Weekly Review — January 15, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Storks, 1864]

Charges of a rigged presidential election triggered violence along tribal lines in Kenya, leading to more than 700 deaths and the displacement of 250,000 Kenyans. Opposition leader Raila Odinga, who lost the election to incumbent Mwai Kibaki, said that his first cousin Barack Obama had called him twice to express his concern, “despite being in the middle of the very busy New Hampshire primary.”AFP.comTelegraph.co.ukObama and Mike Huckabee were the surprise winners of the Iowacaucuses. “None of this worries me,” said Rudy Giuliani, who came in sixth place in the Republican caucus. “September 11, there were times I was worried.”NYDailyNews.comJohn McCain and a tearful Hillary Clinton won the New Hampshire primaries.NYTimes.com“You look at me, September 11,” said Giuliani when asked if he would ever cry in public, “there were times in which it was impossible not to feel the emotion.” NYDailyNews.com G.O.P. candidate Vermin Supreme picked up 41 votes in the New Hampshire primary, and Dennis Kucinich demanded and was granted a recount.New Hampshire Public RadioNBC11.comVisiting the Middle East, President George W. Bush urged Gulf state leaders to join him in confronting Iran, “before it’s too late.” BBCnews.comBush, guarded by ten thousand policemen in Jerusalem, told Condoleezza Rice that the United States should have bombed Auschwitz, and was flown by helicopter to Bethlehem so that he could pass through a tiny Door of Humility and pray at the traditionally venerated birthplace of Jesus Christ.BBCnews.comYahoonewsReuters via Haaretz.com

The American Dialect Society voted “subprime” the word of the year,CNN.comand Merrill Lynch reported that the United States had already entered a recession.BBCnews.comFor the first time since the 1800s the average Briton was earning more than the average American, even though the pound was at an all-time low against the euro.Reuters UKStarbucks fired its CEO and announced that it would start to open fewer than its usual six stores per day.BBCnews.comHouston ChronicleThe World Bank said that the prosperity of China and other emerging markets would help soften the coming global economic downturn,BBCnews.comand Pat Robertson predicted that China will convert to Christianity. “God’s going to give us China,” he said. “China will be the largest Christian nation on earth.”Huffington PostThe Chinese government expelled more than five hundred people from the Communist Party for violating the country’s one-child policy, Washington PostSouth Asia was suffering from severe food shortages,BBCnews.comand the Australian government refused to provide compensation to Aborigines (who until 1967 were governed under flora and fauna laws) who were stolen from their parents as children.Reuters UKKeepers at the Nuremberg Zoo, under criticism for allegedly allowing polar bear mothers to eat and abandon their young, announced that they would hand-rear an at-risk cub but also made clear that they do not want a repeat of the Berlin Zoo’s Knut-mania.BBCnews.comBenazir Bhutto’s 19-year-old son, Bilawal, asked the media to leave him alone after he was made head of his mother’s party, and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf blamed Bhutto for her own assassination. “For standing up outside the car, I think it was she to blame alone,” he said. “Nobody else.”BBCnews.comBBCnews.comSir Edmund Hillary, who in 1953 became the first person to climb Mount Everest, along with Tenzing Norgay, died at age 88.NYTimes.com

A victim of Hurricane Katrina was suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for $3,000,000,000,000,000 after the Corps admitted that it had done a poor job designing the broken New Orleans levees.Click2Houston.comThe Museum of Bogota in Colombia opened an exhibit dedicated to laziness,BBCnews.comand scientists in Houston discovered a vaccine that makes cocaine no fun.Houston ChronicleIt was revealed that a single trader seeking bragging rights caused oil to reach a record high of $100 a barrel,BBCnews.comand Tata Motors unveiled a $2,500 automobile in India, a potential market of 1.1 billion people.AFP.comA U.S. study found that biofuels could be produced from a fast-growing grass and would emit up to 94 percent less carbon dioxide than gasoline,BBCnews.coma British artist exhibited 55 “beautiful and delicate” canvases of his ejaculate sprinkled with carbon dust,Islington Gazetteand French customs officials seized 224,000 fake anti-impotence pills.ReutersForty-seven U.S. senators were fighting for the return of guns to national parks and wildlife refuges. Associated PressSoldiers were being sent to Afghanistan wearing high-tech helmets that gather data on how bomb blasts impact their brains,USAToday.comand it was revealed that Blackwater dropped riot-control gas on U.S. soldiers in Iraq in 2005. “This,” said Army Captain Kincy Clark, “was decidedly uncool.”NYTimes.comScientists from the American Astronomical Society attended their annual meeting and agreed that the universe is bizarre and violent. “This is the glory of the universe,” said the association’s president. “What is odd and what is normal is changing.”Associated Press

Share
Single Page

More from Chantal Clarke:

Weekly Review August 12, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review July 8, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review May 20, 2008, 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