The Weekly Wrap


(New York, New York, 5.19 pm)

Friday on the Dish, Andrew read trouble for the GOP in the sequester tea leaves, probed the cracks in the wall of lies surrounding torture, and respected Will Saletan’s ability to admit when he was wrong. He recapped his passionate debate with Ben Smith of BuzzFeed, clarified the distinction between journalism and ad copy, and rounded up tweets from the audience. Finally, he weighed reader responses to his views on NYC.

In the political realm, Lyle Denniston weighed the risks of the Olson-Boies brief and Joel Kotkin and Harry Siegel worried over delaying entitlement reform. Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Avik Roy suggested reforms to Obamacare, Jane Mayer uncovered the next McCarthy, and we debated the competitiveness of the 2012 Republican field. We found an unlikely ally for climate change policy, Jeremy Paxman blasted the BBC’s handling of the Jimmy Savile investigation, and Jacob Sullum reviewed pot shop protocol in Colorado. Charles Murray questioned the benefits of government-run preschool, Seth Goldman recognized northern qualities in the South’s success, and La Repubblica reported early rumblings about a gay faction at the Vatican.

In assorted coverage, Alex Knapp turned away from thermometers to strengthen the argument for climate change while predators reduced carbon emissions, and Estonia’s roads went electric. Jay Pinho dissected the new Dish “Read Ons”, Videogamer narrated the PS4 launch, and terror cells tweeted. John Maier served up a cold pint of beard, Chinese shoppers browsed vacant lots, and we considered whether Netflix’s House of Cards would fall.

Elsewhere, Eric Hoover reworked college rankings while we penned the perfect personal statement. Christopher Banfrey scraped together the history of the scrapbook, Thomas Hackett found an Oscar nominee patronizing, and Scott Adams warned us about passionate borrowers while Jesse Walker celebrated the diversity of survivalists. We mashed up movie madness in the MHB, got mocked by Irish dancers in the FOTD, and witnessed both serene and terrifying effects of Winter Storm Q in Kansas in the VFYWs.


The rest of the week after the jump:

Thursday on the Dish, Andrew questioned whether a focus on continued growth can truly make us happy, reminded the Breitbart crew that reality always wins, wondered if Republicans will be able to move past neoconservatism, and cheered Zack Kopplin for standing up to Christianists in the South. In lighter fare, he recounted his run-ins with New York Shitty barbers, groaned at the places people miss connections, challenged readers to identify the sponsored Buzzfeed article, and empathized with Lena Dunham over the bizarreness of sex.

In political news, we tempered enthusiasm about the intellectual changes on the Right and started speculating about the 2014 midterm elections. Florida governor Rick Scott bucked the trend on Medicaid expansion while we pondered the Swiss healthcare model. Jon Huntsman earned an Yglesias for his evolution on marriage, Spencer Woodman worried that a minimum wage hike won’t solve problems with wage theft, Goldblog noted Ben Shapiro’s fascism, and George Galloway showed his lack of respect for free speech.

In assorted coverage, Chinese officials engaged in paranoid displays of affection but were not the first ones to censor American films, and Ben Schiller dispatched Twitter to the sites of natural disasters. We peered into the future of Heads-Up Displays and Amazon was unfazed by all types of beachside husbands. Banksy resisted fitting in to the capitalist machine, employees of marijuana dispensaries organized, and rappers promoted justice over criminality.

Elsewhere, Richard Cottrell dug up reasons archives are often ignored, Rachel Yoder witnessed the decline of Amish romance novels, one of W.H. Auden’s former students remembered but still couldn’t understand Milton’s poetry, and we reviewed the motive behind Beyoncé’s biopic. Dr. Mark Taubert contemplated blogging as palliative care, Derek Beres got fed up with perpetual spiritual healing, while Stanley Cavell reached clarity through doubt. We gazed out onto a fog-shrouded California hillside in today’s VFYW, stop-motion shredded through the MHB, and shared in a West Ham haircut in the FOTD.


(Banaras Khan/AFP/Getty Images)

Wednesday on the Dish, Andrew cautiously ushered in a new season of sanity on the right, explained the Dish Model to Planet Money and the NYT, and contemplated the rigors of an overly-public life in the context of the British royal family. In our continuing “Sully and Hitch After Dark” series, the conversation turned to fundamentalists and the compulsory nature of religion.

Meanwhile, Matt Duss relayed the latest McCarthyite attacks on Hagel, and Rich Lowry issued a mea culpa while others remained silent, and Dan Friedman revealed that he had accidentally started the “Friends of Hamas” rumor mill to begin with. Frum shot down a claim about the rarity of gun accidents, Jack Shafer called for a smarter debate over infrastructure spending, Dolan gave a deposition, and George Packer pinned the blame for Walmart’s recent struggles on the payroll tax. We dug into the GOP’s attempts to saddle Obama with the sequester, projected the winners and losers when Americans start to feel its effects, weighed the influence of region on economic development, and put Rubio’s appeal to Hispanics in context. Looking abroad, we wondered if the Saudis would be next to go nuclear, dove into the details on China’s recent cyberattacks, and witnessed how sectarian violence in Pakistan led to some heartbreaking protests.

In assorted coverage, Alain de Botton explored the overlap between revolting and erotic, Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellarman decided to brazenly split their infinitives, readers debated the eating of horse meat, and we walked the line between ethics and insult on journalist gifts. Linda Besner delivered a verdict on the chicken-egg debate, Carl Zimmer found hope for sufferers of brain disease, and Ackerman cast light on the next generation of camouflage. Will Hermes interviewed a “Prince” of the indie music scene, Tom Jokinen revealed the top pick in the corpse draft, Daniel Burke profiled the antichrist throughout history, SNL previewed Djesus Uncrossed, and the Daily Mail claimed that beards lengthen lifespans.

In entertainment coverage, Movie theaters rolled out upscale offerings to compete with the couch, Ken Auletta heralded the demise of TV antennas, pay-per-view knocked boxing out of the mainstream, and a reader marveled at her 4 year-old daughter’s ability to understand COPS. Pizza stole the scene in the MHB, Arkansas froze over in our VFYW, and a panda panted for our FOTD.

Obama Urges Congress To Act To Avoid Impending Automatic Budget Cuts

(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Tuesday on the Dish, Andrew urged conservatives to be responsible stewards for a society disrupted by the march of capitalism. While he applauded Jane Mayer for distinguishing between targeted killings and torture, he went after Obama for eroding that distinction through his inaction over war crimes under Bush. Andrew also agreed with Tomasky that the Republicans are setting themselves up for a “meep-meep” moment on the sequester before checking in on the marriage equality debate in Illinois.

In other political coverage, Simpson-Bowles showed signs of a resurgence, McCain’s douchiness held up Hagel, Frum suggested a surgeon general’s report on gun safety, and a reader reported on federal obstruction of environmental guidelines for pot. Travis Waldron poked holes in Marsha Blackburn’s argument on the minimum wage as Friedersdorf detailed the sexist history behind the policy. The Feds shouldered the load on the healthcare exchanges while Yglesias and Frakt pondered costs and benefits and smokers paid extra. On the papal beat, John Allen Jr. struggled to handicap the coming conclave while Buzzfeed listicle’d Benedict’s glam.

In assorted coverage, Harry Enten debunked the myth of the liberal youth, Ponnuru went tote-to-tote with San Francisco on the plastic bag ban, and gerrymandering may not have mattered in the last election. Benjamin Lessing struggled with the paradoxes of punishing prison gangs, Jamaal Glenn felt constrained by mailing addresses, and Bill Cunningham engaged in covert activism against homophobia. StatsBee mapped out the best places for New Yorkers to get their caffeine fix, Michael Dempster partnered up for the health benefits, and Katherine Bouton navigated hearing loss in the workplace. Mark Linsenmayer waxed philosophical about Groundhog Day, movie theaters rolled out upscale offerings to compete with the couch, and Margaret Heidenry speculated about a resurgence of “spec” scripts.

Elsewhere, Nathan Rabin tried to reclaim country from rednecks, Natalie Shapero revealed how turn-of-the century fictional lie detectors foretold a rethinking of criminality, and Montaigne distinguished “blameless” sneezes from other bodily emissions. On the science side of things, Daniel Engber wondered at the preservation techniques behind Body Worlds, and Dr. Bong Wei endorsed the Armageddon defense against meteors. We set a new standard of adorable in the MHB, traveled from China to Indiana before landing in Cairo for the VFYW contest, got a dose of metal and glass in today’s VFYW, and gazed at a creepy doll in the FOTD.

Over 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.

Poseur alert here, MHBs here, here, and here, FOTDs here, here, and here, VFYWs here, here, and here, and the latest window contest here.

– D.A. and M.S.