Weekly Review — November 30, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Humbug, December 1853]

North Korea bombarded the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong with 180 artillery shells, killing two marines and two civilians in one of the largest skirmishes on the Korean peninsula since the end of the Korean War. New York TimesThe U.S.-led war in Afghanistan turned older than the Soviet Unionâ??s 3,339-day campaign in the country. A new Defense Department assessment of the war cited “modest gains” in security and governance but listed a number of ongoing challenges. “In no way, shape or form is anyone guaranteeing success,” a Pentagon official said. Peace talks between the Afghan government, the Taliban, and NATO forces proved to be futile when a key participant thought to be a leading member of the Taliban was revealed to be a Pakistani shopkeeper. “Itâ??s not him,” said a Western diplomat involved in the talks. “And we gave him a lot of money.”APWashington PostNew York TimesNew York TimesA 19-year-old Somali-born U.S. citizen was arrested for trying to bomb a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Oregon, and the Department of Homeland Security announced plans to drop its color-coded terror-alert system. The Oregonian (Oregon Live)AP (via Time)Rey Decerega, the Director of Programs for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, elbowed President Barack Obama in the lip during a post-Thanksgiving basketball game, causing the president to receive twelve stitches. “I enjoyed playing basketball with him,” said Decerega.New York TimesTalking Points MemoNew York Times

Wikileaks released more than 250,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables, which revealed that U.S. officials have been tasked with spying on U.N. leadership and that Arab leaders are pushing for an attack on Iran. The GuardianExiled members of Iraq’s Baath party are hoping to use Wikileaks to sue the U.S. government.The NationalIreland agreed to a $90 billion bailout package from the IMF and the EU to rescue the nation’s floundering banking sector; a British pensioner lost his life savings, about $125,000, when he drove away with the money in a bag on the roof of his car; and a 21-year-old woman in Madison, Wisconsin, was arrested by police after she threatened to shoot fellow Black Friday shoppers who refused to let her move to the front of the line at a Toys-R-Us.Washington PostDaily MailWisconsin State JournalHundreds of Americans, nicknamed the “Amazon Gypsies,” arrived in Cambellsville, Kentucky, in RVs and campers to fill holiday orders at an Amazon warehouse offering temporary $10-an-hour jobs. “We are among the economic refugees,” said one temporary worker, named April McFail. “We are lucky to earn enough to get our laundry done and eat macaroni and cheese.”USA Today

Canadian actor Leslie Nielsen, star of “The Naked Gun” and “Airplane!,” died at the age of 84.PeopleAmericans largely opted out of a “National Opt-Out Day” protest against invasive airport security measures. A woman stripped naked on a flight from Chicago to New York. Washington PostNBCSarah Palin released a new book, and her daughter Bristol finished last in the final round of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” CBSNew York PostA gonorrhea outbreak in Alaska continued to trouble state officials.Alaska Daily NewsThree teenagers were rescued after drifting for 50 days in the Pacific Ocean and surviving on coconuts, rainwater, and a seagull.APSinger Willie Nelson was arrested in Texas for marijuana possession, and authorities discovered 20 tons of marijuana inside a 2,200-foot-long tunnel (equipped with a rail system and ventilation) running from a Tijuana kitchen to two San Diego warehouses. CMTAP (via MSNBC)Oxygen was found on one of Saturn’s moons, and it was revealed that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is studying a rare breed of flying Asian snakes.The GuardianWashington PostEnglish physicist Sir Roger Penrose found evidence to suggest that there has been a cycle of Big Bangs and that our universe (or aeon) is neither the first nor the last. “This aeon is one of a succession of such things,” said Penrose, “where the remote future of the previous aeons somehow becomes the Big Bang of our aeon.”BBC

Share
Single Page

More from Nicholas Kimbrell:

Commentary April 6, 2011, 12:58 pm

A Concert in Cairo

Get access to 169 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2019

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.

Gimme Shelter

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Body Language

= 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.

The Chevrolet Suburban sport utility vehicle was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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