The Weekly Wrap

Andrew Sullivan —  Aug 10 2012 @ 10:30pm


by Gwynn Guilford

Today on the Dish, Chait guessed at Romney's veep pick, Barro explained Romney's rock-and-a-hard-place positioning on social welfare and private equity, and Matthew Continetti lamented Romney's inability to define his candidacy. After Team Obama worked the tax-avoidance angle effectively in ads yesterday, both campaigns got dirty again today. Larison emphasized that Romney's still under neocon sway, Weigel saw the upside of politi-bickering and Romney was – wait for it – disingenuous on his ad campaign. 

A reader called for more constructive optimism on coal usage, a timeline traced our path to collective forgetting and Barney discussed his favorite GOP colleague. And while Marc Lynch marveled at Islam's generational divide, the US government screwed sick Afghans.

In Olympic coverage, Travis Waldron hailed the amazing performance of US women in the London Games, Persian history contributed to Iran's Olympic wrestling and weightlifting conquest, and a former Olympican explained track and field's great equalizer. A reader reminisced about Abdul Baser Wasiqi's moving run, and while Ian Johnson explored the Olympics "arms race," Liel Leibovitz examined the funding shortage behind Israel's Olympics flameout. The Dish met Zoich, the blue, furry, crowned amphibian of the people – at least until it became a marketing trojan horse – a Google Olympics tribute doodle elicited calls of racism and Big Tobacco got crafty about Olympics marketing.

Austin Frakt thought hospitals wouldn't reform, robots grew creepier and Sady Doyle hoped for an end to the MPDG. Men talked nipples while dolphins gripped genitally. Birthday FOTD here (it's Andrew's!), sarcasm didn't translate well and Landon Palmer rued Rotten Tomatoes. Meanwhile, readers got worked up about the use of "literally," Robin Hanson wanted to bring fun back and Hathos alert here. And VFYW here, MHB here and that friend who takes games waaay too seriously here.

(Photo: Renaud Lavillenie of France competes during the Men's Pole Vault Final on August 10. By Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

The rest of the week after the jump:


(By STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

Thursday on the Dish, while Romney battled back the base on both foreign policy and healthcare, Nate Cohn explained Obama's upper hand in favorability. Meanwhile, the blogosphere mused on what sequestration cuts will mean. Newt admitted to no proof on welfare smears, Patrick eviscerated Dick Morris and things looked good for Colorado's marijuana legalization. As the blogosphere weighed in on the Gu Kailai trial, Barney talked scandals, and Ethiopia's human rights violations posed a dilemma for aid donors. Greenwald condemend Islamophobia, Steve Coll ID'ed the real roots of domestic terror and Kevin B. Lee testified to the quiet courage of turban-wearing.

In Olympics discussion, Afghanistan won its first medal and divers created cavities. And while one reader posited that PC-ness is driving Olympic mascot design, others introduced the Dish to the fairly un-PC trio of Fatso, Klee Wyck and Springy.

David Simon remembered DeAndre McCullough, the maximum income tax idea was terrible and Ed Smith made the case for excelling by slacking. Meanwhile, David Thompson reimagined Marilyn, Ted Scheinman celebrated old-school ADHD lit and spam cost a lot. Also, bloggers debated doping, a reader shared the secret of Olympic tape blogging – in blank verse, no less – and NKOTB proved unexpectedly useful.

A shark historian pondered what turns a great white into a deranged killer, things looked bad for Big Cable and Nabokov's fists informed his pen. Baseball taught patience, Jason Feifer dug into Axe's evolving sex appeal strategy and deo of old sure stung. VFYW here, MHB here and get your pure, creepy grossness right here.


Wednesday on the Dish, campaigns traded blows on welfare waivers while the blogosphere savaged Romney's anti-Obama welfare ad from yesterday and CNN found some gaping holes in Obama's GST Steel worker ad. DeLong pilloried Romney and his economic advisers, Yglesias called out Rubio's Olympic tax break plan – and Obama's support for it – and Suzy Khimm explained how this time, it's different (fiscally, that is).

While fighting raged on in Syria, Jon Lee Anderson considered the conflict's global impact. Meanwhile, the ECB lacked data, Singapore's corny-horny National Night campaign revealed nasty race and class undertones and banks proved too interconnected to fail. Robert Bryce said coal is here to stay and Salmon argued Facebook's listing has made Zuckerberg less effective. Bob Wright wondered why Aurora got more attention than the Sikh temple shooting, and Randy Blazak delved into the history of hate rock.

In Olympics coverage, eight Olympics athletes went missing, Liu Xiang's choke complicated both corporate sponsor and apparatchik messaging and Chris showcased another menacing pic of an utterly unthreatening sport again today. While one reader waxed poetic on the biathlon, another nominated Izzy for contention in the ongoing weird Olympic mascot assessment. Noreen Malone declared Ryan Lochte to be a "himbo," and an Olympic MHB here (though some people are Olympic-ed out).

Tracy Clark-Flory pondered the struggles of the singleton, Jesse Bering talked penis shape and a hacker exposed how he attacked a tech journalist at random. Steve Heller mused on motivation and hipster giving was found to be actually working. And while VR Narayanswami waved "bye" to language police, two of them ranted about "literally" and "actually."

A reader made the case for working remotely, still more readers told Bloomberg to go suck it, and many wise, serious people debated Bruce Springsteen's art. Last but not least, a VFYW here.


(By Andrey Smirnov/AFP/Getty Images)

Tuesday on the Dish, bloggers differed on the veracity of Harry Reid's statement about Romney's taxes, Nate Cohn prescribed a Sister Souljah moment for Romney and Pareene christened Jennifer Rubin as a member of the hack list. And while the Warren-Brown war encapsulated the Massachusetts authenticity curse, Wikipedia predicted the 2008 VP choices and Josh Barro clawed back with his Romney's secret weapon economic plan argument. Meanwhile, Gopnik disintangled creed and commerce in Romney's persona and Barney got frank on Obama.

As for the ad war, a pro-Obama Super PAC put out a ruthless new ad while Team Romney argued that Obama gutted welfare. And Andrew Romano explored how pro-GOP spending floods downticket races. 

In Olympics, Saudis lashed back against the participation of their female athletes, and while the reader thread continued on objectification of Olympic lesbian footballers like Megan Rapinoe and beach volleyballers, they debated the potential enhancements of cannabis. Also, this photo offered a rare glimpse at the menacing side of synchronized swimming.

Curiosity's journey received tribute as the excitement for its documentary abililites built. A new ad campaign encouraged citizens to lie back and think of Singapore, Ugandan queer activists staged the country's first Pride Parade and the Bush administration missed the diplomatic boat with Iran. Meanwhile, Pussy Riot embodied political punk in their fight against Putin. 

In assorted commentary, healthcare trended towards chains, a physicist explained the finer points of the death zone and a new study rehabilitated bisexual men – via their eyes. And while Adrian Vermeule showed how SCOTUS prizes convention, Homer overlooked blue because it was scarce. One's 20s proved to be crucial years, readers dug deeper on PTSD and no one wanted to sit next to strangers on the bus. And Randall Munroe dismissed the robot revolution, Jeremy Harding exposed the art behind pre-digital photography and Balaji Prabhakar made the case that incentives might help traffic congestion. In weed updates, a new documentary examined how drug prohibition fuels the business while the long view on pot legalization was an optimistic one. Finally, VFYW contest here, MHB here and a deluged VFYW here


(By NASA/JPL-Caltech via Getty Images)

Monday on the Dish, just as Andrew was going dark, Curiosity alighted on Mars. After a neo-Nazi shooter killed six at a Sikh temple on Sunday, many readers praised the aplomb of Sikh-Americans in the face of violence and bigotry, while others picked up on an eerie resemblance. In politics, Romney's undecided voter problem could scuttle his chances, and his lack of appeal with women – something Obama went after in a recent round of TV ads – may derive from his Mormonism. Nyhan likened Romney coverage to the gaffe-patrol Gore got, Barney Frank shared his first impressions of Romney and Josh Green gave the backstory on Romney's Twitter nemesis. DeLong chimed in with Chait's argument on the travesty of the new unemployment norm, Jared Bernstein chipped away more of the Paul Ryan facade and good jobs have gotten harder to find.

Meanwhile, marriage equality campaigners rolled out the senior varsity, campaign promises in this election have become harder to trust and Michael Brendan Dougherty wished for more honesty from the political media. In Olympics news, Usain Bolt and his fellow Jamaicans killed it and while China's sports program outsourced athlete training, wealth and population largely determined medal count. Also, special tape didn't do much and Joseph Stromberg recalled the long-lost art Olympics.

In assorted commentary, a shocking 10 percent of Japanese males owned child pornography, paid internships proved to be the ticket to a real gig and David Axe ridiculed the specter of a North Korean invasion. 3D printing promised to change the face of contraband, Mark Mitchell did battle on the term "culture war," and Michael Moyers broke down the monthly subway pass math. An old HP ad was oddly relevant, VFYW here and MHB here.


Waterton, Alberta, 12 pm

Saturday and Sunday on the Dish, Andrew took us on a stroll through Rasmussen-Land, contemplated an Obama landslide, noted that Fox News went there with Gabby, reminded us not to take VP advice from Bill Kristol, and wondered who would want the number-two job anyway. In Olympics news, Louis Menand pondered the cultural significance of the Games and we continued asking questions about their relationship to nationalism.

Literary and philosophical coverage abounded. Sean Wilentz considered the artist's role in politics, Elain Scarry argued for literature's ethical power, William Sieghart examined the consolations of poetry, Jamie James explored the connection between poetry and magic in Yeats' work, Sarah Rich asked where Sherlock got his hat, and Joyce Carol Oates held that Dickens was the most English of English novelists. Jim Holt told us who was his favorite philosopher, Ira Brent Diggers praised N.T. Wright's theology of engagement, and Adam Frank turned to Walker Percy to find out why we're lost in the cosmos. Read Saturday's poem here and Sunday's here.

In assorted coverage, Robert Rosenberger investigated how technology changes writing and Jay Rosen revisted what he thought of Wikileaks. Roger Ebert questioned the lack of contemporary additions to a recent greatest films list and Andrew O'Hehir applauded the subdued coverage of Larry Wachowski's transition to Lana. William Davidow searched history for the meaning of our dependence on tools, Joshua Yates inquired about the sustainability movement's sustainability, Nicole Pisulka profiled the man behind funeral home music, Tom Freston met General Butt Naked, Heather Havrilesky applauded TV characters moving beyond the typical tropes, and Doerte Bemme and Nicole D'souza showed the difficulty of diagnosing mental health problems in the developing world.

And of course, what would the weekend be without thinking about our vices? Cigarettes remained our most addictive drug and our assumptions about how best to serve wine got muddled. Check out our FOTDs here and here, MHBs here and here, VFYWs here and here, and the latest window contest here.