The Weekend Wrap


by Matthew Sitman

This weekend on the Dish, Andrew took us on a stroll through Rasmussen-Land, contemplated an Obama landslide, noted that Fox News went there with Gabby, reminded us not to take VP advice from Bill Kristol, and wondered who would want the number-two job anyway. In Olympics news, Louis Menand pondered the cultural significance of the Games and we continued asking questions about their relationship to nationalism.

Literary and philosophical coverage abounded. Sean Wilentz considered the artist's role in politics, Elain Scarry argued for literature's ethical power, William Sieghart examined the consolations of poetry, Jamie James explored the connection between poetry and magic in Yeats' work, Sarah Rich asked where Sherlock got his hat, and Joyce Carol Oates held that Dickens was the most English of English novelists. Jim Holt told us who was his favorite philosopher, Ira Brent Diggers praised N.T. Wright's theology of engagement, and Adam Frank turned to Walker Percy to find out why we're lost in the cosmos. Read Saturday's poem here and Sunday's here.

In assorted coverage, Robert Rosenberger investigated how technology changes writing and Jay Rosen revisted what he thought of Wikileaks. Roger Ebert questioned the lack of contemporary additions to a recent greatest films list and Andrew O'Hehir applauded the subdued coverage of Larry Wachowski's transition to Lana. William Davidow searched history for the meaning of our dependence on tools, Joshua Yates inquired about the sustainability movement's sustainability, Nicole Pisulka profiled the man behind funeral home music, Tom Freston met General Butt Naked, Heather Havrilesky applauded TV characters moving beyond the typical tropes, and Doerte Bemme and Nicole D'souza showed the difficulty of diagnosing mental health problems in the developing world.

And of course, what would the weekend be without thinking about our vices? Cigarettes remained our most addictive drug and our assumptions about how best to serve wine got muddled. Check out our FOTDs here and here, MHBs here and here, VFYWs here and here, and the latest window contest here.

(Photo: Puerto Rican Tody (Todus mexicanus), 2009, courtesy of Todd R. Forsgren)