Weekly Review — October 9, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Tempest, December 1878]

Burma’s junta claimed that peace and stability had been restored following its crackdown on mass pro-democracy protests in which at least 30 people, but likely far more, were killed. Up to 6,000 monks had been arrested, Internet service to the country was almost completely cut off, and the army was paying 20,000 kyat to the families of non-protesters who had been accidentally killed. “Myanmar people,” said a demoralized taxi driver, “have no blood in their veins.” VOABBC NewsBloombergBBC NewsThe AgeSylvester Stallone, filming the sequel to “Rambo” near the Burmese border, described the country as “a hellhole beyond your wildest dreams.”AP via MyWayThree thousand two hundred South African gold miners were rescued without injury after a power cable accident trapped them underground; the last group of miners emerged within 40 hours of the accident, dehydrated and exhausted, singing and stamping their feet.The Canadian PressBBCIt was reported that the U.S. Justice Department, despite calling torture “abhorrent” in 2004, had secretly endorsed brutal interrogation techniques on terror suspects,NYTand the Iraqi government launched an official investigation into the role of U.S. military contractor Blackwater in last month’s civilian shootings in Baghdad, calling the incident a deliberate crime and raising the number of people killed in the shootings from 11 to 17.RadioFreeEuropeIn Iowa,Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson continued to attest to the existence of WMDs in Iraq. “We can’t forget the fact that although at a particular point in time we never found any WMD down there, [Saddam Hussein] clearly had had WMD,” he said; Thompson ended his speech by asking for applause.MSNBCRepublican Senator Larry Craig was selected for induction into the Idaho Hall of Fame and announced that he would not resign from the Senate, despite being denied his request to withdraw his guilty plea of disorderly conduct resulting from a sex sting at an airport men’s room.CNNAP

A Nepalese eighth-grader who felt pity for policemen facing street demonstrations invented a crowd-controlling robot that can “charge at the mob with baton, use water canon, lob tear gas, and even shoot.”Nepal NewsCanadianresearchers found that lonely, bullied, or ostracized children have sex earlier than happier children,Canada.comand the mother of a bullied Jacksonville, Florida, boy brandished a gun at his bus stop, asking his fellow pupils, “Does anyone have something to say?”Local6In England, American gray squirrels were bullying diminutive, mild-mannered indigenous red squirrels.NYTA Thai restaurant in London was cordoned off by police after passersby mistook the smell of its extra-spicy homemade chili sauce for a chemical outbreak,Cape TimesSky Newsand a volcano erupted on the Red Sea island of al-Tair.BBCIvory Coast was fighting chronic lateness, known as “African time,” with a contest that offered a $60,000 villa as its grand prize. The winner, legal adviser Narcisse Aka, is known by his colleagues as “Mr. White Man’s Time” and said that his punctuality made him feel like “an extra-terrestrial.”ReutersStudies found that nearly two-thirds of HIV-positive patients in the United States are overweight or obese. “It would be very sad to survive HIV,” said an epidemiologist, “and die of something else that was preventable.”Local6

American pastors were luring teenage boys to church by installing large-screen game consoles equipped for group sessions of the video game “Halo.” Responding to concerns that the explicit and realistic violence in “Halo” is at odds with Christian values, Gregg Barbour, a youth minister in Colorado, stated, “We want to make it hard for teenagers to go to hell.” “Teens are our ‘fish’,” he wrote in a letter to parents. “So we??ve become creative in baiting our hooks.”NYTBritish clergy were condemning the nomination of video game “Resistance: Fall of Man,” which features a fire-fight scene set in Manchester Cathedral, for an award. “For a global manufacturer to recreate one of our great cathedrals with photo-realistic quality,” said the Bishop of Manchester, “and encourage people to have gun battles in the building is beyond belief and highly irresponsible.” vnunet.comThe Middlebury Institute, a liberal advocacy group opposing the Iraq War, and the League of the South, which displays a Confederate Battle Flag on its banner, met in Tennessee to discuss their shared goal of secession from the Union. APA white family in Florida found three burning crosses in its back yard.Local6An autopsy could not reveal the identity of a baby found in a Big John’s Pickled Sausage jar and left in a Florida cane field,Miami Heraldand researcher Craig Venter announced that he has constructed a synthetic chromosome out of laboratory chemicals, creating the first artificial life form on Earth.Guardian

Share
Single Page

More from Gemma Sieff:

Weekly Review February 3, 2017, 12:17 pm

Weekly Review

Donald Trump bans citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, a Trump supporter is charged with killing seven people at a mosque in Quebec, and the last man on the moon dies

From the February 2016 issue

Isn’t It Romantic?

Looking for love in the age of Tinder

Weekly Review January 20, 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

February 2020

Trumpism After Trump

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“My Gang Is Jesus”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Cancer Chair

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Birds

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Skinning Tree

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Interpretation of Dreams

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Dearest Lizzie

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Trumpism After Trump·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The city was not beautiful; no one made that claim for it. At the height of summer, people in suits, shellacked by the sun, moved like harassed insects to avoid the concentrated light. There was a civil war–like fracture in America—the president had said so—but little of it showed in the capital. Everyone was polite and smooth in their exchanges. The corridor between Dupont Circle and Georgetown was like the dream of Yugoslav planners: long blocks of uniform earth-toned buildings that made the classical edifices of the Hill seem the residue of ancestors straining for pedigree. Bunting, starched and perfectly ruffled in red-white-and-blue fans, hung everywhere—from air conditioners, from gutters, from statues of dead revolutionaries. Coming from Berlin, where the manual laborers are white, I felt as though I was entering the heart of a caste civilization. Untouchables in hard hats drilled into sidewalks, carried pylons, and ate lunch from metal boxes, while waiters in restaurants complimented old respectable bobbing heads on how well they were progressing with their rib eyes and iceberg wedges.

I had come to Washington to witness either the birth of an ideology or what may turn out to be the passing of a kidney stone through the Republican Party. There was a new movement afoot: National Conservatives, they called themselves, and they were gathering here, at the Ritz-Carlton, at 22nd Street and M. Disparate tribes had posted up for the potlatch: reformacons, blood-and-soilers, curious liberal nationalists, “Austrians,” repentant neocons, evangelical Christians, corporate raiders, cattle ranchers, Silicon Valley dissidents, Buckleyites, Straussians, Orthodox Jews, Catholics, Mormons, Tories, dark-web spiders, tradcons, Lone Conservatives, Fed-Socs, Young Republicans, Reaganites in amber. Most straddled more than one category.

Article
The Cancer Chair·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The second-worst thing about cancer chairs is that they are attached to televisions. Someone somewhere is always at war with silence. It’s impossible to read, so I answer email, or watch some cop drama on my computer, or, if it seems unavoidable, explore the lives of my nurses. A trip to Cozumel with old girlfriends, a costume party with political overtones, an advanced degree on the internet: they’re all the same, these lives, which is to say that the nurses tell me nothing, perhaps because amid the din and pain it’s impossible to say anything of substance, or perhaps because they know that nothing is precisely what we both expect. It’s the very currency of the place. Perhaps they are being excruciatingly candid.

There is a cancer camaraderie I’ve never felt. That I find inimical, in fact. Along with the official optimism that percolates out of pamphlets, the milestone celebrations that seem aimed at children, the lemonade people squeeze out of their tumors. My stoniness has not always served me well. Among the cancer staff, there is special affection for the jocular sufferer, the one who makes light of lousy bowel movements and extols the spiritual tonic of neuropathy. And why not? Spend your waking life in hell, and you too might cherish the soul who’d learned to praise the flames. I can’t do it. I’m not chipper by nature, and just hearing the word cancer makes me feel like I’m wearing a welder’s mask.

Article
“My Gang Is Jesus”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

When Demétrio Martins was ready to preach, he pushed a joystick that angled the seat of his wheelchair forward, slowly lifting him to a standing position. Restraints held his body upright. His atrophied right arm lay on an armrest, and with his left hand, he put a microphone to his lips. “Proverbs, chapter fourteen, verse twelve,” he said. “ ‘There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is . . .’ ”

The congregation finished: “ ‘Death.’ ”

The Assembly of God True Grapevine was little more than a fluorescent-lit room wedged between a bar and an empty lot in Jacaré, a poor neighborhood on Rio de Janeiro’s north side. A few dozen people sat in the rows of plastic lawn chairs that served as pews, while shuddering wall fans circulated hot air. The congregation was largely female; of the few men in attendance, most wore collared shirts and old leather shoes. Now and then, Martins veered from Portuguese into celestial tongues. People rose from their seats, thrust their hands into the air, and shouted, “Hallelujah!”

Article
The Birds·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On December 7, 2016, a drone departed from an Amazon warehouse in the United Kingdom, ascended to an altitude of four hundred feet, and flew to a nearby farm. There it glided down to the front lawn and released from its clutches a small box containing an Amazon streaming device and a bag of popcorn. This was the first successful flight of Prime Air, Amazon’s drone delivery program. If instituted as a regular service, it would slash the costs of “last-mile delivery,” the shortest and most expensive leg of a package’s journey from warehouse to doorstep. Drones don’t get into fender benders, don’t hit rush-hour traffic, and don’t need humans to accompany them, all of which, Amazon says, could enable it to offer thirty-minute delivery for up to 90 percent of domestic shipments while also reducing carbon emissions. After years of testing, Amazon wrote to the Federal Aviation Administration last summer to ask for permission to conduct limited commercial deliveries with its drones, attaching this diagram to show how the system would work. (Amazon insisted that we note that the diagram is not to scale.) Amazon is not the only company working toward such an automated future—­UPS, FedEx, Uber, and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, have similar programs—­but its plans offer the most detailed vision of what seems to be an impending reality, one in which parce­l-toting drones are a constant presence in the sky, doing much more than just delivering popcorn.

Article
The Skinning Tree·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Every year in Lusk, Wyoming, during the second week of July, locals gather to reenact a day in 1849 when members of a nearby band of Sioux are said to have skinned a white man alive. None of the actors are Native American. The white participants dress up like Indians and redden their skin with body paint made from iron ore.

The town prepares all year, and the performance, The Legend of Rawhide, has a cast and crew of hundreds, almost all local volunteers, including elementary school children. There are six generations of Rawhide actors in one family; three or four generations seems to be the average. The show is performed twice, on Friday and Saturday night.

The plot is based on an event that, as local legend has it, occurred fifteen miles south of Lusk, in Rawhide Buttes. It goes like this: Clyde Pickett is traveling with a wagon train to California. He tells the other Pioneers: “The only good Injun’s a dead Injun.” Clyde loves Kate Farley, and to impress her, he shoots the first Indian he sees, who happens to be an Indian Princess. The Indians approach the Pioneers and ask that the murderer give himself up. Clyde won’t admit he did it. The Indians attack the wagon train and, eventually, Clyde surrenders. The Indians tie Clyde to the Skinning Tree and flay him alive. Later, Kate retrieves her dead lover’s body and the wagon train continues west.

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 commissioner of CPB admitted that “leadership just got a little overzealous” when detaining hundreds of U.S. citizens of Iranian descent in the wake of Qassem Soleimani’s assassination.

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