[Weekly Review] | January 14, 2014, by Anthony Lydgate | Harper's Magazine

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A Pakistani ninth-grader sacrifices himself to save his classmates, Chris Christie saves himself, and Cormac McCarthy’s ex-wife chooses an unconventional holster 

A Humbug (Weekly)In Ibrahimzai, a majority-Shia village in northwestern Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, a Sunni militant killed himself and a ninth grader named Aitzaz Hasan in a suicide attack on a local secondary school. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recommended that Hasan, who had been excluded from morning assembly as a punishment for tardiness and tackled the bomber before he could enter the school’s main gate, be awarded Pakistan’s Star of Bravery. “My son made his mother cry, but saved hundreds of mothers from crying for their children,” said Hasan’s father. “He was very cute,” said a cousin.[1][2][3][4][5] Former Israeli prime minister and general Ariel Sharon died after eight years in a coma, prompting Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to hand out sweets in celebration. “His people loved him,” said President Shimon Peres. “Our people,” said a Hamas spokesman, “feel extreme happiness.”[6][7] Thousands of refugees left Iraq’s Anbar province for the Kurdish north of the country, fleeing sectarian fighting around the city of Fallujah, the site of a 2004 U.S. military offensive that resulted in the deaths of nearly a hundred Marines. “Lives were wasted, and now everyone back home sees that,” said one American veteran. “Wow, thanks for dragging up all these memories I tried to forget that were controlling my life,” said another.[8][9] The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights announced that it had ceased updating its tally of Syrian civil war deaths because of insufficient information, and an American philosopher cautioned against excessive webcam monitoring in the home. “Sometimes the key to overcoming resentment,” said the philosopher, “is being able to forget.”[10][11]

Emails released under the Freedom of Information Act showed last September’s partial closure of the George Washington Bridge, which lasted four days and affected more than half a million vehicles, to have been arranged by members of the administration of New Jersey governor Chris Christie as retribution against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, who declined to endorse Christie for re-election. In a press conference lasting nearly two hours, Christie repeatedly denied involvement. “You try to tell me the guy’s in charge and he don’t know?” said Fort Lee resident August Caccavone. “It strains credibility,” said New Jersey assemblyman John S. Wisniewski. “I think it’s pretty darn credible,” said former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.[12][13][14][15][16] The district attorney of Manhattan unsealed disability-fraud indictments against 80 retired police officers and firefighters, including one man who complained of a fear of crowds but subsequently sold ice-cream-filled cannoli at the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy.[17][18][19] Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) reiterated his opposition to federal milk regulations, and Kraft Foods declared a Velveeta shortage.[20][21] In West Virginia, an estimated 7,500 gallons of the foaming agent 4-methylcyclohexane methanol leaked into a local river from a storage facility operated by Freedom Industries, prompting the state’s water utility to issue do-not-drink warnings in nine counties. “It’s a prison from which we would like to be released,” said the mayor of Charleston.[22] A Kentucky state representative accidentally discharged her semiautomatic Ruger .380 pistol in Frankfort’s Capitol Annex, a former wife of the author Cormac McCarthy was released on bond after threatening her boyfriend with a silver gun retrieved from her vagina, and anthropologists showed that economic misery begets literary misery.[23][24][25] West of Hope, British Columbia, a tractor-trailer carrying wine collided with one carrying pulp.[26]


The dark side of the moon was shown to be turquoise.[27] Uncle Misho, the last shoeshiner of Sarajevo, died of a heart attack.[28] Sirgiorgiro Clardy, a pimp serving a prison sentence in Oregon for assaulting a john with his Jordans, filed suit against Nike for failing to label the sneakers as potentially dangerous, and biologists at the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies concluded that ocean acidification makes conchs less likely to use their strong feet.[29][30] An Illinois peacock froze to a pine tree, and thousands of Queensland’s little red flying foxes succumbed to heat stress. “They just fall in heaps at the base of trees,” said a bat conservationist, “like dripping chocolate.”[31][32] A Welshman was sentenced to six years in prison for the arson of a crisps plant in Crumlin, and an opposition politician in Zambia was arrested for comparing the country’s president to a sweet potato.[33][34] A doctor in Darwin, Australia, used olive oil to suffocate a cockroach stuck in a man’s ear, and authorities in Mooroopna, Australia, used olive oil to free a nude man stuck in his washing machine. “It was a bit like a birthing,” said the Mooroopna man.[35][36] The Colorado child-safety hotline 1-877-LUV-TOTS was found to have become a phone-sex hotline, and Internet users in Motherwell, Scotland, were found to average briefer visits to PornHub than users in Staines-upon-Thames.[37][38] Speaking at the Museum of Tolerance in Manhattan, Congressman Eliot Engel (D., N.Y.) requested that former NBA power forward Dennis Rodman cancel a planned basketball game in North Korea. “It would be like inviting Hitler to lunch,” said Engel.[39] The Chinese recycling tycoon Chen Guangbiao proposed to buy the Wall Street Journal. “I am very good,” said Chen, “at working with Jews.”[40]

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