Weekly Review — July 11, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Humbug, December 1853]

North Korea launched six rockets over the Sea of Japan, including a Taepodong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile, which apparently was aborted after just 40 seconds. One thing we have learned, said President George W. Bush, who strongly dislikes North Korea’s Dear Leader Kim Jong Il, “is that the rocket didn’t stay up very long.” The president, who expressed annoyance when a reporter pointed out that Kim Jong Il had on all accounts increased his nuclear potency since Bush took office, claimed that his antimissile system, which has failed repeated tests, had a “reasonable chance” of intercepting the Taepodong.New York TimesIndia tested its long-range nuclear-capableballistic missile, the Agni-III, in the Bay of Bengal. That test also failed.San Francisco ChronicleNew York TimesGuardianAirliners crashed in Russia and Pakistan, killing hundreds, andAssociated Pressa British military report concluded that Trident nuclear missiles, which are regularly transported on public highways in the United States and Britain, are vulnerable to terrorist attacks or even severe traffic accidents that could trigger a nuclear explosion.New ScientistIsrael continued its push into Gaza in search of an abducted soldier. “We want to use an iron fist,” said Isaac Herzog, a Labor Party minister, “but cautiously, with a lot of consideration.” Palestinians, who did not cease to fire missiles into Israel, were busy counting their dead.International Herald TribuneNew research confirmed that smoking and obesity increase the risk of erectile dysfunction.New York TimesReutersU.S.tax revenue was up.New York Times

The Iraqi civil war continued to escalate as Shiite militiamen invaded a Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad and executed at least 36 young men, apparently in response to the bombing of a Shiite mosque; later that day, two car bombs exploded next to another Shiite mosque, killing 19 and wounding 59. Los Angeles TimesSaddam Hussein’slawyers decided to boycott their client’s trial,Reutersand Iraqi prime minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki denounced the immunity of American soldiers in Iraq in connection with the rape and murder of a teenage girl and three of her relatives, including another child. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said that there was no apparent connection between the rape-and-murder case and the killings of two soldiers from the unit under investigation.Detroit Free Press“I’m going to make you this promise,” President George W. Bushtold a crowd of soldiers in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, “I’m not going to allow the sacrifice of 2,527 troops who have died in Iraq to be in vain by pulling out before the job is done.”New York TimesPresident Bush also said that he was “willing to abide by the ruling of the Supreme Court” in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which held that the administration’s scheme to try prisoners at Guantánamo in military tribunals is illegal. “It didn’t say we couldn’t have doneâ??couldn’t have made that decision, see?” Bush added. “They were silent on whether or not Guantánamoâ??whether we should have used Guantánamo. In other words, they accepted the use of Guantánamo, the decision I made.”New York TimesFive more American soldiers were charged in the Iraqirape-and-murder case;ABC Newsan Army reserve colonel offered to plead guilty to charges that he engaged in bribery, conspiracy, and money laundering while he was stationed in Iraq;New York Timesand it was reported that SenatorOrrin Hatch intervened to get a record producer out of a Dubai jail after he was sentenced to four years for possession of cocaine.New York TimesThe FBI and the Department of Homeland Security claimed to have foiled a plot by foreign terrorists, in Lebanon, to bomb the Holland Tunnel in New York,Washington Postand three people were arrested for plotting to sell Coca-Cola secrets to PepsiCo.Voice of AmericaPresident Bush denied that the closing of the CIA’sBin Laden unit was significant. “We got a lot of assets looking for Osama bin Laden,” he said. “It’s a matter of time, unless we stop looking.”ReutersProsecutors declined to press charges against Rush Limbaugh for possession of Viagra.Associated PressKen Lay died.Houston Chronicle

A megachurch called the World Overcomers congregation in Memphis, Tennessee, unveiled a 72-foot-tall replica of the Statue of Liberty (with the Ten Commandments under one arm, a tear on her cheek, and “Jehovah” inscribed on her crown) holding a cross of gold.New York TimesFelipe Calderon, the candidate of Mexico’s conservative National Action Party, was apparently elected president, though Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the leftist mayor of Mexico City, refused to concede and demanded a complete recount.Washington PostItaly won the World Cup after France’s Zinedine Zidane was ejected from the game for head-butting Marco Materazzi,Associated Pressand an Italian judge ruled that former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi should stand trial for fraud.BBCThe prime minister of Spain snubbed the pope,Times Onlineand a sheikh in Mogadishu said that Muslims who do not pray five times a day should be put to death.ReutersA United Nations official in Sudan lamented that violence in Darfur has gotten worse since the signing of a recent peace accord.Associated PressIt was reported that Melinda Gates is more comfortable than her husband Bill when it comes to holding AIDS babies in Africa or talking to male prostitutes in India.New York TimesThe world’s oldest crow died in Bearsville, New York,Associated Pressand astronomers observed what they said might be a strange glowing blob of dark matter sucking in gas.New ScientistThe high courts of Georgia and New York both upheld bans on gaymarriage.ForbesPoland’s president appointed his twin brother to serve as prime minister.BloombergPresident Vladimir Putin of Russia explained that he had recently kissed a young boy on the stomach because he “wanted to stroke him like a cat.”Agence France-Presse

Share
Single Page

More from Roger D. Hodge:

From the October 2010 issue

Speak, Money

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.

Sebastian Gorka, the former deputy assistant to the president who now hosts a radio show called America First, was banned from YouTube for repeatedly uploading audio from the rock band Imagine Dragons without copyright permission.

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