Weekly Review — October 2, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: The Cloaca Maxima, 1872]

The Cloaca Maxima, 1872

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, hailed by his countrymen as the “Socrates of the Third Millennium” for “disarming other speakers through his sharp reasoning,” gave a speech on Monday in which he claimed that Iran had no homosexuals and disavowed reports of his nuclear ambitions. “Let me tell a joke here,” Ahmadinejad said. “I think the politicians who are after atomic bombs, or testing them, making them, politically they are backward, retarded.” On Tuesday he met with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, addressed the United Nations (where he announced that he would disregard any resolutions adopted by the Security Council), and hosted a reception at the Intercontinental Hotel that was attended by Brian Williams and Christiane Amanpour.Reuters via Yahoo! NewsAdnkronos InternationalReuters via Yahoo! NewsNew York TimesTimePresident George W. Bush skipped all events related to the U.N. discussions on global warming, except for dinner, because he was holding his own summit later in the week; reporters covering the Bush conference received a pocket-sized handout aimed at dispelling “myths” about the administration’s environmental policy, including the myths that Bush refuses to admit that humans are a factor in climate change, or that climate change is real.New York TimesAssociated PressA February 2003 transcript of a meeting between Bush and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar surfaced showing that Bush had knowledge that Saddam Hussein was prepared to go into exile. In the transcript, Bush complained about former French President Jacques Chirac, who “thinks he’s Mr. Arab,” and the European attitude toward Hussein. “Maybe it’s because he’s dark-skinned, far away and Muslim,” said the President, “lots of Europeans think everything’s okay with him.” Reuters via Yahoo! NewsThe annotated text of Bush’s address to the U.N. General Assembly appeared briefly on the U.N. website. The speech included phonetic spellings for the name of French President Nicolas Sarkozy (sar-KO-zee), Kyrgyzstan (KEYR-geez-stan), Mauritania (moor-EH-tain-ee-a), and the Zimbabwe capital Harare (hah-RAR-ray).Reuters via Yahoo! NewsA White House transcript of Bush’s Wednesday speech on education was amended from “children do learn” to “childrens (sic) do learn,”Associated Pressand British researchers studying intelligence announced that men were disproportionately represented in both the top and bottom two percentiles.Hindu

Protesters in Burma, which tied Somalia for the 2007 title of Transparency International’s most corrupt nation, taunted soldiers in the country’s largest anti-government demonstrations since 1988. “Fuck you, army,” jeered some protesters, “we only want democracy.” “May the people who beat monks be struck down by lightning,” implored others.Reuters via Yahoo! NewsAP via Yahoo! NewsRwanda, which will soon be paid a humanitarian visit by Paris Hilton, was named the most improved country in sub-Saharan Africa,SFGateBBC Newsformer Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was extradited to Peru and is expected to become the first head of state to be tried by the country he once led,Christian Science Monitorand former South African President Nelson Mandela opened a shopping mall in Soweto.AP via Yahoo! NewsJames Razsa, who cleaned the Kennebunkport pool of former President George H.W. Bush, told a reporter that “if every American had to pool-boy for these people for a day, you’d have a revolution on your hands.” SFGateBoth the Magna Carta and pearls that once belonged to Marie Antoinette were being readied for auction,New York TimesReuters via Yahoo! Newsand a Rudy Giuliani supporter in Palo Alto, California, charged guests $9.11 per person to attend a fundraiser.CNNThe board of the World Trade Center Survivors’ Network voted to remove its president after doubts were cast as to whether she was a survivor at all.New York Times

The Department of Homeland Security announced that the completion of a $20 million “virtual fence” pilot project along the Mexican border near Tucson would be delayed because its cameras and radar were unable to distinguish people and vehicles from bushes and cows. Washington PostNike unveiled the Air Native, a sneaker that has a larger fit for the distinct foot shape of American Indians and features several “heritage callouts,” including sunrise patterns, feather designs, and stars representing the night sky.Associated PressThe Mexicanshoemaker who made the pair of ostrich-skin cowboy boots that former President Vicente Fox gave to President Bush was indicted after the contraband skins of sea turtles, caimans, and other endangered species were found in an associate’s warehouse. Rocky Mountain NewsRiverside, New Jersey, joined the list of towns across the nation that were rescinding anti-immigrant ordinances because they were hurting local economies. “The business district is fairly vacant now, but it’s not the legitimate businesses that are gone,” said former mayor Charles Hilton. “It’s all the ones that were supporting the illegal immigrants, or, as I like to call them, the criminal aliens.” New York TimesA bus company on the Isle of Wight planned to teach visiting foreign students how to wait in lines,Agence France Pressean Austrian judge refused to declare a chimpanzee a person,AP via Yahoo! Newsand the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled women must return engagement rings should their wedding be canceled, even if the ring was received on Christmas Day.TennesseanA 14-year-old boy was reported to be the sixth American to die this year after contracting a brain-eating amoeba that thrives in warm-water lakes. AP via azfamily.comMiss Moneypenny died,AFPand two women dressed as ninjas and armed with a sword and dagger robbed a Pennsylvania gas station of cash, cigarettes, and lottery tickets.WTAEOfficials in Peru said that collective psychosis, rather than a meteorite, was to blame for an epidemic of sickness in a Peruvian town,Space.com via Yahoo! Newsand the Navy made plans to alter the barracks at Naval Base Coronado in California after satellite imagery showed the buildings were arranged in a swastika.Los Angeles TimesShannon Whisnant, a North Carolina man who found a leg in a barbecue smoker, was hoping to share custody of the leg with the man from whom it was amputated. Whisnant has been charging adults $3 and children $1 to look inside the empty smoker. “It’s a strange incident and Halloween’s just around the corner,” he said. “The price will be going up if I get the leg.”Seattle Times

Share
Single Page

More from Miriam Markowitz:

Weekly Review November 6, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review July 31, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review May 29, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Get access to 167 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

February 2018

The Minds of Others

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Modern Despots

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Before the Deluge

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Notes to Self

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Within Reach

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Bodies in The Forest

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Minds of Others·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Progress is impossible without change,” George Bernard Shaw wrote in 1944, “and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” But progress through persuasion has never seemed harder to achieve. Political segregation has made many Americans inaccessible, even unimaginable, to those on the other side of the partisan divide. On the rare occasions when we do come face-to-face, it is not clear what we could say to change each other’s minds or reach a worthwhile compromise. Psychological research has shown that humans often fail to process facts that conflict with our preexisting worldviews. The stakes are simply too high: our self-worth and identity are entangled with our beliefs — and with those who share them. The weakness of logic as a tool of persuasion, combined with the urgency of the political moment, can be paralyzing.

Yet we know that people do change their minds. We are constantly molded by our environment and our culture, by the events of the world, by the gossip we hear and the books we read. In the essays that follow, seven writers explore the ways that persuasion operates in our lives, from the intimate to the far-reaching. Some consider the ethics and mechanics of persuasion itself — in religion, politics, and foreign policy — and others turn their attention to the channels through which it acts, such as music, protest, and technology. How, they ask, can we persuade others to join our cause or see things the way we do? And when it comes to our own openness to change, how do we decide when to compromise and when to resist?

Illustration (detail) by Lincoln Agnew
Article
Within Reach·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On a balmy day last spring, Connor Chase sat on a red couch in the waiting room of a medical clinic in Columbus, Ohio, and watched the traffic on the street. His bleached-blond hair fell into his eyes as he scrolled through his phone to distract himself. Waiting to see Mimi Rivard, a nurse practitioner, was making Chase nervous: it would be the first time he would tell a medical professional that he was transgender.

By the time he arrived at the Equitas Health clinic, Chase was eighteen, and had long since come to dread doctors and hospitals. As a child, he’d had asthma, migraines, two surgeries for a tumor that had caused deafness in one ear, and gangrene from an infected bug bite. Doctors had always assumed he was a girl. After puberty, Chase said, he avoided looking in the mirror because his chest and hips “didn’t feel like my body.” He liked it when strangers saw him as male, but his voice was high-pitched, so he rarely spoke in public. Then, when Chase was fourteen, he watched a video on YouTube in which a twentysomething trans man described taking testosterone to lower his voice and appear more masculine. Suddenly, Chase had an explanation for how he felt — and what he wanted.

Illustration by Taylor Callery
Article
Before the Deluge·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In the summer of 2016, when Congress installed a financial control board to address Puerto Rico’s crippling debt, I traveled to San Juan, the capital. The island owed some $120 billion, and Wall Street was demanding action. On the news, President Obama announced his appointments to the Junta de Supervisión y Administración Financiera. “The task ahead for Puerto Rico is not an easy one,” he said. “But I am confident Puerto Rico is up to the challenge of stabilizing the fiscal situation, restoring growth, and building a better future for all Puerto Ricans.” Among locals, however, the control board was widely viewed as a transparent effort to satisfy mainland creditors — just the latest tool of colonialist plundering that went back generations.

Photograph from Puerto Rico by Christopher Gregory
Article
Monumental Error·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In 1899, the art critic Layton Crippen complained in the New York Times that private donors and committees had been permitted to run amok, erecting all across the city a large number of “painfully ugly monuments.” The very worst statues had been dumped in Central Park. “The sculptures go as far toward spoiling the Park as it is possible to spoil it,” he wrote. Even worse, he lamented, no organization had “power of removal” to correct the damage that was being done.

Illustration by Steve Brodner
Post
CamperForce·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

After losing their savings in the stock market crash of 2008, seniors Barb and Chuck find seasonal employment at Amazon fulfillment centers.

Amount Arizona’s Red Feather Lodge offered to pay to reopen the Grand Canyon during the 2013 government shutdown:

$25,000

A Brazilian cat gave birth to a dog.

Trump’s former chief strategist, whom Trump said had “lost his mind,” issued a statement saying that Trump’s son did not commit treason; the US ambassador to the United Nations announced that “no one questions” Trump’s mental stability; and the director of the CIA said that Trump, who requested “killer graphics” in his intelligence briefings, is able to read.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Report — From the June 2013 issue

How to Make Your Own AR-15

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

Subscribe Today