Weekly Review — April 3, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

“Into the palace parlor they stepped; her hand in his paw the old bruin kept,” 1875

In Tal Afar, Iraq, a truck bomb killed 152 people, making it the deadliest attack of the war. Two hundred and fifty more people died in other bombings carried out against Shiite targets.Reuters via China PostPresident George W. Bush asserted that withdrawing from Iraq would be disastrous and supported his claims by citing two Baghdad bloggers.AP via BreitbartThe newly appointed U.S. ambassador to Iraq spoke of “encouraging signals of progress,”Reuters via China Postand the British Ministry of Defence found that a study which had placed Iraq’s civilian death toll at 655,000 was “robust.”BBCBlood spewed from a sewer in Minneapolis. “Blood just all over my face, in my mouth, I could taste it,” said a city worker. “It was terrible. I had it in my mouth and I kept spitting and I couldn’t get rid of it.”wcco.comIn Washington, D.C., Karl Rove danced on stage during a press dinner and pretended to be a rapper, shouting: “I’m MC Rove.”BBCMichael Jackson was planning to create a fifty-foot-tall robotic replica of himself that would roam the Las Vegas desert while firing laser beams,Dotmusic via Yahoo!NEWSand in Spearsville, Louisiana, two fifth-graders had sex on a classroom floor during an assembly about murder.APSan Francisco endorsed legislation to establish a U.S. Department of Peace and Nonviolence,News Blazeand in the Indian state of Gujarat, an unemployed man from Tooting, England, had found new work as Bahucharaji, the patron goddess of eunuchs.AnanovaBritish Prime Minister Tony Blair said that he was disgusted with Iran’s treatment of 15 Royal Navy hostages. Spiegel Online

In the United States, crystal meth was now available in candy flavors,USA TODAYand government health officials warned of the risk of salmonella from live Easter chicks.AP via local6.comAt the Gaza?Egypt border a woman with three baby crocodiles strapped to her waist was detained after guards noticed that she looked “strangely fat.” AP via New York TimesAt least four Palestinians in Gaza were killed by what authorities called a “sewage tsunami,”AFP via Breitbartand a West Bank woman had developed special “queuing” socks to help her countrymen who suffer from swollen feet while waiting at Israeli military checkpoints.BBCA U.S. Army recruiter’s email exchange with a gay man was published in a New Jersey newspaper. “YOU GO BACK TO AFRICA AND DO YOUR GAY VOODOO LIMBO TANGO AND WANGO DANCE,” wrote the recruiter, “AND JUMP AROUND AND PRANCE AND RUN ALL OVER THE PLACE HALF NAKED.” Jersey JournalIn Zimbabwe, scores of teenagers were beaten by riot police and dragged from a disco, iol.co.zaand President Robert Mugabe admitted responsibility for the recent torture of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who, Mugabe said, “asked for it.”iol.co.zaChina was considering using its vast harvest of rape to create biodiesel. “The government,” said Agriculture Ministry official Wang Shoucong, “should foster research work to nurture high-yield rape.”PTI via HinduAustrianscientists claimed that men who sleep in the same bed as their partners may suffer reduced mental function,iol.co.zaand the World Health Organization endorsed circumcision as a tool to reduce the spread of HIV. “The recommendations represent a significant step forward,” said WHO HIV/AIDS director Kevin De Cock.BBCResearchers discovered that Canadianschool bullies were forcing their girlfriends to strip online,Reutersand members of a Michigan college fraternity called the police after a woman disrobed and started masturbating in their living room and refused to leave; the fraternity now plans to throw away two sofas.Michigan Daily

As many as 600,000 drought-stricken camels were invading communities in northern Australia;AdelaideNowa California man was released from prison after serving five months for shooting an ostrich named Gaylord who had embarrassed him in front of women; San Francisco Chronicleand in Germany, a black Australian swan named Petra was in love with a paddleboat.AnanovaThe world’s tallest person, an Inner Mongolian herdsman who last year used his long arms to save two dolphins by removing plastic from their stomachs, married a woman.AP via New York TimesIt was suggested that Yan Yan, a panda at the Berlin Zoo, died from stress in the wake of intense publicity generated by Knut, his polar-bear-cub neighbor.GuardianA rambunctious elephant in Sasthamcotta, India, killed its second mahout, Podimon of Modioozhathil, who died on the way to a hospital in Thiruvananthapuram,newindpress.comand farther north, police in Bhiwandi registered a complaint after a hill, with an estimated street value of $5.5 million, was reported stolen.Mumbai MirrorThe Dead Sea was disappearing,Economist via Toronto Stara 15,000-mile-wide hexagon was seen on Saturn,Daily Mailand a Nepalese teenager believed to be a reincarnation of the Buddha began a three-year meditation in a concrete bunker.AFP via Yahoo!NEWS Singapore

Share
Single Page

More from Rafil Kroll-Zaidi:

From the January 2020 issue

Findings

From the December 2019 issue

Findings

From the November 2019 issue

Findings

Get access to 169 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

January 2020

Click Here to Kill

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Vicious Cycles

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Oceans Apart

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Forty-Year Rehearsal

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Whale Mother

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Click Here to Kill·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On a sunny July day in 2018, Alexis Stern was sitting behind the wheel of the red Ford Fusion her parents had given her the previous year when she’d learned to drive. Robbie Olsen, the boy she’d recently started dating, was in the passenger seat. They were in the kind of high spirits unique to teenagers on summer vacation with nothing much to do and nowhere in particular to go. They were about to take a drive, maybe get some food, when Stern’s phone buzzed. It was the police. An officer with the local department told her to come down to the station immediately. She had no idea what the cops might want with her. “I was like, am I going to get arrested?” she said.

Stern had graduated from high school the month before, in Big Lake, Minnesota, a former resort town turned exurb, forty miles northwest of the Twin Cities. So far she had spent the summer visiting family, hanging out with her new boyfriend, and writing what she describes as “action-packed and brutal sci-fi fantasy fiction.” At sixteen, she’d self-published her first novel, Inner Monster, about a secret agent named Justin Redfield whose mind has been invaded by a malevolent alter ego that puts the lives of his loved ones at risk. “It isn’t until his inner demon returns that he realizes how much trouble he really is in,” the synopsis reads. “Facing issues with his girlfriend and attempting to gain control of his dark side, the tension intensifies. Being the best agent comes at a price, a price of kidnapping, torture and even death.

Article
Oceans Apart·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I had been in Domoni—an ancient, ramshackle trading town on the volcanic island of Anjouan—for only a few summer days in 2018 when Onzardine Attoumane, a local English teacher, offered to show me around the medina. Already I had gotten lost several times trying to navigate the dozens of narrow, seemingly indistinguishable alleyways that zigzagged around the old town’s crumbling, lava-rock homes. But Onzardine had grown up in Domoni and was intimately familiar with its contours.

Stocky in build, with small, deep-set eyes and neatly trimmed stubble, Onzardine led me through the backstreets, our route flanked by ferns and weeds sprouting from cracks in the walls and marked by occasional piles of rubble. After a few minutes, we emerged onto a sunlit cliff offering views of the mustard-colored hills that surround the town, dotted with mango, palm, and breadfruit trees. We clambered down a trail, past scrawny goats foraging through piles of discarded plastic bottles, broken flip-flops, and corroded aluminum cans, toward a ledge where a dozen young men were waiting for the fishing boats to return to shore, gazing blankly out across the sea.

Article
Vicious Cycles·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

This is what I feared, that she would speak about the news . . . about how her father always said that the news exists so it can disappear, this is the point of news, whatever story, wherever it is happening. We depend on the news to disappear . . .
—Don DeLillo, “Hammer and Sickle”

What a story. What a fucking story.
—Dean Baquet, on the election of Donald Trump

a circular conversation

What is the news? That which is new. But everything is new: a flower blooms; a man hugs his daughter, not for the first time, but for the first time this time . . . That which is important and new. Important in what sense? In being consequential. And this has been measured? What? The relationship between what is covered in the news and what is consequential. Not measured. Why? Its consequence is ensured. Ensured. . . ? It’s in the news. But then who makes it news? Editors. Editors dictate consequence? Not entirely. Not entirely? It matters what people read and watch—you can’t bore them. Then boredom decides? Boredom and a sense of what’s important. But what is important? What’s in the news.

Article
The Forty-Year Rehearsal·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On the evening of May 8, just after eight o’clock, Kate Valk stepped onstage and faced the audience. The little playhouse was packed with hardcore fans, theater people and artists, but Kate was performing, most of all, for one person, hidden among them, a small, fine-boned, black-clad woman, her blond-gray hair up in a clip, who smiled, laughed, and nodded along with every word, swaying to the music and mirroring the emotions of the performers while whispering into the ear of the tall, bearded fellow who sat beside her madly scribbling notes. The woman was Elizabeth LeCompte—known to all as Liz—the director of the Wooster Group, watching the first open performance of the company’s new piece, Since I Can Remember.

It had been a tense day, full of opening-night drama. Gareth Hobbs, who would be playing a leading role, had been sick in bed for days with a 103-degree fever, and he’d only arrived at the theater, still shaky, at three-thirty that afternoon. During the final closed rehearsal, performer Suzzy Roche fell on her elbow, then felt faint and had to lie prone while her colleagues fanned her and fetched ice. At one point, Erin Mullin, the stage manager as well as a performer, shouted: “We have one hour left, and we’re on page eight of fifty!” Not to mention that the piece still had no ending.

Article
Election Bias·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In the spring of 2018, Tequila Johnson, an African-American administrator at Tennessee State University, led a mass voter-registration drive organized by a coalition of activist groups called the Tennessee Black Voter Project. Turnout in Tennessee regularly ranks near the bottom among U.S. states, just ahead of Texas. At the time, only 65 percent of the state’s voting-age population was registered to vote, the shortfall largely among black and low-income citizens. “The African-American community has been shut out of the process, and voter suppression has really widened that gap,” Johnson told me. “I felt I had to do something.”

The drive generated ninety thousand applications. Though large numbers of the forms were promptly rejected by election officials, allegedly because they were incomplete or contained errors, turnout surged in that year’s elections, especially in the areas around Memphis and Nashville, two of the cities specifically targeted by the registration drive. Progressive candidates and causes achieved notable successes, capturing the mayor’s office in heavily populated Shelby County as well as several seats on the county commission. In Nashville, a local measure was passed introducing a police-accountability board.

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