Weekly Review — September 5, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

An angry-looking, monkey-like creature showing its teeth.

A kinkajou, 1886.

The Pentagon announced that civilian casualties in Iraq had increased recently by more than fifty percent, and death squads were said to be torturing and killing as many as 1,800 people per month.New York TimesAt least 200 Iraqis were killed in bombings, rocket attacks, and shootings, as were 19 American and British soldiers.CNNNPRU.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales visited Iraq to encourage “the rule of law,” andicasualties.orgNPRReutersReutersReutersSapa-AP via Independent OnlineReutersReutersAP via Houston ChronicleU.S. Secretary of DefenseDonald Rumsfeld quoted Georges Clemenceau, who said, “War is a series of catastrophes that results in a victory.”Washington PostIran ignored a U.N. Security Council deadline for suspending its uranium-enrichment activities,UPIand Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad challenged U.S. President George Bush to a televised debate.ReutersU.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan denounced Israel’s use of cluster bombs,International Herald TribuneIsraeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert refused to lift a seven-week-old blockade on Lebanon,.New York Timesand Israeli troops were being attacked by Lebanese wildlife.UPIPlans were underway to save the Dead Sea.UPIPresident Bush, visiting hurricane-damaged New Orleans, spoke optimistically of the rebuilding effort. “There will be a momentum, momentum will be gathered,” said Bush. “Houses will begat jobs, jobs will begat houses.”New York TimesMarine biologists said that manatees are not stupid so much as unmotivated.New York Times

Forty-nine people died when a commercial jet attempted to take off from the wrong runway at an airport in Lexington, Kentucky.AP via Boston HeraldTropical Storm Ernesto killed at least six people and four seals in the United States,.Washington Postand around 125 people in Ethiopia died from an outbreak of acute watery diarrhea.Seacoast OnlineReutersAmerican heavy-metal band Fecal Corpse were denied entry to Canada,Toronto Sunand children in Dublin saw a clown crushed to death.APWarren Steed Jeffs, who reportedly has 80 wives and 250 children and serves as the leader of a polygamist Mormon sect, was arrested in Nevada on suspicion of arranging marriages between underage girls and older men. AP via New York TimesResearchers warned that countries with unnaturally high male-to-female population ratios, such as China and India, could foster violence, organized crime, and terrorism.ReutersMontanaSenator Conrad Burns said that terrorists “drive taxi cabs in the daytime and kill by night,”AP via Breitbartand Miss England, an Uzbek-born Muslim, declared that stereotyping leads to terror. Daily MailTony Blair was seen sporting a new tea mug. “You’re a man who’s in charge,” reads the mug. “Others follow your lead.” BBCIt was reported that the average British woman spends two and a half years on her hair during her lifetime.Daily MailA British professor announced that five-year-old girls were worried about their weight,AFP via Breitbartand a study revealed that the brains of nuns “flicker” in the presence of God. Daily MailSwiss hikers were warned not to hug cows.Independent OnlineA woman in Hohhot, China, crashed her car into another vehicle while allowing her dog to drive,Guardianand Danish researchers reported that pollutants may shrink the genitals of polar bears, foxes, and whales.local6.comForty Australianseals were killed in a drive-by shooting.The AustralianSteve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, died after a stingray stabbed him in the heart.NEWS.co.au

Police broke up a ring of badger-baiting gangs in Scotland.Sundaymail.co.ukAfghanistan’sopium production was expected to increase by 59 percent this year, making the country the source of 92 percent of the world’s supply,BBCand Taiwanese apartment-dwellers were upset to discover that their water supply contained the corpse of a 27-year-old drug addict named Kuo.China PostIn a courtroom in Duluth, Minnesota, a cocaine trafficker ate his own feces;Duluth News Tribunea vigilante mob in North Carolina beat and killed the wrong man;AP via CNNand SAT scores in the United States showed the largest decline in 31 years.New York TimesFemale condoms were becoming more popular in South Africa,Mail & GuardianAustralianbrothels were offering clients discounts based on their gasoline bills,Reuters via Yahoo!and in Russia a participant in a sex-dollriver-raftingrace was disqualified for sexually abusing his rafting apparatus. “I think,” said the man’s friend, “it was an expression of his great desire to win.”MOSNEWS.COMIn the Indian state of Bihar, high-caste landowners were raping and gouging out the eyes of low-caste residents.India eNewsHindustan TimesA 10-pound, 20-inch-tall, 14-year-old Nepalese boy claimed to be the world’s smallest adult.AP via Boston GlobeJapanese physicists were preparing to create a “baby universe,” with its own laws of physics, by cutting off a piece of our own.Sentido.tvIndiandoctors were attempting to treat a girl who weeps tears of stone.Times of India

Share
Single Page

More from Rafil Kroll-Zaidi:

From the December 2019 issue

Findings

From the November 2019 issue

Findings

From the October 2019 issue

Findings

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