The Weekly Wrap

Apr 6 2012 @ 10:27pm

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Friday on the Dish, Andrew assessed the Obama strategy for the upcoming nuclear talks with Iran and disabused the right of the idea that Reagan's recovery was government-free. We compiled reax to the increasingly-electorally important jobs numbers, checked in on Obama's organization advantage in New Hampshire, called out Florida for disenfranchising minority voters, and decided VP candidates should probably be the person second-best suited to being President. Romney's "us-versus-them" foreign policy just didn't cut it and Mitt seemed boxed into an ultra-conservative general election stance.

Andrew also explored the role of miracles in his understanding of Jesus, flagged his upcoming TV appearances to discuss Christianity, and parsed data suggesting UK gay marriages were less divorce-prone than their straight equivalents. A reader disconnected "faith" from faith and a younger gay doctor related his experience with generational change. We critiqued the modern White Man's Burden, compared the Toulouse killer's psychology to that of other killers, and cut to the core of what newly constitutional prison strip searches were about.

Geolocation technology created freaky possibilities, Google whitewashed the vision of internet-assisted vision, Montaigne blogged first, acquiring fun experiences took effort, quick reactions were often lies, "alcoholism" had many faces, and a child didn't change one writer's life. Gold prices meant little, autocomplete didn't fix spelling, doctors needed to learn new tricks, and readers continued the discussion on cremation and burial. The politics behind Sandusky/Paterno came to light, skin shade discrimination hurt, Bully won the battle for PG-13, Hillary texted, and an Emily Dickinson poem fit Good Friday. Ask Jonah Anything here, Cool Ad here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

Thursday on the Dish, Andrew doubled down on his diagnosis of Romney's terminal ailment, dissented from Obama's "Social Darwinism" label for Ryan's budget, checked in with the economic forecasters about the unemployment rate during the general, tried to wrap his brain around Santorum's motivation for staying in, and was wowed by Mitt's ideological rigidity. We profiled Santorum dead-enders, patiently explained to them that the race was over, scoured GOP turnout numbers during the competitive part for clues about the general, guessed at what determined elections, ran down the reasons no liked Romney, clarified that he wasn't "moderate" in any meaningful sense, and pooh-pooed the idea that veeps can swing their home states. The Jewish vote remained safely in the D column (shenaniganry like this notwithstanding), the right's picture of Obama embodied another James Baldwin quote, Obama failed to prepare for releasing his inner Alinsky in term 2, too few women ran for Congress, and dogma poisoned parties. Ad War Update here.

Andrew also debated Maggie Gallagher at Washington and Lee in front of an overwhelmingly pro-equality crowd, issued a correction on his Newsweek cover (related reader thread here), and blasted Netanyahu's settlement legalizations (companion post here). Game of Thrones explained our world, Mad Men viewers/readers sounded off about our psychoanalysis of its popularity, YA books were (maybe) OK for adults, and Bully's bullies were unelected and unaccountable industry types. We weighed the relative merits of pageant momes and tiger moms, worked on understanding how to parent an autistic child, thought about donating a kidney to save a stranger's life, wondered if the dead deserved privay, and listened to reader feedback on cremation vs. burial. Weddings were overpriced, pink slime wasn't that different from normal meat, baseball had some political merits, and pot got some readers to thinking. Ask Jonah Anything here, Cool Ad here, Quote for the Day here, Yglesias Nominee here, Moore Nominee here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

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By Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Wednesday on the Dish, Andrew gave a fullthroated defense of a radical and individualistic Christian sexual ethic (response here), flagged the current Pope's old account of an apolitical Jesus, confessed the difficulties this Lent has brought, and listened to more reader feedback here. He also explored how the GOP turned Obama into a more vocal liberal, noted another instance of rank Obama-hatred, profiledthe psychology behind the anger, found it in cartoon form, aired reader thoughs, and saw no Palin bump. We tracked Obama's rhetorical escalation as the primary gave way to the general, got bored of primary horserace coverage, located Romney's base of "moderate cynics," dubbed him "Mr. Generic Republic," went over the merits of Paul Ryan as Veep (again), examined how Jeffrey Toobin shaped the SCOUTUS CW, and rifled through Congress' full e-mailbox. Ad War Update here.

On another front, Andrew dove in to the newly released Bush-era State Department memo explaining that torture was, in fact, torture. We kept track of more arguments on Beinart and the settlements, explained why adoption was banned in many Muslim countries, and worried about the effect of food prices on global stability. The world appeared primed to buy American, casinos profited from good design, and dating sites sold their clients' info. Google previewed a future of impossibly awesome glasses, driverless cars appeared to be coming to a street near you, apps seemed like the future of books, but suicide prevention wasn't progressing. The reflections of a gay doctor appalled and readers half-defended the MPAA on Bully. We grounded the us-versus-them dynamic in human biology, wondered if being ethical in one way served as a release valve to act poorly in others, noted that it was socially acceptable to say you suck at math but not at reading, and peered into the psyche of Mad Men fans. Many things seemed legit, including cremation.

Ask Jonah Anything here, Hathos Alert here, Quote for the Day here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

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Palisade, Colorado, 3.29 pm

Tuesday on the Dish, Andrew laid into the right's absud view of Obama (follow-up here), watched the primary returns fit well-worn patterns, blasted the Tea Party and SCOTUS' blinkered understandings of freedom, worried about America's "entangling alliance" with Israel, and despaired at America's treatment of gay, international couples. We linked Obama's anti-Ryan jeremiad to his message in the fall, yawned at today's primaries, watched the Romneys from different timelines battle each other, reexamined the Santorum/cyberbullying issue, snickered at Rick's trip to Mars, gaped at a Fox News anchor's silliness, watched the appeal of neoconservatism wane, got at the essence of that declining doctrine, and located the future of liberalism in post-liberalism. Ad War Update here.

Andrew also livechatted about his Newsweek  Christianity cover, clarified its argument in response to blogospheric feedback, defended the piece against reader dissents, and listened to more reader commentary here and here. We calmed fears about Iranian nukes spurring regional proliferation, heard the war drums on Iran abate, flagged an interview with Peter Beinart, gave context for Iraq's low death toll, and celebrated Burmese economic progress alongside its tentative steps toward liberalization. Taxes saved (?) the economy, job training programs failed, the "Big Football" thread moved forward, crowdsourcing entrepreneurship advanced (tentatively), and The Economist prospered. Scientists worked on an explanation for ideology, animals had superstitions, the young supported paid organ donors, and cyclists weighed in on the rules of the road. Sleeping with a porn star touched a reader's heart, community college became cool, and writing surprised writers. Ask Jonah Anything here, Cool Ad here, Quote for the Day here, VFYW Contest Winner here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

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Monday on the Dish, Andrew explored his Newsweek cover-story on reclaiming Christianity (which he defended here and found a meme for here), speculated that Obama already knows that the Court has killed the mandate, felt jaw drop to floor after hearing about Sarah Palin's hosting gig (follow-up here), blasted Santorum's "pick-and-choose" Christianism, and noted the candidate's escalating attacks on Romney. Mitt acted recklessly in Wisconsin, women abandoned Romney for Obama in crucial states, Obama looked capable of winning while losing a majority of all Christians, Rob Portman seemed like a plausible veep, Santorum was cyber-bullied, and the GOP turned against science. We brought out the popcorn as Obama took on the Court over the mandate, thought more about whether SCOTUS faced a "crisis of legitimacy," attempted a defense of judicial activism, discussed more elements of Hillary Clinton's feminism, adjudicated an argument TNC and Juan Williams about black-on-black crime strongly in the former's favor, and pondered what the filibuster has done to our democracy. Ad War Update here.

Andrew also took on the WaPo review of Peter Beinart's book, compared Poland's prosecution of torture to America's, debuted the readership stats from our first year at the Beast, and introduced the new "Ask Anything" series (the first installment, featuring Jonah Lehrer on pot, is here.) We tracked the least-bad month in Iraq since the invasion – which we were irrelevant to, worried that Iran's most powerful weapon was its control over oil prices, ran down the historic election in Burma, and delved into the "strange persistence of Islamophobia." The feds raided a pot school, prohibiton's absurdities amazed, police search dogs often failed, and doctors replaced treatment with drugs. Marriage hysterics incorrectly predicted the future (in 1986), humans reached peak IQ, the web became its own universe, and a blind man drove. Readers discussed the drivers-vs.-bikers debate and the football as big tobacco analogy, the penny had uses, it was possible to be overgenerous, Coco Chanel created tanning, Lena Dunham got described as the 25 year old female Louis CK, and a plastic skull sold for $50k. Hathos Alert here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

- Z.B.