The Weekly Wrap


This week the Dish declared independence and you can read Andrew’s announcement and all our other coverage and explanation of the move here. We also hope you’ll consider joining us as a founding member. Friday on the Dish, Andrew rounded up more reaction to our new business model and how it might evolve, got interviewed by David Carr, asked readers to weigh in on whether or not we should round our subscription rate up to $20, and answered PM Carpenter’s concerns over the possible editorial consequences of directly relying on readers’ support. In other independence coverage, Ann Friedman evaluated the importance of building a relationship with readers and we addressed the mystery of our mega-donor, as well as acknowledged the Dishheads of Arizona. Andrew also marveled at an animated Maurice Sendak interview, responded to President Reagan’s love of Reader’s Digest, hoped Iran would again turn Green during this year’s election, and pointed out how similar Obama’s presidency has thus far been to both Reagan and Eisenhower’s (and later the WSJ agreed about Barack being the new Ronald). In political coverage, Ambers and Ezra tried to guess what the GOP’s post-fiscal cliff strategy would be, Joe Biden worked the chamber as readers gauged his influence, Brian Resnick taught us about the Presidential Autopen, and Sam Harris pleaded for some common sense to untangle America’s political deadlock. We also went through how the fiscal cliff deal will affect the wealthy, analyzed the state and sustainability of the US welfare system, examined the polarizing effects of Congressional-district gerrymandering, and charted the number of abortions state governments have been restricting. Looking overseas, Frank Dikötter looked at China’s resource trade policies with the developing world, Evan Osnos wanted the US government to better back up American journalists in China, and Derek Thompson surveyed the economic disaster of Latvian austerity. In assorted coverage, Alyssa suggested ways to de-glorify violence in pop culture, Jack Shafer considered the ethics of publicizing gun-ownership data, Richard Gunderman appreciated the transcendence of music, Keith Humphreys shone a light on America’s gradually-declining prison population, and Maria Konnikova tried to experience the benefits of Sherlock Holmesian mindfulness. Also, Douglas McCollam shared what Brando said to Capote, Dean Karlan advised us how to best make our charitable contributions count, Walter Russell Mead believed in the greenness of telecommuting, Alec Foege wanted us to start tinkering with our stuff again, and Henry Wiencek panned Jon Meacham’s Jefferson biography for going too easy on the president’s slaveholding. We looked into whether or not dating sites were making us less monogamous, viewed Facebook’s efforts to capture some of the self-deleting photo market, watched backwards fireworks in our MHB, admired Bali through the VFYW, and noted how the Internet had accidentally shaved Andrew’s beard in our FOTD. The rest of the week is after the jump:


Thursday on The Dish, Andrew explained what our soon-to-be-independent business model was, as well as made clear how transparent the Dish would be (and why) before then releasing the overwhelmingly-positive data from our first 24 hours signing up members. Andrew also went through more reader responses to our announcement and appreciated Jay Rosen’s appraisal of the “mutualized journalism” the Dish is trying to do. In other IndieDish coverage, Dean Starkman questioned the likelihood that others could follow our lead, Jeff Bercovici passed along The Atlantic’s new thoughts regarding a pay-meter of their own, and @MelloMcGee mashed up MGM with the Dish’s independence in our Tweet Of The Day.

Andrew also responded at length to the pending investigation of the CIA’s involvement in Zero Dark Thirty, tried to unpack the polarized vitriol between conservatives and liberals, and called out the Obama administration for its “indefensible secrecy” regarding the assassination of US citizens who wage war on the US.

In political coverage, David Brooks noted the GOP’s fiscal rock-and-a-hard-place, Tim Huelskamp pushed back on the idea the the full House GOP really supported Speaker Boehner, hunter Ari LeVaux took on the NRA, and David Gutting claimed that Obama rolled the GOP with the fiscal cliff deal. We also explored Al Jazeera’s purchased-entry into the US television market, about which Pamela Geller made a deranged statement to earn herself a Malkin Award nomination. Looking overseas, Ackerman tried to make sense of the newest death toll out of Syria, Jacob Newberry was troubled by reverse exploitation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Keith Humphreys questioned pot’s profitability for drug cartels, Max Paris surveyed the sad state of the Kyoto climate change treaty, and we learned about China’s democratic near-miss of a hundred years ago.

In assorted coverage, Drum highlighted the link between lead exposure and crime rates, Eric Moll detailed what we could do to combat fossil fuels, Ian Frazier lamented modernity’s lack of mystery, Adam Green introduced us to the world’s greatest pickpocket, and Tom Jacobs examined the psychological power of a woman in high heels. Also, Evgeny Morozov dispelled the environmental friendliness of telecommuting, a reader further explained the dangers of eating fructose, Jelani Cobb pointed out that Django Unchained was “a riff on the mythology we’ve mistaken for history”, and Willoughby Cooke stood up for the typically over-worked and under-paid line cook. We then wondered if being a little overweight might actually be good for us, again contemplated the universe’s possible opinion of humanity, considered the interactions generated by provocative-book reading in public, saw a Brooklyn substation through the VFYW, literally took a second look at 2012 in today’s MHB, and an owl was inventoried in our FOTD.

– C.D.


Wednesday on the Dish, Andrew declared our independence, announcing that on February 1 the Dish would leave The Daily Beast to become a fully independent blog which depends on nothing but our readers for support (via a freemium-based meter). Andrew then answered reader questions about the move here and here. Also we rounded up blog reax, as well as checked in on the Twitter response here and here. We watched in amazement as an avalanche of memberships began, published many reader reactions from the inbox, reposted last year’s fascinating reader survey, charted the inequality of the web advertising business, got called mavericky in a tweet, and handed John Nolte a Malkin nomination for calling the Dish’s independence part of some left-wing media conspiracy.

In political coverage, we rounded up blogosphere response to the now-passed fiscal cliff deal, Michael Hirsh wondered if Joe Biden was the most influential VP in history, Conor Friedersdorf rejected the notion that the 2nd Amendment was some safeguard against tyranny, Paul Ryan earned the year’s first Yglesias nomination for supporting the fiscal cliff deal, and Richard Socarides anticipated marriage equality for Illinois.

In assorted coverage, Maria Popova explained her donation-over-advertising strategy, Boris Muñoz imagined a Venezuela without Hugo Chavez, Ada Calhoun looked at the increasing practice of at-home abortions, Wayne Curtis surveyed America’s walking stats, and Terry Teachout advocated for more accurate depictions of small-town life in the arts. Also, Edward McPherson told us the story behind Dallas’ essential airport, Alex Knapp questioned the management skills of robots, Kevin Kelly called in about the developing world’s prioritizing of cell phones over toilets, and a reader (who is an actuary) set the record straight about car insurance rates based on how much someone drives. Readers also pushed back on the idea that teenagers shouldn’t smoke weed, while other readers weighed in on why women seem to smoke less of it than men. Then we went over the news that Avis was buying Zipcar, examined the possible late-career solipsism of Judd Apatow, discovered a new use for washing machines in our MHB, met a Chinese camel herder in our FOTD, and saw Colorado mountains through the VFYW.


By Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Tuesday on the Dish, Andrew offered his extended thoughts on last night’s fiscal cliff deal, raised an eyebrow at Barney Frank’s recent change of heart about Chuck Hagel, and announced 2012’s Dish Award winners, later adding some important context to our Face Of The Year.

In political coverage, we rounded up blogosphere reactions to the fiscal cliff deal, while Bruce Bartlett and Daniel Gross examined why a Grand Bargain didn’t happen and Drum cautioned that deal or not, the fiscal cliff was still out there. Also, readers responded to the conversation over Hillary Clinton’s blood clot, Ann Friedman checked in on the still-limited progress of America’s female politicians, and a traveler aboard the National Review’s “conservative cruise of a lifetime” shared her Hewitt-ian fears. Looking overseas, Marc Lynch hoped Egypt would be able to “muddle through” its current morass.

In assorted coverage, Oliver Burkeman offered a reality check regarding New Year’s resolutions, readers proved themselves quite knowledgable about Hobbit names, Eric Jaffe suggested pay-per-mile car insurance as a way to reduce driving, Rober Walker pondered the shrinking authority of magazine covers, and Gary Marcus argued that an automated workforce could lead to greater inequality. Also, Nathan Harden previewed the idea of a la carte college classes from multiple universities, Gaia Vince appreciated the many benefits of urban density, David Haglund teared up while watching a trailer for Landfill Harmonic, a reader gave their perspective on why women don’t often buy weed, and somewhat relatedly, Justin Shanes avoided a hangover in our Tweet Of The Day. Readers shared their views from abroad on America’s vacation-light work ethic, Charles Simic noted the ease with which present-day idiots can make themselves known, Jeff Jordan anticipated the death of shopping malls, and Atossa Araxia Abrahamian explained the (libertarian) paleolithic diet, while Robert Lustig detailed the dangers of fructose. John Herrman surveyed Instagram’s growing international footprint, a reader passed along a great Don Becker joke referring to his mental illness, and Rand Simberg explored the fascinating implications of property rights in space.

We also watched the new trailer for To The Wonder, learned about the use of canine labor throughout history, saw a Puerto de la Cruz paraglider through the VFYW, and enjoyed a four minute reduction of 2012 in our MHB. Meanwhile readers struggled with this week’s difficult (and Danish) VFYW contest and Nancy Pelosi walked the media gauntlet in our FOTD.

This Holiday Season on the Dish, Andrew wished readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and urged readers to support the Poetry Society of America with a rumination on verse. He also dissected the Pope’s incoherence on gay marriage, provided further thoughts on the Zero Dark Thirty debate, relayed a personal anecdote about the “mutts of war,” sounded off on marijuana prohibition, watched Bibi become even crazier, and charted Krauthammer’s continued descent into Fox News absurdity. In a somber year-end meditation, he declared the American polity “broken.”

The fiscal cliff loomed large, and you can read Andrew’s evolving thoughts on it here, here, here, here and here.

Andrew also closely tracked opposition to Chuck Hagel possible nomination as Secretary of Defense. He told the President to grow a pair and face down the former senator’s AIPAC-led critics, lamented the purity of neocon McCarthyism, evaluated the reasons for the anti-semitic slurs against the man, defended Hagel against Barney Frank, and followed the ridiculous Log Cabin Republican resistance to Hagel, including questions about who paid for the NYT ad they deployed against him, here, here and here.

– C.D. & M.S.