Weekly Review — February 8, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Christian martyr, 1855]

A Christian martyr.

Egyptians activists held a “day of departure” in Cairo’s Tahir Square, demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, who after eleven days of protests claimed to be “fed up” with being president. “We as a people are fed up as well,” said opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei. “It is not only him.” Mubarak designated intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who is suspected of having been involved in the CIA’s secret extraordinary-rendition program, as his new vice president. The Egyptian army failed to intervene when pro-Mubarak activists, many of whom were later revealed to be plainclothes policemen, attacked protesters, aid workers, and journalists, including Anderson Cooper, who was punched in the head. BBCFear of mass demonstrations led Algerian officials to promise to end a nineteen-year state of emergency, which has limited political freedom, and to open television and radio programs to all political parties; Bahrain’s government announced plans to increase food subsidies and expand social-welfare programs ahead of February 14th scheduled protests; and protesters in Yemen held a peaceful “day of rage,” rallying against the country’s 40 percent unemployment rate and calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. Rallies in Baghdad protesting poor government services prompted Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to agree not to run in the next election and to halve his pay. “The current circumstances are pushing us to decrease expenses and salaries,” explained one lawmaker, “and spend them on the low-income classes.”Raw StoryTimeNew York Times Raw StoryBBCNew York Times LA TimesWorld food prices hit record highs.BBCCNN

Awal Gul, a Guantánamo inmate who had been held without charges since 2002, died “after exercising.” BBCGeorge W. Bush canceled his trip to Switzerland after human-rights groups threatened to have him arrested on charges of torture.Reuters“Looking back, I see there are things the administration could have done differently and better with respect to wartime detention,” admitted former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld in an excerpt leaked from his new autobiography. “Thank God he was relieved of his duties,” said Senator John McCain of Rumsfeld. “Otherwise, we would have had a disastrous defeat in Iraq.”Washington PostRaw StoryNewly released WikiLeaks documents revealed that the FBI may still be looking for three men tied to the September 11 World Trade Center attacks.CNNSarah Palin filed a petition to trademark “Sarah Palin” and “Bristol Palin,” and pest-control managers gathered in Washington for the Second Annual Bed Bug Summit.CNNChristian Science MonitorAn Amtrak train in Maryland struck and killed a bald eagle. Washington Post

Republicans celebrated the 100th birthday of Ronald Reagan. At St. Elizabeth’s psychiatric hospital Reagan’s would-be assassin, John Hinkley, Jr., who shot the former president 29 years ago in an effort to win the affections of Jodie Foster, was reported to have recently found love. “I see value in people no matter what they??ve said or done,” said Hinkley’s girlfriend, a former St. Elizabeth’s patient. The DailyCorrections officers took away Charles Manson’s contraband cell phone, and an immigration officer in the United Kingdom was fired after superiors discovered he had put his wife on the no-fly list to prevent her from returning home for three years.Raw StoryReutersThe MirrorOfficials in China petitioned for a law that would require children to visit their parents.NYTimesAlexandra Tobias, who shook her baby to death for crying while she was playing the computer game Farmville, was sentenced to 50 years in prison, and a six-year-old child died in Death Valley after his mother got lost in the desert for five days despite using a GPS. “It’s what I’m beginning to call Death By GPS,” said a local wilderness coordinator. Florida Times UnionSacramento BeeThe president of Singapore ushered in the Year of the Rabbit by urging Singaporeans to procreate, while the Rwandan government was trying to curb population growth by encouraging men to have vasectomies. “I think I can’t go for it,” said one Rwandan. “You may plan to have two children and then unfortunately one dies.”CNNBBC

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 167 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

February 2018

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.

The Minds of Others

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Modern Despots

= 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.

Cost of a baby-stroller cleaning, with wheel detailing, at Tot Squad in New York City:

$119.99

Australian biologists trained monitor lizards not to eat cane toads.

Trump tweeted that he had created “jobs, jobs, jobs” since becoming president, and it was reported that Trump plans to bolster job creation by loosening regulations on the global sale of US-made artillery, warships, fighter jets, and drones.

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