Weekly Review — February 23, 2016, 11:42 am

Weekly Review

A cyclone makes landfall in Fiji, three people protest Beyoncé’s Super Bowl halftime show, and a knife-wielding monkey chases patrons around a bar

HarpersWeb-WeeklyReview-Popkey-bigCyclone Winston, the second most powerful storm ever recorded in the South Pacific, made landfall in Fiji with 40-foot waves and 200-mile-per-hour winds, killing at least 29 people and leaving about 80 percent of the island nation’s 900,000 residents without regular electricity.[1] American airstrikes on an Islamic State camp in Libya killed at least 40 people, including two Serbian hostages.[2] In Syria, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a series of bomb blasts in the cities of Homs and Damascus that killed at least 140; and Syrian antigovernment forces accused Russia of carrying out bombings of four hospitals that killed at least 50.[3][4] French judges placed former president Nicolas Sarkozy under investigation over allegations that he spent more than the legally permissible 22.5 million euros during his failed 2012 run for reelection, and former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert began serving a 19-month prison term for bribery and obstruction of justice.[5][6] In Clausnitz, in the German state of Saxony, 100 protesters surrounded a bus filled with refugees and chanted “go home”; in Bautzen, also in Saxony, onlookers cheered when a fire broke out in a building that was slated to house 300 migrants; and in Maine, Governor Paul LePage suggested that asylum seekers were his state’s biggest problem because they carried diseases.[7][8][9] “You get hepatitis C, tuberculosis, AIDS, H.I.V.,” he said, “the ziki fly.”[10]

The European Union and British prime minister David Cameron agreed that the United Kingdom would be exempt from the obligation to pursue an “ever closer union,” and Cameron set June 23 as the date for a referendum on whether his country would exit the union.[11] “This is the moment to be brave,” wrote London mayor Boris Johnson in a newspaper column supporting the exit, “not to hug the skirts of Nurse in Brussels.”[12] During a campaign event at a golf course in South Carolina, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump called Pope Francis “disgraceful” for suggesting that Trump is not Christian because he wants to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. “Amazing comments from the pope,” tweeted a senior advisor to Trump, “considering Vatican City is 100% surrounded by massive walls.”[13][14] In Chicago, an investigation revealed that of the 51 homes tested for lead water contamination by the city’s Water Management Department, residents of at least two dozen were currently employed by the agency.[15] In Crystal City, Texas, officials advised residents to boil their water before drinking it after renovations to the municipal water tank caused sediment to leak into distribution lines, making tap water in some homes run black. “We are currently going through administrative challenges that minimize our coordination,” the city, whose mayor, city manager, and mayor pro tempore were arrested by the FBI on bribery and gambling charges, posted on its Facebook page.[16][17][18]

Three people gathered outside the National Football League’s headquarters in New York to protest Beyoncé’s Super Bowl halftime show, and a Tennessee sheriff who heard gunshots outside his home suggested that Beyoncé’s “Formation” music video might have inspired the perpetrator.[19][20] In Ohio, a Christian radio host was arrested for slapping a woman’s buttocks as she exited a restroom; in Minnesota, a man was taken into custody after he threatened his girlfriend with a gun because she was nursing their infant instead of paying attention to him; and the lawyer of former New York governor Eliot Spitzer announced that a 26-year-old woman who had earlier accused Spitzer of choking her had apologized by email for fabricating her account in order to avoid hospitalization for a suicide attempt.[21][22][23] In Utah, a Mormon youth-group leader found the decapitated head of a snake inside a can of green beans, and in Brazil a capuchin monkey was captured by a local fire department after video emerged in which it drinks alcohol from glasses around a bar and then chases patrons with a foot-long knife.[24][25] In New Jersey, a mail carrier called his postmaster for help after several wild turkeys trapped him in his truck. “I got a carrier that’s being attacked by wild turkeys,” said the postmaster in a 911 call, “and won’t let him deliver the mail.”[26] North Korea’s state-run newspaper unveiled 375 new party slogans in advance of May’s Workers’ Party congress including, “Make the whole country seethe with a high-pitched campaign for producing greenhouse vegetables!”[27] Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paid a ransom in bitcoins equivalent to about $17,000 after hackers disabled its computer network, and in Florida, 18-year-old Malachi A. Love-Robinson was accused, for the third time since 2015, of impersonating a doctor. “I do currently hold a Ph.D.,” said Love-Robinson, “in what, I don’t feel comfortable disclosing because that is not the issue here.”[28][29]

Read the Weekly Review in the Harper’s Magazine app, or sign up to have it delivered to your inbox every Tuesday.

Share
Single Page

More from Miranda Popkey:

From the December 2018 issue

Butt Ends and Cast-Off Bits

Mary Robison’s fiction of the superfluous

Weekly Review March 29, 2016, 1:31 pm

Weekly Review

A suicide bomber kills at least 72 in Pakistan, Microsoft’s chatbot endorses genocide, and a cat is accidentally mailed across England 

Weekly Review November 17, 2015, 11:04 am

Weekly Review

The Islamic State carries out two suicide bombings in Beirut, U.S. officials say they are reasonably sure they’ve killed Jihadi John, and an eight-year-old boy is accused of killing a one-year-old girl

Get access to 169 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2019

Body Language

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Trash, Rock, Destroy

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Make Way for Tomorrow

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Red Dot

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Gimme Shelter

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Gimme Shelter·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I.

That year, the year of the Ghost Ship fire, I lived in a shack. I’d found the place just as September’s Indian summer was giving way to a wet October. There was no plumbing or running water to wash my hands or brush my teeth before sleep. Electricity came from an extension cord that snaked through a yard of coyote mint and monkey flower and up into a hole I’d drilled in my floorboards. The structure was smaller than a cell at San Quentin—a tiny house or a huge coffin, depending on how you looked at it—four by eight and ten feet tall, so cramped it fit little but a mattress, my suit jackets and ties, a space heater, some novels, and the mason jar I peed in.

The exterior of my hermitage was washed the color of runny egg yolk. Two redwood French doors with plexiglass windows hung cockeyed from creaky hinges at the entrance, and a combination lock provided meager security against intruders. White beadboard capped the roof, its brim shading a front porch set on cinder blocks.

After living on the East Coast for eight years, I’d recently left New York City to take a job at an investigative reporting magazine in San Francisco. If it seems odd that I was a fully employed editor who lived in a thirty-two-square-foot shack, that’s precisely the point: my situation was evidence of how distorted the Bay Area housing market had become, the brutality inflicted upon the poor now trickling up to everyone but the super-rich. The problem was nationwide, although, as Californians tend to do, they’d taken this trend to an extreme. Across the state, a quarter of all apartment dwellers spent half of their incomes on rent. Nearly half of the country’s unsheltered homeless population lived in California, even while the state had the highest concentration of billionaires in the nation. In the Bay Area, including West Oakland, where my shack was located, the crisis was most acute. Tent cities had sprung up along the sidewalks, swarming with capitalism’s refugees. Telegraph, Mission, Market, Grant: every bridge and overpass had become someone’s roof.

Post
Perhaps the World Ends Here·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Climate disaster at Wounded Knee

Article
Body Language·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I am eight years old, sitting in my childhood kitchen, ready to watch one of the home videos my father has made. The videotape still exists somewhere, so somewhere she still is, that girl on the screen: hair that tangles, freckles across her nose that in time will spread across one side of her forehead. A body that can throw a baseball the way her father has shown her. A body in which bones and hormones lie in wait, ready to bloom into the wide hips her mother has given her. A body that has scars: the scars over her lungs and heart from the scalpel that saved her when she was a baby, the invisible scars left by a man who touched her when she was young. A body is a record or a body is freedom or a body is a battleground. Already, at eight, she knows it to be all three.

But somebody has slipped. The school is putting on the musical South Pacific, and there are not enough roles for the girls, and she is as tall as or taller than the boys, and so they have done what is unthinkable in this striving 1980s town, in this place where the men do the driving and the women make their mouths into perfect Os to apply lipstick in the rearview. For the musical, they have made her a boy.

No, she thinks. They have allowed her to be a boy.

Article
Trash, Rock, Destroy·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The writer and filmmaker Virginie Despentes lives in a nondescript modern building in the Belleville neighborhood of Paris. I know it well: it has a Bricorama—like a French Home Depot—on the ground floor, where we sometimes had cause to shop back when we lived in the neighborhood. The people who work there seemed to hate their jobs more than most; they were often absent from the sales floor. In the elevator to Despentes’s apartment, I marvel that while I was trying to get someone to help me find bathroom grout she was right upstairs, with her partner, Tania, a Spanish tattoo artist who goes by the name La Rata, like someone out of one of Despentes’s novels.

In an email before our meeting, Despentes asked that we not do a photo shoot. “There are so many images available already,” she explained. Much had been written about her, too. A Google search yielded page after page: profiles, interviews, reviews, bits and bobs—she read from Pasolini at a concert with Béatrice Dalle; someone accused her of plagiarizing a translation; a teacher in Switzerland was fired for teaching her work. The week I met her, she appeared in the culture magazine Les Inrockuptibles in conversation with the rapper-turned-actor JoeyStarr. The woman is simply always in the news.

Article
The Red Dot·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

That night at the window, looking out at the street full of snow, big flakes falling through the streetlight, I listened to what Anna was saying. She was speaking of a man named Karl. We both knew him as a casual acquaintance—thin and lanky like Ichabod Crane, with long hair—operating a restaurant down in the village whimsically called the Gist Mill, with wood paneling, a large painting of an old gristmill on a river on one wall, tin ceilings, and a row of teller cages from its previous life as a bank. Karl used to run along the river, starting at his apartment in town and turning back about two miles down the path. He had been going through the divorce—this was a couple of years ago, of course, Anna said—and was trying to run through his pain.

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.

An eight-foot minke whale washed ashore on the Thames, the third beaching of a dead whale on the river in two months.

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