This Veterans Day weekend, we took an eclectic look at politics, both past and present. Readers provided their take on Romney's bureaucratic, bumbling campaign, Walter Olsen highlighted the Republicans who brought marriage equality to Maryland, Teenie Matlock unpacked the importance of grammar for how we think about candidates and elections, Bill Kristol earned himself an Yglesias Award, and Nicolas Pelham contemplated Gaza's political future. Andrew Hessel, Marc Goodman, and Steven Kotler considered the horrifying prospect of personalized bioweapons, Avi Steinberg ruminated on the political dimension of ancient flood myths, Clay Risen examined presidential drinking habits, Louis Masur explored the impact of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, K.C. Cole tried to grasp the roots of epistemic closure, E.B. White explained democracy, and Louis Menand noted the indispensable part that rock and roll played in the liberation of Eastern Europe.
We also presented a plethora of literary and arts coverage. Landon Y. Jones offered a glimpse into F. Scott Fitzgerald’s summer in Montana, Anthony Daniels plumbed the depths of his obsession with books, Google Poetics turned our searches into verse, Vera Pavlova gave her thoughts on writing poetry, Jason Pontin wondered why more writers haven't adapted their work to the new ways we read, Leigh Bardugo praised her adolescent literary hero, John Lingan stumbled upon the critic Michael Dirda in a used bookstore, and Max Ross blamed Disney for taming the political message of fairy tales. Rachel Cohen divulged the art world's financial history, Hunter Oatman-Stanford asked Jon Crispin about his photographs of what patients left behind at a New York asylum, Ted Nyman imagined the invasiveness of social media while using the site sex.ly, and William Deresiewicz defined upper middle brow culture. Read Saturday's poem here, Sunday's here, and Monday's here.
In matters of faith, doubt, and philosophy, Chris Stedman reflected on coming to terms with his sexuality while attending a conservative, Protestant church, Alex Ross meditated on the shifting contours of religious belief and homosexuality, Mark Noll extracted political lessons for Christians from the Puritans, and Paul Baily found himself drawn to the gripping, heterodox portrait of the mother of Jesus in The Testament of Mary. Emily Eakin mused on the philosophy of Cloud Atlas, Tom Jacobs pointed to a brilliant passage from DFW on the beauty of boredom, Charles Mann asked if we are wired to destroy ourselves, Emily Badger welcomed the union of architecture and neuroscience, and David Wallace-Wells profiled Oliver Sacks and his experiments with hallucinogens.
In assorted coverage, Graeme Wood reviewed gay progress in Uganda, Ruth Evans reported on Japan's fascination with blood type, Christopher Ketcham claimed to uncover Monopoly's socialist origins, Leah Binkovitz deconstructed how to make perfect scrambled eggs, and Geoffrey K. Pullum deciphered the "language of phone numbers." Josh Begley visited Louisiana State Penitentiary's golf course, Jackson Landers advocated his philosophy about food, Michelle Dean traced the transformation of witches in the popular imagination, Hunter Oatman-Stanford investigated our relationship to prosthetic limbs, and Alex Tabarrok and Jordan Weissmann debated basing university fees on a student's major. A hilarious Hathos Alert can be found here. FOTDS here, here, and here; MHBs here, here, and here; VFYWs here, here, and here; and the latest window contest here.
(Photo: A World War II veteran takes part in the Veteran's Day Parade on November 11, 2012 in New York City. By Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)