Weekly Review — May 10, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

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

The wire master and his puppets, 1875.

President Barack Obama announced that the government would not release pictures of Osama bin Laden’s mutilated corpse, saying, “We don’t need to spike the football.”CBS NewsThe Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all photos and video shot during the raid on the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where bin Laden was hiding, and reporters discovered cabbage, potatoes, and marijuana growing around the property. National Press Photographers AssociationSarah Palin tweeted that President Obama was “pussy-footing around,” and the White House released footage found in the compound showing bin Laden watching himself on television, as well as propaganda-video outtakes. NY Daily NewsCBS NewsA Kuwaiti newspaper published a document purporting to be bin Ladenâ??s will, in which he apologized to his children for not spending enough time with them, commanded them not to join Al Qaeda, and ordered his four wives not to remarry. ABC NewsThe TelegraphBin Ladenâ??s twenty-nine-year-old widow told Pakistani investigators the two had not left their house in five years, and Native Americans criticized the U.S. military for giving bin Laden the code name Geronimo, after the Apache warrior whose fabled ability to walk without leaving footprints allowed him to evade capture. NY Daily NewsThe Dalai Lama suggested that the assassination was justified. “Forgiveness doesn’t mean forget what happened,” His Holiness said. “If something is serious and it is necessary to take counter-measures, you have to take counter-measures.” APLos Angeles TimesAfter researchers in Texas simulated schizophrenia in a computer, the machine spontaneously took responsibility for a terrorist bombing.Live Science

Earthquakes struck Mexico, Alaska, and Japan on the same day, and the United Nations estimated that by the year 2100 the world’s population would reach 10.1 billion.CNNA U.N. investigation determined that a cholera outbreak that killed more than 4,500 people in Haiti last year was caused in part by the improper disposal of fecal matter from U.N. peacekeepers. NY TimesWall Street JournalMemphis braced for its biggest flood in nearly a century, and an uninhabited Massachusetts house called 911 after water from a burst pipe short-circuited the phone system. Christian Science MonitorThe 50-million-year-old fossil of an ant the size of a hummingbird was discovered in Wyoming, and a 56-year-old Canadian woman was found alive after surviving in the Nevada wilderness for seven weeks on trail mix and snow. CBS NewsLive SciencePresident Obama visited the World Trade Center site and returned to Washington in time to host the Cinco de Mayo party at the White House, where he warned that “you do not want to be between Michelle and a tamale.” AP via Google NewsGawker

Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s forces scattered land mines in Misurata to disable evacuation and supply routes for the antigovernment forces holding that Libyan city; in Cairo twelve people died and nearly 200 were wounded during clashes between Muslims and Christians; and a local Palestinian won the Gaza strip’s first marathon, which ran the entire length of the territory. NY TimesThe worldâ??s most wanted Nazi war crimes suspect, ninety-seven-year-old Sandor Kepiro, went on trial in Hungary, and Minnesota state representative Matt Dean called the writer Neil Gaiman a “pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota,” referring to a fee Gaiman received for a speaking engagement last year, and later donated to charity. BBC NewsYahoo NewsBBC NewsAmid an ongoing power struggle between Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, several of the president’s close advisers were arrested and charged with sorcery and “connections with the unknown worlds.” NY TimesThe GuardianTwo imams en route to a North Carolina conference on anti-Muslim prejudice were removed from a commercial flight because their manner of dress was making the pilot uncomfortable, and programmers developed headsets that allow the game Angry Birds to be played using mind control. Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionBritish mountaineer Kenton Cool became the first person to use Twitter from the peak of Mount Everest. “Everest summit no 9!” tweeted Cool. “1st tweet from the top of the world thanks to a weak 3G signal & the awesome Samsung Galaxy S2 handset!”The WeekGizmodo

Share
Single Page

More from Margaret Cordi:

Weekly Review March 15, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review February 1, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review November 23, 2010, 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 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.

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.

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