This President’s Day weekend, Andrew ruminated on women’s role in the Church, pondered Benedict’s radical resignation, gave the reasons why Hagel matters, commented on Gallup’s news that TGBQLXs number 3.5 percent of the population, riffed on Orwell, spotted a Platonic Kaus-file, noticed Ponnuru channeling the Dish, kept asking where Barack Obama has gone on torture, and lamented the death of a mighty beard.
We also provided our usual eclectic mix of religious, cultural, and books coverage. In matters of faith, doubt, and philosophy, La Stampa found another possible clue to the Pope’s abdication, reports indicated Benedict will receive immunity by staying in the Vatican, Cardinal Mahoney lauded his own humility, Gregory Burke thought the Vatican needed its own Roger Ailes, and The Economist broke down the languages used by Catholics around the world. Peter Leithart decided to laugh through Lent while Melissa Steffen detailed what Twitter indicated we’re giving for the liturgical season. Joshua Knobe asked Ara Norenzayan if atheists should come out of the closet, Ian McEwan admitted he’s doubted the God of fiction, and Matthew Linder leveled a Christian critique of the modern cult of romance. Raymond Tallis explored the philosophy of psychedelics, Isaiah Berlin considered Machiavelli and the modern mind, and Alva Noë emphasized nature’s unknown unknowns.
In literary coverage, Avi Steinberg continued the conversation about advice to young writers, Alan Jacobs provided further reflections on editing the greats, and Hillary Kelly wasn’t satisified with book recommendations from Amazon, GoodReads, and Bookish. Alastair Fowler reviewed why Thomas Wyatt mattered for English literary history, Elizabeth Powers turned her attention to Oscar Wilde’s wife, Kate Bolick praised Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sexually empowered poetry, Carolyn Kormann celebrated the erotic poetry of John Donne, and Benjamin Nugent explored recent fiction’s Theory-laden language of love. Michael David Lukas welcomed the return of the polyphonic novel, Susan Orlean shared her favorite aspect of writing, Ed Smith took issue with Orwell on language and sincerity, and Seamus Heaney stayed true to his roots. Read Saturday’s poem here, Sunday’s here, and Monday’s here.
In assorted news and views, Chloe Angyal found that a dwindling number of women keep their maiden names, Rob Horning feared that Internet dating sites trivialize love, John Del Signore examined the geography of sex in New York City, and Rex Teixeira tackled prescriptions to increase America’s fertility rate. Mark Boal consulted John Brennan while writing Zero Dark Thirty, Forrest Wickman laid out the etymology of “motherfucker,” Roger Ebert revealed his Oscar predictions, and Hunter Oatman-Stanford unraveled the mystery of Bill Cosby’s sweaters. A professional soccer player came out of the closet, Adrien Chen appraised the state of online friend-finding, and Andy Cush noted a new project that catalogues our gadget habits. David Banks and Nathan Jurgenson analyzed the rise of “dashcams” in Russia, our defenses against meteors proved almost non-existent, and Scott Shackford rejected the argument for government intervention against violent video games. Scientists missed the 300-pound gorilla, Colors Magazine highlighted a fascinating story and slideshow about hair shaving in India, Steven Leckart reported on cold temperatures impact on weight-loss, and Kevin Lincoln profiled Ken Jennings of “Jeopardy” fame. Jen Rubin doubled-down against Hagel, Chris Dixon met the Big Iron Man, The Economist looked at investors trying to cash in on pot, and Vaughan Bell analyzed a recent study examining the chemicals in synthetic drugs.