Weekly Review — February 25, 2020, 12:21 pm

Weekly Review

Police armed with locally produced slingshots were deployed to prevent Trump from being attacked by monkeys at the Taj Mahal.

Podcast — February 19, 2020, 5:19 pm

Vicious Cycles

No news isn’t an option: a consideration of the function and meaning of the news media

Weekly Review — February 18, 2020, 1:40 pm

Weekly Review

“Papa” John Schnatter retracted a claim he made last month that he had eaten “40 pizzas in the last 30 days,” admitting that he had been referring to eating “parts of pieces” rather than entire pies.

Publisher's Note — February 14, 2020, 9:28 pm

The “Affair”

“I was immediately struck by the fundamental difference between the ‘seventh art’ and literature.”

Podcast — February 12, 2020, 11:12 am

Selective Hearing

Towards a critical understanding of podcasts

Publisher's Note — February 12, 2020, 10:47 am

On Book Events

Harper’s Magazine holds live events in New York City that are tied to newly published books. The former location, Book Culture on Columbus, which our publisher co-owned, has closed. However, these events will continue as usual, but in different locations around the city. The following letter to Walker, Malloy and Co. addresses certain issues around finding a permanent home for these events. Gentlemen, I’m obviously disappointed that you leased the former Book Culture on Columbus space to The Strand, particularly since you all repeatedly stated that my joint bid with Shakespeare and Company was your “first choice.” As Tim and Bob both …

Weekly Review — February 11, 2020, 4:37 pm

Weekly Review

In New Hampshire, Joe Biden called a woman 56 years his junior “a lying, dog-faced pony soldier,” which his campaign incorrectly attributed to a film starring John Wayne.

Satire — February 10, 2020, 10:42 am

The Philanthropist’s Lonely Path

A wealthy man bravely defends his choice of charities

Weekly Review — February 5, 2020, 11:31 am

Weekly Review

A Mennonite accountant was charged with defrauding his Amish neighbors.

Podcast — January 30, 2020, 2:26 pm

“My Gang Is Jesus”

Believe it or not: the simultaneous rise of gang membership and evangelical Christianity in Rio de Janeiro


Perspective — January 30, 2020, 12:20 pm

The World According to Grapes

Hockey fight in Canada: how the firing of a legacy sports broadcaster exposed the frailty of Canada’s national myth

Weekly Review — January 29, 2020, 1:46 pm

Weekly Review

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, President Trump said that he would not rule out sanctions against Iraq, where active-duty U.S. troops are still stationed.

Cartoon — January 22, 2020, 1:14 pm

The Story of Cinema: Die Hard

Sure, it’s a Christmas movie

Weekly Review — January 22, 2020, 10:11 am

Weekly Review

In response to a major volcanic eruption, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines vowed he would “eat that ashfall. I’m even going to pee on Taal, that goddamned volcano.”

Podcast — January 16, 2020, 11:24 am

Trumpism After Trump

More than four more years? A look at the philosophy and die-hard adherents of National Conservatism

Postcard — January 15, 2020, 11:46 am

Future Healers of Tomorrow

A summer camp for young mediums

Weekly Review — January 14, 2020, 11:20 am

Weekly Review

A decorated veteran of the American wars in Vietnam and Iraq had his prosthetic limbs repossessed from his home in Mississippi when the VA declined to pay for them.

Podcast — January 9, 2020, 3:00 pm

Oceans Apart

The Comoro Islands are a microcosm of the global climate crisis to come

Weekly Review — January 7, 2020, 1:00 pm

Weekly Review

Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott complained on an Israeli radio show that the world is “in the grip of a climate cult.”

Weekly Review — January 1, 2020, 12:31 pm

Weekly Review

A candidate for Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party cosplayed as a character from the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion at the Taiwan Grand Triumph concert.

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The Old Normal·

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Addressing the graduating cadets at West Point in May 1942, General George C. Marshall, then the Army chief of staff, reduced the nation’s purpose in the global war it had recently joined to a single emphatic sentence. “We are determined,” he remarked, “that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand and of overwhelming force on the other.”

At the time Marshall spoke, mere months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. forces had sustained a string of painful setbacks and had yet to win a major battle. Eventual victory over Japan and Germany seemed anything but assured. Yet Marshall was already looking beyond the immediate challenges to define what that victory, when ultimately— and, in his view, inevitably—achieved, was going to signify.

This second world war of the twentieth century, Marshall understood, was going to be immense and immensely destructive. But if vast in scope, it would be limited in duration. The sun would set; the war would end. Today no such expectation exists. Marshall’s successors have come to view armed conflict as an open-ended proposition. The alarming turn in U.S.–Iranian relations is another reminder that war has become normal for the United States.

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Last fall, a court filing in the Eastern District of Virginia inadvertently suggested that the Justice Department had indicted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and other outlets reported soon after that Assange had likely been secretly indicted for conspiring with his sources to publish classified government material and hacked documents belonging to the Democratic National Committee, among other things.

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Harold Jamieson, once chief engineer of New York City’s sanitation department, enjoyed retirement. He knew from his small circle of friends that some didn’t, so he considered himself lucky. He had an acre of garden in Queens that he shared with several like-minded horticulturists, he had discovered Netflix, and he was making inroads in the books he’d always meant to read. He still missed his wife—a victim of breast cancer five years previous—but aside from that persistent ache, his life was quite full. Before rising every morning, he reminded himself to enjoy the day. At sixty-eight, he liked to think he had a fair amount of road left, but there was no denying it had begun to narrow.

The best part of those days—assuming it wasn’t raining, snowing, or too cold—was the nine-block walk to Central Park after breakfast. Although he carried a cell phone and used an electronic tablet (had grown dependent on it, in fact), he still preferred the print version of the Times. In the park, he would settle on his favorite bench and spend an hour with it, reading the sections back to front, telling himself he was progressing from the sublime to the ridiculous.

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Out of Africa·

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1. In 2014, Deepti Gurdasani, a genetic epidemiologist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in England, coauthored a paper in Nature on human genetic variation in Africa, from which this image is taken. A recent study had found that DNA from people of European descent made up 96 percent of genetic samples worldwide, reflecting the historical tendency among scientists and doctors to view the male, European body as a global archetype. “There wasn’t very much data available from Africa at all,” Gurdasani told me. To help rectify the imbalance, her research team collected samples from eighteen African ethnolinguistic groups across the continent—such as the Kalenjin of Uganda and the Oromo of Ethiopia—most of whom had not previously been included in genomic research. They analyzed the data using an admixture algorithm, which visualizes the statistical genetic differences among groups by representing them as color clusters. The top chart shows genetic differences among the sampled African populations, in increasing degrees of granularity from top to bottom, and the bottom chart shows how they compare with ethnic groups in the rest of the world. The areas where the colors mix and overlap imply that groups commingled. The Yoruba, for instance, show remarkable homogeneity—their column is almost entirely green and purple—while the Kalenjin seem to have associated with many populations across the continent.

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Ten yards was the nearest we could get to the river. Any closer and the smell was too much to bear. The water was a milky gray color, as if mixed with ashes, and the passage of floating trash was ceaseless. Plastic bags and bottles, coffee lids, yogurt cups, flip-flops, and sodden stuffed animals drifted past, coated in yellow scum. Amid the old tires and mattresses dumped on the riverbank, mounds of rank green weeds gave refuge to birds and grasshoppers, which didn’t seem bothered by the fecal stench.

El Río de los Remedios, or the River of Remedies, runs through the city of Ecatepec, a densely populated satellite of Mexico City. Confined mostly to concrete channels, the river serves as the main drainage line for the vast monochrome barrios that surround the capital. That day, I was standing on a stretch of the canal just north of Ecatepec, with a twenty-three-year-old photographer named Reyna Leynez. Reyna was the one who’d told me about the place and what it represents. This ruined river, this open sewer, is said to be one of the largest mass graves in Mexico.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

An Iraqi man complaining on live television about the country’s health services died on air.

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At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

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