unjustifiable.”[3][4][5] Israeli warplanes carried out air strikes near Damascus on shipments of Fateh-110 short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missiles en route from Iran to Lebanon; a U.N. investigator suggested that rumored releases in Syria of the neurotoxin sarin had been carried out by antigovernment forces rather than by the Assad regime; Sunni fighters reportedly loyal to the Syrian insurgency desecrated the tomb of Hajar ibn Adi al-Kindi, a companion of the Prophet Mohammed revered among Shiites; and Shiite militias reportedly loyal to Assad launched assaults on the predominantly Sunni coastal cities of Baniyas and al-Bayda. “Starting today, I am sectarian,” said a Baniyas resident. “I don’t want ‘peaceful’ anymore.”[6][7][8][9][10] An undertaker at Graham Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors in Worcester, Massachusetts, failed to find a cemetery willing to accept the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of two men accused of carrying out last month’s Boston Marathon bombing. A protester outside Graham Putnam & Mahoney held a sign reading Bury the Garbage in a Landfill. “We’re trying to exercise some character here,” said the undertaker.[11][12][13]

British businessman James McCormick, who was found guilty last month of defrauding Iraqi security forces of more than $85 million through the sale of bogus explosives detectors modeled on novelty golf-ball finders, was sentenced to ten years in prison. “I never had any negative results from customers,” said McCormick. “Thousands of Iraqi people are dead and handicapped,” said an activist.[14][15] In China, where a recent census recorded the disappearance of 28,000 waterways, workers in Yunnan province were examining rock along the Nu, one of two major rivers in the country not yet dammed, in preparation for the construction of four new hydropower stations. “We’re here to make our fortune, and then we’ll leave,” said a Hunanese migrant.[16][17] Technicians at a nuclear power plant outside Cleveland discovered a lemonade pitcher containing two radioactive goldfish, and the Quebec food company Frite Alors was planning to distribute a poutine-flavored soda.[18][19] Rhode Island legalized gay marriage.[20] Maryland abolished the death penalty.[21] Arizona governor Jan Brewer signed into law a bill requiring state officials to resell rather than destroy firearms collected in gun-buyback initiatives, and the National Rifle Association concluded its annual convention in Houston, Texas. “We have a chance to secure our freedom for a generation, or to lose it forever,” said executive vice president Wayne LaPierre. “We can direct this massive energy of spontaneous combustion,” said incoming president James W. Porter II.[22][23][24] A five-year-old Kentucky boy shot his two-year-old sister with a .22-caliber Crickett youth rifle, and a 13-year-old Florida boy shot his six-year-old sister with a handgun. “The little boy’s used to shooting the little gun,” said a Kentucky coroner. “The little boy just sat there rocking back and forth,” said a Florida neighbor.[25][26][27]

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

An Oregon man picked his son’s mouse up from jail.[28] A pod of whales was sighted off the Lamb.[29] Hedonimetrists found that Twitter users are unhappiest when they’re not quite home.[30] Brazilian police canceled an order for 17,000 raincoats, and competitors prepared for Dorset County’s annual knob-eating contest.[31][32] Bee Jay’s, a restaurant in Poznan, Poland, erroneously described one of its appetizers as “Cervical cancer served on beetroot carpaccio with mustard-honey dip,” and a mother in Northville, Michigan, filed a complaint with the local school district over an unexpurgated translation of Anne Frank’s diary containing Frank’s description of her genitalia.[33][34] The editors of the Oxford English Dictionary appealed for information concerning the word revirginize, and campaigners inaugurated International Clitoris Awareness Week.[35][36] Marine biologists enacted a plan to restore German lobster populations devastated during World War II, and Orb overtook Normandy Invasion to win the 139th Kentucky Derby. “I’m thrilled to death,” said trainer Shug McGaughey, “for me.”[37][38] Governor Chris Christie was entreated to return the captain’s silver service to the battleship New Jersey.[39] Researchers speculated that the happiest person in Great Britain would be a blue-eyed 60-year-old named Steve, and an Englishwoman suffering for eight years from airsickness was diagnosed with disembarkment syndrome. “The whole world had transformed into bouncy castle land,” she said. “I was walking on a giant marshmallow.”[40][41] New Zealand barred its citizens from naming their children Lucifer or Anal, and the Pentagon specified that American troops may evangelize but not proselytize. “I’m talking,” said a rear admiral, “about gently whispering the Gospel.”[42][43]


Sign up and get the Weekly Review delivered to your inbox every Tuesday morning.

Share
Single Page

More from Anthony Lydgate:

From the July 2014 issue

Vulgar Materialism

Weekly Review April 8, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Afghanistan votes, the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of wealthy political donors, and China standardizes its pets 

Weekly Review February 25, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Upheaval in Ukraine, yobbery in the United Kingdom, and a historic douche in the United States

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