Weekly Review

Weekly Review — August 25, 2015, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter announced he would begin radiation therapy for brain cancer and said he hoped to see the eradication of the guinea worm before he dies. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump held a rally that drew at least 20,000 people in Mobile, Alabama; and poll found that 81 percent of North Carolina voters are unsure how they feel about Deez Nuts, a 15-year-old presidential candidate. “Anyone,” said Deez Nuts, “can run.”

Weekly Review — August 18, 2015, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

In Mississippi, a suit was filed challenging a state law that forbids adoption by same-sex couples; in Ohio, a judicial-conduct board announced that judges who perform marriages must wed same-sex couples; and the clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, who stopped issuing all marriage licenses when same-sex unions became legal, did not show up for work after receiving a court order to resume issuing licenses. Read more…

Weekly Review — August 11, 2015, 12:34 pm

Weekly Review

The Islamic State captured at least 230 people in the Syrian town of al-Qaryatayn and threatened to behead a man for protesting the arrests of Muslim Brotherhood–affiliated women in Egypt. Nineteen girls held hostage by the group in Mosul, Iraq, were executed for refusing to have sex with soldiers, and the United Nations confirmed the authenticity of an Islamic State pamphlet listing the prices of its sex slaves. “The girls get peddled,” said one U.N. official, “like barrels of petrol.” Read more…

Weekly Review — August 4, 2015, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Thousands of African and Middle Eastern migrants attempted to reach England by entering the Channel Tunnel in Calais, France, and jumping onto passing trucks and freight trains. French authorities sent 120 riot police, equipped with dogs and tear gas, to assist the 60 officers who were already blocking the migrants’ passage. A Sudanese man was killed while trying to hop on a truck, becoming the ninth migrant since June to have died while attempting to cross into Britain. “It’s an incredible place,” said British prime minister David Cameron, “to live.”Read more…

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Weed Whackers

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Romancing Kano·

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I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:

The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.

leadership
service
integrity
creativity

Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.

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The Prisoner of Sex·

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“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
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Gangs of Karachi·

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“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
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Weed Whackers·

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“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
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The Neoliberal Arts·

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“College is seldom about thinking or learning anymore. Everyone is running around trying to figure out what it is about. So far, they have come up with buzzwords, mainly those three.”
Artwork by Julie Cockburn

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 naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.

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