[Weekly Review] | May 7, 2013, by Anthony Lydgate | Harper's Magazine

Sign in to access Harper’s Magazine

Need to create a login? Want to change your email address or password? Forgot your password?

  1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
  2. Select Email/Password Information.
  3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.

Locked out of your account? Get help here.

Subscribers can find additional help here.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!

Get Access to Print and Digital for $23.99.
Subscribe for Full Access
Get Access to Print and Digital for $23.99.

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]


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.

More from