Weekly Review — April 14, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Christian martyr, 1855]

A Christian martyr.

On the sixth anniversary of Saddam Hussein’s fall from power, tens of thousands of Iraqis loyal to cleric Muqtada al-Sadr protested the continued U.S. occupation. “When America came, they didn’t do anything for Iraq,” said one protester. “This is not democracy.”Christian Science MonitorIn Moldova, thousands of young people, angry over the parliamentary victory of the Communist Party in recent elections, destroyed government buildings and clashed with police in a protest organized using Twitter and Facebook. “If it would have been planned in advance,” said one Moldovan, “they would have used Molotov cocktails.” The Associated PressProtesters in Tbilisi demanded the resignation of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, APand in cities across the United States, people dressed in Boston Tea Party-themed costumes to protest President Barack Obama‘s economic policies.USA TodayBolivian President Evo Morales began a hunger strike that he plans to continue until his nation’s congress passes a new election law that will increase the number of seats in the indigenous regions of the country where he is popular. The president of Fiji revoked the constitution and abolished the judiciary.BBCAnti-government protests in Thailand forced Asian leaders from sixteen nations, who had gathered for an economic summit, to be evacuated by helicopter,Washington Postand in North Korea Kim Jong Il was unanimously elected to a third term.NYTimesA swarm of bees invaded the White House lawn.CNN

For the first time in eighteen years, television networks broadcast images of the coffins of U.S. soldiers killed in combat.Washington Post Britain’s top antiterrorism official was forced to resign after reporters photographed him holding confidential documents that detailed covert operations. NPRThe Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles refused to permit a vegan woman to put ILVTOFU on a vanity license plate. “We don’t allow ‘FU’,” explained a Department of Revenue spokesperson, “because some people could read that as street language for sex.” San Francisco ChronicleA Virginia teenager was suspended from school for two weeks and recommended for expulsion after she was caught taking a birth-control pill. Washington PostIn Canada, a father who was sued by his twelve-year-old daughter after he grounded her and refused to let her go on a class trip lost his appeal to reinstate the grounding. “The trip was very important to her,” said the girl’s lawyer.CBCA New York judge refused to give a former police officer his job back after he tested positive for cocaine, which he says he accidentally ingested via oral sex.NY Daily NewsThe Obama Administration announced plans to appeal a court decision that gives some military prisoners in Afghanistan the right to sue for their release,NYTimesand a jury of two men, three women, and the studio audience of the Dutch television show Devil’s Advocate determined that Osama Bin Laden was not guilty of the attacks on the World Trade Center. Hollywood ReporterAfter months of speculation, the White House announced the selection of the First Dog, a Portuguese water dog named Bo. NYTimes

The BBC uncovered documents revealing that American commanders during World War II reorganized the forces that liberated Paris in 1944 so that no black soldiers would participate. “It is more desirable that the division mentioned above consist of white personnel,” said the U.S. Army’s chief of staff in a secret memo.BBCDave Arneson, the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, died. San Francisco ChronicleA man in Florida safely landed a plane after the pilot died mid-flight,and U.S. Navy Seals successfully rescued a container-ship captain who had been captured by Somali pirates, killing three pirates in the process. “We will take quick revenge on American ships if we don’t receive apologies,” said one pirate commander. BloombergAn Illinois teenager robbed a Dunkin’ Donuts but came back the next day, returned the money, and apologized. Fox NewsWBBM News RadioAs part of a plan to pay back investors who lost money in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, Madoff’s opening-day Mets tickets were sold on eBay for $7,500. UPIThe Fox television network announced plans for a new reality show in which employees at real companies will be given the ability to lay off co-workers. “Itâ??s safe to say,” said one of the show’s producers, “it hasnâ??t been difficult to find companies willing to participate.” NYTimesA man in Poland bit off his friend’s penis during an argument over a borrowed trailer.MetroDuring an Easter-egg hunt in Austria, a 13-year-old girl severed her hand in an animal trap that had been baited with eggs. Daily StarAn Israeli Arab hotel food manager named Jaaber Hussein signed an agreement with Israel’s chief rabbis to become the temporary owner of all the leavened bread of Israel,Hotels Magazineand according to participants in the Jewish celebration of Birchas Hachama, the sun returned to the position it held in the Book of Genesis on the fourth day of creation, when God created light. Baltimore Sun

Share
Single Page

More from Genevieve Smith:

From the May 2014 issue

50,000 Life Coaches Can’t Be Wrong

Inside the industry that’s making therapy obsolete

From the June 2012 issue

In recovery

Twelve steps to prosperity

Commentary May 23, 2012, 3:44 pm

The Underearners Test

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.

Post
Perhaps the World Ends Here·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Climate disaster at Wounded Knee

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
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.

An eight-foot minke whale washed ashore on the Thames, the third beaching of a dead whale on the river in two months.

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