Weekly Review — May 31, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Saluting the Town, March 1854]

Amnesty International released a report calling the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay “the gulag of our time.” General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the prison camp was “a model facility” and pointed out that 1,300 Korans had been handed out at the prison in the last four years.BBC NewsBrigadier General Jay Hood, the camp’s commander, said that an investigation at Guantánamo Bay had uncovered five incidents of Koran abuse, but none involved toilets; protesters rallied against Koran abuse in Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, Malaysia, and in Lebanon, where they chanted “America is the biggest Satan.”BBC NewsMecca Cola was on sale in fifty-six countries, and was the second most popular soft drink in France.ForbesPresident George W. Bush promised $50 million in aid to Palestine.BBC NewsThe commander-in-chief of Bolivia’s armed forces denied that the military was planning a coup,BBC NewsJapan announced it would close down its fund for WWII-era sex slaves,BBC Newsand North Korea refused to rule out a pre-emptive nuclear strike.APHundreds of thousands of people marched for gay rights in Sao Paulo, Brazil.BBC NewsA man caught a 124-pound catfish in the Mississippi River,APand Sylvester Stallone was making a movie about Edgar Allen Poe.The GuardianRepresentative Spencer Bachus of Alabama said that a routine by television host Bill Maher bordered on treason. Maher had said that the Army had already picked all of the “low-lying fruit” like Lynndie England, and now needed “warm bodies.”ABC NewsIsraeli finance minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave an interview with a lit cigar in his jacket. “Can’t you smell the smoke?” asked his interviewer. “What do you mean?” replied Netanyahu. “You are burning up,” said the reporter.ReutersIn Syracuse, New York, President Bush gave a speech so boring that it reduced a little girl named Brittany Fish to tears,Syracuse.comand in Greece, New York, Bush discussed his plan for Social Security. “You got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in,” he explained, “to kind of catapult the propaganda.”WhiteHouse.govScientists uncovered the part of the brain that allows people to perceive sarcasm,BBC Newsand experts on humor said that the joke was dead.New York TimesIn California, the owners of a chicken were fined for letting it cross the road; the fine was later dismissed.Herald SunOfficials in Zurich decided that a massive teddy bear in bondage regalia could not be put on display as part of the city’s “Teddy-Summer” project,Reutersand a researcher found that Malcolm X had enjoyed sex with men.The GuardianNASA planned to put a laser in orbit around the moon.Red Nova

In the West Bank, Israeli soldiers broke into the home of a Palestinian family so that they could watch a soccer game. ReutersA San Diego doctor was training a dog named Ginger to detect cancer by sniffing human urine,Sign On San Diegoand two teenagers in Marysville, California, hacked into their school’s computer system to change their grades. They accidentally altered the grades of all 18,697 students in the school district, and were arrested.Monterey HeraldA judge ruled that stickers that encourage students to question the theory of evolution, placed on science textbooks in Cobb County, Georgia, violated the principle of the separation of church and state. Thirty-four thousand, four hundred fifty-two stickers must be scraped off in order to comply with the ruling.MSNBCA hamster-bornevirus, transmitted through donated human organs, was linked to the deaths of six people since 2003.MSNBCIn New Jersey, State Assemblyman Craig Stanley was fighting to rename the Devils hockey team. “The merchandise, the paraphernalia,” he said, “is based on the actual demonic devil.”APThree hundred thousand residents of Beijing have been moved out of their homes to make room for the 2008 Olympics; some of those who protested the evictions have been jailed.Times OnlinePretoria, South Africa, changed its name to Tshwane, which means “we are the same.”BBC NewsIn Denmark, a Lutheran minister who was suspended for preaching that God does not exist was allowed to return to the pulpit,APand in London, Big Ben broke down for ninety minutes.BBC NewsThere was a public masturbation festival in San Francisco.Reuters

In North Carolina a man was released from prison after serving thirty-five years of his life sentence for stealing a $140 TV set,WRAL.comand in Waxahachie, Texas, the high school student yearbook neglected to include a girl’s name in a photo caption, referring to her instead as “Black Girl.”AZCentral.comIn Indianapolis, the parents of a nine-year-old boy were appealing a judge’s ruling that prohibits them from raising their child as a Wiccan.Indystar.comA study of eighty-five infant boys found that the chemical phthalate, which is found in plastics and cosmetics, leads to smaller penises,New Scientistand a road crew in San Jose, California, dug a fresh 10-by-15-foot pothole so that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger could be photographed filling it.San Francisco ChronicleThe nine members of Thailand’s anti-corruption commission were found guilty of corruption.ReutersIn Iraq, bombs killed dozens of civilians and soldiers;New York Timestwo soldiers died when an Army helicopter was shot down northeast of Baghdad,BBC Newsand forty thousand Iraqi troops and ten thousand United States soldiers launched Operation Lightning, which is intended to seal roads in and out of Baghdad.Radio Free EuropeIraqi militants bragged of eating wild raw cats with their bare hands.News.telegraphFrance rejected the proposed constitution for the European Union, Germany ratified it,BBC NewsBBC NewsKing Mswati III of Swaziland married his eleventh wife,BBC Newsand the space probe Voyager 1 entered the heliosheath, 8.7 billion miles from the sun.BBC News

Share
Single Page

More from Paul Ford:

From the May 2010 issue

Just like heaven

Weekly Review March 23, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review November 24, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Get access to 167 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2017

Document of Barbarism

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Destroyer of Worlds

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Crossing Guards

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I am Here Only for Working”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Dear Rose

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Year of The Frog

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Destroyer of Worlds·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In February 1947, Harper’s Magazine published Henry L. Stimson’s “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb.” As secretary of war, Stimson had served as the chief military adviser to President Truman, and recommended the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The terms of his unrepentant apologia, an excerpt of which appears on page 35, are now familiar to us: the risk of a dud made a demonstration too risky; the human cost of a land invasion would be too high; nothing short of the bomb’s awesome lethality would compel Japan to surrender. The bomb was the only option. Seventy years later, we find his reasoning unconvincing. Entirely aside from the destruction of the blasts themselves, the decision thrust the world irrevocably into a high-stakes arms race — in which, as Stimson took care to warn, the technology would proliferate, evolve, and quite possibly lead to the end of modern civilization. The first half of that forecast has long since come to pass, and the second feels as plausible as ever. Increasingly, the atmosphere seems to reflect the anxious days of the Cold War, albeit with more juvenile insults and more colorful threats. Terms once consigned to the history books — “madman theory,” “brinkmanship” — have returned to the news cycle with frightening regularity. In the pages that follow, seven writers and experts survey the current nuclear landscape. Our hope is to call attention to the bomb’s ever-present menace and point our way toward a world in which it finally ceases to exist.

Illustration by Darrel Rees. Source photographs: Kim Jong-un © ITAR-TASS Photo Agency/Alamy Stock Photo; Donald Trump © Yuri Gripas/Reuters/Newscom
Article
Crossing Guards·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Ambassador Bridge arcs over the Detroit River, connecting Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, the southernmost city in Canada. Driving in from the Canadian side, where I grew up, is like viewing a panorama of the Motor City’s rise and fall, visible on either side of the bridge’s turquoise steel stanchions. On the right are the tubular glass towers of the Renaissance Center, headquarters of General Motors, and Michigan Central Station, the rail terminal that closed in 1988. On the left is a rusted industrial corridor — fuel tanks, docks, abandoned warehouses. I have taken this route all my life, but one morning this spring, I crossed for the first time in a truck.

Illustration by Richard Mia
Article
“I am Here Only for Working”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

But the exercise of labor is the worker’s own life-activity, the manifestation of his own life. . . . He works in order to live. He does not even reckon labor as part of his life, it is rather a sacrifice of his life.

— Karl Marx

Photograph from the United Arab Emirates by the author. This page: Ruwais Mall
Article
The Year of The Frog·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

To look at him, Sweet Macho was a beautiful horse, lean and strong with muscles that twitched beneath his shining black coat. A former racehorse, he carried himself with ceremony, prancing the field behind our house as though it were the winner’s circle. When he approached us that day at the edge of the yard, his eyes shone with what might’ve looked like intelligence but was actually a form of insanity. Not that there was any telling our mother’s boyfriend this — he fancied himself a cowboy.

“Horse 1,” by Nine Francois. Courtesy the artist and AgavePrint, Austin, Texas
Article
Dead Ball Situation·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

What We Think About When We Think About Soccer, by Simon Critchley. Penguin Books. 224 pages. $20.

Begin, as Wallace Stevens didn’t quite say, with the idea of it. I so like the idea of Simon Critchley, whose books offer philosophical takes on a variety of subjects: Stevens, David Bowie, suicide, humor, and now football — or soccer, as the US edition has it. (As a matter of principle I shall refer to this sport throughout as football.) “All of us are mysteriously affected by our names,” decides one of Milan Kundera’s characters in Immortality, and I like Critchley because his name would seem to have put him at a vocational disadvantage compared with Martin Heidegger, Søren Kierkegaard, or even, in the Anglophone world, A. J. Ayer or Richard Rorty. (How different philosophy might look today if someone called Nobby Stiles had been appointed as the Wykeham Professor of Logic.)

Tostão, No. 9, and Pelé, No. 10, celebrate Carlos Alberto’s final goal for Brazil in the World Cup final against Italy on June 21, 1970, Mexico City © Heidtmann/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Factor by which single Americans who use emoji are more likely than other single Americans to be sexually active:

1.85

Brontosaurus was restored as a genus, and cannibalism was reported in tyrannosaurine dinosaurs.

Moore said he did not “generally” date teenage girls, and it was reported that in the 1970s Moore had been banned from his local mall and YMCA for bothering teenage girls.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Report — From the June 2013 issue

How to Make Your Own AR-15

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

Subscribe Today