Weekly Review — July 9, 2012, 5:07 pm

Weekly Review

humbug_350x387
Jorge Rafael Videla and Reynaldo Bignone, leaders of the military junta that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983, were found guilty of ordering the abductions of dozens of children born to leftist mothers imprisoned in the regime’s clandestine torture centers. Testifying in his own defense, Videla had called the mothers, many of whom were later dropped from airplanes into the Atlantic, “active militants in the machinery of terrorism.” Crowds outside the courthouse in Buenos Aires cheered the verdicts. “My life started all wrong,” said Alejandro Sandoval, one of the estimated 500 children stolen during the Dirty War. “But today there are reasons to celebrate.”[1][2][3] Islamist militants attacked a mosque in Timbuktu, destroying a door that had been prophesied to remain closed until the apocalypse, and a meeting in Cairo of groups opposed to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad devolved into weeping and fistfights after a Kurdish delegation stormed out. “They are so different, chaotic, and hate each other,” said an Arab League official of the opposition.[4][5][6] Human Rights Watch released Torture Archipelago, a report detailing abuses by the Syrian regime and including a description of one torture method known as the “flying carpet.” Assad reaffirmed his commitment to peace. “The United States is against me, the West is against me,” he said, “so how could I stay in this position? The answer is I still have public support.”[7][8][9] One in eight Americans disagreed with the premise set forth in the Declaration of Independence that a government derives its legitimacy from the people.[10]

Physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced the discovery of what is thought to be the Higgs boson, an elementary particle that endows other particles with mass. “It is very much a smoking duck that walks and quacks like the Higgs,” said one physicist. “It’s the Higgs,” said another. “Nobel prizes all round.” Vincent Connare, the designer of Comic Sans, announced his support for a petition to rename the typeface Comic Cerns, after one of CERN’s presenters used it in her slideshow.[11][12][13] A Swiss laboratory found traces of polonium-210 on clothing worn by Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat shortly before his death, prompting Arafat’s widow to demand that his body be exhumed and autopsied. An adviser to former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon insisted that Arafat could not have been poisoned by government operatives, because Sharon “didn’t think his physical liquidation would help.”[14][15] The first Miss Holocaust Survivor began her reign in Israel.[16][17] Several thousand men set out on a 68-mile march through the hills of eastern Bosnia to commemorate their escape from the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.[18] U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton announced that Afghanistan would be granted the status of special ally of the United States. Afghan president Hamid Karzai marked the occasion by quoting a Persian proverb: “When a friend is alive, they will meet again.”[19] A Fourth of July fireworks spectacle in Narrowsburg, New York, was canceled out of concern that the town would incur fines if it disturbed bald eagles nesting nearby. “It’s real ironic that we’re celebrating our independence, but you can’t be independent with our celebration,” said a volunteer fireman.[20] Barack Obama, campaigning in Ohio, paused for a Budweiser, and Mitt Romney, vacationing in New Hampshire, paused for a lemonade. “I’m feeling good, feeling steady,” said Obama. “Lemon,” said Romney. “Wet.”[21][22]

Happy hour came back to Kansas.[23] Physicists photographed the shadow cast by a lone ytterbium atom, biologists found that shrews shiver to warm themselves before undertaking cold-water dives, and ecologists observed male mourning cuttlefish courting and cross-dressing simultaneously.[24][25][26] A woman was suing Iceland’s interior ministry because its Name Committee ruled she could not name her daughter Blær, a masculine noun meaning “tint.”[27] Rufus, an American Harris hawk responsible for chasing pigeons from the Wimbledon tennis championships, was stolen from a parked car.[28] Groundskeepers at Wimbledon, where grass coverage on some courts’ baselines had dropped as low as 10 percent, were using high-powered Billy Goats to vacuum up debris, and officials in Washington’s Olympic National Forest were urging hikers not to urinate on trails because the resulting salt slicks attract aggressive mountain goats. “We’re second only to Alaska,” said a wildlife manager, “in terms of how many goats we have.”[29][30] Researchers found that 8 percent of American teens suffer from intermittent explosive disorder (IED), a psychological condition characterized by unpredictable paroxysms of rage, and that a bioluminescent bacterium dwelling symbiotically in the guts of microscopic worms possesses a DNA “madswitch” that causes it to produce insecticidal toxins.[31][32] The Pentagon’s inspector general recommended that Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, be disciplined for verbally abusing his subordinates. “If I could get my hands through the phone right now,” O’Reilly reportedly said during a staff teleconference, “I’d choke your fucking throat.”[33] Duncan Brannan, who voiced Chuck E. Cheese for 19 years, was replaced as part of a brand makeover by the lead singer of the pop-punk band Bowling for Soup. “I hope,” wrote Brannan in a letter to fans, “that you have seen Christ in me.”[34][35]

Share
Single Page
undefined

More from Anthony Lydgate:

From the July 2014 issue

Vulgar Materialism

Weekly Review April 8, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Afghanistan votes, the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of wealthy political donors, and China standardizes its pets 

Weekly Review February 25, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Upheaval in Ukraine, yobbery in the United Kingdom, and a historic douche in the United States

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.

Minimum number of shooting incidents in the United States in the past year in which the shooter was a dog:

2

40,800,000,000 pounds of total adult human biomass is due to excessive fatness.

Trump’s former chief strategist, whom Trump said had “lost his mind,” issued a statement saying that Trump’s son did not commit treason; the US ambassador to the United Nations announced that “no one questions” Trump’s mental stability; and the director of the CIA said that Trump, who requested “killer graphics” in his intelligence briefings, is able to read.

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