Weekly Review — September 17, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

A(nother) mass shooting in the United States, a deal on Syria’s chemical weapons, and notes on Arkansan squirrel cuisine

ALL IN MY EYE.At the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., 34-year-old Aaron Alexis killed at least 12 people before being killed by a police officer. Alexis was carrying a shotgun and two pistols.[*] “It’s hard,” said a law-enforcement official, “to carry that many guns.” Navy commander Tim Jirus reported hiding in an alley with another man, who was shot in the head while the two conversed. “I was just lucky,” said Jirus. “The other person was shorter than me.”[1][2][3] United Nations weapons inspectors submitted a report confirming that they had found “clear and convincing evidence” that the nerve gas sarin was deployed on August 21 near Damascus, an attack Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called “the worst use of weapons of mass destruction in the twenty-first century.”[4][5][6][7] The Syrian government formally acceded to the international convention banning chemical weapons, and U.S. secretary of state John Kerry and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov secured an agreement under which Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons will be inventoried, seized, and removed or destroyed by mid-2014. “In part because of the credible threat of U.S. military force, we now have the opportunity to achieve our objectives through diplomacy,” said President Barack Obama. “We agreed to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international supervision in response to Russia’s request, and not because of American threats,” said Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Kerry insisted he “purposely” made the statement, which was widely reported as a gaffe, that Assad could voluntarily give up his country’s chemical weapons in order to avoid airstrikes. “I did indeed say it wasn’t possible and he won’t do it, even as I hoped it would be possible and wanted him to do it,” Kerry said. “The language of diplomacy sometimes requires that you put things to the test.”[8][9][10][11] News about the singer Miley Cyrus’s performance at the MTV Video Music Awards was found to have been 12 times more widely read in the United States than news about Syria, and the FCC was reported to have received 150 complaints about Cyrus. “Where,” asked one complainant, “has censorship gone?” “I was subjugated,” wrote another, “to four minutes of Miley Cyrus.”[12][13]

[*] An earlier version of the Weekly Review stated that Aaron Alexis was carrying an AR-15 rifle. News reports to this effect turned out to have been incorrect.

On the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, the fire department at Boston’s Logan International Airport held a training exercise that included roaring flames and heavy smoke on the airfield.[14] In Colorado, where severe flooding has killed seven people, left more than a thousand stranded, and damaged nearly 19,000 homes, special-education teacher Brian Shultz said he regretted evacuating his house. “I could have lasted at least a year,” he said, adding that he probably had enough beer to cover the entire time.[15] A feral pig in the Australian town of Port Hedland drank 18 beers and passed out under a tree, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents announced plans to distribute cupboard latches in order to prevent Scottish children from eating laundry-detergent gel capsules, and police in York, Pennsylvania, determined that the crash of a minivan driven by Dimples the Clown was not caused by oversize footwear.[16][17][18] American balloonist Jonathan Trappe, who was trying to cross the Atlantic Ocean borne by hundreds of helium-filled balloons, landed prematurely in Newfoundland. “This doesn’t look like France,” he said.[19] NASA confirmed that its Voyager 1 probe had entered interstellar space, that it would send romaine-lettuce plants to the International Space Station, and that a photograph of a frog being launched alongside its LADEE spacecraft at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia was authentic. “The condition of the frog,” the agency said in a statement, “is uncertain.”[20][21][22] A man suspected of masturbating outside a Glendale, California, Seventh Day Adventist church during services was arrested after being found asleep with his hand in his pants.[23] Eviction proceedings continued in London against God’s Own Junkyard.[24]

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

Thousands of fish suffocated following a molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor, and Titan Salvage began righting the shipwrecked Costa Concordia cruise liner in Giglio, Italy, the largest parbuckling attempt in history.[25][26] Israeli police arrested a self-proclaimed sorcerer from the Golan Heights for manipulating a woman into having sex with him as part of “magical treatments” to help her recover from a breakup, and Dayton, Ohio, performer Nathaniel J. Smith, who also goes by Brave Nate, Hustle Simmons, and FlexLuthor, was arrested for failing to appear at a child-support hearing for one of the 27 children he has fathered by 17 women.[27][28] In Milton, West Virginia, two men, dressed as Batman and Captain America, rescued a cat from a house fire, after which Batman administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.[29] The Asahikawa prison in Japan introduced Katakkuri-chan, a six-foot-six-inch humanoid mascot dressed as a prison warden with an enormous purple flower for hair.[30] A 58-year-old Uruguayan man who disappeared four months ago in the remote Andes was found to have survived the winter by eating raisins and rats, and the Wall Street Journal praised the squirrel with cashews and spring rolls and the Caribbean jerk squirrel with fried plantains served at the second annual World Championship Squirrel Cook Off in Bentonville, Arkansas. “We’ve been trying,” said a publicist for the Bentonville Convention and Visitors Bureau, “to polish our image.”[31][32]


Sign up and get the Weekly Review delivered to your inbox every Tuesday morning.

Share
Single Page

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

December 2017

Document of Barbarism

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Destroyer of Worlds

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Crossing Guards

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I am Here Only for Working”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Dear Rose

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Year of The Frog

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Destroyer of Worlds·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In February 1947, Harper’s Magazine published Henry L. Stimson’s “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb.” As secretary of war, Stimson had served as the chief military adviser to President Truman, and recommended the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The terms of his unrepentant apologia, an excerpt of which appears on page 35, are now familiar to us: the risk of a dud made a demonstration too risky; the human cost of a land invasion would be too high; nothing short of the bomb’s awesome lethality would compel Japan to surrender. The bomb was the only option. Seventy years later, we find his reasoning unconvincing. Entirely aside from the destruction of the blasts themselves, the decision thrust the world irrevocably into a high-stakes arms race — in which, as Stimson took care to warn, the technology would proliferate, evolve, and quite possibly lead to the end of modern civilization. The first half of that forecast has long since come to pass, and the second feels as plausible as ever. Increasingly, the atmosphere seems to reflect the anxious days of the Cold War, albeit with more juvenile insults and more colorful threats. Terms once consigned to the history books — “madman theory,” “brinkmanship” — have returned to the news cycle with frightening regularity. In the pages that follow, seven writers and experts survey the current nuclear landscape. Our hope is to call attention to the bomb’s ever-present menace and point our way toward a world in which it finally ceases to exist.

Illustration by Darrel Rees. Source photographs: Kim Jong-un © ITAR-TASS Photo Agency/Alamy Stock Photo; Donald Trump © Yuri Gripas/Reuters/Newscom
Article
Crossing Guards·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Ambassador Bridge arcs over the Detroit River, connecting Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, the southernmost city in Canada. Driving in from the Canadian side, where I grew up, is like viewing a panorama of the Motor City’s rise and fall, visible on either side of the bridge’s turquoise steel stanchions. On the right are the tubular glass towers of the Renaissance Center, headquarters of General Motors, and Michigan Central Station, the rail terminal that closed in 1988. On the left is a rusted industrial corridor — fuel tanks, docks, abandoned warehouses. I have taken this route all my life, but one morning this spring, I crossed for the first time in a truck.

Illustration by Richard Mia
Article
“I am Here Only for Working”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

But the exercise of labor is the worker’s own life-activity, the manifestation of his own life. . . . He works in order to live. He does not even reckon labor as part of his life, it is rather a sacrifice of his life.

— Karl Marx

Photograph from the United Arab Emirates by the author. This page: Ruwais Mall
Article
The Year of The Frog·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

To look at him, Sweet Macho was a beautiful horse, lean and strong with muscles that twitched beneath his shining black coat. A former racehorse, he carried himself with ceremony, prancing the field behind our house as though it were the winner’s circle. When he approached us that day at the edge of the yard, his eyes shone with what might’ve looked like intelligence but was actually a form of insanity. Not that there was any telling our mother’s boyfriend this — he fancied himself a cowboy.

“Horse 1,” by Nine Francois. Courtesy the artist and AgavePrint, Austin, Texas
Article
Dead Ball Situation·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

What We Think About When We Think About Soccer, by Simon Critchley. Penguin Books. 224 pages. $20.

Begin, as Wallace Stevens didn’t quite say, with the idea of it. I so like the idea of Simon Critchley, whose books offer philosophical takes on a variety of subjects: Stevens, David Bowie, suicide, humor, and now football — or soccer, as the US edition has it. (As a matter of principle I shall refer to this sport throughout as football.) “All of us are mysteriously affected by our names,” decides one of Milan Kundera’s characters in Immortality, and I like Critchley because his name would seem to have put him at a vocational disadvantage compared with Martin Heidegger, Søren Kierkegaard, or even, in the Anglophone world, A. J. Ayer or Richard Rorty. (How different philosophy might look today if someone called Nobby Stiles had been appointed as the Wykeham Professor of Logic.)

Tostão, No. 9, and Pelé, No. 10, celebrate Carlos Alberto’s final goal for Brazil in the World Cup final against Italy on June 21, 1970, Mexico City © Heidtmann/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Factor by which single Americans who use emoji are more likely than other single Americans to be sexually active:

1.85

Brontosaurus was restored as a genus, and cannibalism was reported in tyrannosaurine dinosaurs.

Moore said he did not “generally” date teenage girls, and it was reported that in the 1970s Moore had been banned from his local mall and YMCA for bothering teenage girls.

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