The Weekend Wrap


This weekend on the Dish, we provided an exceptionally eclectic look at this strange and fascinating world we inhabit. Our fraught search for pleasure received a great deal of attention: Steven Martin took us inside an opium den, Nate Berg covered smoking segregation, Priya-Elika Elias imagined romantic advice from Ernest Hemingway, Jeremy Harlin outlined the latest porn tropes, and Nick Douglas applauded the web show Awkward Sunrise's depiction of people having sex and talking. We didn't exclude our pets' happiness, either – readers joined the conversation about dogs and depression.

We also stepped back from current events to consider politics from a historical perspective. Harlow Unger surmised what John Quincy Adams would say to Romney and Obama, Lauren Weiner explored Ray Bradbury's understanding of dystopia, Michael Dirda revisited Richard Hofstadter's Anti-Intellectualism in America Life, Dorothy Wickenden celebrated Lincoln's collaboration with William H. Seward, Forrest Wickman claimed Jimmy Carter as our most religious president, and Elizabeth Kolbert lamented our generation's greatest failing – ignoring climate change.

In cultural news, Rose Eveleth provided a history of The Hobbit, Verlyn Klinkenborg reminded writers of a basic but neglected rule of composition, Michael Bourne appreciated the fiction of Junot Diaz, David Thomson reluctantly admitted he's entertained by cinematic mash-ups from the Internet, Robert Provine opined on the philosophical importance of tickling, John Lloyd's TED talk received a clever animated rendering, Mark Linsenmay doubted the philosophical value of literature, and Kate Rix highlighted the Mysteries of Vernacular series. Read Saturday's poem here and Sunday's here.

In religious coverage, Father Peter Cameron thought about beauty and God, Benjamin Wallace-Wells considered the the connection between business and faith in Mormonism, Nelson Jones critiqued the un-democratic process for selecting the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Brian Solomon profiled a billionaire evangelical, and Alyssa Rosenberg argued The Master was about faith in general – not just the Super Adventure Club.

We asked Dina Martina anything here and here. FOTDs here and here, MHBs here and here, VFYWs here and here, and the latest window contest here.

– M.S.

(Image: "The Asian Vice" by Henry Vollet via Flickr user UnklNik)