Weekly Review — September 11, 2018, 11:21 am

Weekly Review

Trump struggles to pronounce “anonymous”; a Sackler stands to profit from a new drug to treat opioid addiction; housing development workers in the Bronx are accused of having orgies on the clock

Bob Woodward, the Washington Post journalist known for breaking the Watergate story, with Carl Bernstein during the Nixon Administration, published Fear: Trump in the White House today, which compiles documents and interviews with Trump Administration officials.1 In the book, Jim Mattis, the defense secretary, compares the president to a “fifth or sixth grader”; John Dowd, Trump’s former attorney, refuses Robert Mueller’s request to interview the president, fearing Trump would be seen as a “goddamn dumbbell”; Rex Tillerson, former US secretary of state, calls Trump a “fucking moron”; John F. Kelly, current White House chief of staff, complains “[Trump]’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had”; and Jared Kushner tells Steve Bannon that his father-in-law “doesn’t have a lot of cash.”2 3 4 At a rally in Billings, Montana, President Trump addressed the anonymous op-ed written by a senior administration official, which revealed that the author and his or her colleagues had “vowed to thwart” Trump’s agenda and had only decided not to invoke the 25th Amendment and have the president removed from office to avoid creating a constitutional crisis, by stating, “The latest act of resistance is the op-ed published in the failing New York Times by an anonymous—really an anonymous, gutless coward. You just look. He was—nobody knows who the hell he is, or she, although they put he, but probably that’s a little disguise. That means it’s she. But for the sake of our national security, the New York Times should publish his name at once.”5 6 The president mispronounced the word “anonymous” in both instances.7

The US will cut $25 million in funding to hospitals in East Jerusalem that aid the city’s Palestinian population as well as all funding for UN Palestinian humanitarian and economic projects.8 9 In Gaza, a 17-year-old was killed by Israeli soldiers’ live fire in the latest of the weekly Great March of Return protests at the Israeli-Gaza border, bringing the total number of Palestinian deaths since the protests began in March to 179, and in West Jerusalem, Monica Lewinsky, whose black negligee was up for auction in June in a lot that also contained a box of “slightly crushed” M&Ms she had given her former teacher and lover Andrew Bleiler, “abruptly” walked off the stage during a live interview at an Israel Television News Company conference in response to a question about the former US president Bill Clinton.10 11 12 The US State Department has increased the estimate of the number of Uighur and other Muslim ethnic minorities who are being arbitrarily held in “counter-extremism centers” and “re-education camps” in western China, which require them to write “self-criticism” essays and perform singing routines, from the hundreds of thousands to millions.13 China has said the camps provide job training.14 Liu Jiaqi, a Chinese man living in Kenya, had his work permit revoked and was deported after he was filmed criticizing President Uhuru Kenyatta and describing the citizenry as “poor, foolish, and black.”15 In Dallas, a white police officer was put on administrative leave after she broke into her black neighbor’s apartment because she mistook it for her own, then shot and killed him.16

Richard Sackler, former president of Purdue Pharma, which invented the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin and paid over $600 million in fines for “misbranding” its use, is listed as one of six co-creators of a new drug to treat opioid addiction.17 18 Lithuania asked Walmart to stop selling shirts with the Soviet hammer and sickle, Russia is investigating a hole it claims was deliberately drilled into the International Space Station that created an air leak, and France passed a law banning phones from middle schools.19 20 21 “It’s pretty easy to talk instead,” said one student. A school resource officer discharged a Taser a few feet away from a sleeping high school student in Ohio after he slept through attempts by his teacher and interim principal to wake him.22 The FBI recovered a pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz after a Minnesota man tried to extort the shoes’ insurance company; a Connecticut woman sustained serious injuries after mistaking a stick of dynamite for a candle during a power outage; and a man who lost most of his penis to a flesh-eating superbug he contracted during a prostatectomy in the UK won his suit against the hospital.23 24 25 Bird Life International revealed the “confirmed or suspected extinctions” of eight bird species, including a pygmy owl and the cryptic tree hunter, in this decade.26 NYCHA supervisors and workers at a housing development in the Bronx were accused of having orgies on the clock, which caused garbage to pile up and repairs to go unfinished.27 “I don’t have a problem with people having orgies,” Throggs Neck Tenant Association president Monique Johnson said. “I have a problem with work not being done. People were neglecting to do their jobs.” Three NYCHA supervisors have been suspended for 30 days. In New Mexico, a statue of the Virgin Mary began to weep for the fourth time this year.28Maud Doyle

Share
Single Page

More from Harper’s Magazine:

Weekly Review November 19, 2019, 12:35 pm

Weekly Review

The aftermath of a coup in Boliva; Erdoğan played propaganda on his iPad; feral hogs in Tuscany destroyed a stash of cocaine worth $22,000

Weekly Review November 12, 2019, 12:03 pm

Weekly Review

For the first time in 26 years, both houses of the Virginia legislature turned Democratic; Rudy Giuliani was overheard discussing plans to launch an impeachment-themed podcast

Weekly Review November 5, 2019, 11:46 am

Weekly Review

Trump gloated over the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi; thousands protested across Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Algiers, and Hong Kong

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

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2019

Gimme Shelter

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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.

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.

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
Burning Down the House·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Discussed in this essay:

Plagued by Fire: The Dreams and Furies of Frank Lloyd Wright, by Paul Hendrickson. Knopf. 624 pages. $35.

Frank Lloyd Wright isn’t just the greatest of all American architects. He has so eclipsed the competition that he can sometimes seem the only one. Who are his potential rivals? Henry Hobson Richardson, that Gilded Age starchitect in monumental stone? Louis Sullivan, lyric poet of the office building and Wright’s own Chicago mentor, best known for his dictum that form follows function? “Yes,” Wright corrected him with typical one-upmanship, “but more important now, form and function are one.” For architects with the misfortune to follow him, Wright is seen as having created the standards by which they are judged. If we know the name Frank Gehry, it’s probably because he designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, in 1997. And Gehry’s deconstructed ship of titanium and glass would be unimaginable if Wright hadn’t built his own astonishing Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue some forty years earlier.

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.

Shortly after the Regional Council of Veneto, in Italy, voted against climate-change legislation, its chambers were flooded.

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