[Weekly Review] | June 18, 2013, by Jeremy Keehn | 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.
[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review


The U.S. offers military aid to the Syrian opposition, Turkey clears protesters from Gezi Park, and oculolinctus enthusiast Elektrika Energias speaks

"I Am Obligated to Dance a Bear"

“I Am Obligated to Dance a Bear”

President Barack Obama announced that the United States would begin providing military assistance to antigovernment forces in the Syrian civil war. A White House spokesman said that Obama reached the decision after intelligence agencies concluded that as many as 150 Syrians have died from chemical weapons deployed by forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad. “We will accept all support,” said a rebel fighter, “even from Satan.”[1][2] The United Nations reported that the war had counted its 93,000th death, attacks in Aleppo and Damascus killed at least 75 members of Syrian security forces, and a rebel group believed to include Kuwaiti and Iraqi Sunnis killed at least 60 Shiites in an attack on the Syrian village of Hatla.[3][4][5][6][7] A series of coordinated attacks on Shia areas of Iraq killed 51 people.[8] California doctors failed to save the snout of Kabang, a Filipino mongrel who had saved two young girls from being struck by a motorcycle; a Welsh girl entered Turkey using the passport of her stuffed unicorn; and Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent in riot police to clear Istanbul’s Gezi Park, where protests against his rule began 18 days ago before spreading to other cities. “According to them, we are a crowd that is uneducated, ignorant, low-class, that needs to make do with what is given,” said Erdogan. “In other words, a crowd of black people.”[9][10][11][12][13] A Nigerian tugboat cook was found to have survived the capsizing of his vessel, which killed 11 crew, by crouching inside an air bubble for two and a half days. “The fish came in and began eating the bodies,” he said. “I could hear the sound.”[14][15] Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was interviewed about a National Security Agency program to covertly track Americans’ telephone and Internet activities. “Why do you need every telephone number?” asked NBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “You have to start someplace,” said Clapper.[16] The NSA was revealed to have been eavesdropping on Americans’ phone calls without warrants, Amazon sales of George Orwell’s 1984 jumped 6,021 percent in one day, and Edward Snowden, the consultant who revealed the existence of the NSA program to the Guardian newspaper, was fired by his employer, Booz Allen Hamilton. “We’ll probably have to take three extra ethics training courses,” said one of Snowden’s former co-workers, “because of this douche.”[17][18][19][20]

A pipeline was reported to have burst near Zama City, Alberta, releasing 9.5 million liters of toxic waste, and an explosion at a chemical plant in Geismar, Louisiana, killed one person and injured 73.[21][22] The most destructive wildfire in Colorado’s history wrecked nearly 500 homes and killed two people, severe storms killed four people and left hundreds of thousands without power across more than a dozen Eastern and Midwestern states, and 47 people were shot in one weekend in Chicago.[23][24][25] Nicaragua reached an agreement with a Chinese consortium to build a rival to the Panama Canal. [26] India’s state telecom company announced that it was shutting down the world’s last remaining telegraph service, and the U.S. Navy stopped requiring official communications to be issued entirely in capital letters. “This will introduce a degree of literary criticism,” said a British defense analyst, “into military communication.”[27][28] The Russian Duma voted 436–0 to pass an antigay bill banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.”[29] Pope Francis reportedly acknowledged to a private audience the existence of a “gay lobby” inside the Vatican and blessed thousands of leather-clad bikers outside St. Peter’s Square.[30][31] The practice of sexualized eyeball licking was causing conjunctivitis in Japanese sixth graders. “I got some weird offshoot of TB in my eye once,” said oculolinctus enthusiast Elektrika Energias. “Nobody really knows why.”[32][33]


Czech researchers built a working hoverbike, and a British newspaper apologized to extraterrestrials for associating them with the Church of Scientology.[34][35] Perfect pitch was found to be imperfect, Lego figurines were found to be growing angrier, and the recipient of the world’s first double-leg transplant had his transplanted legs amputated in Valencia.[36][37][38] American astronaut Buzz Aldrin denounced Tang, and Scottish Shetland-pony breeders initiated DNA testing to determine whether Socks, a stallion famous for his ability to moonwalk, had fathered a pony named Scamp. “I put him with three ladies in a field with a loch,” said Socks’s owner. “Unfortunately he took a shine to another one of my mares.”[39][40] Seattle resident Naveena Shine was reporting twitching, nausea, and exhaustion six weeks into her attempt to subsist only on water, air, and light. “It’s well established,” said a professor of medicine, “that humans can’t do photosynthesis.”[41] A veterinary clinic in Regina, Saskatchewan, separated a six-tailed squirrel king, and a two-faced cat was born at 6:11 a.m. on 6/11 in Amity, Oregon, then died two days later.[42][43][44] An Australian opposition party was revealed to have held a fundraiser whose menu described a quail dish named for Prime Minister Julia Gillard as “Small Breasts, Huge Thighs & A Big Red Box.” “Very confusing,” said dinner organizer Mal Brough.[45][46]

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