Weekly Review — August 13, 2012, 6:12 pm

Weekly Review

eye_350x382 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced that Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan would be his running mate. “Someone is in a backroom, fanning Biden and breaking out the smelling salts,” tweeted one Romney supporter. “Oh yes Team Obama. Sh*t just got real.”[1] A report suggested that 15 percent of Romney’s Twitter followers are fake accounts set up to boost numbers, and an analysis of media coverage about Ryan found that he was voted biggest gym rat by an anonymous poll of congressional staffers; that in 2005 he identified Ayn Rand as “the reason I got involved in public service,” but in 2012 said “I reject her philosophy . . . it is antithetical to my worldview”; and that he “sometimes” regrets giving up on his aspiration of becoming a professional skier.[2][3] President Obama called Romney “Romney Hood,” Romney said Obama was full of “Obamaloney,” and a Romney aide accused Obama of going lower than “a world-champion limbo dancer” after a Democratic super PAC released an ad in which a worker appears to blame his wife’s death on his having been laid off from a steel mill owned by the Romney-founded firm Bain Capital.[4] The 2012 Olympics closed in London with a celebration of 50 years of British music that included performances by George Michael, the Spice Girls, the Who, and rapper Tinie Tempah. “Has England ever been quite so foul with patriotism?” former Smiths frontman Morrissey said of the Games.[5][6][7][8] An English musicologist explained that many Britons don’t like “God Save the Queen” because it lacks a “climax where people feel compelled to join in,” and American hurdler Lolo Jones denied rumors that the Olympic village was overrun with trysting athletes. “I haven’t seen any hookups,” she said. “I guess we don’t have any sluts on the team.”[9][10] Marijuana named after Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt was being sold in California dispensaries, and U.S. tennis player Serena Williams was criticized for celebrating her gold medal with a “Crip Walk,” a dance that originated with a Los Angeles street gang. “It was just me,” said Williams. “I love to dance.”[11][12] Chinese gold medalists were found to sing the most and cry the least during medal ceremonies.[13]

Seventeen-year-old Austin Weirschke was crowned America’s fastest texter after standing blindfolded on a Times Square traffic island and texting a verse of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” in under 45 seconds.[14] Teenagers of average weight who think themselves fat were found more likely to become fat adults, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control showed that at least 20 percent of the adult population of every American state is obese, and a Hindu leader in New Jersey was ceremonially counterbalanced on a giant scale against his body weight in platinum.[15][16][17] July was found to have been the hottest month on record in the United States, and the first month since 2007 in which no attacks by Somali pirates were reported. “The return on investment is now just too low,” said piracy expert Stig Jarle Hansen. “Leaders are basically saying that they are getting out of piracy and going into other business, like kidnapping.”[18][19] Afghan security personnel opened fire on Western troops on five separate occasions in Afghanistan, killing at least seven Americans.[20][21] David Berkowitz, a.k.a. Son of Sam, who shot and killed six people and wounded seven others in 1976 and 1977, reflected on recent shooting sprees in Colorado and Wisconsin. “One day,” he said, “I hope that guns will lose their glamour.”[22] Florida homeowners’ associations began foreclosure proceedings against banks that have failed to pay maintenance fees on the properties they repossessed, an IRS watchdog agency identified a Florida address from which 741 tax returns worth more than $1 million in refunds were filed in 2011, and Shivpal Singh Yadav, a public-works minister in Uttar Pradesh, India, was caught on camera encouraging local officials to engage in limited graft. “If you work hard, and put your heart and soul into it,” said Yadav, “then you are allowed to steal some.”[23][24][25]

Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi dismissed the country’s two top-ranking generals and canceled a military decree limiting his powers.[26] A 70-year-old woman set herself on fire in Israel, making her at least the fourth Israeli to self-immolate since last month, and three Tibetans set themselves on fire in China’s Sichuan and Gansu provinces to protest Chinese rule.[27][28][29][30] A man was arrested in a Louisville, Kentucky, gas-station washroom for lighting the toilet seat on fire in what he claimed was a religious act, and a London man set his home on fire by microwaving his underwear.[31][32] Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish “modesty patrol” was selling stickers that blur the eyeglasses of men who might otherwise be tempted to look at women whose dress could be considered indecorous.[33] A three-year-old Malaysian girl was killed during an exorcism conducted by seven family members and their Indonesian maid.[34] In Delaware, pediatrician Melvin Morse, a researcher of near-death experiences in children, was arrested after allegedly waterboarding his daughter, and in Utah, a Lego wheel was discovered up the nose of six-year-old Isaak Lasson, whose chronic sinus problems had baffled doctors for three years. “I put some spaghetti up there,” said Lasson, “but that was a long time ago.”[35][36][37]

Share
Single Page
undefined

More from Sara Breselor:

Weekly Review April 14, 2015, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Michael Slager is charged with murder, Hillary Clinton declares her candidacy for president, and a Utah television personality gets probation for kicking a barn owl

Weekly Review January 20, 2015, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

The Pope says climate change is mostly man made, Al Qaeda claims responsibility for the attack on Charlie Hebdo, and residents of a town in Denmark agree to have sex more often

Weekly Review December 23, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

North Korea attacks the U.S. film industry, Pakistan reinstates the death penalty, and a Pennsylvania electrician stabs a Virgin Mary lawn ornament in the head

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
Pushing the Limit·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In the early Eighties, Andy King, the coach of the Seawolves, a swim club in Danville, California, instructed Debra Denithorne, aged twelve, to do doubles — to practice in the morning and the afternoon. King told Denithorne’s parents that he saw in her the potential to receive a college scholarship, and even to compete in the Olympics. Tall swimmers have an advantage in the water, and by the time Denithorne turned thirteen, she was five foot eight. She dropped soccer and a religious group to spend more time at the pool.

Illustration by Shonagh Rae
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

Amount American Airlines saved in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first class:

$40,000

A daddy longlegs preserved in amber 99 million years ago was found to have an erection.

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