Weekly Review — February 22, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

An angry-looking, monkey-like creature showing its teeth.

A kinkajou, 1886.

Throughout the Middle East, revolutionaries and rulers struggled against one another. In Libya, the arrest of human-rights activist Fathi Terbil sparked antigovernment protests, prompting 20,000 people to gather in the city of Benghazi. Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s security forces killed at least 200 of them, including many who were participating in funeral processions for protesters killed earlier in the week. Qaddafi??s son, Seif al-Islam Qaddafi, appeared on state television to warn Libyans that any escalation in the uprising would result in civil war. “I’m not afraid to die,” Terbil said. “I’m afraid to lose the battle.”CSMCNNGuardianNYTShortly after the speaker of Iran’s parliament called events in Egypt an “alarm bell for despotic leaders,” the Iranian government banned rallies, placed opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi under house arrest, and deployed 30,000 Basij to Tehran. The Basij killed one demonstrator who turned up despite the ban.CNNWSJHaaretzDaily TimesYemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh blamed protests in his country (the region’s poorest) on a “foreign agenda” and “a conspiracy against Yemen.”ReutersFTSix people died in Bahrain before protesters gained control of Pearl Square. Saudi Arabian leadership said that if the Bahraini conflict was not resolved soon it would offer “all its capabilities” to the Bahraini royal family.CSMWPTens of thousands of Moroccans organized via social-networking sites to call for constitutional reform, and an Egyptian man named his firstborn daughter “Facebook.”BBCHaaretz

Fourteen Democratic Wisconsin state senators fled Wisconsin in order to prevent a vote on a bill that would eliminate collective-bargaining rights for most government workers. In response, the Tea Party organized an anti-union rally. “We see this as the opening salvo of the 2012 election season,” said rally organizer Drew Ryun. “And we like the odds.”Chicago TribuneMSNBCLATThe House voted to cut funding Planned Parenthood, and, after much discussion, South Dakota legislators tabled a bill that would label a homicide justifiable if committed in defense of an unborn child.WPNYTIn his first for-publication interview since his arrest, Bernie Madoff revealed that numerous banks and hedge funds were complicit in his Ponzi scheme. “The attitude was sort of, ‘If you’re doing something wrong, we don’t want to know,'” Madoff said.NYTHasbro unveiled the next version of Monopoly, in which player negotiations, banknotes, dice, and the rulebook have been replaced by a computer tower in the middle of the board. “If you’re not having to read as much,” said Hasbro executive Jane Ritson-Parsons, “you are all chatting more.”NYTBorders filed for bankruptcy.NYT

The Colombian navy seized a 100-foot submarine built to smuggle cocaine to Mexico, and two Alabama construction workers stole 48 pounds of marijuana while renovating the evidence vault of a local police station.BBCTimes DailyScientists determined that the use of ecstasy does not impair cognitive ability, that calorie indicators on fast-food menus do not affect minors’ selections, and that the solar system probably has nine planets after all.CBCABCExaminerA rare freeze in Mexico doubled the cost of U.S. tomatoes, and gorillas were found to lose weight after switching to a salad diet.WSJScience DailySheyla Hershey, whose fake breasts were the world??s largest before doctors had to remove the implants, attempted suicide the night before she was scheduled to have an operation to return her to a size KKK.SunWatson, an IBM-designed supercomputer, beat Ken Jennings on “Jeopardy.” “I for one welcome our new computer overlords,” Jennings wrote in his answer to Final Jeopardy.WSjThe Vatican cautioned against beatification-ceremony ticket scalpers, the Department of Homeland Security accidentally shut down 84,000 innocuous websites as part of a child-pornography sting, and the father of the 5 Browns, a quintet of classical pianists, pleaded guilty to the sodomy and sexual abuse of his three daughters.Vatican RadioTIMESalt Lake TribuneGawkerThe lawyer for a Connecticut man accused of sexually assaulting a horse complained that the case was overhyped. “If this was a guy and a sheep in Litchfield,” he said, “this would not have gotten nearly the media attention it has.”Greenwich Time

Share
Single Page

More from Justin Stone:

Weekly Review December 4, 2012, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review October 23, 2012, 12:25 pm

Weekly Review

Weekly Review September 10, 2012, 4:26 pm

Weekly Review

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

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

February 2020

Trumpism After Trump

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“My Gang Is Jesus”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Cancer Chair

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Birds

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Skinning Tree

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Interpretation of Dreams

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Dearest Lizzie

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Trumpism After Trump·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The city was not beautiful; no one made that claim for it. At the height of summer, people in suits, shellacked by the sun, moved like harassed insects to avoid the concentrated light. There was a civil war–like fracture in America—the president had said so—but little of it showed in the capital. Everyone was polite and smooth in their exchanges. The corridor between Dupont Circle and Georgetown was like the dream of Yugoslav planners: long blocks of uniform earth-toned buildings that made the classical edifices of the Hill seem the residue of ancestors straining for pedigree. Bunting, starched and perfectly ruffled in red-white-and-blue fans, hung everywhere—from air conditioners, from gutters, from statues of dead revolutionaries. Coming from Berlin, where the manual laborers are white, I felt as though I was entering the heart of a caste civilization. Untouchables in hard hats drilled into sidewalks, carried pylons, and ate lunch from metal boxes, while waiters in restaurants complimented old respectable bobbing heads on how well they were progressing with their rib eyes and iceberg wedges.

I had come to Washington to witness either the birth of an ideology or what may turn out to be the passing of a kidney stone through the Republican Party. There was a new movement afoot: National Conservatives, they called themselves, and they were gathering here, at the Ritz-Carlton, at 22nd Street and M. Disparate tribes had posted up for the potlatch: reformacons, blood-and-soilers, curious liberal nationalists, “Austrians,” repentant neocons, evangelical Christians, corporate raiders, cattle ranchers, Silicon Valley dissidents, Buckleyites, Straussians, Orthodox Jews, Catholics, Mormons, Tories, dark-web spiders, tradcons, Lone Conservatives, Fed-Socs, Young Republicans, Reaganites in amber. Most straddled more than one category.

Article
The Cancer Chair·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The second-worst thing about cancer chairs is that they are attached to televisions. Someone somewhere is always at war with silence. It’s impossible to read, so I answer email, or watch some cop drama on my computer, or, if it seems unavoidable, explore the lives of my nurses. A trip to Cozumel with old girlfriends, a costume party with political overtones, an advanced degree on the internet: they’re all the same, these lives, which is to say that the nurses tell me nothing, perhaps because amid the din and pain it’s impossible to say anything of substance, or perhaps because they know that nothing is precisely what we both expect. It’s the very currency of the place. Perhaps they are being excruciatingly candid.

There is a cancer camaraderie I’ve never felt. That I find inimical, in fact. Along with the official optimism that percolates out of pamphlets, the milestone celebrations that seem aimed at children, the lemonade people squeeze out of their tumors. My stoniness has not always served me well. Among the cancer staff, there is special affection for the jocular sufferer, the one who makes light of lousy bowel movements and extols the spiritual tonic of neuropathy. And why not? Spend your waking life in hell, and you too might cherish the soul who’d learned to praise the flames. I can’t do it. I’m not chipper by nature, and just hearing the word cancer makes me feel like I’m wearing a welder’s mask.

Article
“My Gang Is Jesus”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

When Demétrio Martins was ready to preach, he pushed a joystick that angled the seat of his wheelchair forward, slowly lifting him to a standing position. Restraints held his body upright. His atrophied right arm lay on an armrest, and with his left hand, he put a microphone to his lips. “Proverbs, chapter fourteen, verse twelve,” he said. “ ‘There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is . . .’ ”

The congregation finished: “ ‘Death.’ ”

The Assembly of God True Grapevine was little more than a fluorescent-lit room wedged between a bar and an empty lot in Jacaré, a poor neighborhood on Rio de Janeiro’s north side. A few dozen people sat in the rows of plastic lawn chairs that served as pews, while shuddering wall fans circulated hot air. The congregation was largely female; of the few men in attendance, most wore collared shirts and old leather shoes. Now and then, Martins veered from Portuguese into celestial tongues. People rose from their seats, thrust their hands into the air, and shouted, “Hallelujah!”

Article
The Birds·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On December 7, 2016, a drone departed from an Amazon warehouse in the United Kingdom, ascended to an altitude of four hundred feet, and flew to a nearby farm. There it glided down to the front lawn and released from its clutches a small box containing an Amazon streaming device and a bag of popcorn. This was the first successful flight of Prime Air, Amazon’s drone delivery program. If instituted as a regular service, it would slash the costs of “last-mile delivery,” the shortest and most expensive leg of a package’s journey from warehouse to doorstep. Drones don’t get into fender benders, don’t hit rush-hour traffic, and don’t need humans to accompany them, all of which, Amazon says, could enable it to offer thirty-minute delivery for up to 90 percent of domestic shipments while also reducing carbon emissions. After years of testing, Amazon wrote to the Federal Aviation Administration last summer to ask for permission to conduct limited commercial deliveries with its drones, attaching this diagram to show how the system would work. (Amazon insisted that we note that the diagram is not to scale.) Amazon is not the only company working toward such an automated future—­UPS, FedEx, Uber, and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, have similar programs—­but its plans offer the most detailed vision of what seems to be an impending reality, one in which parce­l-toting drones are a constant presence in the sky, doing much more than just delivering popcorn.

Article
The Skinning Tree·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Every year in Lusk, Wyoming, during the second week of July, locals gather to reenact a day in 1849 when members of a nearby band of Sioux are said to have skinned a white man alive. None of the actors are Native American. The white participants dress up like Indians and redden their skin with body paint made from iron ore.

The town prepares all year, and the performance, The Legend of Rawhide, has a cast and crew of hundreds, almost all local volunteers, including elementary school children. There are six generations of Rawhide actors in one family; three or four generations seems to be the average. The show is performed twice, on Friday and Saturday night.

The plot is based on an event that, as local legend has it, occurred fifteen miles south of Lusk, in Rawhide Buttes. It goes like this: Clyde Pickett is traveling with a wagon train to California. He tells the other Pioneers: “The only good Injun’s a dead Injun.” Clyde loves Kate Farley, and to impress her, he shoots the first Indian he sees, who happens to be an Indian Princess. The Indians approach the Pioneers and ask that the murderer give himself up. Clyde won’t admit he did it. The Indians attack the wagon train and, eventually, Clyde surrenders. The Indians tie Clyde to the Skinning Tree and flay him alive. Later, Kate retrieves her dead lover’s body and the wagon train continues west.

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.

A decorated veteran of the American wars in Vietnam and Iraq had his prosthetic limbs repossessed from his home in Mississippi when the VA declined to pay for them.

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