Weekly Review — May 23, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Caught in the Web, 1860]

Caught in the Web, 1860.

The Iraqi Defense Ministry announced that on average one person per hour was being killed in Basra.The Register-GuardIn Baghdad, 19 people were killed in attacks, including four U.S. soldiers, and a tae kwon do team was kidnapped.BBC NewsGayIraqis were fleeing the country to avoid being killed by militias.Times OnlineAmerican troops were using lasers to “dazzle” Iraqi drivers who do not stop at checkpoints; if used properly, said a Pentagon spokesman, the laser light will not blind its target.Local6.comThe Nepal House of Representatives declared the King of Nepal to be powerless,The Washington Timesand King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia asked newspapers to refrain from publishing pictures of women.AP via MyWay.comPlague was found at a campground in Utah.FindlawA 4.3-million-square-foot mall opened in the Philippines,AP via Yahoo! Newsand thousands of people protested against affirmative action in New Delhi.MediaCorp NewsFidel Castro denied that he had a fortune worth $900 million. “Why would I want money,” he asked, “especially now that I’m going to be 80 years old?” His doctor said that Castro was in excellent health and could live another 60 years.The IndependentBreitbart.comIn Louth, England, a group of youths kicked a pet rabbit to death.LouthTodayWhite House Press Secretary Tony Snow said that he would prefer not to hug a tar baby.The White House

While acknowledging that Khaled al-Masri “deserves a remedy” for allegedly being tortured by the CIA, a federal judge dismissed al-Masri’s case because allowing it to proceed would expose government secrets.The Washington PostThere was a riot at Guantánamo Bay.The Toronto StarA study found that only one in four United States teenagers knows the names of all four broadcast TV networks,Advertising Ageand another study found that one out of every 136 Americans was incarcerated.The ScotsmanA kennel was ordered closed in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, after a cockapoo was found with yeast in both of its ears.Lancaster OnlineAt least 18 people fell ill in Dallas after eating tainted muffins.UPIA man with no legs climbed to the summit of Mt. Everest,The Independentand the mayor of Scottsdale, Arizona, was offended by a new restaurant called the Pink Taco.Local6.comIn Santa Ana, California, a homeless man was arrested after he told five boys he would cast them in a television commercial, then licked their feet.CBS NewsA camel ran amok on the Trans-Israeli Highway,YNetNews.comand a rogue elephant was on the loose in Rwanda.IOL.co.zaIn Alaska an elephant named Maggie was refusing to use her $100,000treadmill.Seattle Post-IntelligencerThe Hershey Company opened a new health center to study the benefits of cocoa,The Gourmet Retailerand Ray Nagin was re-elected mayor of New Orleans.The New York TimesA BritishUgandan team of scientists said that the glaciers of the Rwenzori Mountains in East Africa, which the Greek geographer Ptolemy called “the mountains of the moon,” could melt within the next two decades.BBC News

Scottish scientist Klaus Zuberbuhler found that Nigerian putty-nosed male monkeys say “pyow” to warn of leopards and “hack” to warn of eagles. “Pyow,” said a monkey. “Hack hack pyow hack hack.”MSNBCA patent was filed for a Pentagon-fundedcontrollable launcher for propelling a payload” that can shoot SWAT teams onto the roofs of tall buildings.The RegisterA Honduran teenager who stole an anti-immigration protest sign in New York was facing deportation,Breitbart.comand the Senate passed a bill that would make English the national language.The SenateIt was revealed that in 2004 a group of Republican lawmakers wrote letters to the IRS calling for a probe of the NAACP.Guardian UnlimitedFox News commentator Bill O’Reilly warned that “many far-left thinkers believe the white power structure that controls America is bad.”Media MattersIran, despite reports to the contrary, was not making non-Muslims wear badges.The National PostAbout 2,000 gallons of Sunny D concentrate leaked into a river in England, killing fish and turning the water bright yellow.Daily MailA South Africanice cream company sprayed a ton of ammonia gas into the atmosphere, sending 100 schoolchildren to the hospital; afterwards, the company held an assembly for some of the children and gave them free ice cream. “They’ve been reading words like ‘toxic’ and ‘poisonous’ and obviously got quite a fright,” said an engineer. “We want to enlighten them about how ammonia can be used constructively.”Iol.co.zaFinnish horror rock group Lordi (whose most recent album is “The Arockalypse”) won the Eurovision Song Contest,BBC Newsand President George W. Bush promised to uphold “the tradition of the melting pot.”The White HouseScientists in Germany said that apes can plan ahead.AP via Breitbart.com

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.

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
Burning Down the House·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Discussed in this essay:

Plagued by Fire: The Dreams and Furies of Frank Lloyd Wright, by Paul Hendrickson. Knopf. 624 pages. $35.

Frank Lloyd Wright isn’t just the greatest of all American architects. He has so eclipsed the competition that he can sometimes seem the only one. Who are his potential rivals? Henry Hobson Richardson, that Gilded Age starchitect in monumental stone? Louis Sullivan, lyric poet of the office building and Wright’s own Chicago mentor, best known for his dictum that form follows function? “Yes,” Wright corrected him with typical one-upmanship, “but more important now, form and function are one.” For architects with the misfortune to follow him, Wright is seen as having created the standards by which they are judged. If we know the name Frank Gehry, it’s probably because he designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, in 1997. And Gehry’s deconstructed ship of titanium and glass would be unimaginable if Wright hadn’t built his own astonishing Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue some forty years earlier.

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.

Shortly after the Regional Council of Veneto, in Italy, voted against climate-change legislation, its chambers were flooded.

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