Weekly Review — July 26, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Lost Souls in Hell, 1875]

Lost Souls in Hell, 1875.

It was hot in most of the United States. Many U.S. cities set records for high temperatures, and huge wildfires burned in the Southwest. At least twenty people, many of them homeless, died from the heat in Phoenix, Arizona.The New York TimesWashington PostConcern over storms in the Gulf of Mexico led to an increase in oil prices,Reutersand the directors of Enron gave themselves large raises.KLTVInvestigations into the expenses of former Tyco executive Dennis Kozlowski revealed that Kozlowski had once held an extravagantbachelor party for his son-in-law. “It wasn’t like a three-ring circus,” said the son-in-law’s father. “It was a nice party. There was only one dwarf.”New York Daily NewsGermany declined to finance a bald man’s toupee, even though the state covers the costs of wigs for women who have lost their hair,Reutersand Michael Jackson announced that he would build another Neverland near Berlin.The GuardianA German magazine published a coupon for free sex with prostitutes,Ananovaand Heidi Fleiss was planning to open a brothel in Nevada. “I’m a perfect example of the fact that prison does work,” she said. “I have served my time, now will do my crime legally.”MSNBC GossipPresident George W. Bush nominated John G. Roberts, a federal appeals court judge, to the Supreme Court. Roberts has criticized U.S. abortion policy, but is considered very handsome. “American women will love him,” said an editor at More Magazine. “I love thee,” commentator David Brooks wrote of the nomination, “with the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach. I love thee freely.”APTimes OnlineBill and Hillary Clinton paid off the last of their legal bills,APand a Kenyan man was reported to have offered twenty cows and forty goats to the Clintons in exchange for their daughter, Chelsea.The StandardAnother octopus learned to open lids.NBC30.com

More bombs went off in London’s public-transport system, but only the detonators of the bombs exploded. There was one injury.BBC NewsAround twenty London police officers chased a Brazilian electrician named Jean Charles de Menezes onto a train and shot him dead, thinking he was a terrorist.BBC NewsLater, a suspicious package in Little Wormwood Scrubs was detonated safely.BBC NewsMembers of the British government said that the bombings were not related to the war in Iraq, but only 28 percent of British people agreed;Common Dreamsa Muslim cleric in London said that such attacks would continue.Washington Post The U.S. House of Representatives voted to keep most of the USA Patriot Act, extending provisions that allow the search of library and medical records by ten years. “Periodically revisiting the Patriot Act,” said Representative Martin Meehan (D.-Mass.), “is a good thing.”APIn New York City, police began random bag checks of subway passengers.CNN.comThe CIA was granted the power to secretly interrogate Irish citizens in Ireland,IrishExaminer.comand the Pentagon asked Congress to allow people up to age forty-two to enlist in the military.ReutersTommy Thompson, former Secretary of Health and Human Services, announced that he would have an RFID identity tag inserted into his body.ZDNet.comU.S. Congressman Tom Tancredo (R.-Colo.) said he did not advocate bombing Mecca, but did not want to rule out the possibility.Al-JazeeraFifty-two prisoners were on hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay.Science Daily

A study found that 24,865 civilians have been killed in Iraq during the last two years;BBC Newsin Baghdad, a suicide truck bomb killed twenty-five more people.BBC NewsThirty-six people were killed in Yemen during riots over fuel prices.BBC NewsFilm director David Lynch announced that he wants to raise $7 billion to promote transcendental meditation and thus create world peace.ReutersIran whipped then executed two teenagers for raping a thirteen-year-old and for being homosexual,PlanetOut.comand U.S. rapper Big Tigger denied that he was gay.AllHipHop.comLance Armstrong won the Tour de France for the seventh time,The New York Timesand a study found that French people think they look good.ReutersThe U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment to start broadcasting radio and television programs into Venezuela that will counter the “anti-Americanism” of Telesur, a new Latin American TV station. Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez called the plan “a preposterous imperialist idea.”Common DreamsA British court, acting under the legal principle of “universal jurisdiction,” convicted a man named Faryadi Zardad on torture charges for events that took place while Zardad lived in Afghanistan, where he would often unleash a “human dog“–a crazed man he kept in a hole–on captives he was holding for ransom. In London, where he has lived since 1998, Zardad ran a pizza parlor.GlobeAndMail.comA bipolar Indiana woman beat her two young sons to death with a dumbbell so that the boys could go to heaven.MSNBCFlorida police were looking for a naked man who steals into the homes of elderly women late at night and tickles their feet,Local6.comChina planned to launch forty grams of pigsemen into space,News in Scienceand authorities in Malaysia arrested fifty-eight people who worship a giant teapot.MSNBC

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 169 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2019

Gimme Shelter

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Body Language

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Trash, Rock, Destroy

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Make Way for Tomorrow

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Red Dot

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Gimme Shelter·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I.

That year, the year of the Ghost Ship fire, I lived in a shack. I’d found the place just as September’s Indian summer was giving way to a wet October. There was no plumbing or running water to wash my hands or brush my teeth before sleep. Electricity came from an extension cord that snaked through a yard of coyote mint and monkey flower and up into a hole I’d drilled in my floorboards. The structure was smaller than a cell at San Quentin—a tiny house or a huge coffin, depending on how you looked at it—four by eight and ten feet tall, so cramped it fit little but a mattress, my suit jackets and ties, a space heater, some novels, and the mason jar I peed in.

The exterior of my hermitage was washed the color of runny egg yolk. Two redwood French doors with plexiglass windows hung cockeyed from creaky hinges at the entrance, and a combination lock provided meager security against intruders. White beadboard capped the roof, its brim shading a front porch set on cinder blocks.

After living on the East Coast for eight years, I’d recently left New York City to take a job at an investigative reporting magazine in San Francisco. If it seems odd that I was a fully employed editor who lived in a thirty-two-square-foot shack, that’s precisely the point: my situation was evidence of how distorted the Bay Area housing market had become, the brutality inflicted upon the poor now trickling up to everyone but the super-rich. The problem was nationwide, although, as Californians tend to do, they’d taken this trend to an extreme. Across the state, a quarter of all apartment dwellers spent half of their incomes on rent. Nearly half of the country’s unsheltered homeless population lived in California, even while the state had the highest concentration of billionaires in the nation. In the Bay Area, including West Oakland, where my shack was located, the crisis was most acute. Tent cities had sprung up along the sidewalks, swarming with capitalism’s refugees. Telegraph, Mission, Market, Grant: every bridge and overpass had become someone’s roof.

Post
Perhaps the World Ends Here·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Climate disaster at Wounded Knee

Article
Body Language·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I am eight years old, sitting in my childhood kitchen, ready to watch one of the home videos my father has made. The videotape still exists somewhere, so somewhere she still is, that girl on the screen: hair that tangles, freckles across her nose that in time will spread across one side of her forehead. A body that can throw a baseball the way her father has shown her. A body in which bones and hormones lie in wait, ready to bloom into the wide hips her mother has given her. A body that has scars: the scars over her lungs and heart from the scalpel that saved her when she was a baby, the invisible scars left by a man who touched her when she was young. A body is a record or a body is freedom or a body is a battleground. Already, at eight, she knows it to be all three.

But somebody has slipped. The school is putting on the musical South Pacific, and there are not enough roles for the girls, and she is as tall as or taller than the boys, and so they have done what is unthinkable in this striving 1980s town, in this place where the men do the driving and the women make their mouths into perfect Os to apply lipstick in the rearview. For the musical, they have made her a boy.

No, she thinks. They have allowed her to be a boy.

Article
Trash, Rock, Destroy·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The writer and filmmaker Virginie Despentes lives in a nondescript modern building in the Belleville neighborhood of Paris. I know it well: it has a Bricorama—like a French Home Depot—on the ground floor, where we sometimes had cause to shop back when we lived in the neighborhood. The people who work there seemed to hate their jobs more than most; they were often absent from the sales floor. In the elevator to Despentes’s apartment, I marvel that while I was trying to get someone to help me find bathroom grout she was right upstairs, with her partner, Tania, a Spanish tattoo artist who goes by the name La Rata, like someone out of one of Despentes’s novels.

In an email before our meeting, Despentes asked that we not do a photo shoot. “There are so many images available already,” she explained. Much had been written about her, too. A Google search yielded page after page: profiles, interviews, reviews, bits and bobs—she read from Pasolini at a concert with Béatrice Dalle; someone accused her of plagiarizing a translation; a teacher in Switzerland was fired for teaching her work. The week I met her, she appeared in the culture magazine Les Inrockuptibles in conversation with the rapper-turned-actor JoeyStarr. The woman is simply always in the news.

Article
The Red Dot·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

That night at the window, looking out at the street full of snow, big flakes falling through the streetlight, I listened to what Anna was saying. She was speaking of a man named Karl. We both knew him as a casual acquaintance—thin and lanky like Ichabod Crane, with long hair—operating a restaurant down in the village whimsically called the Gist Mill, with wood paneling, a large painting of an old gristmill on a river on one wall, tin ceilings, and a row of teller cages from its previous life as a bank. Karl used to run along the river, starting at his apartment in town and turning back about two miles down the path. He had been going through the divorce—this was a couple of years ago, of course, Anna said—and was trying to run through his pain.

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.

The Chevrolet Suburban sport utility vehicle was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Jesus Plus Nothing

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

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. 

Subscribe Today