Weekly Review — July 20, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: The Wire Master and his puppets, 1875]

The wire master and his puppets, 1875.

BP successfully capped its hemorrhaging Deepwater Horizon wellhead with an 18-foot, 150,000-pound stopper, 86 days after the rig exploded. The Obama Administration pushed for temporarily reopening the cap and piping oil to the surface to ease pressure on the unstable well, but BP dissented. “No one,” said a spokesman, “wants to see any more oil flow into the Gulf of Mexico.” Fishermen learned that the money they’ve earned helping to clean up the spill will be deducted from the amount they will receive from the $20 billion compensation fund set up by BP, and a new poll showed that 73 percent of Americans disagree with President Obama’s six-month ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf, believing the disastrous oil spill to be a “freak accident.”CNNAP via Yahoo NewsBloombergBP admitted that it had lobbied the British government last year on behalf of Libya to secure the release of the only person ever convicted in connection with the Lockerbie bombing, to protect a $900 million oil-and-gas exploration deal off Libya??s coast, and workers excavating the World Trade Center site discovered the keel of an eighteenth-century wooden ship, presumably used as landfill material when Manhattan’s shoreline was expanded.NYTNYTCordoba House, a Muslim community center and mosque planned for part of the redeveloped site, was still sparking debate. “Peaceful Muslims,” tweeted Sarah Palin, “pls refudiate.”WSJNew York TimesDubai’s Al-Arabiya television released the premature farewell video recorded by failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, and British researchers concluded that the chicken came before the egg.WaPoCNN

The Vatican issued a new set of ecclesiastical laws that categorized both the ordaining of women and the sexual abuse of children as “grave crimes,” and Switzerland refused to extradite Roman Polanski to the United States to face charges of having sex with a minor.New York TimesAOL NewsArgentina became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage. In Guatemala, President Álvaro Colom, who once posited that “God said ??Adan and Eva,?? not ??Adan and Esteban,??” apologized. “Esteban,” he said, “I ask you to pardon us for centuries of mistreatment and discrimination.”NYTBy a vote of 335 to 1, France’s lower house of parliament approved a ban on wearing an Islamic full-face veil in public, and fines and jail terms for men who force their wives to wear a burqa.BBCOxytocin, known as the “cuddle chemical” because it helps mothers bond with their babies, was shown to help schizophrenics, and a study found that a male penguin’s voice reveals how good a dad he will be by indicating how fat he is and hence how long he can incubate eggs without needing food. Psych CentralLive Science

Former leader Mark Williams was expelled from the Tea Party movement for writing an imaginary letter to Abraham Lincoln, calling slavery a “great gig” for “us coloreds.” Yahoo NewsWaPoGeorge Steinbrenner died, and Rush Limbaugh reflected that “that cracker made a lot of African-American millionaires. He fired a bunch of white guys as managers left and right.”AP via Fox NewsSewer cleaners were digging out an estimated 1,000 tons of putrid fat from underneath London, and Venezuelan officials exhumed nineteenth-century independence hero Simon Bolívar to determine whether he was poisoned by enemies in Colombia. “My God, my God… my Christ, our Christ… This glorious skeleton must be Bolivar because you can feel his presence. My God,” tweeted President Hugo Chávez.The IndependentReutersScientists speculated that Alexander the Great was poisoned by bacteria from the Styx River, and comic-book artist Harvey Pekar, who chronicled his mundane life in the series American Splendor, died.Discovery NewsLATExposure to antidepressants in the ocean was making shrimp suicidal, causing them to swim toward the light, despite its association with birds and fishermen.i09.comIt was determined that last month was the hottest June on record worldwide and the worst month for Armysuicides since the Vietnam era.CNNCNNAl Qaeda in Mesopotamia issued a fatwa telling its fighters to marry the widows of those who have died for their cause, and Omar bin Laden told a British newspaper that “I would love to meet Drew Barrymore. I am single now and she is the most beautiful woman in Hollywood.”NYT via Times of IndiaThe Telegraph

Share
Single Page

More from Margaret Cordi:

Weekly Review May 10, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review March 15, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review February 1, 2011, 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