This weekend on the Dish, Andrew marveled at Pope Francis’s first press conference, shared the latest installment of his debate with Hitch, asked if Krauthammer would offer a retraction, noted an egregious example of Instapundit’s use of sponsored content, and pondered the latest in Obama’s drone strategy.
We also provided our usual eclectic mix of religious, books, and cultural coverage. In matters of faith, doubt, and philosophy, Andrew Byers sought a more substantive spirituality, Adam Kirsch traced the invention of religion, and Rachel Aviv remembered when the gods fell silent. A.N. Wilson noted C.S. Lewis’s kinky side, Sam Tanenhaus profiled the controversial Catholic Garry Wills, and Marcus Mumford expressed ambivalence about the label “Christian.” The Pilgrims proved to be fond alcohol, Giles Fraser unpacked the secularized Christian assumptions behind the belief in progress, and Ed Voves highlighted the spiritual side of the Pre-Raphaelite painters. Theodore Dalrymple categorized the varieties of pessimism, Stephen Asma defended favoritism, and David P. Barash outlined the convergences between evolutionary biology and existentialist philosophy.
In literary coverage, Tocqueville became a surprise bestseller in China, Justin E.H. Smith praised George Saunders’s distinctly American idiom, and Andrea Barrett mused on the way writers don’t feel at ease in the world. Francine Prose rejected her 7th grade teacher’s writing advice, Alexis Coe looked at Virginia Woolf’s tumultuous relationship with her servant, and Sara Davis ruminated on how we portray death’s inevitability. Read Saturday’s poem here and Sunday’s here.
In assorted news and views, a reader sounded off on corporate feminism and the class divide, Evan Soltas described the graying of the workforce, and Jordan Weissmann wondered why private colleges need public money. Tessa Johnson revisited the first commonly prescribed tranquilizer, Christopher Ryan painted a dark picture of the future of human sexuality, and an adult film star gathered data about orgasms. Katie Arnoldi continued the conversation about cannabis not being so green, Matthew Power investigated the urban explorer movement, and Alex Cornell mapped ideal seating arrangements for dinner guests. MHBs here and here, FOTDs here and here, VFYWs here and here, and the latest window contest here.
(Photo: A detail of the shoes of newly elected Pope Francis as he attends his first audience with journalists and media inside the Paul VI hall on March 16, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. The pope thanked the media for their coverage during the historic transition of the papacy and explained his vision of the future for the Catholic Church. By Franco Origlia/Getty Images.)