Friday on the Dish, Andrew cheered Portman’s reversal on marriage equality as change accelerated, assessed the accuracy of House of Cards, and was wowed by Francis’ humility, which reflected the best of Catholicism. In political coverage, Portman blurred the line between the personal and the political on marriage equality, which put opponents in a tough spot. We criticized America for failing to adequately care for the troops as sequestration put defense spending on the chopping block. Hillary sprinted to an early lead in the 2016 polling, Nate Cohn shrugged at Obama’s ratings slip, CPAC’s diversity disappointed, and a tortured priest reconciled with the Pope.
In assorted news and views, readers jumped in to defend Amazon, clarified the details of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign, and enlightened us on solar energy. As the slow decline of RSS continued, we wondered what Google product would jettison next, and Zachary Seward considered the effect on dissidents in Iran and China. Science shattered our hopes for a real-life Jurassic Park, psuedoscientific paleo diets still worked to shed pounds, Dr. Leslie Kernisan prescribed downloads, and we charted 20th century causes of death.
Meanwhile, Drezner explained international politics through Girls, Evan Soltas worked out the reasons people are working later in life and Americans multitasked on the road. Newspapers found their calling, Tom Vanderbilt picked apart the legend of the perfect lock, and even the CIA couldn’t train cats. Gotye got the Gollum treatment in the MHB while the US banned frequent contributor Pogo, we checked in on CPAC in the FOTD, and jumped across the pond in the VFYW.
The rest of the week below the jump.
By STR/AFP/Getty Images
Thursday on the Dish, Andrew hoped for strong leadership from a concise Pope of the Assisi tradition, but grew uneasy at his disputed role in 1970’s Argentina and his pending court appearance. To relax, he meditated by playing Angry Birds (but won’t watch the show).
In politics, Obama’s approval returned to pre-election levels, Noam Scheiber tired of Paul Ryan’s games, and Boehner risked Hannity’s wrath over Obamacare. Blackwater extended the CIA’s reach beyond the rule of law, IEDs migrated into Syria, Tik Root mourned teens executed in Yemen, and Ambers found drones to be the best of our bad options. On Pope Francis’ first full day, we corrected the record and struggled for clarity regarding his ties to the Junta, and hoped that his background would make a good recession Pope. While Garry Wills revealed that he might bring the clergy down to earth, readers threw in their views and the Daily Mail quarreled with his stance on the Falklands.
Elsewhere around the web, World’s Best Dad reprogrammed a Princess to be the Heroine, Google relegated Reader to the dustbin, new technologies paved the way for more solar power, and Bas Van Abel designed a conflict-free phone. The Onion spoiled the next episode of Girls and Kickstart got a producer credit in the Veronica Mars movie, but that may not have been a good thing. The Atlantic spouted management-speak, Christian Caryl shone a light on the worst parts of the Malaysian sponsored content scandal, and the library went underground.
Lydia DePillis worried about the future of NOLA’s 9th district, Dana Becker encouraged readers to release their stress, and Rhys Southan chose suffering over eternal sleep. Yglesias advised low-income students to aim high in their college applications, readers added another layer to the debate on racism and made the case against civil polygamy. The Pet Shop Boys gave us more than we deserve while Dr. Andy Hildebrand defended auto-tune. A Guatemalan peak filled the VFYW, Pogo remixed Kenya in the MHB, and a mustache froze in the FOTD.
By L’Osservatore Romano/Getty Images
Wednesday on the Dish, Andrew greeted the new Pope in real time, and looked forward to seeing his marriage equality learning curve. At home, he flunked Paul Ryan’s budget, called out Republicans for taking obstructionism too far, and knew hope for marijuana legalization as a result of the progress on marriage equality, which continued its advancement down under. Elsewhere, he drew parallels between anti-semitism and homophobia and protested comparisons to Stalin or Hitler.
In politics, we wearied of Paul Ryan’s schtick as Derek Thompson broke down his budget, Kevin McCarthy took points off for Obama’s professorial attitude, and Rand Paul hearkened back to the “big tent” days of the GOP. Max Fisher noted ambiguity in the UN report on a murdered Gaza child, the Falklands opted to stay British. As the Conclave ended, Philip Ball cleared up the Vatican’s smoke coloring as we pulled back the curtain on the seconds before the announcement and rounded up Twitter’s reactions. Meanwhile, Garry Wills looked forward to a Pope who was “ordinary and ignorable” and Massimo Gatto deconstructed the Pope Emeritus’ ruby slippers.
In assorted coverage, Anna Clarke uncovered USPS-enabled discrimination, Robin Hanson lost sleep over couples’ bed arrangements, and Rebecca Willis blacklisted Manet from being an Impressionist. Judy Stone disputed the rationale behind employer drug tests and the drug war slowed, while Ben Goldacre pulled back the curtain on publication bias in pharmaceutical studies. Dr. Suess sucked on the silver screen, Margaret Talbot found practical advice for the trans population on YouTube, and video sites tested out some new revenue models.
We deliberated over juror questions, readers fleshed out the debate on the origins of racism, the UFC fought homophobia, and the internet revealed its charitable side. SubPop held auditions to complete the Postal Service, the VFYW looked down on Hong Kong and we listened in on the Pope’s first address in the FOTD.
Tuesday on the Dish, Andrew pushed neocons to the fringes of the Republican party, expressed his ambivalence about the Rand-Rush alliance, grimaced at Beltway clubbiness, As the Conclave began, he held on to hope for the future of the Papacy despite the lack of diversity among the Curia and chuckled at news of the Vatican’s bathhouse. Meanwhile, he responded to more reader comments on the Iraq War and unpacked another fallacy in his own support.
In the political realm, the courts iced Bloomberg’s soda ban, we negotiated NIMBY-ism for nuclear waste, and a small minority actually watched partisan cable news. Overseas, North Korea rattled the saber, as the Chinese rushed to censor Weibo and subsidized the arts.
Elsewhere on the web, a reader ran down the arguments against our using Amazon’s Affiliate program, Bruce Bartlett explained why the gains at the top haven’t been trickling down, and companies hired robot surrogates. Palin took up arms for Christmas, SXSW jumped the shark, sanitation workers kept us healthy, and we dissected the history of heart surgery procedures. Patrick Kurp grew nostalgic with age, Ian Stansel distinguished between suburbia and the suburbs, and leisure activities went longform. The fan fiction audience held no surprises, author “Acknowledgments” were either displays of gratitude or gratuitousness, and Bob Woodward penned a tone-deaf biography of John Belushi.
Autumn Whitefield-Madrano took pride in her self-care, we were traumatized by Q-tips on Girls, and the EU sought gender equality through banning porn. As an adult film actress prepped for filming in the FOTD, we featured a Sacramento Stonehenge in the weekly VFYW contest, snow fell on Flagstaff in the VFYW, and penguins tripped their way through the MHB.
Monday on the Dish, Andrew contemplated sequestration’s effect on military spending, absolved Israeli forces in the death of a Gaza child, and criticized the worldwide governmental inaction on climate. Elsewhere, he disagreed with TNC on the provenance of racism, cheered Shafer’s take on advertorials while Orwell described them perfectly, solicited the next round of “Ask Andrew Anything” questions.
In political coverage, Paul Ryan selectively accounted for the cost of Obamacare as Justin Green predicted a missed opportunity and we balanced Social Security against Medicare. Kevin Bullis highlighted the greener side of fracking and troubles in the Chinese solar market threatened American installations. Pete Wehner assigned Reagan to the RINO camp, Peter Beinart declared the Bush 2016 campaign DOA, and Rand Paul’s influence rippled outward. While Obama obscured more from the public eye, Hamas and Morsi exasperated each other, and the Guardian traced the history of some haunting images out of Syria.
In assorted coverage, The Economist audited the internet, Frank Abagnale described how modern technology would make him harder to catch, Tim De Chant saw dark clouds on the horizon for US satellites, and Evgeny Morozov explored ethical designs. Nick Holdstock weighed the merging of games and the news, Gregory Ferenstein slimmed down by standing up, and SCOTUS dissected the property rights for GMO seeds. Rachel Kolb filled in the gaps on lip-reading, monsters were nowhere to be found on ancient maps, David Leventi found beauty in dark places, and David Sessions blamed the French’s poor English on Hollywood.
Meanwhile, readers contributed their thoughts on what’s in a name, and argued against polyamory with John Corvino piling on. Garance Franke-Ruta brought Columbia back into the spotlight, women watched from outside the Conclave. Hindus in Indonesia prepared for the Day of Silence in our FOTD, a dance lesson solved racism in the MHB, the SoCal sun peeked through the clouds in the VFYW.
Detail of Piero della Francesca’s “Virgin and Child Enthroned with Four Angels”
Last weekend on the Dish, we provided our usual eclectic coverage of religious, books, and cultural coverage. In matter of faith, doubt, and philosophy, Conor Williams pondered the miracles that come from love, J.L. Wall examined an exception to the decline of the religious novel, and Kerry Howley imagined a conversation between Schopenhauer and Joel Osteen. Christian Wiman ruminated on the parables of Jesus, Jerry Saltz praised Piero della Francesca’s artistic vision, and Stefany Anne Golberg visited the Shaker Heritage Society in New York. Alan Jacobs remembered Walker Percy’s Lost in the Cosmos, readers debated arguments against polygamy, Robert Zarestksy argued that Isaiah Berlin thought like a fox, and Kiley Hamlin asked why we judge each other.
In literary coverage, W.H. Auden critiqued the gluttony of reading, Amit Majmudar found that contemporary fiction fears sentimentality, and John Fram described writing a bad book for money. John Jeremiah Sullivan movingly recalled his father’s love, Jason Resnikoff traced the evolution of the word “indescribable,” and Carmel Lobello provided a Scrabble player’s dream. Claire Barliant highlighted a library of unborrowed books, Cynthia L. Haven explored how Polish-born poet Czesław Miłosz’s became a Californian, and Mark Levine mused on what former Poet Laureate Philip Levine was like in the seminar room. Mark Oppenheimer gave tips on freelancing in the digital age, Julian Baggini held that encyclopedias always were relics, and Simon Akam mourned the distinctly American transformation of a butchered pun. Read Saturday’s poem here and Sunday’s here.
In assorted news and views, Maggie Koerth-Baker compared gun violence to climate change, Marc Tracy showed where Moneyball is bankrupt, and Chip Scanlan emphasized the power of silence for journalists conducting interviews. There proved to be an app for STD diagnosis, Conner Habib critiqued Alain de Botton’s views on sex, and Rose Surnow detailed the market for paying for cuddling. Marina Galperina gazed at webcam performers who pose like they’re in a classic work of art, Niall Connolly delved into the history and enduring popularity of “voguing,” Tom Junod looked back at Dazed and Confused, and Megan Garber cast a light on moon towers.
– M.S and D.A.