The Weekly Wrap

Friday on the Dish, Andrew endorsed both Obama’s and Ilya Shapiro’s approaches to marriage equality, wondered why the Voting Rights Act wasn’t left to the legislature, and echoed Kenneth McIntyre’s description of Oakeshott. He agreed with a reader on gluten-free diets as he watched BuzzFeed’s sponsored content spread.

In politics, the sequester struck and the public wearied of war, but Boehner exhibited rare bipartisanship in the House. Beinart mulled over the reasons for Obama’s Israel trip, Jeffrey Goldberg recounted his own Gene Sperling threat, and Arkansas negotiated a new option for the Medicaid expansion, while Chris Soghoian pocketed more information than ever and Yochai Benkler worried for future whistleblowers.

In assorted coverage, we probed the cracks in the arguments in favor of the Keystone pipeline and considered the risks and rewards of cannabis for canines, uChek democratized urinalysis, and Sadie Dingfelder’s Korean spa didn’t quite live up to Andrew’s russian baths experience. Laura Bennet saw unrealized potential in Dan Harmon and Robin Nagle brought san men into the spotlight. Tattoos got a hi-tech upgrade, the Myo amazed, a robotic dog learned to play fetch without threatening workers, and Emily Elert helped firefighters clear the smoke. NFL player Brendan Ayanbadejo spoke out against discrimination wherever it occurred, while a reader added a personal touch on trans surgery insurance and Keith Kloor gave us a green light to dial.

Meanwhile, readers explained why they haven’t yet logged in to the New Dish, defended doctors against Yglesias, and chimed in on advertorials, while Matt Drudge made millions with clearly labeled ads. Smeagol covered Tears for Fears in the MHB, Bloomberg looked on in the FOTD, and the TransAmerica building showed us just the tip in the VFYW.

– D.A.

Rest of the week below the jump.

Pope Benedict XVI Steps Down And Officially Retires From The Papal Office

(Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Thursday on the Dish, Andrew bid a not-so-fond farewell to Benedict XVI and fisked Bob Woodward’s claim of White House intimidation. Amy Davidson analyzed the bottom line for marriage equality while Jesse Green anticipated a wave of same-sex divorces, Erick Erickson reminded conservatives about the basics of reporting, and the Supreme Court entangled privacy advocates in a Catch-22.

As sequestration loomed, Mike Riggs grinned at the possibility of DEA budget cuts and we predicted that the gradual phase-in will slow but not stop growth. We debated whether smart people had “flip-flopped” on the deficit, contemplated the long-term Republican strategy, and Kornacki put Hillary at the head of the 2016 Democratic class. In foreign policy coverage, Douthat found reason for optimism in Rand Paul and we considered America’s next step in Syria in light of restrained interventionism at home.

In assorted new and views, Christina Larson sifted through Chinese secrecy on soil pollution while we struggled to adapt to melting at the poles. Andras Forgacs manufactured meats, 3-d printing redefined the parameters of the gun control debate, and Robin Sloan butted up against online language barriers. Ivory Toldson pulled apart the stats on college-bound black men, Sarah Kendzior worried over the effect of internships and adjunct professorships, Andrew Mason shocked us with his honest resignation, and readers looked for alternative motives in Yahoo!’s ban on working from home. The trans community found a surprising ally in its push for insurance coverage and A. Barton Hinkle condemned cities for being choosers when it came to beggars.

Elsewhere, Benjamin Lennett forecast trouble for Netflix addicts, Keith Ellison expressed ambivalence about deleted scenes, we deconstructed hatred for Anne Hathaway, and watched an audition for Lena Dark Thirty. John Patrick Leary shared tales of untimely doggie deaths, gluten-free diets elicited mixed feelings, and we exposed the sinister side of a sartorial movement. A young pilgrim waved a goodbye to the outgoing pope in the FOTD, drought knocked out a Texas dock in the VFYW, and we gesundheit’d through a super-cut of canine sneezes in the MHB.

Chuck Hagel Begins His Post As Defense Secretary

(By Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Wednesday on the Dish, Andrew welcomed big businesses to the ranks of the marriage equality supporters, raised his eyebrows at news that Benedict will continue to retain his personal secretary even as the latter services the new Pope, and then wondered who would be left at the Conclave if closeted or enabler Cardinals were excluded. Reihan connected the pace of change on the right to the rise of young pundits on the left, Peter Beinart traced the roots of the right’s Hagel hatred to the Dubya era, Frum elucidated his change of heart on marriage equality, and conservative commentators weighed the wisdom of CPAC’s Christie snub. John Cluverius plotted the popularity of government policy, Kent Sepkowitz felt ill over the possibility of sequester cuts to immunizations, and Freddie deBoer was unsatisfied with Sully’s defense of Saletan.

Looking abroad, Jonathan Katz calculated a way to compensate Haitians infected by UN peacekeepers, Naunihal Singh predicted that the next Pope will be an African, and Italian blogger Beppe Grillo threw a wrench into Italian politics. In cannabis coverage, we pondered the forthcoming regulatory framework for marijuana, Robert Frichtel worried about potency, and John Schwartz called for more research on potential health benefits.

In assorted coverage, Alex Knapp ushered in the post-piracy era, rom-coms turned inward, Rebecca Makkai unknowingly committed identity theft, and Sara Naomi Lewkowicz documented domestic abuse. David Roberts heralded the rise of decentralized power systems, Cheryl Katz dredged up some innovative flood management in the Netherlands, and Lucy Weltner questioned environmental vigilantism. The Harvard Grant Study highlighted the importance of intimacy, winning lost out to sportsmanship, and readers debated grocery store layouts while we worked through the work-from-home debate. Hans Rosling illustrated worldwide demographic convergence and Samuel Arbesman found computers that make geniuses look dumb. We pulled a cool ad out of thick air, frolicked through fallen leaves in the MHB, caught a glimpse of a former Cardinal in the FOTD, and enjoyed a seaside sunset in the VFYW.


Tuesday on the Dish, Andrew marked more signs of progress on the Right and found a silver lining in the ridiculousness of the sequester. Later, he demanded transparency on targeted assassinations and processed an historic Republican breakthrough on marriage equality.

In political news and views, we considered the impact of Senator Cruz, debated the pain of the sequester, and ideas actually mattered in 2012. In health care coverage, Yglesias focused on the impact of doctor salaries on costs. We forecast the effects of changing weather on work, Douthat fretted over the demographic profile of those dropping out of the workforce, and Yahoo! terminated telecommuting. Abroad, Italy voted for “Ingovernability” in their recent election.

In assorted coverage, Gabe Habash gawked at Matt Kahn’s reading list and Amber Forcey rejected self-righteous nostalgia. Jen Doll dove into the craaaaaazy language of Twitter, Erica Westly explored her fascination with outsourced paperwork, and a reader drew parallels between BuzzFeed and Politico. William Deresiewicz celebrated the timelessness of good food, J-P Metsavainio brought nebulas down to earth, and Thomas Dixon cast a critical eye over theories on tears. A reader pointed to a Portuguese middle-ground in bullfighting, Ambers corrected Glenn Beck on the party of pro wrestling, Laurie Santos and Jesse Bering discussed disgust and sex, readers chimed in on the merits of live music, and two Michelles had a dance-off.

Garance Franke-Ruta meditated on the ups and downs of an activist youth while we mourned the passing of an evangelical Surgeon General who refused to let faith trump science and navigated the tensions of faith, and . We revealed the home of the Rodeway Inn in this week’s VFYW contest, breezed through the Caribbean in the VFYW, de-memed the Harlem Shake in the MHB, and Marine recruits prepped for a test in our FOTD.

The Pope Attends His Final Angelus Prayers Before His Retirement

(By Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Monday on the Dish, Andrew mulled over legalized prostitution, hoped for a new era to emerge from the coming Papal Conclave, and updated readers on the status of the New Dish. He glimpsed the new generation of Journalism in Steve Brill’s health care essay and shook his head at the Republican management of the sequester.

In political coverage, we looked ahead to the fallout from the sequester and Josh Barro laid the blame for epistemic closure at the door of Republican think tanks. Felix Salmon was skeptical that the BuzzFeed model could scale, Jonah Peretti described the advertorial strategy while employees Jeff Greenspan and Mike Lacher aimed for ads that feel like editorials, and readers saw little to worry about. Overseas, Gianluigi Nuzzi wondered at tales of unquestioned cruelty from the Vatican.

In assorted coverage, Seth MacFarlane’s manatees failed to impress on Oscar night, Stefan Kanfer rebelled against recorded music, and Scott Adams bulked up with video games. Simon Park made us squirm at the thought of getting calls on our cells, Joshua Topolsky got an early glimpse at Google Glass, and France was unafraid of the dark. Eric Nusbaum weighed a bull’s cushy life against a grisly death, James Surowiecki dug into the black betting economy in American sports, and Howard Megdal noted parallels between Lena Dunham and Philip Roth.

Elsewhere, Gregory McNamee mapped out the grocery store while Nicola Twilley revealed rampant genetic modification in the produce aisle, Adam Clark Estes wasted nothing in addressing the food shortage, and Marlene Zuk pushed back against paleo nostalgia. Wayne Curtis recalled the golden age of the USPS, Jennifer Kabat exposed the perils of making snow, Beth Skwarecki couldn’t explain birth rate patterns, Shane Koyczan illustrated the haunting effects of bullying, and Amanda Marcotte debunked the myth of chatty women. FLOTUS busted a move in the MHB, we recognized the distant Rockies in the VFYW, and shared the sorrow of a mother mourning her child in the FOTD.

Last weekend on the Dish, Andrew continued to think through Buzzfeed’s “sponsored content” model for online ads, pointed to an incisive comment on the issue from Kevin Drum, briefly riffed on the Atlantic’s new guidelines for native ads, offered a theological critique of Zero Dark Thirty, and noted what’s different this time about who will be selecting the next Pope (and if you’d like to be Pope, here’s some helpful tips). We also provided some helpful background to this year’s Oscars here, here, and here.

There was a lot of sex and drugs on the Dish this weekend, too. Connor Habib wondered what drives gay porn starts to take their own lives, Jon Millward combed the archives of the Internet Adult Film Database, Melissa Gira Grant revealed America’s pioneer prostitutes, and Margaret Hartmann looked at a rash of sexting cases among FBI employees. Ned Beauman surveyed the online recreational drug marketplace, Robert Morrison credited Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater for making drug culture highbrow, and Miles Klee considered accidental and involuntary highs.

We also offered our usual eclectic mix of religious, books, and cultural coverage as well. In matters of faith, doubt, and philosophy, Will McDavid mused on the relationship between love and justice in the work of Andre Dubus, Bill Vallicella unpacked Simone Weil’s understanding of God, Richard Holloway grappled with political theorist John Gray’s vision of life without redemption, and Irene Klotz reported on what the Higgs boson particle might teach us about the lifespan of the universe. Kevin Hartnett asked which religions are the most chaste, Giles Fraser contemplated the right way to pray, and Adam Kirsch reviewed the place of anti-Judaism in western thought and culture.

In literary coverage, Jeannette Winterson praised Virginia Woolfe’s Orlando, Michael W. Clune explored the artist’s impulse to overcome time’s defeat of novelty, Alexander Nazaryan pushed back against literary sprawl, and Juliet Escoria realized she’d never be a novelist. Andrew Gallix pondered the purpose of intentionally difficult books, Michael Bourne uncovered the core of Truman Capote, Adam Kirsch tackled contemporary essayists, and Sean Wilentz deconstructed Oliver Stone’s revisionist take on American history. Read Saturday’s poem here and Sunday’s here.

The Economist investigated social networking data getting factored into credit scores here. Your weekend dose of really gay here and the latest viral dance meme here. MHBs here and here, FOTDs here and here, VFYWs here and here, and the latest window contest here.

– D.A. and M.S.