The Weekly Wrap

Friday on the Dish, Andrew commiserated with Beinart over the mess of yesterday’s Hagel hearing, in which two particular countries loomed large. After revisiting the enigmatic sexuality of New York titan Ed Koch, he approved of the administration’s new bridge between the ACA and religious freedom and observed both honesty and shrewdness in this week’s hearing on gun control. Finally, Andrew updated everyone on the Dish’s migration to its new home, which will open its doors on Monday.

On the political beat, we rounded up reax to the uptick in the jobless rate while Walter Kirn gave thought to the visceral feelings of Americans on either side of the gun debate and readers responded to Andrew’s pro-life argument for gun-control. Lisa Wade broke down the skewered racial demographics of private prisons while Ivory Toldson questioned the foundations of the latest theory on race and achievement. Suzy Khimm measured the length of immigration lines by nationality, Barro doubted that the GOP understands its disconnect from Latinos and we weighed the merits of wonky policy (which Ezra dutifully supplied later on).

Meanwhile, we picked apart the idea of a bona fide right to vote as readers continued to spar over the logic of the military draft system and kept sharing their complex personal connections with the American Boy Scouts. A Syrian activist outlined the anatomy of a revolution, Mitchell Prothero flipped through TV guide with Hezbollah, and Barry Strauss pondered the enduring wisdom of Rome’s greatest republican.

In assorted coverage, Michael Moynihan called for a moratorium on hackneyed journo-buzzwords, Freddie instructed Matt Lewis on his twitter-troubles and Jonathan Matthews raised an eyebrow at the mea culpa of the anti-GM superstar. Ira Glass coached the anxious aspiring artists among us, Forrest Wickman said a good word for Ms. Anne Hathaway, and we surveyed the sloppy research scattered through Zero Dark Thirty. Amy Webb spared no effort to find the perfect partner online, while Miranda Lin grappled with others’ expectations about her own heritage and identity.

Ross Andersen investigated the morals of using mind-altering “love pills,” while Linda Holmes tried to put a stop to snobbery. We lost ourselves in the urban organism that is New York for the MHB, struggled to see through a frosty frame in St. Paul, Minnesota, and one Kashmiri girl shined amid and Islamic celebration for the Face of the Day.


The rest of the week after the jump:


Thursday on the Dish, Andrew reframed the gun-control debate to give some meaning to the term “pro-life.” He meditated on the role of language in our attitudes on immigration, rebutted Douthat on the origins of America’s liberal sexual mores, and laughed off more of the stale arguments for DOMA. Andrew also recoiled at the nasty desperation of the anti-Hagelians, scoffed at McCain’s and Butters’ performance in today’s confirmation hearing, and shook his head at Hagel’s own flip-flop toward the hawkish line. He glimpsed the sketchier side of the Boy Scouts’ founder and dismissed the pseudo-cultural criticism of Breitbart’s disciples.

Andrew also answered more questions from readers about the new, ad-free Dish coming Monday, whose subscriptions have been gaining momentum lately (a trend you can contribute to  here.)

In political coverage, Larison gauged Rubio’s angle in the push for immigration reform, Barro tracked GOP maneuverings on gay marriage, and we asked whether the Republicans can pacify their Tea Party caucus. A reader made the case for keeping the military’s draft program as Ilya Somin reviewed the legal history of the male-only system. Amanda Marcotte fumed over a conservative organization of pro-gun gals while Ackerman profiled the typical American mass murderer. Jacob Sullum parsed a new poll on America’s anti-prohibition majority and readers stayed on top of the unfolding Boy Scouts ban on gay membership. Meanwhile, Laura Seay colored herself unimpressed by the media’s Mali analysis, we worried about the simmering tensions in the China seas, and Eli Valley gave a crash course on real anti-Semitism.

In miscellanea, Mark Oppenheimer mapped his road back to pot smoking now that he’s a father, Eli Lake had second thoughts about his beloved e-cigarettes, and E.D. Hirsch contended that building vocabulary is the key to fostering literary youngsters. We listened to the moving story of a reader who refused to conceal his HIV+ status and assessed Netflix’s business model of instant gratification. Elsewhere, we wondered if algorithms could put fact-checkers out of business and fancied slapping our smartphones onto our wrists.

We showcased anthem for the nutritionally challenged in the MHB, watched the sun come out in Long Beach, California, and made eye-contact with an Israeli boy who breathed behind a gas mask in the Face of the Day.


(By Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images.)

Wednesday on the Dish, Andrew counted up the dividends of reality brought on by Obama’s re-election, and crossed his fingers for a fresh wave of rationality from American right. He scrutinized Obama’s pitiless border policy in his first term, read some unimpressive excerpts from the legal defense of DOMA, and spoke up in defense of public nudity (in San Francisco, mainly.) Elswhere, Andrew sat down to answer reader queries on Dish health care and its relation to the ACA, and thanked subscribers to the new Dish for the $500k received so far (which you can add to here.)

On the political beat, we collected feedback on the economy’s poor showing last quarter, readers reported on the crumbling of the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay membership, and we paid a visit to the pitiful courtroom antics at Guantanamo Bay. We heard some uplifting news about the safety of Mali’s cultural artifacts, while Gordon Adams decried the US military’s new interest in horning in on Africa. Plumer faced the fact that China and India won’t make future climate policy easy, Ramesh called off the conservative offensive on the president, and Goldblog got real about the far right in Israel—very real. Meanwhile, a heretical Free Republic poster earned an Yglesias Award nomination, joining former RNC chair Jim Gilmore.

In assorted coverage, Evelyn Lamb searched for a better way for journos to communicate science and stats, while Priscilla Long provided some on not-so-identical twins and Joseph Stromberg offered some on the relation between depression and homosexuality. Jesse Lichetenstein penned a sprawling portrait of the Post Office, Mike Dash visited the family time forgot, and Alyssa Rosenberg attended Ai Weiwei’s latest show. Jonathan Evans reported on Denmark’s splitting hairs on gender equality, Burton Pike waved goodbye to the days of artful translation and we explored the feelings of helplessness under the flash of cameras.

Readers fileted David Mamet’s latest blathering on gun control, continued to search for an truly internationalist fast food spot, and set off an avalanche of emails on John H. Richardson’s ode to promiscuity. Others pushed back on suspicions about the NFL’s regard for players’ health, while Rhys Southan responded to Dishheads critical of his essay on veganism. We saw a stark white Park Rapids, Minnesota for the VFYW and awed at the movements of starlings in the MHB. A Chicago radio station’s cool ad asked its listeners to go forth and multiply, and we caught a close look at a bubbly clown in the Face of the Day.

Tuesday on the Dish, Andrew declared the status of same sex couples to be an essential part of now-tangible immigration reform. He mulled over Gerald Scarfe’s controversial cartoon on Netanyahu, and demanded that Fox News (and MSNBC) accept the consequences of peddling propaganda. He and Chait rolled their eyes at Free Beacon’s latest nonsensical screed against Chris Hughes and TNR, wished the Palins all the best in the land of political obscurity, and sighed as Tom Tancredo went back on his promise to smoke, and, what’s more, inhale.

In other political coverage, we suspected that immigration reform will do the GOP itself more harm than good: Harry Enten observed that shifting Latino attitudes wouldn’t affect many too swing states, and Pareene measured serious potential for a rightwing revolt agains any reform at all. Debate broke out at The American Conservative over Obama’s foreign policy credentials as Drum summed up the root of the president’s pragmatism abroad. We sifted through the wreckage of Timbuktu’s library, destroyed by the Malian jihadists, Evan Osnos spied a gulag map on Google Maps, and we anticipated the next debate over women in the military.

Elsewhere, Erick Erickson shared some intriguing personal details as he departed CNN, Danny Hayes noted that the media improved its attention span after the Newtown shooting, while Joe Romm called out George Will for once again muddying climate data. We considered the prosecution of juvenile killers, in light of a tale of gruesome homicide, Naomi Rovnick pulled back the curtain on factory audits in China, and Antigua had a shot at sidestepping copyright.

In assorted news and views, Seth Fischer wrote a dispatch from a world of personal trauma, John H. Richardson appointed promiscuity as a new holy virtue, and Daniel Altman refuted Pixar’s vision of the End of History. Readers sounded off on setbacks to their youthful ambition, Wayne Curtis strapped on jackboots for a tutorial on goose-stepping, and we encountered Ed Kilgore’s alter ego, in name only (Andrew’s, too).

Alison Motluck pointed out a snag in the way we practice fertility medicine, Ta-Nehisi pointed to some unsettling facts about the NFL, and we continued to search for a signal on plans for better Amtrak Wifi. We stared out at a white Vista Verde Ranch in Colorado for the VFYW, met an incoming American in the Face of the Day, and set the millennial generation to music in the MHB. Finally, readers managed to spot Winooski, Vermont in the latest VFYW contest (to Andrew’s great delight).


Monday on the Dish, Andrew piled on David Mamet for his veil of ignorance regarding guns, crime and Hobbes. He took the temperature of America’s economy with Bartlett and Collender, sized up Obama’s (mostly) conservative foreign-policy credentials and noticed a Dish shout-out da Italia. Meanwhile, Andrew asked for some transparency from the anti-Hagel crowd, remained diligent in holding Aaron Swartz’s prosecutor accountable, and chuckled at Kinsley’s quips from his new perch at TNR.

In political coverage, we rounded up commentary on the GOP’s immigration strategy, Drum counted the moments left to get it done, and Ezra Klein broke down the politics of the notorious sequester. While Pete Wehner garnered an Yglesias Award nod for his repudiation of Gingrichism, we witnessed the American workday drive down family time. Elsewhere, we continued dissecting poetry in the age of Obama, highlighted a heart-wrenching passage of Aaron Swartz’s tortured writings, and toured the dilapidated streets of Kabul.

In miscellanea, readers revisited the ethics of charging for obituaries, the discontents of Amtrak Wifi, as well as the merits of online dating. Tim Maly explored stealth chic as Heather Horn revealed the age-old jealousy of artistic prodigies. Robert Krulwich measured our lifelines, Brad Leithauser sung the praises of memorizing verse, and David Carr resurrected Kenny in his report on Matt and Trey. While Emily Anthes opposed circumcision of pooches’ tails, Jeb Boniakowski hankered for a more cosmopolitan Big Mac.

We turned on, tuned in, and dropped out with the Beav during the MHB, glanced at a crisp, clear morning in Boston, Massachusetts for the VFYW, and met a Westminster hopeful in the Face of the Day.


Last weekend on the Dish, Andrew talked testosterone, cast a skeptical glance at American interventions abroad, offered an update on the Obama-as-liberal-Reagan thread, ruminated on Christianity’s non-violent core, and reminded readers about the reasons for Dish independence.

We also provided our typical mix of religious, books, and cultural coverage. In matters of faith, doubt, and philosophy, Gary Gutting defended faith without knowledge, Christian Wiman meditated on suffering, and Karen Swallow Prior reframed the debate about the decline of the religious novel. Peter Berger considered the reasons for the culture wars, Morgan Meis complicated what it means to be a Luddite, Alice Gregory panned a new book about friendship, and Lisa Guenther taught Plato to death-row inmates.

In literary and arts coverage, Natalie Shapero turned to Thornton Wilder’s Our Town to understand the writer’s love life, scientists found that we hear even while reading silently, and J.L. Wall feared the death of the bookstore would limit exposure to the classics. An animated grammar lesson taught us about the proper use of possessives, John Walsh argued that the intersection of romance and class distinctions was part of Pride and Prejudice‘s appeal, and Gordon Marsden hailed Burke and Orwell as prophets. Tim Parks made a paradoxical case for the grammar police, Freya Johnston mused on the source of English sadness, and Johnny Cash sang for prison reform. Molly Erman test-drove Instagram as a dating service, John J. Ross recountedthe medical lives of our favorite writers, and Mark O’Connell explored the art of the epic fail. Read Saturday’s poem here and Sunday’s here.

In assorted news and views, Christopher Benfey investigated our complicated relationship to wolves, Nathaniel Rich reported on the physical toll depth-diving takes on humans, and Ed Glaeser outlined the GOP’s urban problem. Christopher Jobson noticed a philanthropic forger, Gary Wills reflected on the self-defeating South, and Jennifer Senior unpacked the science behind high school madness. Melissa Gira Grant tore into our shameful war on prostitution, Steve Martin downplayed the chances of the opium’s resurgence, Soraya Roberts related the difficulties of being a non-drinker, and James Hamblin explained why you might want to skip that nightcap.

FOTD here, MHBs here and here, VFYWs here and here, and the latest window contest here.

– B.J. & M.S.