Weekly Review — November 1, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Small Family, May 1874]

A Small Family.

A Taliban suicide bomber rammed a Toyota Corolla loaded with an estimated 1,500 pounds of explosives into an armored bus in Kabul, killing 17 people; the Taliban killed three civilians and a policeman in a suicide attack then seized an animal clinic in Kandahar; and Abdisalan Hussein Ali, 22, a former pre-med student at the University of Minnesota, blew himself up in a suicide attack on African Union troops in Mogadishu. “Don’t just sit around, you know,” said Ali in an audio suicide note that was posted online, “and be, you know, a couch potato and just like, just chill all day.”GuardianGuardianNew York TimesNew York TimesThe International Criminal Court tried unsuccessfully to negotiate the surrender of Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, the son of Muammar Qaddafi and onetime heir apparent to the Libyan presidency, while the Australian bodyguard of Muammar Qaddafi’s third son, Saadi, revealed that Saadi was smuggled out of Tripoli and into Niger in September.ReutersNew York TimesDigital JournalTelegraphNATO withdrew from Libya after a seven-month bombing campaign, and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad warned the West against a similar intervention in his country. “Do you want to see another Afghanistan,” he asked, “or tens of Afghanistans?”USA TodayTelegraphABC NewsThe Statue of Liberty turned 125, the world’s population reached 7 billion, and a highway in Utah was closed after a flatbed truck overturned and released 20 million bees.New York PostHuffington PostReuters

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra thanked residents of areas north of Bangkok for their sacrifice after water from Thailand’s worst flooding in at least fifty years was diverted away from the capital and into their regions. “I am just hoping this flood wall will break,” said Seksan Sonsak, a factory worker whose house was inundated. “I understand that you want to save the majority, but no one seems to think of us, the minority.”New York TimesProtesters with the “Occupy” movement were arrested in cities including Austin, Denver, Nashville, Richmond, and Oakland, where a 24-year-old Iraq War veteran named Scott Olsen was briefly listed in critical condition after police struck him in the head with a projectile. SalonGuardianBillionaire investor George Soros criticized a new deal signed by European leaders to prevent Greece from defaulting, saying the pact’s 50 percent writedown on privately held bonds was a “haircut” that would reduce Greek debt by only 20 percent.ekathimerini.comArguing for his $447 billion jobs bill, President Barack Obama cited a new Congressional Budget Office report stating that the average after-tax income of the top 1 percent of U.S. households had increased by 275 percent over the past three decades, compared with only 18 percent for those in the bottom quintile.AP via CBS NewsCongressional Budget OfficeNew York mayor Michael Bloomberg dismissed calls for a ban on the city’s carriage-horse industry. “Most of the horses probably wouldn’t be alive,” he said, “if they didn’t have a job.”CBS New York

Snow fell on Central Park in October for only the fourth time on record. The storm killed at least 11 people elsewhere in the eastern United States, and left more than 3 million homes and businesses without power.Daily MailGuardianA NASA sting operation at a Denny’s restaurant in California led to the arrest of a 73-year-old grandmother and the recovery of a moon-rock fragment smaller than a grain of rice.AP via Christian Science MonitorA Brooklyn man who made $410,000 brokering three illegal kidney transplants became the first person convicted under a federal statute outlawing black-market organ sales, and inquest papers containing information about the death of singer Amy Winehouse, which was ruled to be the result of “misadventure,” were sent to the wrong address.Thomson ReutersGlobal PostGlobal PostAn eight-month-old baby was found alive in a drawer beneath the wreckage of a building destroyed three days earlier by an earthquake eastern Turkey; a buoyant diaper was credited with saving the life of a Florida toddler after her parents drove into a lake while fighting; and a British mathematician determined that the Zari is the best bobbing apple by using the equation “D = 3 (2 + T^2) M (10 T)”, where D is diameter, T is typical apple texture, and M is average mouth size.MirrorDaily MailFort Lauderdale Sun-SentinelTelegraphMaria Topp of Wrekenton, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England, pleaded guilty to biting off her boyfriend’s testicles during a drunken brawl. “Until today the defense’s contention was it was caused by her hands,” said the presiding judge. “It is an aggravating feature she used her teeth.”BBCDaily Mail

Share
Single Page

More from Emily Stokes:

Conversation October 24, 2013, 8:00 am

Darling: A Conversation with Richard Rodriguez

Richard Rodriguez on the essay as biography of an idea, the relationship between gay men’s liberation and women’s liberation, and the writerly impulse to give away secrets

Six Questions October 7, 2013, 8:00 am

The Pure Gold Baby

Dame Margaret Drabble on the essayistic voice in fiction and North London anthropology

Weekly Review April 2, 2012, 5:47 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