Weekly Review — January 14, 2015, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Boko Haram raids 16 villages in Nigeria, a bomb is detonated outside an NAACP office in Colorado, and a Muslim cleric bans snowmen.

WeeklyReviewCrocAvitarTwo Muslim extremists in Paris shot and killed 12 people in an attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper that published cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad. French police killed the two suspects after the militants took hostages at a printing shop; a third man who claimed allegiance with them held up a kosher grocery store, killing four, before being shot by police.[1][2][3][4] Ten thousand French troops and 5,000 police officers were deployed throughout the country to protect “sensitive sites”; 1.5 million people protested in Paris; the anti-Islam group Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West held a rally attended by 25,000 people in Dresden, Germany; and Charlie Hebdo announced that it would print 3 million copies of its next issue, which will feature a cartoon of Muhammad crying below the words “all is forgiven.”[5][6][7] Hundreds of members of the extremist group Boko Haram, which killed 10,000 Nigerians in 2014, raided 16 villages, murdering as many as 2,000 people. “Dead bodies litter the bushes,” said a local government official.[8][9] In Nigeria, two young girls who were estimated to be 10 years old blew themselves up in a crowded market, killing at least four people, and a 10-year-old girl detonated a bomb she was wearing in another market, killing 20 people.[10][11] A suicide bomber killed 12 people near Baghdad when he drove a car filled with explosives into a group of Shiite militiamen and Iraqi soldiers; a police officer in Istanbul died after a suicide bomber walked into a police station and detonated explosives concealed under her coat. “It’s snowing,” said a tea seller who witnessed the attack, “So there was nothing suspicious about her big coat.”[12][13]

The FBI and Justice Department recommended that felony charges be brought against retired U.S. general David Petraeus for allegedly sharing classified documents with his former mistress.[14] FBI investigators were unable to definitively determine the motive of an attacker who detonated a bomb outside the NAACP office in Colorado Springs.[15] A 77-year-old man told a court he tried to blow up an antique grenade on a bus in Zhejiang, China, because he was upset with the driver for previously having failed to stop in the proper location.[16] A court in Cairo acquitted 26 men who were arrested at a bathhouse last month on charges of debauchery and “indecent public acts.”[17] Russia barred transgender people from getting driving licenses; Britain announced that, to improve diversity, its armed forces will begin asking recruits if they are gay.[18][19][20] Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he would not attend an event in Poland marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army.[21] Cuba freed 53 political prisoners at the United States’ behest; Cuban state media reported that Fidel Castro, who had not been heard from for three months, broke his silence by writing a four-page letter to soccer star Diego Maradona to discuss global oil consumption and quash rumors of his death.[22][23]

In India, at least 23 people died from consuming a batch of bootleg liquor; 69 people died in Mozambique after drinking homemade beer suspected to be contaminated with crocodile bile; and an analysis of a 700-year-old fecal sample revealed that a patron of Dante, who was also an Italian warlord, died from ingesting a poisonous “brew or foxglove decoction.”[24][25][26] Two nine-year-old students in Elba, New York, were suspended for plotting, with a third student, to poison their teacher by coating her personal belongings with hand sanitizer.[27] Researchers published a method for developing antibiotics from bacteria in dirt.[28] A man had a heart attack while parading a statue of Jesus down the street in Manila in anticipation of the arrival of Pope Francis.[29] Spike Lee announced that he would sell his latest film online, ahead of its theatrical release. “I’m hyped,” said Lee, “to get my new joint, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, out to the world.”[30] The former highest-ranking U.S. cardinal blamed “radical feminists” for the Catholic Church’s pervasive child molestation. “The Church,” he said, “has largely ignored the serious needs of men.”[31] In Saudi Arabia, a Muslim cleric issued a ruling that forbids Sunnis from building snowmen. “It is imitating the infidels,” one supporter said. “It promotes lustiness and eroticism.”[32]

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

Share
Single Page

Get access to 167 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

May 2018

Driven to Distraction

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Dinner Party

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Exiled

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Church and State

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Seven Years of Identity Theft

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Drinking Problems

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Exiled·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

It has become something of a commonplace to say that Mike Pence belongs to another era. He is a politician whom the New York Times has called a “throwback,” a “conservative proudly out of sync with his times,” and a “dangerous anachronism,” a man whose social policies and outspoken Christian faith are so redolent of the previous century’s culture wars that he appeared to have no future until, in the words of one journalist, he was plucked “off the political garbage heap” by Donald Trump and given new life. Pence’s rise to the vice presidency was not merely a personal advancement; it marked the return of religion and ideology to American politics at a time when the titles of political analyses were proclaiming the Twilight of Social Conservatism (2015) and the End of White Christian America (2016). It revealed the furious persistence of the religious right, an entity whose final demise was for so long considered imminent that even as white evangelicals came out in droves to support the Trump-Pence ticket, their enthusiasm was dismissed, in the Washington Post, as the movement’s “last spastic breath.”

Illustration by Andrew Zbihlyj
Article
Church and State·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Just after dawn in Lhamo, a small town on the northeastern corner of the Tibetan Plateau, horns summon the monks of Serti Monastery to prayer. Juniper incense smolders in the temple’s courtyard as monks begin arriving in huddled groups. Some walk the kora, a clockwise circumambulation around the building. Others hustle toward the main door, which sits just inside a porch decorated in bright thangka paintings. A pile of fur boots accumulates outside. When the last monks have arrived, the horn blowers leaning out of the second-floor windows retire indoors.

When I visited Lhamo in 2015, most monks at Serti attended the morning prayers, but not Ngawang Chötar, the vice president of the monastery’s management committee, or siguanhui. Instead, he could usually be found doing business somewhere on Lhamo’s main street. Like all Tibetan monks, he sports a buzz cut, and his gait, weighed down by dark crimson robes, resembles a penguin’s shuffle. When he forgets the password to his account on WeChat, China’s popular messaging service—a frequent occurrence—he waits for the town’s cell phone repairman at his favorite restaurant, piling the shells of sunflower seeds into a tidy mound.

Illustration by Simon Pemberton
Article
The Pictures·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

As he approached his death in 1987, the photographer Peter Hujar was all but unknown, with a murky reputation and a tiny, if elite, cult following. Slowly circling down what was then the hopeless spiral of ­AIDS, Peter had ceaselessly debated one decision, which he reached only with difficulty, and only when the end drew near. He was in a hospital bed when he made his will that summer, naming me the executor of his entire artistic estate—and also its sole owner.

The move transformed my life and induced a seething fury in lots of decent people. I can see why. Peter did not make me his heir for any of the usual reasons. I was a good and trusted friend, but he had scads of those. I was not the first person he considered for the job, nor was I the most qualified. In fact, I was a rank amateur, and my understanding of his art was limited. I knew his photographs were stunning, often upsetting, unpredictably beautiful, distinctively his. I also knew they were under­rated and neglected. But I did not then really grasp his achievement.

Photograph by Peter Hujar
Article
Drinking Problems·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The friendly waitress at the Pretty Prairie Steak House delivers tumblers of tap water as soon as diners take their seats. Across Main Street, the Wagon Wheel Café offers the same courtesy. Customers may also order coffee or iced tea, but it all starts at the same tap, and everyone is fine with that. This blasé attitude about drinking water surprised me: everyone in this little farm town in Reno County, Kansas, knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that the liquid flowing from the municipal water tower was highly contaminated with nitrate, a chemical compound derived from fertilizer and connected to thyroid problems and various cancers. At the time I visited Pretty Prairie, last fall, nitrate levels there were more than double the federal standard for safe drinking water.

Illustration by Jen Renninger.
Article
Nothing But·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The truth—that thing I thought I was telling.—John Ashbery To start with the facts: the chapter in my book White Sands called “Pilgrimage” is about a visit to the house where the philosopher Theodor Adorno lived in Los Angeles during the Second World War. It takes its title from the story of that name by Susan Sontag (recently republished in Debriefing: Collected Stories) about a visit she and her friend Merrill made to the house of Adorno’s fellow German exile Thomas Mann in the Pacific Palisades, in 1947, when she was fourteen. It seemed strange that the story was originally …
Photograph by Augusta Wood

Percentage of US college students who have a better opinion of conservatives after their first year:

50

Plastic surgeons warned that people misled by wide-angle distortion in selfies were seeking nose jobs.

Trump fires missiles at Syria, a former FBI director likens Trump to a Mafia boss, and New Yorkers mistake a racoon for a tiger.

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