THE SPHINX POINTS A FINGER
Trumpâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s royal adventure
Explaining race to her white kids
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Taking UFOs seriously Why the Pentagon is urging pilots to report their close encounters p.16
JUNE 14, 2019 VOLUME 19 ISSUE 928 ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS
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Editor’s letter Imagine having your life defined by the worst five seconds you ever experienced. Such was the fate of baseball player Bill Buckner, who died last week. (See Obituaries.) Over 22 seasons, Buckner was a superb hitter, banging out 2,715 hits and winning a batting title. But in the sixth game of the 1986 World Series, when the 36-year-old Buckner—hobbled by bum ankles and knees—was playing first base for the Boston Red Sox, a weak ground ball off the bat of the New York Mets’ Mookie Wilson dribbled through Buckner’s legs, completing a stunning Mets comeback victory. The deflated Sox went on to lose Game 7. Frustrated Sox fans—who hadn’t won a Series in 68 years— made Buckner the scapegoat for years afterward. So relentless were the taunting reminders of that muffed grounder that Buckner eventually moved from New England to Idaho to find some peace. His family, he said, “didn’t like to see how people were treating me.”
I met Buckner a decade after the ‘86 Series, while reporting a newspaper story on Michael Jordan’s attempt to play minor league baseball. Buckner by then had become a hitting instructor, and I found him studying Jordan’s form in the batting cage before a game. When I introduced myself as a reporter from New York, Buckner stiffened. I briefly glimpsed old hurt in his eyes, which quickly became hard and challenging. He relaxed a bit when I asked him about Jordan’s hitting, but he was glad to see me go. Fast forward another decade to 2008, to the day Buckner was invited back to Fenway Park for a celebration of the Sox’s 2007 championship. When he walked to the mound to throw out the game’s first pitch, the fans and players gave him a two-minute standing ovation. Buckner’s eyes grew wet. “Glad I came,” he said. They’d forgiven him; he’d forgiven them. May we all find such redemption someday, however William Falk Editor-in-chief small or large our sins might be.
NEWS 4 Main stories Trump’s threat to slap tariffs on Mexico; the president’s U.K. trip; Robert Mueller ﬁnally speaks in public 6
Controversy of the week Should Democrats start impeachment proceedings against Trump?
The U.S. at a glance A mass shooting in Virginia Beach; new 2020 census revelations
The world at a glance Steve Bannon loses his “gladiator school”; deadly trafﬁc jams on Everest
Managing editors: Theunis Bates, Mark Gimein Deputy editor/International: Susan Caskie Deputy editor/Arts: Chris Mitchell Senior editors: Alex Dalenberg, Danny Funt, Michael Jaccarino, Dale Obbie, Zach Schonbrun, Hallie Stiller Art director: Dan Josephs Photo editor: Loren Talbot Copy editors: Jane A. Halsey, Jay Wilkins Researchers: Joyce Chu, Alisa Partlan Contributing editors: Ryan Devlin, Bruno Maddox
Queen Elizabeth II and President Trump in London (pages 5, 14)
10 People Wanda Sykes on raising white children; Seth Rogen’s stoner work ethic
22 Books A gritty new account of the American Revolution
11 Briefing How Beijing is trying to crush Hong Kong’s prodemocracy movement
23 Author of the week James Ellroy’s lifelong struggle with his demons
12 Best U.S. columns Sen. Mitch McConnell’s cynicism; right-wing populism is here to stay 15 Best international columns Israel prepares for a bitter do-over election
Editor-in-chief: William Falk
16 Talking points The Pentagon gets serious about UFOs; Hollywood’s Georgia boycott; GOP Rep. Justin Amash commits partisan heresy
24 Film & Music Emma Thompson plays a tyrannical TV host in Late Night 26 Television HBO’s dark new drama Euphoria is a trippy tale of troubled teens
Wanda Sykes (p.10)
LEISURE 27 Food & Drink Why Kölsch is the perfect beer for summer 28 Travel Enchanting, war-scarred Bosnia-Herzegovina 29 Consumer Five apps to help plan camping and road trips BUSINESS 32 News at a glance Antitrust troubles for Big Tech; Blackstone Group snaps up warehouses 33 Making money Should you trust reviews when shopping online? 34 Best columns How trade wars could slash growth; Trump tries to punish AT&T
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THE WEEK June 14, 2019
The main stories...
Trump’s Mexican tariff threat What happened
It wasn’t all bad Q A baby girl believed to be the
world’s smallest surviving preemie is finally home with her parents. The baby weighed 8.6 ounces when she was born at 23 weeks in San Diego in December, 7 grams lighter than the previous tiniest preemie. Hospital staff initially thought she’d only live an hour, but the infant they nicknamed Saybie—her parents want to remain anonymous— kept astounding doctors. After five months in intensive neonatal care, the now healthy 5-pound Saybie has gone home. “She’s a miracle,” said nurse Kim Norby. THE WEEK June 14, 2019
Q In the most remarkable finale in the Scripps National Spelling
Bee’s 94-year history, a record eight spellers were crowned cochampions last week. The competition began with 562 spellers and ended with Rishik Gandhasri, Erin Howard, Saketh Sundar, Shruthika Padhy, Sohum Sukhatankar, Abhijay Kodali, Christopher Serrao and Rohan Raja—ages 12 to 14—each winning a $50,000 prize. After the eight made it through 17 grueling rounds, pronouncer Jacques Bailly declared that because the contest was running out of words, anyone who made it to the 20th round would be a winner. None of the contestants faltered, correctly spelling “bougainvillea,” “aiguillette,” and other head scratchers. They were “the most phenomenal collection The prizewinning super-spellers of super-spellers,” said Bailly.
Q An entire Georgia neighborhood turned out to honor a mailman on his last day on the job. In the 20 years that Floyd Martin has worked his route in Marietta, the smiling 61-year-old has become a beloved member of the community. He checked in on elderly residents, fed neighborhood cats, and gave hugs to people going through hard times. On Martin’s last day, some 300 neighbors decorated their mailboxes, showered him with gifts, and threw a block party where they recounted the ways he’s touched their lives. “He’s really part of our family,” said resident Sarah Bullington. Illustration by Howard McWilliam. Cover photos from Getty, AP, Getty
Trump “is blaming Mexico for a mess it can’t solve,” said The Wall Street Journal. Deﬁant Senate Republicans warned PresiMexico alone cannot stop the migrants, dent Trump not to follow through with his whose passage north is aided by criminal announced plan to slap escalating tariffs gangs and corrupt authorities. In fact, on all Mexican imports this week until Mexico is “already helping by agreeing Mexico stops Central American migrants to hold asylum seekers inside Mexico.” from traveling to the U.S. border. After a Trump should instead hold Democrats to closed-door Capitol Hill meeting, Sen. Ted account for failing to reform America’s Cruz (R-Texas) said there wasn’t a “single broken asylum policy, which requires miyes” vote for Trump’s plan to impose the grants with children to be released into the tariffs by declaring a national emergency at country. The tariff plan “is a distraction the border, while Senate Majority Leader that lets Democrats off the hook.” Mitch McConnell said most Republicans Workers at a Chrysler plant in Toluca, Mexico hope “these tariffs will not take effect.” Trump replied it’d be “foolish” for GOP senators to take legislative What the columnists said If Trump imposes tariffs on Mexican goods, he will have “unaction to block his planned 5 percent tariff, effective June 10. The tariff would rise 5 percent each month until reaching 25 percent by dermined his ability to maintain a hard line on China,” said Josh Barro in NYMag.com. While the economic effects of the China Oct. 1. Trump didn’t specify the steps Mexico had to take to pretariffs have thus far been limited, opening a second front in a vent the tariffs, leaving it to “our sole discretion and judgment” as to whether the country was doing enough. In the ﬁrst three months global trade war makes it far more difﬁcult to avoid real pain. If the economy weakens, Trump loses leverage over China. Trump of 2019, the U.S. imported $86.6 billion in car parts, televisions, has also “sabotaged” passage of a renegotiated NAFTA just as beer, avocados, and other goods from Mexico—more than from it appeared ready for ratiﬁcation, said Haley Byrd in CNN.com. any other country except for China. Facing punitive tariffs, Mexican legislators “will be hard-pressed” Trump’s threat was reportedly instigated by senior adviser Stephen to ratify the new trade deal, known as the United States–MexicoMiller, who has overseen some of the administration’s most hawkish Canada Agreement, or USMCA. immigration policies—and was opposed by both Treasury Secretary The president’s actions may cause some disruption, said Brandon Steve Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer Judd in FoxNews.com, but they are a bold and necessary step to as potentially damaging to the U.S. economy. It comes as Customs address “the national emergency taking place on our border.” As and Border Protection statistics show that more than 144,000 mipresident of the union representing 16,000 border agents, I can tell grants were taken into custody along the Mexican border in May, you ﬁrsthand how dire the situation has become. Our system is a 32 percent jump from April, and the highest monthly tally in overwhelmed. Mexico must enforce its own immigration laws or 13 years. In response to the possible tariffs, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador dispatched negotiators to Washing- the wave of migrants will continue unabated. ton, D.C., and said he expected “good results” from the talks. If Trump follows through, expect Mexico to retaliate in kind “with stark consequences for 2020,” said Shannon O’Neil in Bloomberg What the editorials said .com. “Many of the biggest exporters to Mexico—Arizona, MichiThis “could become one of the worst errors an American leader gan, Illinois—are already swing states.” Retaliatory Mexican tariffs has ever made,” said The San Diego Union-Tribune. A 5 percent tariff, economists estimated this week, could eliminate 400,000 U.S. could throw Texas into recession, and put its 38 electoral college votes into play. “Trump seems to be betting again that hyping the jobs. A 25 percent tariff could mean millions lost. Here, in the San border and demonizing trade and Mexico will rally his political Diego–Tijuana region, cross-border trade is critical to employers base.” But he may end up alienating so many voters that he’ll win and consumers on both sides. “Some goods cross the U.S.-Mexico the battle and lose the war. border 14 times while being assembled.”
... and how they were covered
A dramatic exit speech from a reticent Mueller What happened
What the columnists said
Special counsel Robert Mueller broke a two-year “Mueller went out like a lamb,” said David Ignapublic silence last week by clearly contradicttius in The Washington Post, “when the country ing Attorney General William Barr and stating needed a lion.” Determined to appear apolitical, that his investigation had not cleared President Mueller was “maddeningly indirect—almost deTrump of possible criminal acts. He suggested liberately obtuse.” He refused to directly counter that only Congress, through impeachment hearBarr’s spin about why the report punted on a ings, could resolve whether the 10 possible acts prosecutorial judgment. He could have said, “The of obstruction of justice identiﬁed in his report special counsel’s evidence should be referred to the amounted to crimes. In a 10-minute stateHouse,” or cited his ﬁnding that Trump’s obstrucment marking his ofﬁcial resignation, Mueller tion efforts failed only because his aides refused to explained why charging Trump was “not an go along with them. “Instead, he ducked it.” Mueller: ‘Chose those words carefully’ option” under Justice Department guidelines, noting that if his investigators believed President Trump did not Trump “goads everyone appalled by him to violate norms,” said commit a crime, “we would have said so.” Though Mueller Rich Lowry in NationalReview.com. What was the point of this implicitly acknowledged that only an impeachment inquiry would farewell speech but to inappropriately “inﬂuence the public debate”? resolve the issues, he made it clear he did not want to testify before Casting aside neutrality, Mueller also “ditched the presumption of Congress, saying he has nothing to add to his report. “We chose innocence.” In doing so, he reiterated the “gobsmacking” claim that those words carefully,” he said before declining to take reporters’ he hadn’t found conclusive evidence of Trump’s innocence. Imagine questions, “and the work speaks for itself.” how the American Civil Liberties Union would react if this “extraconstitutional legal standard” had been applied to anyone else. Democrats are still pushing to question Mueller, although House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said the Republican All Mueller did was summarize his conclusions, and conservatives former FBI director “doesn’t want to participate in anything that “erupted in outrage,” said Jonathan Chait in NYMag.com. Apparhe might regard as a political spectacle.” Trump and his allies reently they had “failed to read the report,” which detailed page after acted to Mueller’s muted statement with outrage. “I think Mueller page of Trump’s “Nixonian-scale obstruction of justice in ofﬁce.” is a true never-Trumper,” the president said, adding that the special Mueller is following Justice Department guidelines as strictly as counsel’s ofﬁce employed “some of the worst human beings on possible, “sending his evidence to Congress without prejudice” earth.” After tweeting, “I had nothing to do with Russia helping so that it can determine if crimes were committed. Yet some are to get me elected,” Trump amended that, saying, “I got me elected. choosing to believe Trump’s “slavishly loyal attorney general,” inRussia didn’t help me at all.” sisting “it must be Mueller who is lying about the Mueller report.”
Trump greeted with pomp and protests in U.K. What happened
What the columnists said
President Trump promised to reward the U.K. with a generous post-Brexit trade deal during a pageantry-ﬁlled trip to Britain this week, as thousands of demonstrators marched in London to protest his state visit. His trip began with controversy: Days before ﬂying out, the president called the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, “nasty” after discovering the American-born wife of Prince Harry had threatened to leave the U.S. in 2016 if Trump was elected. And shortly before landing in London, Trump took aim at the capital’s Mayor Sadiq Khan—who said it was “unBritish” to roll out the red carpet for the “divisive” president— tweeting that Khan was a “stone cold loser.” But Trump received a warm welcome from Queen Elizabeth II, who greeted him with an honor guard at Buckingham Palace and hosted a lavish state banquet. The president also met with Prince Charles, who spent 75 minutes asking Trump to take action on climate change. Trump told the heir to the throne that the U.S. didn’t need to do anything, he later said, because it already has “the cleanest climates.”
Trump will surely go home disappointed, said Tom Sykes in The DailyBeast.com. A lifelong fan of the Windsors, the president apparently wanted a face-to-face with Princes William and Harry in front of the cameras so he could “harness the popularity of the young royals.” But Harry, angered by Trump’s “undiplomatic remarks” about his wife, skipped the banquet, and William didn’t join Trump on a tour of Westminster Abbey. The president must be fuming that he didn’t get their royal seal of approval. This whole visit was a disaster, said Aaron Rupar in Vox.com. As well as insulting Markle and Khan, he outraged almost the entire nation by saying that Britain’s beloved National Health Service would be “on the table”—presumably ready to be carved up by “proﬁt-driven U.S. companies”—during trade talks. He further embarrassed himself by tweeting that the protesters who thronged London, ﬂying a giant blimp of a diaper-wearing baby Trump, had actually “gathered in support of the USA and me.”
At a press conference with outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump promised that he would deliver a “phenomenal trade deal” with Britain once it left the European Union. The visit ended with Trump attending ceremonies in the English city of Portsmouth with World War II veterans and fellow world leaders—including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel—to honor Allied forces who sailed from there 75 years ago on D-Day.
The protests actually show Trump’s strength, said Eddie Scarry in the Washington Examiner. Some wag projected on to the Tower of London the stat that 21 percent of Britons have a positive opinion of Trump, compared with 72 percent for President Barack Obama. That is because Obama “kept Europe comfortable,” while Trump demands that our NATO allies pay more for defense and refused to undermine our economy by staying in the Paris climate change accord. It’s better to be right than popular. THE WEEK June 14, 2019
Controversy of the week
Impeachment: Will Democrats act on Mueller’s findings? and Democrats will have lost, a fact that could cause “a Until last week, Democratic House leaders were significant number of discouraged Democrats to stay home reluctant to even discuss the prospect of impeachon Election Day.” ing President Donald Trump, said Kyle Cheney in Politico.com, but “the tide may be shifting.” “You can debate whether impeachment makes sense The game changer was the surprise public statepolitically,” said Max Boot in The Washington Post, ment by special counsel Robert Mueller, who but what about “legally and morally?” It’s now clear emphasized two key findings of his report: that that “Trump has committed more criminal and if he could have cleared Trump of criminal unconstitutional conduct than any previous behavior, he would have done so, and that, in president in U.S. history.” He gladly accepted Mueller’s words, “it requires a process other and even publicly asked for Russia’s campaign than the criminal justice system to formally Pelosi: Not yet help, broke campaign laws by paying off misaccuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.” tresses, corruptly pocketed millions of foreign dollars as president To Democrats, those pointed remarks sure sounded like “a direct referral to Congress” to take up Mueller’s findings in impeachment through his hotels and businesses, and obstructed justice at least 10 times, by Mueller’s count. Democrats seem to be hoping for a hearings. Within days, “a wave of House Democrats” came out “smoking gun” that makes impeachment possible, said Matt Ford in favor of impeachment, with 59 publicly on board and many more leaning in that direction. The sticking point is Speaker Nancy in NewRepublic.com. But Mueller just handed them a 448-page Pelosi, said Kevin Kruse in USAToday.com. With polls finding that arsenal of smoking guns. What could once “be justified as caution is now indistinguishable from cowardice.” only about 40 percent of Americans currently support impeachment, Pelosi is worried that a backlash might cost Democrats both Those clamoring for impeachment think it’s “the most aggresthe House and the White House in 2020. But that’s precisely why sive, effective action” Democrats can possibly take against Trump, the impeachment process begins with a series of high-profile, telesaid Josh Marshall in TalkingPointsMemo.com. It isn’t. Far more vised hearings: to help “convince the public of its necessity.” damaging would be multiple investigations, methodically laying bare the sprawling totality of Trump’s corruption and criminality. “If I were Nancy Pelosi, I wouldn’t want to bet the House” on Impeachment would necessarily focus on “one big question— that strategy, said Ed Kilgore in NYMag.com. Back in 1974, it’s remove or don’t,” said David Frum in TheAtlantic.com. That true, the Watergate hearings gripped the nation and swung public debate would draw attention away from the grisly details of opinion decisively in favor of Richard Nixon’s removal. But this Trump’s wrongdoing. A barrage of investigations, on the other isn’t 1974. Nearly half of the nation now lives inside a conservahand, will leave him trying to “plug more holes in the dike than he tive “media echo chamber” that would spin the hearings as just has fingers,” and severely damage him going into 2020. The wisest another vicious partisan attack on their president. Trump’s ineviresponse to the moral calamity of the Trump presidency is the one table acquittal by the Republican-held Senate wouldn’t need much most likely to “lead to success.” spinning, said Karl Rove in FoxNews.com. Trump will have won
Q The owners of a full-scale
replica of Noah’s Ark in Kentucky are suing their insurance company for rain damage. The biblical literalists who own the Ark Encounter exhibit, a 510-foot-long “sister attraction” of the nearby Creation Museum, claim they suffered “tortious injury” to the tune of $1 million when their insurers failed to adequately compensate them for the damage done by recent “heavy rains.” Q The Department of Energy has started referring to U.S. natural gas as “freedom gas.” In a rebranding effort, department officials described a project to export liquefied natural gas as “critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world, by giving America’s allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy.” To drive home the point, an official described natural gas as “molecules of U.S. freedom.” THE WEEK June 14, 2019
Good week for: El Chapo, whose 91-year-old mother has been granted a visa to come
visit the convicted drug kingpin in a U.S. prison. Consuelo Loera says she hopes to bring her son his favorite food: her enchiladas. Urban Millennials, and other single people with limited storage space, who can now buy the Charmin Forever Roll, a 12-inchdiameter toilet paper roll that can last up to three months so “you have one less thing to think about!” Bar fighters, after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law a bipartisan bill repealing a ban on carrying brass knuckles. The previous ban was “antithetical to our rights to self-defense,” said Democratic State Rep. Joe Moody.
Bad week for: Tom Brady, whose plans to trademark the nickname “Tom Terrific” have sparked outrage from fans of “Tom Terrific” Seaver, 74, the Hall of Fame pitcher for the New York Mets. Brady is “not getting his cheating, ball-deflating paws on ‘Tom Terrific,’” said Mets fan Dom D’Angelo, 55. “Get your own f---ing name.” Voter ID, after 97-year-old former San Antonio Mayor Lila Cockrell was turned away as she attempted to vote in a mayoral runoff election because she no longer has a driver’s license or passport. Election officials said they “knew who she was, but the law is the law.” Self-inflicted wounds, after a Trump supporter in London attempted to stab and deflate the Trump Baby blimp flown in protest of his visit to the U.K., but ended up only cutting her hand. “I’m bleeding quite badly,” attacker Amy Mura said in a cellphone video she made before being arrested.
Ethics questions on Chao’s China ties Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s apparent efforts to boost her family’s shipping company alarmed government officials planning Chao’s trip to Beijing, The New York Times reported this week. The company, Foremost Group, does extensive business in China. Ahead of a planned official visit to the country in 2017, Chao asked that family members be included in meetings with Chinese officials. After her requests on behalf of her family prompted the U.S. Embassy in Beijing to write to the State Department with an “ethics question,” Chao abruptly canceled the trip. She maintains she did nothing improper. Chao and her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have received millions of dollars in gifts from Chao’s father, who ran Foremost Group until last year.
Only in America
The U.S. at a glance ...
Dallas Police Department, Getty, AP, City of Virginia Beach/AP
Dallas Targets of hate: Police requested FBI assistance this week in responding to a plague of violence targeting black transgender women, after a third trans woman since October was found murdered. A passerby last week discovered the body of Chynal Lindsey: Murdered Lindsey, 26, floating in the White Rock Lake reservoir, and police said her body showed “obvious signs of homicidal violence.” Last month, Muhlaysia Booker, 23, was shot dead, weeks after she suffered a concussion and broken wrist after being brutally beaten in an apartment parking lot. Cellphone video of the attack posted to Facebook showed a group of men punching and stomping on Booker while shouting antigay slurs. In April, a 26-yearold Dallas trans woman was stabbed several times and left for dead but survived. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said the murders of Lindsey and Booker, which remain unsolved, stemmed from “an epidemic of violence and hate.” Los Fresnos, Texas Reunification debacle: Immigration authorities left a group of 37 migrant children between 5 and 12 years old in parked vans “in the blistering Texas sun” last July as they waited to be reunited with their parents, NBC News A road out of detention reported this week. Most of the children spent at least 23 hours in the vehicles amid a scene one immigration official called “hurried disarray.” After being driven to meet their parents at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center, children entered the facility only to be taken back into the vans because ICE wasn’t prepared for them. Despite two warnings that the children would be arriving, ICE officers worked their regular schedules, clocking out as the parking lot turned into an impromptu shelter. The children were given blankets and food, and not until waiting two nights—39 hours—did the last child leave a van to be reunited with family.
New York City Mapmaker’s secrets: Newly unearthed memos presented in federal court this week suggest a GOP operative inspired the Trump administration to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Gerrymandering mastermind Thomas Hofeller believed that asking about citizenship “would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites,” according to files found on hard drives at Hofeller’s home after he died last August. Those files indicate he urged the Trump administration to add the citizenship question, then wrote key portions of its rationale for doing so. With the Supreme Court set to rule later this month on whether the question should be allowed, plaintiffs claim the new evidence directly refutes the Justice Department’s argument that it added the question to enforce the Voting Rights Act. The department responded: “There is no smoking gun here; only smoke and mirrors.”
Fort Lauderdale Charged with cowardice: Former sheriff’s deputy and school resource officer Scot Peterson was charged this week with 11 criminal counts for failing to act during a 2018 shooting that killed 17 students, teachers, and staff. Peterson, 56, the only armed person at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when a 19-year-old former student opened fire with an AR-15 style rifle, did “absolutely nothing to mitigate” the carnage, prosecutors said. There was little time to save 11 people murdered on the school’s ground floor, but authorities say killings on the third floor were preventable. Instead, a 15-month investigation found Peterson retreated from the gunfire and hid for 48 minutes. Sgt. Brian Miller, who hid behind his car upon arriving at the school, was also fired but not charged. Third-floor geography teacher Scott Beigel “would be alive today,” said his mother, Linda Schulman, had Peterson not been “standing outside like a coward.”
Washington, D.C. Executive privilege: The White House instructed former officials Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson to defy congressional subpoenas this week, citing executive privilege. The White House said that Hicks, who served as Trump’s campaign press secretary Hicks and first communications director, and Donaldson, the former deputy White House counsel, “do not have the legal right to disclose the White House records to third parties.” That incensed House Democrats, who seek documents related to Russian election interference, hush payments made by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, and other matters. Despite the White House’s demand, Hicks did provide the House with documents related to the 2016 campaign. The Justice Department succeeded in persuading the judge in the case of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, to reverse an order that would have made public transcripts of Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador.
Virginia Beach, Va. Workplace massacre: Twelve people were killed at a municipal building last Deadliest shooting of 2019 week and four others were seriously injured, in the country’s deadliest shooting of the year. DeWayne Craddock, 40, a Department of Public Utilities engineer, submitted his two weeks’ notice hours before entering the building and opening fire, armed with two legally purchased .45-caliber handguns, at least one of which had a silencer and extended capacity magazine. The gunman, a former Army National Guardsman, appeared to target supervisors in his department. Officials said he had no disciplinary history, though The New York Times reports he had gotten into a fight on city grounds and faced disciplinary action. Four police officers engaged in an extended gunfight with Craddock before fatally shooting him. Gov. Ralph Northam called a special legislative session, where he will propose a gun-reform package including universal background checks and a ban on silencers. THE WEEK June 14, 2019
The world at a glance ...
Paris Notre-Dame poisoning: French health authorities are urging that young children and pregnant women in central Paris get their lead levels tested, because of pollution from the fire that engulfed Notre-Dame cathedral in April. Authorities had initially told residents Pollution in the air of Ile de la Cité and surrounding neighborhoods not to worry about health effects from the blaze, but this week a test revealed abnormally high levels of lead in a child’s blood. More than 300 tons of lead from the cathedral’s roof and steeple melted in the fire, leaving huge heaps of contaminated rubble, said the environmental group Robin des Bois. “For several months or even years, residents and people within the affected perimeter may inhale lead dust without knowing it,” the group said.
Strasbourg, France EU’s shrinking center: More than 50 percent of voters turned out for the European Parliament elections last week—the highest rate in decades—and voted for change. The EU legislature’s long-dominant center-right and Farage: Big winner center-left coalition slumped, going from 54 percent of the seats to 43 percent. Far-right, populist parties surged, particularly in France and Italy, increasing their share of seats from 20 to 25 percent. But they did not sweep into power as many experts had predicted, while the pro-environment Greens and pro-business Liberals did better than expected. The biggest upset was in the U.K., where the new Brexit Party, led by Euroskeptic Nigel Farage, trounced the Conservatives, taking 29 of Britain’s 73 seats and making it one of the largest single parties in the chamber.
Caracas Russian withdrawal? The U.S. and Russia were at odds this week over whether Russia had pulled its military advisers from Venezuela, where they have been supporting the embattled regime of President Nicolás Maduro. First, President Trump tweeted that the Russians had told his administration that they had “removed most of their people in Venezuela.” Then Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow had not been in touch with Trump on the subject and that Trump had apparently gotten his information from a Wall Street Journal report that Russian officials had previously denied. The Journal said Rostec, a state defense contractor, had cut its personnel in Venezuela from about 1,000 to a few dozen; Rostec said its numbers were unchanged. Bogotá, Colombia Cocaine uses lots of gas: More than a quarter of all gasoline sold in Colombia is being used to fuel cocaine production, the country’s government revealed this week. The attorney general’s office said it is investigating 33 gas stations in rural areas that have been selling vast amounts of gas—far more than local drivers could possibly be using. One remote station reported selling more than 1.2 million gallons of fuel a year—about the same as the busiest station in car-heavy central Bogotá. Gasoline is the main component in a chemical process that turns the coca leaf into paste, and it takes about 75 gallons of gas to make a single kilo of coca base. Some of the gas stations under suspicion are located in areas that lack paved roads but have plenty of illegal coca farms. Mixing coca paste THE WEEK June 14, 2019
Buenos Aires Strikes and protests: A one-day general strike brought Argentina to a near standstill last week, forcing banks to cease operations, airlines to ground flights, and soccer matches to be canceled. Thousands of union members Abortion rights activists marched through Buenos Aires to protest the soaring cost of food and utilities and the austerity policies of center-right President Mauricio Macri. In April, inflation hit 56 percent, among the highest in the world, while the economy has been shrinking. “Every day people are worse off,” said union leader Hugo Moyano. “It’s a disaster what’s happening.” This week, thousands of women took to the capital’s streets to demonstrate against the economic crisis and in favor of legalized abortion. A new bill to decriminalize the procedure has the support of President Macri’s ruling coalition.
AP, Newscom (3), AP
Collepardo, Italy Bannon booted: Citing fraud in the tender process, Italy has revoked a lease on a 13th-century mountaintop monastery that Steve Bannon had planned to use as a “gladiator school” to train a new generation of nationalist and far-right leaders. The former White House chief strategist was reportedly paying $112,000 a year to rent the Certosa di Trisulti monastery through the Human Dignity Institute, a conservative Catholic organization. But Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper reported last month that a letter from a Danish bank, used to guarantee the lease, was forged. Bannon’s Academy for the Judeo-Christian West was intended to teach some 250 to 300 students at a time how to defeat secularism. Locals had protested against the school. Bannon said the controversy over the bank document was “just dust being kicked up by the Left.” No ‘gladiator school’ here
The world at a glance ... New Delhi Modi victory: A triumphant Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn in for a second fiveyear term last week, having won a landslide election victory with his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. Despite rising unemployment, the BJP secured 303 seats in India’s 543-seat lower house of Parliament—up from 282 in the 2014 election—by campaigning on nationalist and religious themes. Including his coalition partners, Modi now controls Re-elected 349 legislators, close to the two-thirds majority he would need to change the constitution. Not everyone supports Modi’s Hindu agenda, though. On the day of his inauguration, the BJP’s website was hacked and its photos and articles were replaced with images of steak and recipes for beef dishes. Cows are sacred to Hindus, and the BJP has banned sales of beef in some provinces.
Beijing Tiananmen anniversary: Chinese authorities said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will end up “on the ash heap of history” for his strong statement marking the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. “China’s one-party state tolerates no dissent and abuses Making a stand in 1989 human rights,” Pompeo said, calling on Beijing to “make a full, public accounting of those killed or missing, to give comfort to the many victims of this dark chapter of history.” On June 4, 1989, Chinese troops opened fire on the 1 million pro-democracy protesters who had been demonstrating in the heart of Beijing for weeks; up to 10,000 people were killed. Ever since, Beijing has censored all mention of the massacre and the ’89 Democracy Movement, jailing anyone who tweets words that even sound like the number 89. The Chinese Foreign Ministry called Pompeo’s criticism “lunatic ravings and babbling nonsense.”
Getty, AP (3), AP/Nirmal Purja/@Nimsdai Project Possible
Pyongyang Purge rumors: North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un had five members of his negotiating team executed after the failure of February’s Hanoi summit with President Trump, a South Korean newspaper reported last week. The paper, Chosun Ilbo, also reported that Kim Yong Chol—a former spy chief and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s counterpart in talks—had been sentenced to hard labor and ideological re-education. But other reports said that at least one of the supposedly executed men is still in custody, and North Korean media this week published a photo of Kim Yong Chol sitting near Kim Jong Un at an art performance. One source told CNN that Kim Yong Chol has been “kept silently in his office writing statements of self-criticism.”
Khartoum, Sudan Massacre of protesters: Sudanese security forces stormed a camp occupied by pro-democracy protesters in Khartoum this week, killing at least 35 people and injuring hundreds more in what survivors said was a spree of murder, arson, and rape. The troops were linked to the Janjaweed militia, notorious for committing atrocities in Sudan’s Darfur region in the early 2000s. The ruling military council, which ousted longtime President Omar al-Bashir in April after months of protests by activists, has offered to hold elections in nine months. But the opposition says its civil disobedience campaign will continue until the military hands power to a civilian-led interim government. The massacre, said opposition leader Madani Abbas Madani, “was a systematic and planned attempt to impose repression on the Sudanese people.” Security forces on the offensive
Manila Duterte’s gay ‘cure’: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told a crowd last week that he “used to be gay” but “cured himself” with the help of “beautiful women.” The foul-mouthed populist made the admission during a speech to Filipino expats while on a trip to Japan. After accusing opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes—a critic of the president’s bloody drug war—of being homosexual, Duterte Straight talk? said he himself felt “a bit gay” as a younger man but was cured by his ex-wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman. The couple divorced in 2000. “I hated handsome men afterward,” he said of getting married. “I now prefer beautiful women.” Mount Everest, Nepal Deadly crowding: At least 11 people, including two Americans, have died on Mount Everest so far this year, with overcrowding at the summit forcing climbers to wait hours in line in freezing, lowoxygen conditions. “I’ve seen traffic, but not this crazy,” said fourtime summiter Nirmal Purja, whose photo of scores of climbers waiting on a cliff to reach the peak went viral. A record-breaking 825 climbers and Sherpa guides reached the summit this year, and Nepal said it would consider giving permits next year to only very experienced climbers. Authorities blamed the jam on the weather, which reduced the window of time when climbers could complete the ascent to just a few days. Dead bodies, feces, and trash have been emerging on the slopes as ice melts due to climate change. Traffic at the top of the world THE WEEK June 14, 2019
Why Rogen works so hard Seth Rogen might be the hardest-working stoner in showbiz, said Caroline McCloskey in GQ. After bursting onto the scene in the mid-2000s with comedic roles in movies like Superbad and Knocked Up, Rogen, 37, has evolved into an actor, writer, producer, and philanthropist (he’s raised millions for his charity benefiting Alzheimer’s patients). He’s also an entrepreneur, launching a cannabis company in his native Canada. Consuming his own inventory, Rogen insists, doesn’t put a damper on his work ethic. “I always worked hard, because I recognized from a young age it was one of the only things I could control,” Rogen says. “I did karate as a kid at the Jewish Community Center, and when I started I was the worst of 25 Jewish kids who were afraid of getting picked on. Then just because everyone else quit, three years later I was at the top of the class. That was always tangible: Just by not stopping I became the best one.” Success as a teenage stand-up comedian helped him get cast on an NBC show, and overnight, Rogen went from cutting high school and smoking weed to putting in 14-hour days making a TV show—while still smoking weed. Getting stoned, he says, helps him stay grounded. “Not a lot of people have delusions of grandeur when they’re high,” Rogen says.
Grant’s road to recovery
Q Jeopardy! sensation James Holzhauer
finally lost this week after a 32-episode winning streak—coming just $58,484 short of Ken Jennings’ all-time prize record, set in 2004. Holzhauer, 34, has won $2.46 million since first appearing on the show in April. Whereas Jennings needed 74 wins to reach that mark, Holzhauer, a professional sports gambler from Las Vegas, electrified fans with his ultraaggressive betting strategy, topping $100,000 on six episodes. Yet entering “Final Jeopardy” trailing for the first THE WEEK June 14, 2019
Sykes’ unlikely family Wanda Sykes has had an unusual life, said David Marchese in The New York Times Magazine. The comic, 55, married a man in 1991, divorced him in 1998, came out as a lesbian 10 years later, and married a white French woman, Alex Niedbalski, who gave birth to twins. Sykes has made her “uncommon experience” part of her humor, joking, “There is nothing creepier than waking up and seeing two little white kids standing at the foot of your bed.” Offstage, Sykes concedes that she worries about her kids’ perception of race. “You want to be in a world where they can just live and be good people and not have to think that, but you have to have the conversation.” At her kids’ birthday parties, Sykes looks around and wonders, “‘Wait, you mean to tell me they’ve only got one little black friend?’ But I can’t force it.” Race became an issue for Sykes professionally while she was working as a writer and producer on the Roseanne reboot. When Barr took to Twitter to compare President Obama’s former aide Valerie Jarrett to an ape, Sykes quit the sitcom, telling the producers, “Guys, I can’t be part of this.” She considered Barr a friend, so it hurt. “Here’s the thing. You could be a good person and a racist and not even know it.”
time, Holzhauer placed an uncharacteristically modest bet of $1,399 for a question about Shakespeare. He and Emma Boettcher, 27, a University of Chicago librarian, answered correctly, but she wagered $20,201. “She played a perfect game,” Holzhauer said, “and that was what it took to beat me.” Q Ellen DeGeneres last week urged girls to speak out after explaining her own silence when she was sexually abused by her stepfather in her teenage years. In an interview with David Letterman released on Netflix, DeGeneres, 61, described how her mother, Betty, had a second marriage to a “very bad man.” Betty had been diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after remarrying, and her second husband told DeGeneres that “he’d felt a lump in her breast and needed to feel my breasts,” a line he used several more times.
She waited several years to tell her mother, “because I was protecting her and I knew that would ruin her happiness”—a mistake she advised other girls not to repeat. Q Former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II told a judge this week he planned not to testify in his ongoing trial on charges of raping three women, including a hitchhiker and a homeless woman, and exposing himself to two women, ages 59 and 78. Winslow, 35, the son of a Hall of Fame player by the same name, played in the NFL from 2004 to 2013. He pleaded not guilty to 12 counts. “I’m not going to testify, your honor,” Winslow said during a hearing. Defense attorney Brian Watkins told jurors Winslow had been unfaithful to his wife, but claimed all the encounters were consensual. “It’s wrong, it’s immoral,” Watkins said, “but it’s not illegal.”
Getty, Newscom, Jeopardy Productions Inc.
John Grant moved to Iceland seven years ago to escape homophobia, said Will Hodgkinson in The Times (U.K.). “Iceland is the first place I’ve been where being gay genuinely isn’t an issue,” says the singer-songwriter, 50, who grew up in Colorado. “They’re almost insulted if you bring it up.” Yet sexuality remains a focus of his albums, and an endless source of torment for him. “I see other gay people and think, ‘Why is it so easy for them and so complicated for me?’” The reason, he thinks, is that he grew up among devout Christians. “I had no chance for self-worth because there was no backing at home. My parents would talk about homosexuality as a fate worse than death.” In his 30s, Grant formed a rock band while waiting tables in Denver, during which he developed drug, alcohol, and sex addictions. Now sober, Grant is still mining emotions from those tumultuous years. “People say I shouldn’t reveal so much of myself in songs,” he says. “People say it is self-indulgent, cringeworthy, embarrassing drivel—and that’s just the good reviews.” In truth, Grant has a cult following, along with famous admirers like Elton John. “I remember him saying, ‘I love you for the way you’ve blossomed,’” Grant says. “And I thought, ‘Actually, I just stopped telling you about all the s--- I’ve been through.’”
Hong Kong’s eroding freedoms Beijing is ratcheting up its efforts to strangle Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. What’s at stake? Why is there a conflict?
Kin-man—took over Hong Kong’s downtown to demand true democracy. Tens of thousands of people turned out to block roads in the heart of the city for three months. Many wore yellow, and many more carried umbrellas, at first to shield themselves from the tear gas and pepper spray police were using, and later as a symbol of their protest. The protest ended with many arrests and no concessions from authorities, and the crackdown is still continuing. In April, the three leaders were sentenced to 16 months in prison each. (Chu, 75, had his sentence suspended.)
China has reneged on its promise to give Hong Kong a high degree of political and economic autonomy under the policy of “one country, two systems.” The latest assault on the city’s independence is a new law, rammed through by the Beijingimposed chief executive, Carrie Lam, that would give China some control over Hong Kong’s justice system. This extradition law would enable Beijing to pressure Hong Kong authorities to transfer certain suspects to mainland China—where the Kafkaesque court system uses forced confessions and closed trials to find 99 perA recent protest against the extradition law cent of defendants guilty. Beijing says the What else have authorities done? law is necessary to prevent Hong Kong from becoming a “haven for fugitives.” But critics say that it would render everyone, includ- After the protest broke up, Hong Kong officials prosecuted dozens of pro-democracy activists, including 16 elected lawmakers. Six ing Hong Kong residents and foreign businesspeople and tourists, other lawmakers had their elections nullified on dubious grounds, susceptible to Beijing’s arbitrary justice. (See box.) That prospect giving Lam a pro-Beijing majority in the legislature. In 2015, sent more than 100,000 protesters into the streets in April, and agents from the mainland kidnapped five Hong Kong booksellanother demonstration is planned for June 9. “There is a lot of ers and forced them to confess to selling banned books. Last fall, fear that once the extradition law is passed, we won’t be able to pressured by Beijing, the Hong Kong government banned a procome out to protest on the streets,” demonstrator Cindy Cheng told the Financial Times. “We’re worried they will use facial recog- independence political party. nition to identify us and charge us.”
What freedoms do Hong Kongers still enjoy?
What does China fear?
Hong Kong is a powerhouse of international finance, with a thrivAny challenge to its authority. To maintain strict Communist Party ing community of foreign businesspeople. It has a vigorous free press, and unlike on the mainland, its 7 million people have the control of its vast, modernizing nation, the increasingly authoriright to demonstrate. Hong Kongers have their own passports. tarian government in Beijing is cracking down on dissent and Residents of the city are not subject to China’s oppressive “social independent thought. Originally, when Britain and China were credit” system, which assesses each citizen’s trustworthiness with negotiating over how the bustling British colony would revert to a numerical score and denies travel and other privileges to those Chinese rule in 1997, Beijing indicated that Hong Kong would have a special degree of autonomy. But China’s rulers were deeply who don’t measure up. But the boundary between Hong Kong and the mainland is beginning to alarmed by the Tiananmen Square blur, as Beijing builds physical conprotests of 1989, and when they drew Taiwan’s extradition fears nections to Hong Kong Island. up the Basic Law, the Hong Kong conThe impetus for the proposed extradition law was stitution, in 1990, they did not include the case of a Hong Kong man suspected of killWhy is it doing that? direct democracy. Instead, they created ing his girlfriend in Taiwan. Taiwan’s sovereign To make a symbolic statement that an Election Committee—packed with government asked Hong Kong to extradite him to Hong Kong is not truly separate. pro-Beijing representatives—to select stand trial there. But that request backfired, giving Last fall, authorities opened a the Hong Kong chief executive, who China an excuse to force through a law that would 34-mile series of bridges and tunnels is the equivalent of a governor. The compel Hong Kong to extradite suspects to other linking the big island with mainlegislature is only partly democratic, nations—including mainland China. Taipei fears that land China and semi-autonomous with half the lawmakers elected by the proposed law would put Taiwanese visitors and Macau. It also built a high-speed the people. Direct democracy to elect residents in Hong Kong at risk of being sent to the mainland for prosecution; as a result, a Taiwan govrail terminal to connect Hong Kong Hong Kong’s leaders was supposed ernment spokesman said Taiwan would rather have with the mainland cities of Shenzhen to be gradually introduced, but in no extradition measure than one that could subject and Guangzhou. Democracy activ2014 Beijing announced that when its people to Chinese authority. Taipei wants the ists vow to continue to fight for people could finally vote directly they “relevant suspect to face justice,” said Chiu Chuithe proud city’s independence, but could choose only among two or three cheng, the deputy minister of the island’s Mainland Fenella Sung, coordinator of the candidates selected by the BeijingAffairs Council. But “we have to ask whether the expatriate group Friends of Hong dominated committee. That prompted amendment proposed by the Hong Kong governKong, says China casts an increasthe student uprising known as the ment is politically motivated.” Under the extradiingly dark shadow. “People are very Umbrella Movement. tion bill, foreigners working in Hong Kong could concerned about their freedom of also be sent to China for trial, on spurious charges expression, because no one can tell What was this movement? of spying or banned political activities—a prospect you where the red line is,” Sung Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street that alarms the U.S. About 85,000 Americans are says. “You’re always under fear. movement in the U.S., three activists— currently working and living in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is dying.” Chu Yiu-ming, Benny Tai, and Chan THE WEEK June 14, 2019
McConnell’s profound cynicism Robert Schlesinger
The surge of right-wing populism Ross Douthat
The New York Times
What McCain incident tells us Helaine Olen
The Washington Post
Best columns: The U.S. No one, including Donald Trump, has done more “to destroy democratic norms than Mitch McConnell,” said Robert Schlesinger. When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died 11 months before the end of President Barack Obama’s term, McConnell, as the Senate majority leader, refused to even hold a hearing on Obama’s nomination of federal appeals court chief judge Merrick Garland. To justify this unprecedented act of partisan obstruction, McConnell pompously argued that in an election year, “the American people should have a voice” in selecting the next justice. Last week, McConnell was asked what the Senate would do if a Supreme Court vacancy opened in Trump’s last year in office. Smirking, he replied, “Oh, we’d fill it.” That’s all you need to know about McConnell’s deeply cynical philosophy of governance, in which principles and norms are irrelevant and power is the only thing that matters. Consider McConnell’s reaction when Obama asked him in September 2016 to join Democrats in a bipartisan statement publicizing and denouncing Russia’s ongoing interference in the presidential election. McConnell refused. A foreign adversary was assaulting our democracy, but McConnell was unperturbed “because they were helping his side.” He is the embodiment “of everything that is wrong with our politics.” Throughout the world, right-wing populism is ascendant, while liberalism is in retreat, said Ross Douthat. In the recent EU elections, far-right parties surged and captured an unprecedented number of seats. In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, an evangelical Christian who opposes liberal policies to combat climate change, won an upset victory. In India, Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi was re-elected by an overwhelming margin. These results should chasten American liberals, who have convinced themselves that President Trump’s election was an aberration, and that “their own coalition is the real American majority.” In reality, polling shows that only 18 percent of Americans agree across the board with Democratic positions on abortion, gun control, taxes, immigration, and other hot-button issues. The progressive belief “in a hidden left-of-center mandate” is “a fond delusion.” Yet liberal Democrats insist that their candidates adopt an “inflexible,” farleft agenda on both cultural and economic issues. Democrats might get away with this in 2020, because Trump lacks “the political cunning” of a true demagogue and needlessly alienates “so many persuadable voters.” But in the longer run, Democrats would be foolish to dismiss the angry populism that spawned Trump and so many leaders like him. When the U.S. Navy feels obligated to hide a destroyer because its name might irritate the president, said Helaine Olen, it reveals “what a dangerous spot our nation is in.” Last week it was revealed that White House staff pressured Navy officials to keep the USS John S. McCain out of President Trump’s sight line while he was making a Memorial Day speech in Japan. A tarp was temporarily placed over the ship’s name, and its sailors—whose uniforms carried the verboten name—were not invited to hear Trump’s speech. Trump, of course, is “a notoriously thin-skinned man” with no grace or humility who despised the late Sen. McCain for many reasons. McCain refused to abandon his principles to slavishly support Trump, and his war-hero status was “a living, breathing rebuke” of the “faux patriotism” of a playboy heir who dodged the Vietnam draft with phony “bone spurs.” That’s why the White House feared that Trump might have “a presidential temper tantrum” if he even glimpsed McCain’s name on a ship on Memorial Day. Our democracy is in deep trouble when even the military feels obligated to bow before “the moods and whims of a small, petty, and greedy man at the top.”
“If tourism is a capitalist phenomenon, overtourism is its demented late-capitalist cousin. There are just too many people thronging popular destinations—30 million visitors a year to Barcelona, population 1.6 million; 20 million visitors to Venice, population 50,000. La Rambla and the Piazza San Marco fit only so many people, and the summertime now seems like a test to find out just how many that is. [The massive crowds have] cities around the world asking one question: Is there anything to be done about being too popular?” Annie Lowrey in The Atlantic THE WEEK June 14, 2019
It must be true...
I read it in the tabloids Q A furious wife in Colombia
forced her husband to ride naked atop her car through crowded streets after she caught him in a motel room with another woman. The philanderer, identified only as Jairo V., told police his wife insisted on the humiliating punishment as the only way to save his marriage. The drive wended through the city of Barranquilla’s most crowded neighborhoods, as passers-by hooted with laughter and took photos with their smartphones. Police abbreviated the penance by stopping the car and slapping the man with a $100 fine for indecent exposure. Q A San Francisco pop-up bar is giving visitors the chance to drink while live rats “scurry all over you.” For $49.99 per person, the Rat Bar promises an immersive tour of the city’s “weird, twisted, dark” history, along with a signature cocktail called an “Ama-RAT-o Sour” (made with amaretto) and 30 minutes of playtime with rats provided by an animal shelter. It will be an evening, organizers said, where “the rats run free and the booze flows like water.” Q A West Virginia high school principal admits he may have plagiarized actor Ashton Kutcher in an address to this year’s graduating class. After principal Kenny DeMoss delivered his speech, a now-viral video revealed that he’d borrowed heavily from Kutcher’s 2013 Nickelodeon Teen Choice Awards speech, including similar wording and, at times, identical phrasing. DeMoss said he should have cited his sources, but insisted the speech was mostly his. “I did not get all my ideas from Ashton,” he said. “Format yes; thoughts and ideas were from my heart.”
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14 NEWS FRANCE
Humiliated by Le Pen’s victory François Ernenwein
A Green wave washes over Europe Pernilla Ericson
Best columns: Europe President Emmanuel Macron has suffered a “serious setback,” said François Ernenwein. National Rally, the far-right party of Marine Le Pen, came in first with French voters in last month’s European Parliament elections, winning 23.3 percent and edging out Macron’s centrist Republic on the Move party, which took 22.4 percent. The Greens were third, while the Republicans and Social Democrats—the two establishment parties that once dominated French politics—trailed far behind. To be sure, it’s not “an institutional crisis,” because voters often use the European Union elections to stick it to the incumbent party. Le Pen’s party also
led the European Parliament vote in 2014, and that didn’t translate into any increased power for the far right domestically. But because Macron had framed the May vote as essentially a choice between him and Le Pen, losing to her cripples the president on the international stage, where his voice “will no longer carry the necessary authority.” It also weakens him domestically, robbing him of the “aura of victory.” Yes, Macron still commands a majority in France’s national legislature. But if he is going to achieve his hoped-for labor reforms, the president may find that he now has to “follow the logic of dialogue and compromise.”
Call it “the Greta Thunberg effect,” said Pernilla Ericson. The teenage Swedish climate change activist has traveled all over Europe in the past year and inspired young students across the Continent to join her “Fridays for Future” protests. Now we’re seeing the political results. In the European Parliament elections, right-wing populist parties surged as expected. But the real story was the rise of the Green Party. In Germany, 33 percent of voters ages 18 to 29—and nearly 21 percent of all voters—cast ballots for the Greens. In France, the party grew to become the country’s third largest, with 13 percent, while in Ireland it took 15 percent. Here in Thunberg’s native Sweden,
the Greens won only two of the country’s 21 seats in the European Parliament, but that’s because they had a lot of environmentalist competition. All the parties of the left and center “battled during the campaign to portray themselves as the country’s strongest green voice.” That’s a reflection of Thunberg’s influence. She didn’t endorse any party, but she did “push with enormous force to get the climate issue on the agenda.” And remember—the 16-year-old and the youngsters she leads can’t even vote yet. But they’ll be eligible in 2022, when Sweden holds its next parliamentary elections. Then all parties will have to reckon with her generation.
and handled negotiations with Brussels, U.S. President Donald Trump’s state visit “Brexit would have been done by now.” to the U.K. was a combination of solemn pomp and campy protest, said Camilla Perhaps if Prime Minister Theresa May Tominey in The Daily Telegraph. Queen had listened to Trump, said The SpecElizabeth II proved herself “the world’s tator in an editorial, her job would be most experienced and accomplished safe. Instead—having repeatedly failed diplomat” as she smilingly welcomed to get Britain out of the European the Trumps at Buckingham Palace and Union and having lost the confidence of gave them a flattering reception, includher Conservative Party—she is due to ing a tour of Westminster Cathedral step down days after Trump’s visit conand a glittering state banquet. Trump cludes. The U.S. president is an ardent looked “like a kid in a candy store” supporter of Brexit and “eager to offer and tweeted that all the royals had The Trump baby blimp flies at a London protest. Britain a free trade deal.” No one thinks been “fantastic.” Never mind that he’d the U.S. could immediately replace the EU as a trading partner. described Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex and wife of Prince Harry who once called Trump “misogynistic,” as “nasty” Still, a savvier leader could have used that promise as leverage to extract more concessions from the EU. But May, who seems to just days earlier. Meanwhile, thousands of protesters marched view Trump as a barbarian, never took his offer seriously. through London’s streets, led by a giant statue of Trump tweeting from a golden toilet, complete with recorded sound bites saying, “I’m a very stable genius” and “No collusion”—interspersed Trump wants to make the U.K. a vassal of the U.S., said Zoe with fart noises. A 20-foot blimp of Trump as a diapered, yelling Williams in The Guardian. Brexit was all about self-governance, yet already this “orange blow-in is brashly telling us” how to run baby floated nearby. our affairs. First, he lauded buffoonish former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who is running to replace May, as a “great guy.” The protests were despicably ill-mannered, said Richard LittleThen he favored arch Euroskeptic Nigel Farage—whose new john in the Daily Mail, as were many of our politicians. OpposiBrexit Party trounced the Conservatives and Labour in the recent tion Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn rudely boycotted the European Parliament elections—with a meeting. Worse, Trump official state banquet, as did John Bercow, speaker of the House said that access for American megacorporations to our beloved of Commons, and Vince Cable, leader of the opposition Liberal National Health Service will be “on the table” during any future Democrats. Given that this was a state visit, such petulance is U.S.-U.K. trade deal talks. “Sovereignty and the self-respect that a “calculated insult” not just to Trump “but to the American goes with it” was the last remaining benefit of Brexit. “Trump people as a whole.” And frankly, we could use some Trumpian bluntness in our own leadership. Had he been our prime minister will trample all over it.” THE WEEK June 14, 2019
How they see us: Britons applaud and insult Trump
Best columns: International
Israel: Netanyahu sends nation back to polls that he’d soon be charged with mulHere we go again, said Jonathan Lis in tiple counts of bribery and corruption, Haaretz. After Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu pushed it forward “to Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a avoid running for prime minister while governing coalition, the Knesset voted under indictment.” After Netanyahu last week to dissolve itself and hold a new failed to form a coalition by the deadelection—“just seven weeks after the preline, Gantz should have been given a vious one.” In the April vote, Netanyahu’s chance. But a Gantz government would Likud party tied with the opposition Blue not pass the immunity bill that Netanand White party of former military chief yahu is counting on to keep him out of of staff Benny Gantz and got first crack prison, so the prime minister pushed at forming a coalition. But Netanyahu’s for dissolution of the Knesset and sent bid to rebuild his previous alliance of us to an unprecedented second election. right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties was foiled by his former defense minister, Lieberman: Pushing a tough line on ultra-Orthodox It’s going to be an ugly one, said The Avigdor Lieberman. He is the leader of Jerusalem Post in an editorial. Netanyahu is “fighting for political Yisrael Beiteinu, a secular, nationalist party dominated by immigrants from the former Soviet Union who resent that the ultra- and personal survival,” and he is already smearing the hard-right Lieberman as a “leftist.” Similar mudslinging can be expected Orthodox are exempt from military service. Instead of wearing a from Blue and White, because the bloc is “an amalgamation of uniform, young Haredim study the Torah. In return for his supdifferent parties from across the political spectrum,” united only port, Lieberman demanded that Netanyahu limit the exemption, in their loathing of Netanyahu. And at the end of all this squabsomething the prime minister’s ultra-Orthodox allies will never allow. Lieberman has done us a favor, said David Rosenberg, also bling, another hung Knesset is likely. in Haaretz. With their high birth rate, the Haredim—who make The one thing we know for sure, said Shimrit Meir in Yedioth up 10 percent of the population—“are the fastest-growing segAhronoth, is that this second election puts the Israeli-Palestinian ment of society.” Yet they teach their children nothing useful and don’t help defend the nation. The new election, set for September, peace plan of President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner on hold yet again—possibly forever. No Israeli can poscould become a long-overdue referendum on the Haredim. sibly entertain a dialogue about concessions to Palestinians during It’s not Lieberman’s fault that we have to vote again—it’s Netan- election season. And after, who knows what the next government will do? “It seems that Trump’s ambitious ‘Deal of the Century’ yahu’s, said Yossi Beilin in Israel Hayom. Israel was supposed will end with a whimper.” to have an election in November, not April. But after learning
Militias are extorting the poor Ana Luiza Albuquerque
Folha de São Paulo
The rise of Christian political parties Editorial
Rio de Janeiro residents are sick of being extorted by paramilitary gangs, said Ana Luiza Albuquerque. There were 1,614 complaints to authorities about militias in the first quarter of 2019, an 87 percent increase over the same period five years ago; the number has only accelerated since populist President Jair Bolsonaro took office on Jan. 1. The mafia-like militias used to control their neighborhoods by offering protection from drug gangs and selling goods like gas and cable access. But lately they have “extended their tentacles” and now demand fees from everyone from fishermen to manicurists to hospital patients, and Brazilians are complaining to the government. “People are panic-
stricken by the militias,” said sociologist Ignacio Cano. Ordinary citizens are normally so afraid of reprisals that they won’t report extortion, but with unemployment high and the poor getting poorer, they simply can’t afford to keep paying protection money. Cano says some are also speaking out to protest last year’s murder of Marielle Franco, a politician who investigated the paramilitaries and was killed by former police officers with ties to the Bolsonaro family. But it’s unclear what good the denunciations will do. Bolsonaro is on record as saying the paramilitaries are useful because they prevent violence. And with the money these gangs take in, they can buy off police—and politicians.
Kiwi politicians are a mostly secular bunch, said The Press, but that could change in New Zealand’s 2020 election. The vote might see no fewer than three Christian parties battling to win seats in Parliament, which any one of them could do without passing the 5 percent threshold for proportional representation so long as it won one of the legislature’s directly elected seats. New Zealand had marginal Christian parties in the past, campaigning largely on their hostility to same-sex civil unions. But this new wave seems to be spurred largely by opposition to abortion and is strongly influenced by “U.S. culture-war rhetoric.” Alfred Ngaro, a
lawmaker with the center-right National Party who is mulling the launch of a new Christian party, tastelessly compared abortion to the Holocaust in a recent Facebook post. Ngaro’s new party would join the New Conservatives, who oppose not only abortion but also euthanasia and drug legalization, and Coalition New Zealand, a mom-and-pop outfit with a “strong Maori dimension.” Will these parties trigger an infusion of religion into politics, awakening a “silent majority” of Christian believers? Or, in their competition for the 3 to 4 percent of voters who have historically chosen Christian parties, will they cancel one another out? THE WEEK June 14, 2019
Noted Q Almost 30 million acres of U.S. farmland are owned by investors from Canada, Germany, China, and other foreign countries—a percentage that has doubled over the past two decades. Foreign ownership is expected to increase in the years to come because many American farmers are approaching retirement and have no family members willing to take over. The median age of U.S. farmers is 55 years old. NPR.org
Q Today, 35.7 million Americans live alone, or 28 percent of households. That’s up from 13 percent of households in 1960 and 23 percent in 1980, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Demographers attribute the trend to delayed or forgone marriage, longer life expectancy, urbanization, and greater wealth. The Wall Street Journal
Q At least 70 gray whales, many emaciated, have washed ashore in recent months along the West Coast from California to Alaska, in what federal officials are calling an “unusual mortality event.” Marine biologists say warming waters in feeding grounds near Alaska may be reducing food sources for the whales. Reuters
Q Deforestation increased 73 percent in the Brazilian Amazon between 2012 and 2018, reversing efforts to curb logging by ranchers and farmers. Almost 2 million acres were cleared last season, and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has vowed to clear more land in the Amazon, which serves as a major “sink” for carbon dioxide. Bloomberg.com THE WEEK June 14, 2019
Talking points UFOs: Why the military isn’t scoffing anymore objects. Last year, the Senate After decades of blaming weather Armed Services Committee balloons, bird clusters, and odd interviewed the Nimitz pilots, cloud formations, the U.S. miliand the Defense Intelligence tary is finally taking UFOs seriAgency briefed Congress on ously, said Helene Cooper in The the AATIP’s work. As a forNew York Times. In December, mer UFO investigator for the the Pentagon acknowledged it United Kingdom’s Ministry of has been studying them through Defense, I can tell you, “Somethe “shadowy, little-known thing is happening. Something Advanced Aerospace Threat big.” Let’s not get carried away, Identification Program” (AATIP), said Mike Wall in Space.com. formed in 2007. In April, the UFOs may exist, “but that Navy issued new guidelines on doesn’t mean E.T. has been viohow pilots should report encounA 2015 Navy video of a UFO lating our airspace.” The sightters. Now five airmen have ings may be experimental aircraft or drones from publicly described a host of “strange objects” another nation, or the result of glitches in the jets’ they observed off the East Coast in 2014 and new radar systems. We can’t say for sure these 2015. With no visible engine or exhaust plumes, weren’t alien spacecraft—just that the odds favor the objects darted around at hypersonic speeds, many “possible prosaic explanations.” making sudden stops and starts impossible for man-made craft, and nearly crashed into a pilot Still, it would be close-minded to rule out aliens, who came in for a closer look. “Wow, what is said Tyler Cowen in Bloomberg.com. Scientists that, man?” one pilot exclaimed in a taped close are discovering “more potentially life-supporting encounter. “Look at it fly!” planets all the time.” Humanity in the 21st century might be like Native Americans in the 15th, “UFOs have finally come out of the fringe and into the mainstream,” said Nick Pope in the New glimpsing wondrous sailing ships filled with strange beings approaching the shore. “To be York Post. We now have video of and details on oblivious of another civilization for a long time, “multiple events where UFOs have been tracked and then suddenly encounter it, is a common on radar and chased by military jets,” including theme in human history. Perhaps this has not a 2004 incident in which the USS Nimitz carrier happened for the last time.” strike group was buzzed by several high-speed
Abortion: Hollywood’s Georgia boycott Hollywood’s biggest companies are threatening to boycott Georgia over its “fetal heartbeat” abortion law, said Steven Zeitchik in WashingtonPost.com. Facing pressure from more than 100 stars, among them Ben Stiller, Amy Schumer, and Don Cheadle, Netflix’s chief content officer vowed to “rethink our entire investment in Georgia.” The state, which offers large tax incentives to producers, has been dubbed Y’allywood for the billions in entertainment industry business it attracts; it was the site of 455 TV and film productions last year, including Avengers: Endgame. Disney, WarnerMedia, Sony, CBS, and NBCUniversal also threatened to shun Georgia should its new abortion law take effect. “Many people who work for us will not want to work there,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger. With Hollywood’s image “tarnished” by #MeToo revelations, said Tara Lachapelle in Bloomberg.com, this boycott gives the industry a chance to stand up for “the rights and safety” of women. There’s nothing brave about Hollywood’s performative wokeness, said Stephen Kent in Washington Examiner.com. It’s trying to score points with coastal elites without actually sacrificing Georgia’s “exceedingly generous” tax breaks. Netflix, whose Georgia-based shows include Ozark and Stranger
Things, was careful to say it will consider withdrawing from the state if the new abortion law takes effect Jan. 1, knowing that the law is likely to get “jammed up” in the courts. Netflix and Disney are foolish to take up positions on “the front lines of the culture wars,” said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. They have “customers in Macon as well as Manhattan,” and it won’t help business if these companies tell half the country “they’re deplorable.” Boycotting Georgia may punish liberal allies as well as Republicans, said Zak Cheney-Rice in NYMag.com. A recent poll found that 49 percent of Georgians oppose the new abortion law, with 44 percent in favor. Georgia is one of the blackest states in the country, at 32 percent, and the Deep South is “the cradle of black American culture, politics, and resistance.” Abandoning Georgia and other so-called red states “to the devices of their white leaders is a dubious strategy for change.” Rather than punish the roughly 92,000 Georgians who work in the film industry, Hollywood “should stay and fight.” Studios and actors can donate to local organizations that are mounting legal challenges against the abortion law. Shunning Georgia “will only make it redder.”
Screenshot: U.S. Department of Defense/The New York Times, Reuters
Talking points Amash: A Republican’s call for impeachment conservative. As House Rep. Justin Amash has given Minority Leader Kevin conservatives a “clarifying McCarthy said, Amash choice,” said Conor Frieders“votes more with Nancy dorf in TheAtlantic.com. Pelosi than he ever votes “Stay loyal to a president of with me.” That’s “simply not bad character” or attack a true,” said Charles Sykes in man of conscience “who votes TheBulwark.com. Amash in accordance with the prinwas elected as part of the ciples they share.” The Michi2010 Tea Party wave and gan congressman, 39, last is a true, small-government week became the first RepubAmash at his town hall: Standing alone conservative. He voted with lican in either the House or Trump’s policies 92 percent of the time in the Senate to call for President Trump’s impeachcurrent Congress. Unlike other Republicans, howment. In a series of 13 tweets, Amash carefully explained why the Mueller report clearly indicates ever, he rejects the notion that if you like some of what Trump does, you have “to be silent about Trump obstructed justice, and stated that “any all the rest—the lies, the grift, the potentially illeperson who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence.” gal conduct. Everything.” Trump, he said, had “engaged in impeachable For now, at least, Amash’s “anti-Trump solo conduct.” Shortly afterward, said Andrew Sulact is doomed,” said Jeff Greenfield in Politico livan in NYMag.com, Amash received a standing .com. In Hollywood movies, the courageous ovation at a town hall in his heavily Republican whistleblower makes a stirring speech on the district. In effect, this “real conservative” is askSenate floor and “truth prevails and the corrupt ing other Republicans: “Do we acquiesce to tribare exposed.” But Amash isn’t Jimmy Stewart, alism or practice self-government?” and in the real world, Trump enjoys a 90 percent Amash’s betrayal has bought him a moment, said approval rating from Republicans; other Trump critics in the GOP, like former Sens. Jeff Flake Henry Olsen in The Washington Post. “He is, and Bob Corker, have been driven from power. however, neither unbiased nor a typical RepubRight now, Amash “finds himself in a party lican, rendering such attention way overblown.” of one,” and unless something truly shocking Amash has opposed Trump’s tariffs and budget occurs, he will remain that way. deficits and is more of a libertarian than a true
Barr: Declaring war on Trump’s opponents
Soon after he was confirmed, Attorney General William Barr shocked even “erstwhile supporters with his aggressive and frequently dishonest interventions on behalf of President Trump,” said Jonathan Chait in NYMag.com. But now we know “how far over the edge Barr has gone.” In an interview with CBS last week, Barr went “full MAGA,” throwing his support behind the right-wing conspiracy theory that a cabal of rabid Trump haters at the FBI launched the Russia investigation to undermine his presidency. In an even more astonishing moment, Barr calmly stated he saw “no evidence” that Trump has been undermining democratic norms and “shredding our institutions.” The real threat to our norms, Barr said, is coming from Trump’s opponents, who are “resisting a democratically elected president.” Barr left no doubt about it, said William Saletan in Slate.com. The U.S. attorney general is a committed “agent of President Donald Trump.” “The AG is taking flak because he’s asking questions that others won’t,” said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. But Barr is totally justified in seeking answers as to why the FBI spied on an American presidential campaign. Entrenched government officials, he correctly pointed out, can
arrogantly “identify the national interest with their own political preferences” and seek to supersede “the will of the majority.” At 69, with retirement beckoning—he gave his interview in fishing gear in front of a crackling fireplace—Barr is the Washington establishment’s “worst nightmare,” said David Catron in Spectator.org. Nothing scares the denizens of the district like “an honest man who doesn’t give a damn what they think of him.” Honest? asked Philip Bump in WashingtonPost .com. Barr also made the “simply indefensible” claim that special counsel Robert Mueller found “no evidence” of the “bogus” claim that the Trump campaign “was in cahoots with Russia.” In truth, Mueller’s report details more than 100 secret contacts between Trump staffers and Russia, including Paul Manafort’s still-unexplained gift of U.S. polling data to an agent of the Kremlin. Barr may honestly believe he needs to clean house at the FBI to restore public trust in our institutions, said Jack Goldsmith in Lawfareblog .com. But as attorney general, Barr is one of those institutions himself. By distorting Mueller’s conclusions, and appearing to prejudge the results of his FBI investigation, Barr has “severely undermined what was left of his credibility.”
NEWS 17 Wit & Wisdom “What’s surreal to you is just somebody’s Wednesday somewhere.” Novelist Karen Russell, quoted in Jezebel.com
“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” Galileo Galilei, quoted in RealSimple.com
“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” Scientist and author Rachel Carson, quoted in PsychologyToday.com
“A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.” Bob Hope, quoted in The New Zealand Herald
“Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better, whereas enslavement is a certainty of the worst.” Albert Camus, quoted in TravelAndLeisure.com
“Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact.” George Eliot, quoted in INews.co.uk
“I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, quoted in the Associated Press
Poll watch Q When Americans were asked to name the best president in their lifetimes, 31% said Barack Obama. Ronald Reagan came in second, with 21%, while Bill Clinton was named by 13%. Donald Trump was fourth, at 10%. Pew Research Center
Q 47% of Americans think that imposing tariffs hurts the U.S. economy. 25% say tariffs benefit the economy, 7% say tariffs have no impact, and 21% are unsure. Monmouth University
THE WEEK June 14, 2019
Privacy: Apps find holes in Apple’s armor Yelp’s app sends a packet of data to the Despite all of Apple’s promises, “iPhone company every five minutes. In a week privacy is broken,” said Joanna Stern in of monitoring, I encountered 5,400 The Wall Street Journal—and you can trackers on my iPhone. “Yes, trackers blame the apps. CEO Tim Cook has are a problem on phones running Ansold his firm’s devices as the privacydroid, too.” But we were supposed to conscious choice in the phone wars, “count on Apple to sweat the privacy but the moment you download an app details,” right? Apple has taken aim at from Apple’s store, you’ll likely find Google in the past, but now Google, your phone “littered with secret trackwhich controls the Android operating ers, slurping up your personal data and system, is firing back, said Jon Porter sending it to more places than you can in TheVerge.com. Google CEO Sundar count.” Of 80 apps I recently tested with Pichai took a “thinly veiled swipe at a colleague, all but one had tracking How many of these apps are tracking you? Apple” last month with an op-ed arsoftware; “the apps averaged four trackguing that privacy “cannot be a luxury good” offered only to ers apiece.” Seemingly innocuous apps turned out to be privacy “people who can afford to buy premium products and services.” sinkholes. Meditation apps, with an average of six trackers each, were among the worst offenders. One called Peace sent all Google, he wrote, will protect consumers’ privacy through responsible data collection. my search terms to Facebook, “including ‘best for anxiety’ and ‘depression.’” One kids’ app collected information specifically Surprised that apps on your iPhone are tracking you? asked prohibited by Apple, including “my son’s age, name, and every book he ever tapped.” The response from the company when we Paul Wagenseil in TomsGuide.com. “Duh. This is what thirdparty smartphone apps do.” The smartphone is the greatest asked about that? “Whoopsies!” surveillance device in all of history, and almost every app you download from Apple’s App Store or the Google Play store uses Apple is strict about making apps get permission before using some of its spying features—such as GPS location tracking—to an iPhone’s camera or microphone, said Geoffrey Fowler in The Washington Post, but it “turns more of a blind eye to what make money. Privacy and smartphones are simply incompatible. apps do with data we provide them or they generate about us.” The best you can do is limit your exposure by installing only the Many apps send a constant stream of data even while you sleep. apps you’ll really use.
Bytes: What’s new in tech From Apple, a new iPadOS and more
A New York City–based company last week launched a new holographic computer display designed for glasses-free 3D effects, said Scott Stein in CNET.com. The Looking Glass Pro display looks like a “thick-walled glass box” that can show a three-dimensional image. “There’s something instantly magical about the idea of a box that seems to make things appear.” The display, which has a powerful builtin computer, is pricey at $6,000, but many of its first uses are likely to be professional or medical. One of the first practical apps for the display, OrthoScience, is “designed to look at 3D dental scans.” But there are likely to be consumer applications, which can capture an uncanny sense of reality. A re-creation of James Bond’s iconic pistol, used in one Looking Glass demonstration, “looks like a museum exhibit rather than a screen.” THE WEEK June 14, 2019
Apple this week introduced new releases of its operating systems for the iPhone and iPad, said TheVerge.com, and “it’s now splitting up iOS to form a new iPadOS for the company’s tablets.” The new iPadOS promises a more laptop-like experience, including support for external hard drives and thumb drives so you can easily transfer files between the iPad and other devices. Both iPads and iPhones will get more photo-editing features, and for videos, “you’ll finally be able to rotate them directly on the device.” Apple also announced a longawaited redesign of the high-end Mac Pro, admitting that its glossy trash can–shaped “Mac Pro of 2013 was a mistake.” The powerful computer’s system memory “can be maxed out at an eyebrow-raising 1.5TB”—many times what most contemporary high-end machines typically have and enough for even the most extreme power users.
Quieting Facebook’s chatter Facebook sends me “two or three notifications per waking hour,” said Eric Ravenscraft in The New York Times, “And I’m not a heavy Facebook user.” The app will send you messages every time someone likes one of your posts, someone you know is interested
in an event near you, even when one of your “friends” is streaming a videogame. If you’re also drowning in “out of control” notifications, you have some options. Pressing the inconspicuous three-dot button by the alert will let you “turn off notifications of this type/ about this post.” You can also use the app settings. Tap the three-line menu at the bottom of the app, then go to Settings & Privacy for a list of alerts you can cancel. “You don’t get total control, but you can at least cut off some of the more annoying intrusions.”
Another Uber-size loss Ride-sharing giant Uber reported a billiondollar loss last week, said Georgia Wells in The Wall Street Journal, in its first earnings report as a public company. “Investors have questioned whether Uber can tame its losses amid tight competition.” The loss is more than double Uber’s deficit in the same period last year, with the cash drain accelerated by a 54 percent increase in marketing costs. Uber has “sought to sell Wall Street” on a vision of dominating the future of transportation around the world. But its growth has slowed dramatically, with revenue from its core business rising just 10 percent from a year earlier, a steep drop-off from 80 percent growth a year ago.
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Health & Science
Ultraprocessed foods lead to overeating
Upright due to interstellar radiation
Supernovas got humans walking Early humans may have evolved to walk on two feet because exploding stars destroyed their forest habitats, a new study suggests. Our corner of the Milky Way experienced a series of supernovas that peaked about 2.6 million years ago, says researchers at the University of Kansas. The radiation blasting out from these dying stars ionized Earth’s atmosphere, making it more conductive— which led to lightning strikes that sparked massive wildfires in Africa’s forests. At that point, our ancient tree-dwelling ancestors lived their lives on all fours, clambering up trunks and swinging from branch to branch. But “when the forests are replaced with grasslands,” co-author Adrian Melott tells The Guardian (U.K.), “it then becomes an advantage to stand upright, so you can walk from tree to tree and look over the tall grass for predators.” The researchers’ evidence for the lightning strikes is a layer of highly ionized iron deposits found across the ocean floor; as for the wildfires, the scientists point to carbon deposits in soils that can be dated back to the time of the supernovas. “There’s a lot more charcoal and soot in the world starting a few million years ago,” says Melott. “This could be an explanation.”
Overbearing bonobo moms Mothers have been known to nag their THE WEEK June 14, 2019
tained similar amounts of calories, sugars, fat, and carbohydrates—but the subjects were told they could eat as much as they liked. After two weeks, the groups swapped meal plans. On the ultraprocessed diet, participants ate faster and consumed an extra 500 calories a day—equivalent to two and a half Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts— and gained an average of 2 pounds. On the unprocessed diet, which was 40 percent more expensive than the ultraprocessed one, subjects lost an average of 2 pounds and experienced increased levels of an appetite-suppressing hormone. Barry Popkin, a nutrition expert at the University
grown children to produce grandkids, but bonobo moms take the pressure to a whole new level. These moms are so determined to become grandmothers that they will stand by when their sons mate with a female and fight off any other males that try to disrupt the lovemaking. These overbearing ape moms also run interference, breaking up liaisons between females and males that aren’t their sons. Occasionally, mother and son even team up to attack the latter’s sexual rivals. This forceful maternal behavior is well documented, and a new study has concluded for the first time that it actually helps the sons thrive, reports DiscoverMagazine. com. Researchers found that wild male bonobos in Congo whose mothers were still with them fathered three times more offspring than bonobos whose mothers had died or left the group. Lead author Martin Surbeck, from the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, says bonobo moms likely act as they do to “increase their reproductive success without having more offspring themselves.”
AC chills women’s productivity Science has sided with women in the thermostat wars that rage in offices across the country every summer, reports The Washington Post. Workplaces often set their air conditioning at cooler temperatures that are comfortable for men in long-sleeved shirts and suits rather than for women in short-sleeved blouses and skirts—a phenomenon that some feminists have called sexist. Now scientists have discovered that women are less productive in chillier temperatures, regardless of what they’re wearing—and that men do better when it’s cooler. The researchers asked more than 500 college students to spend an hour solving math, logic, and word problems, at temperatures ranging from 61 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. For each increase of 1.8 degrees, women’s math scores went up by nearly 1.8 percent,
Sugary cereals are a recipe for weight gain.
of North Carolina who wasn’t involved in the study, tells NPR.org that the challenge for the global food industry is to “produce ultraprocessed food that’s healthy and that won’t be so seductive and won’t make us eat so much extra. But they haven’t yet.”
and their word test results by 1 percent. Men, however, answered fewer questions as the temperature went up and gave fewer correct answers. The subjects were all wearing roughly the same clothes, suggesting the disparity may be biological rather than sartorial. The findings, say the study authors, “suggest that in gender-balanced workplaces, temperatures should be set significantly higher than current standards.”
Health scare of the week The dangers of fruit juice Naturally occurring sugars in fruit juice may be just as bad as for you as the refined sugars added to soda, a new study has found. Researchers examined data covering more than 13,000 people for more than six years; almost 71 percent were overweight or obese. They found that the people who drank the most sugary drinks—of any kind—had a 14 percent higher risk of premature death than those who drank the least. Each additional daily 12-ounce serving of cola or other sugar-sweetened drinks was linked to an 11 percent increased risk—but for fruit juices, the risk was as much as 24 percent higher. While the authors caution that the study shows correlation, not causation, they say the elevated risk could be explained by the fact that sugary beverages increase insulin resistance, which raises the risk for cardiovascular disease, while fructose consumption can stimulate weight gain around the waist, another cardiovascular disease risk factor. Co-author Jean Welsh, from Emory University in Atlanta, tells CNN.com that the consumption of “sugary beverages, whether soft drinks or fruit juices, should be limited.”
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America’s obesity epidemic is being fueled by ultraprocessed foods loaded with synthetic flavors, preservatives, and added sugars and salt, a small but rigorous new study has found. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health recruited 20 adult volunteers—10 men and 10 women—to spend a month at a research facility. The participants were split into two groups: one ate a diet of ultraprocessed foods such as sugary cereals, white bread, and reconstituted meats, while the other group ate minimally processed foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, grilled chicken, and whole grains. All meals con-
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THE WEEK June 14, 2019
ARTS Review of reviews: Books
as a military leader, but only after early gaffes lead to near-knockout defeats. And though the redcoats are cruel at times—nine of every 10 American prisoners of war died in custody—they also display valor, and are exceeded by the rebels in only one intangible: hope.
Book of the week The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775–1777 by Rick Atkinson (Holt, $40)
“Historians of the American Revolution, But interpreting the combatants’ take note,” said Joseph Ellis in The motives is not Atkinson’s strong New York Times. With the publication point, said Wayne Lee in The of Rick Atkinson’s first volume in a Washington Post. He devotes only planned trilogy, “a powerful new voice one paragraph to the Continental has been added to the dialogue about Army’s 1776 campaign against the our origins as a people and a nation.” The guns of Concord: First shots in an epic confrontation Cherokees, for example, missing Not that the former Washington Post one of the principal lessons of recent writer and Pulitzer-winning author of an earlier trilogy on World War II offers “This is not a book for anyone in a hurry,” histories of the war: that there were multiple, sometimes regionally specific, reasons any radically new arguments. But he brings said Gerard DeGroot in The Times (U.K.). that ordinary citizens decided war against to the story “a Tolstoyan view of war,” Its 564 pages of narrative text cover only insisting that we see how people on the the first two years of an eight-year conflict, British rule was necessary, and not least among those reasons was a fear of Indians. ground experienced the unfolding violence. and Atkinson is “never afraid to digress,” Stirring but vague talk of “the cause” Atkinson’s you-are-there approach is so if the detour delights. Mostly, though, won’t do it. Still, for anyone who is seeking cinematic that you may wonder if he’s takwe get details that matter: rebel troops a smart, detailed account of the war’s ups ing creative liberties when, say, he notes the eating boiled leather to stave off hunger, and downs and who values “sheer dracolor of the sky over Concord Bridge. But pewter dishes and fishing weights being matic intensity” above all, Atkinson’s work he seems to have all such details backed by melted down to manufacture ammuniis the one to grab. “There are few better endnotes, and “to say that Atkinson can tell tion. And there is heroism and depravity places to turn.” a story is like saying Sinatra can sing.” on both sides. George Washington grows
by Ocean Vuong (Penguin, $26) It may be unfair to compare any modern writer to Walt Whitman, but Ocean Vuong is “surely a literary descendant,” said Ron Charles in The Washington Post. The stunning debut novel by the young poet who was born in Saigon and raised in Connecticut is, like Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, “a lyrical work of self-discovery that’s shockingly intimate and insistently universal.” Vuong’s fictional stand-in is Little Dog, who is recounting his life story in a long candid letter to his volcanic mother, a Vietnamese immigrant who can’t read. Little Dog is a product of war in his homeland and poverty in America. He is also gay, and a secret teenage affair with the grandson of a tobacco farmer becomes a defining experience. As fine as his prose can be, On Earth is also “filled with showy, affected writing, with forced catharses and swollen quasiprofundities,” said Dwight Garner in The New York Times. The book achieves “genuine force” when its doomed romance blooms, but you have to endure its lows to enjoy its peaks. “At its best, it’s unleashed in every regard.” THE WEEK June 14, 2019
by Josh Levin (Little, Brown, $29) The name Linda Taylor means little to most Americans today, said Kate Giammarise in the Pittsburgh PostGazette. But our ongoing conversations about how to address domestic poverty “continue to be haunted by Taylor’s Cadillacdriving ghost.” In 1976, presidential candidate Ronald Reagan included in his stump speech an anecdote about Taylor, a Chicago woman who used false identities to live lavishly on food stamps, veterans’ benefits, and Social Security. She was, literally, the original “welfare queen,” and Reagan used her example to suggest that a whole class of people was abusing taxpayer largesse. Josh Levin of Slate.com tracked down the truth behind the Republican talking point, and his Taylor is guilty not just of welfare fraud but also of much worse. His “highly readable” portrait establishes that Taylor is better understood as an American outlier.
In the book’s early pages, “Taylor is like a one-person Ocean’s 11,” said Chris Hewitt in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. As her grifting exploits are detailed, “you can feel Levin’s respect for Taylor’s daring.” She feigned mental illness, passed herself off as an heiress, even persuaded her daughter to play deaf. But there’s a grimmer story, too, and “Levin gives it its due”: Taylor was a monster—likely guilty of killing at least one person and even of kidnapping and selling children. Quite possibly, Taylor walked into a Chicago hospital in 1964 and walked out with another woman’s baby. The roots of her aberrant behavior may lie in her background, said Lily Meyer in the Washington City Paper. Born Martha Louise White, she was raised in 1920s Alabama by an abusive white mother who more than once denied her daughter’s existence—probably because Martha was the product of an affair with a black man. The girl, after giving birth herself at about 13, fled Alabama and, in Seattle, was arrested at 18 on the first of multiple prostitution charges. The world had no place for her, and somewhere along the way, “she learned to take advantage of every person and system she could.” Whatever else her tale represents, it’s “a powerful reminder to ask what stories lie behind the ones that catch the public eye.”
Novel of the week On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth
The Book List Best books...chosen by Kristen Arnett Kristen Arnett is a LitHub.com columnist and author of Felt in the Jaw, an awardwinning short-story collection. In her darkly comic first novel, Mostly Dead Things, a woman returns to her Florida hometown to help run a family taxidermy shop. The Leavers by Lisa Ko (2017). Ko’s debut novel won the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, and for good reason: It’s a deeply fascinating, beautiful look at the relationship between a mother and a son, spanning continents and spanning decades, from early childhood into young adulthood. It is storytelling inside storytelling. It is love and loss and My Body Is a Book of Rules by Elissa Washuta love again. (2014). This is a deep dive into the body and mind of a singular author who manipulates text Get in Trouble by Kelly Link (2015). Here’s one of the best fiction collections of the past on the page to almost tactile effect. She writes 10 years. The stories are spellbinding, full of powerfully about memory, yes, but she also fantastic images and engaging characters, with reminds readers what it’s like to inhabit a body. The essays in the book are interspersed with his- settings so incredible, you’ll feel you’re hovering there along the physical landscape. Link’s sense torical material about the Cascade tribe, one of of humor shines wildly through every page. two indigenous tribes in Washuta’s heritage. Edinburgh by Alexander Chee (2001). If I could put one queer book into everyone’s hands, it would be this one. The prose is tender and lovely. Music floods every page. There are prisms of shadow and light. Chee writes with lyric vulnerability and creates characters so compelling that you physically ache for them.
Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison (1992). As a regional writer I am always looking for work that centers place, and Allison’s semiautobiographical novel does this beautifully with South Carolina. The writing is raw and rich. It is a love letter to home full of pain and joy and heartbreak. This is the book that made me want to be a writer.
Why Did I Ever by Mary Robison (2001). I keep coming back to this hilarious, tragic, masterfully written novel about a woman whose life is falling apart. Robison’s fragmented storytelling jumps effortlessly through time and drags you along for the ride. Why Did I Ever contains pain and pleasure. The book tells the joke and is ready to laugh at it, too. It is a friend for life.
Maria Jones, Marion Ettlinger
Also of interest...in false prophets Outside Looking In
After the Party
by T.C. Boyle (Ecco, $28)
by Cressida Connolly (Pegasus, $26)
If Timothy Leary is watching from the great beyond, “he must be wondering what took T.C. Boyle so long to write a novel about him,” said Ron Charles in The Washington Post. Boyle has skewered many of history’s hucksters, and he’s done it again here by focusing on a square, early-1960s recruit of the Harvard iconoclast who preached the mind-expanding power of LSD. Because the mentee makes the mistake of getting his family involved, this “superbly paced” novel becomes “a farce laced with tragedy.”
Cressida Connolly’s flawless third novel “gently infiltrates” a dark chapter of history, said Anna Mundow in The Wall Street Journal. Its narrator, the youngest sister in a wealthy family, is looking back in 1979 from prison on the pre–World War II years when she was a young mother and her sisters were enthralled with Oswald Mosley, leader of Britain’s Fascist party. As she paints that bygone era, “a seed of unease, planted early, grows stealthily.” The history becomes “freshly chilling.”
The Ash Family
by Molly Dektar (Simon & Schuster, $26)
by Adam Morris (Liveright, $29)
Molly Dektar’s first book is “truly a novel for our climate-anxious age,” said Julia Scheeres in The New York Times. A college-bound teenager runs away to the Carolina mountains to join a cult-like group headed by a controlling former power-plant engineer. “For a novel about an eco-terrorist cell, there is very little action,” and even the young heroine doesn’t do much besides worry. But Dektar’s “gem-cut” sentences “kept me reading.” She “clearly loves the natural world and has a gift for describing it.”
Author Adam Morris aims to present America’s long line of selfproclaimed prophets and demigods as more than kooks, and “in many ways, he succeeds,” said Tom Bissell in NewYorker.com. His examples, including the founder of the Shakers and 20thcentury cult leader Jim Jones, all rejected capitalism, and many promoted race and gender equality. But cult leaders also exploit the vulnerable, and Morris’ attempt to treat such abuses as distractions mars an “otherwise fascinating” book.
ARTS 23 Author of the week James Ellroy America’s premier crime novelist might be going soft, said Leo Robson in The Economist’s 1843 magazine. At 71, James Ellroy is still rancorous, but he says he’s “just never been this happy” and claims to be filled with “outrageous goodwill for people.” Though his latest L.A. novel, This Storm, features a monstrous psychopath, the story, he says, offers “the thrill of human beings changing”— a subject he’s come to know firsthand. Long before he wrote The Black Dahlia or L.A. Confidential, Ellroy was battling demons. Just 10 when his mother was raped and murdered in suburban Los Angeles, he responded by developing an obsession with crime books and a habit of acting out. “I’d do anything to get attention,” he says. As a teenager, he attended local Nazi Party meetings, broke into homes. He spent his 20s drinking, popping pills, sleeping in a city park, and racking up arrests. At 30, after an epiphany, he began to write. That didn’t end his stormy years. Less than a decade ago, he was still hooked on prescription drugs, bombing out of his second marriage—to a woman he worships, and with whom he reunited four years ago. The two now live in Denver, in separate units in the same apartment hall. But to say Ellroy is growing soft is to ignore how much he poured into This Storm, said Larry Kanter in Men’s Journal. A 577-page book and the second work in a planned quartet, it’s set in 1942 in an L.A. overrun with crooked cops, killers, and war fears. Of course Ellroy is happy. “Nobody’s done what I’ve done,” he says. “Nobody’s written books this big. This priapic. This tortured. This nihilistic. This powerful. That’s how I feel.” THE WEEK June 14, 2019
Review of reviews: Film & Music
Late Night Directed by Nisha Ganatra (R)
++++ A TV talk show hires its first female writer.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 Directed by Chris Renaud (PG)
++++ A city dog learns to worry a little less.
dominated field,” said Benjamin Late Night isn’t the first comedy Lee in TheGuardian.com. But set behind the scenes of a longthough Emma Thompson is “a running network TV show, said whirlwind” as an office tyrant, Johnny Oleksinski in the New the movie’s humor rarely rises York Post. But writer and co-star above smirk-worthy, and its genMindy Kaling “shrewdly crumeral agreeableness fights against ples up that old formula and its occasional attempts to bitingly starts fresh”: She has invented satirize comedy-world misogyny. a late-night talk show that for But Late Night is not about decades has been the fiefdom Thompson’s stormy pioneer men, said Alissa Wilkinson in of a prickly female host who, Vox.com. It’s “about the tactics some women use to to prove she doesn’t hate other women, finally adds try to stay ahead in male-dominated spaces,” and its a woman to her writing staff. Kaling plays the accistars deliver two fun case studies. The movie won’t dental trailblazer, an earnest newcomer who’s given rewrite how women are portrayed, but it just might little time to prove her worth. “It’s a setup ripe for prod other comedies to “try a little harder.” sharp commentary on women coexisting in a maleby Tiffany Haddish team up This family-friendly sequel probfor a random action-adventure ably should have been three storyline. Meanwhile, “most of straight-to-video featurettes, said the film’s comedic hijinks” are Jesse Hassenger in AVClub.com. generated by Jenny Slate’s flaky Though it’s “rarely clever,” it’s Pomeranian and Lake Bell’s “sometimes funny,” especially cantankerous tabby, who team when it simply allows some cute up to retrieve a dog toy from a cartoon animals room to goof cat lady’s apartment, said Courtaround. As in the 2016 original, ney Howard in Variety. Back at the focus is on Max, an uptight Bathroom humor with Max and Duke the farm, Max is coached in the terrier in New York City. This time, Max frets mostly about protecting the baby his ways of alpha canines by a shepherd dog voiced by owner has brought home, but even when his frazzled Harrison Ford, and Ford “handily—and gruffly— steals the show,” said Michael Rechtshaffen in The state prompts the family to retreat to a hazard-filled Hollywood Reporter. It’s all just light entertainment, farm, the secondary stories prove more engaging. A “thoroughly serviceable” but “uninspired.” bunny voiced by Kevin Hart and a shih tzu voiced
Cate Le Bon
Tyler, the Creator
Center Point Road
Cate Le Bon’s fifth album is “a strange and beautiful approximation” of what it feels like to be alone, said Sam Sodomsky in Pitchfork .com. Across 10 songs that the Welsh native wrote while living solo in England’s Lake District and largely produced in Joshua Tree, Calif., Reward is “an album most remarkable for how it fills space.” The trademarks of Le Bon’s style are still here: “blasts of saxophone, music-box percussion, silvery, oblong guitar licks”—but the music feels at once spare and warm, minimalist and lush. “The more elaborate and eccentric her music becomes, the more she sounds like herself.” Le Bon already had many admirers among the biggest names in art rock, but this is her best work yet, said Simon VozickLevinson in RollingStone.com. “These are wonderfully strange pop songs.” Standout tracks such “Miami,” a “Bowie-ish” ballad, “unfold slowly, with each piano chord and sax riff falling cleanly into place.” She achieves “a sense of mystery and meaning” with “every handcrafted hook.”
“Tyler, the Creator is not a freak or a goblin anymore,” said Craig Jenkins in New York magazine. Nearly a decade since he emerged as an avatar of teenage black rage, the rapper-producer has constructed an album “so pretty, confident, and considered” that “you wonder why he called it Igor.” Even given the languid grooves of 2017’s Flower Boy, Igor marks “his sharpest stylistic swerve to date,” said Dean Van Nguyen in TheGuardian.com. “With the focus more on texture than song structure, the album is a smorgasbord of buzzing bass lines, piano chords, and out-of-key synths.” Apart from its strong opening and closing tracks, though, the record plays as “a fine showcase of ingenuity” that “too rarely” grabs the ear. It’s better, though, for putting narrative first, said Christopher Thiessen in ConsequenceOfSound.net. This record tracks, from the singer’s perspective, the full arc of a gay relationship, from first crush to post-heartbreak. The soulfulness of his sound today is “among the best in hip-hop.”
The more Thomas Rhett tests the boundaries of country music, “the more the singer finds himself at the very center of commercial country,” said Jonathan Bernstein in Rolling Stone. Having already scored a “staggering” dozen No. 1 country hits with his first three albums, the “honey-smooth” Tennessee crooner is again playing a popcurious jack of all trades, proving he can be just as effective at “R&B lite” as he is with honky-tonk nostalgia. Center Point Road takes its name from a street in Rhett’s hometown and catches Rhett, now 29, in a wistful frame of mind, said Glenn Gamboa in Newsday. In the synthed-up title track, Kelsea Ballerini joins him to reminisce about teenage escapades. His current hit, “Look What God Gave Her”—an ode to his childhood sweetheart turned wife— evokes “breezy, ’70s pop.” Though Rhett isn’t about to win a crossover to pure pop stardom, “you’ve got to hand it to him: All these risks pay off, more or less.” They’re sure to keep him atop the country charts.
THE WEEK June 14, 2019
Emily Aragones, Illumination Entertainment
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Movies on TV Monday, June 10 Saving Mr. Banks Tom Hanks is Walt Disney and Emma Thompson is children’s writer P.L. Travers in a sentimental but effective drama about bringing Mary Poppins to the big screen. (2013) 4:50 p.m., Starz Tuesday, June 11 Arthur Dudley Moore slurred his way into America’s heart as a perpetually drunk millionaire’s son who falls for a waitress and struggles to put his life together. (1981) 6:20 p.m., Cinemax Wednesday, June 12 The Road Viggo Mortensen plays a father ushering his son through a brutal postapocalyptic world in an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel. (2009) 9:05 p.m., the Movie Channel Thursday, June 13 Patriot Games Harrison Ford stars as Jack Ryan, a history professor whose chance heroism makes him a target of Irish terrorists. Adapted from Tom Clancy’s first Jack Ryan novel. (1992) 8 p.m., Epix Friday, June 14 Steel Magnolias Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, and Dolly Parton charm their way through a comedy drama about four old friends in a small Southern town. (1989) 8 p.m., TCM Saturday, June 15 The Hate U Give Amandla Stenberg gives a breakout performance in an acclaimed adaptation of Angie Thomas’ novel about a black teenager who witnesses a police shooting. (2018) 8 p.m., HBO Sunday, June 16 Red Eye Rachel McAdams is an airline passenger forced to join an assassination plot by the terrorist beside her in this taut Wes Craven thriller. Cillian Murphy co-stars. (2005) 9:45 p.m., Cinemax THE WEEK June 14, 2019
Television The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching Ice on Fire The threats posed by climate change are enormous. But what potential remedies might there be? This documentary from Leila Conners and Leonardo DiCaprio, who previously collaborated on The 11th Hour, roams the planet to talk to the innovators who are testing ways to arrest or reverse the warming of the atmosphere. As one expert points out, the cost of investing in something new may have just fallen below the costs of doing nothing. Tuesday, June 11, at 8 p.m., HBO Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese In 1975, in advance of his album Desire, Bob Dylan put together a rolling band of fellow musicians and artists who traveled the country playing almost unannounced at various small venues. In this Martin Scorsese documentary—a followup to 2005’s No Direction Home—Dylan leads the traveling circus as it pulls in such notables as Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Sam Shepard, Roger McGuinn, and poet Allen Ginsberg. Available for streaming Wednesday, June 12, Netflix Too Old to Die Young This is what happens when you give a 13-hour series to a filmmaker with a gift for stylish, slowpaced neo-noir. Nicolas Winding Refn, the director of Drive, has tapped Miles Teller to play a Los Angeles police detective who moonlights as a hitman, targeting humanity’s worst offenders. A neon-lit, visually poetic fever dream, the series will nevertheless test many viewers’ patience for pauses, silences, and graphic violence. John Hawkes, Jena Malone, and Nell Tiger Free co-star. Available for streaming Friday, June 14, Amazon Los Espookys Fred Armisen’s latest project might be his most outrageous yet. Set in Mexico City and cocreated with Ana Fabrega and Julio Torres, this surrealist, six-episode, Spanish-language comedy series follows a group of horror movie–obsessed weirdos who start a business that manufactures scares for whatever reason the customer may need them. Armisen, the former Portlandia and SNL star, has the smallest role of the co-creators,
Dylan on the road in Scorsese’s Rolling Thunder Revue
playing a legendary L.A. valet driver. Friday, June 14, at 11 p.m., HBO City on a Hill When you read the phrase “Ben Affleck– produced,” you can’t be surprised that the next words are “Boston crime drama.” But Affleck’s new series, set in 1992 Boston, is both predictable and predictably good. Kevin Bacon co-stars as a crooked FBI agent who’s pulled into an unlikely alliance with a black district attorney, played by Aldis Hodge, who’s determined to clean up the city’s corrupt criminal justice system. Sunday, June 16, at 9 p.m., Showtime Other highlights Frontline: The Pension Gamble A look at how state governments and Wall Street have abused public pensions, creating a multitrillion-dollar deficit. Tuesday, June 11, at 10:30 p.m., PBS; check local listings Baskets Zach Galifianakis returns for Season 4 of his “slapstick drama,” which finds his character, Chip, a 49-year-old classically trained clown, finally moving out of his mother’s house. Thursday, June 13, at 10 p.m., FX All That Nickelodeon’s long-running sketch comedy show returns with a new cast and a boost from musical guests the Jonas Brothers. Saturday, June 15, at 8:30 p.m., Nickelodeon
Show of the week Euphoria
Zendaya: Awaiting transcendence
This isn’t your parents’ teen drama series. Though Euphoria doesn’t stream on YouTube, it has a chance to become a defining show for Generation Z, one fueled by a compelling central performance. Former Disney star Zendaya plays Rue, a drug-addicted high schooler who leaves rehab only to slip back into her partying ways when she comes under the spell of a trans girl played by model Hunter Schafer. There’s no telling yet if the Drake-produced show will cross as many boundaries as the Israeli series it’s based on. Today’s teens might be hard to surprise anyway. Sunday, June 16, at 10 p.m., HBO
• All listings are Eastern Time.
LEISURE Food & Drink
Critics’ choice: Mall dining worthy of a special detour TAK Room New York City Thomas Keller’s new mall restaurant on Manhattan’s midtown waterfront doesn’t really cater to the natives, said Adam Platt in GrubStreet.com. With the jazz trio playing at the bar and the “generically posh” quality of the décor, “you could be dining anywhere from Dallas to Dubai.” But TAK Room “turns out to have its charms.” As at Keller’s Per Se, in a mall-like complex at Columbus Circle, the service is “coolly impeccable.” As in any other Keller kitchen, “no expense has been spared in bringing in the finest of everything from trophy farms around the country.” Here, in a fifth-floor perch inside the new mega-development Hudson Yards, the best tables offer a chance to savor oysters Rockefeller and Champagne while gazing out on the complex’s mostphotographed structures: an art center and a 150-foot-tall sculpture known as the Vessel. Expect prices bordering on the insane, and you might enjoy many of chef de cuisine Jarrod Huth’s retro pleasures: beef Stroganoff, a truffled fettuccine Alfredo, and a superb crab cake. TAK is best, though, at “big-ticket red-meat dishes,” such as prime rib beef and beef Wellington. It’s all old-fashioned, yet “curiously satisfying.” 20 Hudson Yards, (929) 450-4050 International Smoke Houston A celebrity restaurant with a “global BBQ” theme didn’t initially seem like a restaurant
a wide range of dishes with unusual consistency,” but if International Smoke has a signature, it’s chef Mina’s tuna sushi poppers, served under glass so that they release tendrils of smoke while the customer captures a video clip to post on Instagram. 800 Sorella Court, (713) 714-0126 LeRoux Denver Dinner at the 16th Street pedestrian mall has just become a lot more delicious, said Denise Mickelsen in Denver’s 5280 magazine. LeRoux, a bistro named after a chef who’s mentored many classically trained American cooks, combines a stunningly TAK Room’s Huth and Keller handsome space with traditional and subtly reimagined continental fare that should my readers needed to know about, said make its namesake proud. Co-chefs Lon Alison Cook in the Houston Chronicle. Symensma and Jeff Stoneking aren’t afraid “How wrong I was,” though, because this to apply classic techniques in new ways, as spinoff of a San Francisco establishment is lots of fun, boosted by the talents of a great in the vegetarian menu’s mushroom millefeuille with rhubarb and an herb emulsion. local chef. Celebrity co-creators Michael Seafood lovers can choose perfectly seared Mina and Ayesha Curry—as in the wife of scallops in a Champagne buerre blanc or Houston Rockets nemesis Steph Curry— lobster in a Meyer lemon meunière, while truly are citizens of the world, so their concept feels unforced. The international crowd carnivores will return again and again that patronizes their airy CityCentre location just for the beef short ribs—“braised into decadence” in a veal stock flavored with get a real-deal experience when they order Thai red curry soup with smoked shrimp or Gruyère rinds, then served with molten leeks, pickled onions, and a Gruyère-laced the sticky Korean-style sesame-gochujang potato puree. Many restaurants claim their ribs. E.J. Miller runs the kitchen, and the expertise he developed at SaltAir elevates the aspiration is to be like a gem you might happen upon in Paris. “At LeRoux, it rings seafood offerings, such as an “immaculate” true.” 1555 Blake St., (720) 845-1673 grilled branzino. Miller’s team “delivers
Vincent Tullo/The New York Times/Redux, Lisa Cherkasky/The Washington Post
Recipe of the week “For many of us, it’s hard to imagine rhubarb without a generous amount of sugar to take the edge off its sharp taste,” said Polina Chesnakova in The Washington Post. But “the bright tang that allows rhubarb to be a welcome foil to rich, buttery pastry is the same distinct flavor that lends itself to myriad savory preparations.” Pickle it for a few hours to use as a bright topping for salads or burgers. Or just shave it, and use it to elevate a fish taco, a trout fillet, or a salad like the one below. No knock against pies, but the time has come for rhubarb to be “seen for what it truly is—a vegetable.” Shaved rhubarb and radish salad with apple cider vinaigrette 2 tsp apple cider vinegar • 2 tsp honey • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil • 1 cup thinly sliced or shaved radishes (about 1 bunch) • 1 cup thinly shaved rhubarb (about 4 oz) • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro • ¼ cup hulled, roasted, and salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) • kosher salt • Whisk together the vinegar, honey, and oil in a medium bowl. Add the radish, rhubarb, onion, cilantro, and pumpkin seeds, tossing to coat. • Taste and season lightly with salt, plate right away. Serves 4.
Beer: The season for Kölsch Your new summer beer is getting easier to find, said Spike Carter in Bloomberg .com. Brewed in Cologne, Germany, since the 13th century, Kölsch is the product of a marriage of ale and lager techniques. The result is a low-alcohol beer with a “cleanly drinkable” profile. “If the ubiquity of Pilsners and helles lagers has made you jaded, the increasing popularity of Kölsch should perfectly scratch the itch this summer.” Reissdorf “About as pristine-tasting as beer gets,” this Cologne classic is “faintly malty and soft throughout, with a nicely dry hop finish.” Gaffel Another Cologne staple, this one’s “famed for its particular freshness.” It has a “pleasantly grassy” finish. Surly Heat Slayer On hot days, this light-bodied Kölsch from Minneapolis’ Surly Brewing is “just the ticket.” It’s “lemony, minty, with a hint of straw.” THE WEEK June 14, 2019
This week’s dream: Imagining a storybook ending in Bosnia-Herzegovina Bosnia-Herzegovina presents a jarring duality, said Sarah Khan in The New York Times. The country’s minaretaccented hillside villages “fit the Platonic ideal of a fairy tale.” But artillerypocked building façades offer a constant reminder of the ethnic war that shattered the Balkans in the early 1990s. In Sarajevo, site of a Serbian siege that lasted nearly four years and claimed 10,000 lives, I found more physical scars at nearly every step, in the so-called Sarajevo Roses—blossom-like gashes in streets and sidewalks that were created by artillery shells and have been filled with red resin to preserve memories. Hillside cemeteries seem to cut through every neighborhood, “rising from the slopes like forests of slender white obelisks.” But to stroll Sarajevo’s old quarter is to experience a city resurrected. Its historic City Hall, a 19th-century “neo-Moorish fantasy,” reopened five years ago with a museum included. And you see everywhere
Timeless Art Deco
Cardozo South Beach Miami Beach Gloria Estefan still believes in Miami Beach’s Ocean Drive, said Taylor Dolven in The Miami Herald. Months after the reopening of a larger Art Deco complex down the strip, the Miami Sound Machine singer and her husband have unveiled a major update of the landmarked hotel they bought in 1992. Step inside and you enter “a world of crisp whiteness”—marble floors, white sofas, tiled columns—all “a far cry” from the prior wood paneling. The couple paid special heed to the building-wide penthouse suite, choosing furnishings from home. The couple’s patio wicker even graces the hotel’s conference room. cardozohotel.com, from $239 THE WEEK June 14, 2019
Konjic, a river town in Herzegovina
the layering of religious cultures that has won the city the title “Jerusalem of Europe.” On one street, I passed a mosque, a synagogue, and two churches in quick succession. “When I glanced one way, I was convinced I was in Istanbul; if I turned my head, I traveled to Vienna.” Though many young people have left the country seeking greater opportunity, those who remain are building on the best of the past.
When I crossed into Herzegovina, the nation’s southern region, the landscape continued to enchant. While fantasizing about buying a cottage in Konjic, though, I glimpsed the scorched stub of a bombed-out minaret behind it—one of 614 mosques destroyed by the war. But if you visit picturesque Mostar, with its famously elegant bridge leaping between two facing cliffs, you might do as I did and, at least for a moment, “indulge the fantasy that, for Bosnia, happily ever after might finally be within grasp.” At Sarajevo’s family-run Aziza Hotel (hotelaziza.ba), doubles start at $45.
Getting the flavor of... A new Statue of Liberty museum
Rhode Island’s capital
The Statue of Liberty finally has a museum worthy of the symbol’s stature, said Edward Rothstein in The Wall Street Journal. The new pavilion-like structure “defers to the statue rather than competes with it,” but beneath its grasscovered roof lies ample room for an exhibition that explores the statue as a symbol and as a work of colossal ambition. The original torch stands before a 22-foot wall of windows in the final room; nearby looms a copper replica of Liberty’s 8-foot-tall face, “at once stern, compassionate, and unsentimental.” The museum was needed, said Henry Grabar in Slate.com, because four out of five visitors who ferry to Liberty Island can’t enter and climb the statue: Its capacity is too limited. The new museum easily outshines the smaller hall it replaces. “It’s a thoughtful, self-aware space,” able to acknowledge simultaneously the values the statue represents and how our country sometimes falls short of them.
Providence is smart, urbane, and “wonderfully weird,” said Andrea Sachs in The Washington Post. One of the oldest cities in the country and home to a healthy college population, it balances historical pedigree with charming eccentricity. Take the three-eyed troll I ran into downtown on a weekday morning—a creation of the performance troupe Big Nazo Lab, whose fantastical puppets regularly work public spaces. There’s also a tiered 1828 downtown retail arcade whose boutique-like shops include a bookstore dedicated to “weird fiction.” For outdoor fun, visit 435-acre Roger Williams Park, with its natural history museum, swan boats, and the country’s third-oldest zoo. And you’ll want to walk historic Benefit Street, on College Hill, home to the Rhode Island School of Design. Brown University sits a block higher, but the hill’s premier visitor attraction is RISD’s art museum, the country’s fourth-largest. “Not bad for the smallest state in the union.”
Last-minute travel deals A voyage to Antarctica Receive up to 20 percent off select Antarctica cruises with Intrepid Travel when you book by June 30. For example, the 11-day Best of Antarctica trip now starts at $7,642 per person, double occupancy, a saving of more than $1,300. intrepidtravel.com
Seattle’s wild backyard Gondwana Ecotours is knocking $1,000 off its all-inclusive nine-day tour of Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula. You’ll hike, whale-watch, and dine oceanside with members of the Makah Nation. From $3,995 for an Aug. 23 departure. gondwanaecotours.com
An Iberian pilgrimage Fly free to Spain for a 17-day bus tour that traces a pilgrims’ route from Bilbao to Santiago de Compostela, then dips into Portugal. Act by June 30 and use code OATSAVE2019 when you book Overseas Adventure’s “Pilgrimage Into the Past” tour. 800-955-1925
Alamy, Maurizio Leoni
Hotel of the week
I visited a boutique, Bazerdzan, where city native Zana Karkin sells chic clothing that blends modern cuts with traditional Bosnian handicraft. At a cozy café, I shared coffee with owner Reshad Strik, a former Hollywood actor who a decade ago was so taken by the soul of his father’s home city that he decided to stay.
The Volvo V60 Cross Country: What the critics say Jalopnik.com Though crossovers vastly outsell passenger cars these days, “we don’t all need to go down that path.” The new Volvo V60 Cross Country is a better option, an “objectively great” five-seat vehicle that delivers the features most people look for in an SUV while being far more fun to drive. The interior is “exquisite,” the exterior undeniably gorgeous. “If a lifted-up wagon is what you want, you’d be hard-pressed to seriously consider buying anything else.” Edmunds.com Though lifted by 2.9 inches compared with Volvo’s regular V60 wagon, the Cross
Country “corners with sedan-like confidence.” And its 250-hp turbocharged fourcylinder engine delivered brisk enough acceleration that we didn’t miss the more powerful mill available in the standard model. On an off-road course that would have strained or damaged some small crossovers, the Cross Country plowed ahead “without even breaking a sweat.” The Wall Street Journal If you care about road performance more than ground clearance, the V60 with the 316-hp turbo four is “the one you want.” But if you choose the Cross Country instead, no one will blame you. Compared
The raised wagon to beat, from $40,000 (est.) with an SUV of similar size, either V60 has more cargo space and is safer, more fuelefficient, and better-handling. In fact, “it might be the brand’s best car.”
The best of...summer staples
National Parks Annual Pass
Thinksport SPF 50+ Sunscreen
A national parks pass card grants the owner and three accompanying adults unlimited access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. It would make a great Father’s Day gift, but any holder should be inspired to seek out new outdoor adventures. $80, store.usgs.gov/pass Source: TheWirecutter.com
J. Crew Dock Shorts
Onyx Paddle Ice Pop Mold
This coral-friendly lotion earns top marks from the Environmental Working Group. Its nongreasy mineral formula rubs in easily and remains water-resistant for 80 minutes. The large, 6-oz tube could live in your bag all summer long.
These stretchy chino shorts, available in five colors, “practically demand to be bought in bulk.” They have three deep pockets, they’re “as breathable as it gets,” and the inseam— neither too short nor too long—“passes the Goldilocks test with flying colors.”
Malin + Goetz Stem Eau de Parfum For a perfume that fits the season, try Stem, a garden-like cocktail of mandarin leaves, freesia greens, rose stems, and jasmine buds. It “perfectly captures the calming, soothing scent of newly trimmed foliage.”
There’s no shortage of fun plastic molds for making juice pops for houseguests, but this stainless-steel set “always draws oohs and aahs.” The molds also release from the frame separately, so they’re great when you’re snacking solo.
$21, rei.com Source: Travel + Leisure
$50, jcrew.com Source: Esquire.com
$95, malinandgoetz.com Source: Elle.com
$40, goop.com Source: NYMag.com
Tip of the week... How to wash jeans the right way
And for those who have everything...
Best apps... For summer camping and road trips
Q Turn them inside out. New or old, jeans shouldn’t go in the washing machine without being turned inside out. That will minimize wear along the hems, pockets, fly, and waistband. Q Clip any rips. Holes will widen unless you hand-wash the jeans or pin or clip the holes. Fasten the fly to maintain the jeans’ shape. Q Choose the right detergent. Wash jeans in cold water on a short, delicate cycle and use a detergent such as Woolite Darks or Tide Studio Darks & Colors. Those protect dyes and neutralize the chlorine in the water. Q Separate light and dark. The dyes on black and dark-blue jeans can rub off on light fabrics. Wash them twice before wearing, then always wash them separately. Q Hang them up. Line-dry jeans with more than 3 percent spandex or Lycra. Others can be tumbled on low heat, then hung while still slightly damp.
Just give in, Super Soaker. The summertime arms race is effectively over with the arrival of Spyra One, a high-tech, self-refilling water gun that fires powerful bursts of water instead of a steady stream. Loading the Spyra One is as easy as sticking the end of the barrel into a bucket, pool, pond, or lake. A battery-powered pump then sucks water into the tank, which is automatically pressurized. That’s right—no manual pumping required. The rechargeable power pack lasts for about 45 refills, or 1,100 shots, and the liquid bullets can hit a target 25 feet away.
Q ReserveAmerica.com handles online
Source: Good Housekeeping
$150, spyraone.com Source: Gizmodo.com
campsite reservations for most state and municipal parks, while Recreation.gov is the go-to booking site for national parks. Q Hipcamp is “a kind of Airbnb for camping.” The app lists more than 300,000 campsites, RV sites, and glamping setups available for rental on private land. It’s great for scoring scenic spots on holiday weekends. Q Roadtrippers makes it easy to plan all the stops on a trip, but Roadside America is especially fun because the $3 iOS app gives details on quirky attractions you might miss. Q iOverlander is a nonprofit project that helps travelers find roadside lodging, mechanics, water sources, propane, and more. Q CoPilot RV, a free app designed by RV owners, provides reliable offline navigation according to your RV’s size and class, helping you steer clear of low bridges and propane-restricted tunnels. Source: Curbed.com THE WEEK June 14, 2019
Best properties on the market
This week: Homes in Scottsdale, Ariz. X Ranch Highlands Architect William P. Bruder designed the 1998 Byrne Residence and helped plan its renovation. The four-bedroom house features a steel roof and exterior copper panels; sandblasted concrete block interior walls that won the Arizona Masonry Guild’s Gold Trowel Award; polished concrete floors; a central skylight; glass walls offering desert and mountain views; and a dining patio. The 5-acre property is landscaped with native plants, including saguaro cacti. $1,649,000. Scott Jarson, AZArchitecture/Jarson & Jarson, (480) 254-7510
W Desert Mountain The floorto-ceiling windows of this 2004 Desert Modern home frame views of the Sonoran Desert. The updated four-bedroom, open-plan house has two gas fireplaces, a chef’s kitchen, a master wing, a separate wing with three en suite bedrooms, and a central art gallery with clerestory windows. The 1-acre lot features patios, a pool, and desert landscaping; community amenities include six golf courses and a fitness center. $1,779,000. Karen Baldwin, Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty, (480) 694-0098 X Carefree Ranch Designed in 1992 by architect
Ranch Highlands: Bill Timmerman
Charles Johnson, this five-bedroom, stone-clad home melds historic pueblo and contemporary Southwestern style. The living room’s ceiling wheel opens to the sky; a sitting area wall opens to the infinity pool and hot tub. The 15-acre gated property includes two guest casitas with private patios; views of Desert Mountain; and access to wild desert terrain. $4,495,000. Charles Martin, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices/Arizona Properties, (480) 703-3493
THE WEEK June 14, 2019
Best properties on the market
X Desert Mountain This
2018 fourbedroom home was inspired by pueblo architecture. The main living space has an 18-foot slate-tiled fireplace, clerestory windows, coffered ceilings, and a glass wall opening to a patio; the master suite has a sitting room and marble fireplace; and two en suite bedrooms have backyard access. The 1-acre mountain-view property features a covered patio with two fireplaces, pool, and hot tub and separate guest quarters with kitchenette and patio. $3,675,000. Kellan Brady, Aeris House Properties, (480) 310-1767 W Lost Canyon Built in 1999, this Southwestern-style stucco
home sits on 3.3 private acres in a canyon in the McDowell Mountain preserve. The open kitchenâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;living room features floors of flagstone and 100-year-old barn wood, built-in shelving and display nooks, and a viga ceiling; the basement includes a home theater. Outside are a covered patio, a landscaped pool, a hot tub, a two-room guest casita, and surrounding mountain views. $2,999,900. Mike Domer, Walt Danley Realty/Christieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s International Real Estate, (480) 861-8883
Steal of the week
W South Scottsdale Built in 1958 and recently
renovated, this three-bedroom ranch home stands on a landscaped lot in Old Town, near restaurants and shopping. A wood-print tile plank floor flows through the opened-up space; the kitchen features granite counters and stainless appliances; and the home has new HVAC and dual-pane windows. The walled backyard includes a lawn, a fire pit, and a patio. $392,500. Matthew Long, Realty Executives, (833) 589-2614
THE WEEK June 14, 2019
BUSINESS The news at a glance
The bottom line Q Cryptocurrency pioneer Justin Sun paid $4.57 million at a charity auction to have lunch with Warren Buffett, who once referred to Bitcoin as “rat poison squared.” The lunch is typically held at Smith & Wollensky steak house in New York City.
Bloomberg.com Q Air travelers left behind $960,105.49 in unclaimed cash in bins at TSA checkpoints last year as they dashed to catch flights, a 10 percent increase from the previous 12 months. The agency is planning to use the recovered money for “checkpoint training.”
Antitrust: Investigating the tech giants “If any of the tech giants are found Federal regulators and lawmakers in guilty of anticompetitive behavior,” Washington turned up the heat on Big Tech said Martin Giles in the MIT this week, said Brent Kendall and Technology Review, “they’re John McKinnon in The Wall Street likely to be hit with heavy fines Journal. “After years when the govand other sanctions.” Trying ernment took a broadly laissez-faire to force a breakup will be attitude toward the regulation of tough. For one thing, “U.S. Silicon Valley,” the Justice Department antitrust law focuses primarily is gearing up for an investigation on whether a monopolist has into anticompetitive activity by harmed consumers” through Google, while the Federal Trade price gouging, and most Commission is intensifying its scruSilicon Valley is feeling the heat. of these services are free. tiny of Facebook. The two agencies Remember, in the 1990s, the DOJ failed to stop also reached an agreement to divide jurisdiction Microsoft from forcing its web browser onto over future probes into Apple and Amazon. “Separately, the House Judiciary Committee made Windows. “But the bruising court battles harmed the company’s reputation and curbed its antipublic its own investigation” into the behavior of competitive instincts.” History could repeat itself. the four biggest “gatekeepers” in tech.
hip-hop artist to become a billionaire. His net worth includes a $310 million champagne business, a $70 million art collection, $50 million in real estate, his $75 million music catalog, and a $70 million stake in Uber. Forbes Q Costco sold a 10-carat diamond ring for $400,000 last quarter. It’s a notable high-end sale for the wholesaler, which previously got in trouble for labeling its rings as “Tiffany” jewelry and had to pay Tiffany a $19.4 million settlement in 2017.
CNBC.com Q 28 percent of Americans
live alone, an increase of 23 percent since 1960, and retailers are reacting. Sales of 18-inch-wide dishwashers and 15-inch stovetops are up 30 percent since March. The Wall Street Journal Q The median out-of-pocket cost of the 49 top-selling prescription drugs increased by 76 percent between 2012 and 2017. Sixteen drugs more than doubled in price over the seven-year span. One of them, Lyrica, was raised from $174 in 2012 to $411 in 2017.
Journal of the American Medical Association THE WEEK June 14, 2019
Federal Reserve: Markets rise on rate cut hopes Facing a renewed round of trade war threats, the Federal Reserve this week “signaled that rates could come down to keep the economy on solid ground,” said Mary Romano in Fortune.com. The central bank is still watching and waiting, but analysts now estimate the chance of a rate cut at more than 90 percent. Prospects of a Fed cut that would stimulate the economy revived markets that had been battered by “worry that President Trump’s trade war with China and Mexico could exacerbate a slowdown in economic growth.”
Real estate: A $19 billion deal for warehouses In “the biggest private real estate transaction ever,” Blackstone Group agreed this week to pay $18.7 billion for a network of industrial warehouses, said Liz Hoffman in The Wall Street Journal. The buyout of Singapore-based GLP and its 1,300 properties around the U.S. is “a big bet on the continued explosion of e-commerce.” GLP’s largest tenant, Amazon, and other e-commerce companies have turned warehouses into prized investments, particularly around big cities, where they “help solve the ‘last-mile’ puzzle” for storing and shipping deliveries. Blackstone already owns $140 billion in real-estate assets.
Aerospace: New wing problems in troubled Boeing jet The Federal Aviation Administration concluded this week that more than 300 of Boeing’s 737 jets may have faulty wing parts, said Leslie Josephs and Spencer Kimball in CNBC.com. The affected planes include the Max jets that were involved in two fatal crashes, prompting their grounding. As many as 148 parts from one Boeing supplier don’t meet strength and durability standards. The agency said the faulty parts—called slats—would “not result in the loss of the aircraft,” but could lead to damage during flight. Boeing still expects the 737 Max planes to fly again by the end of the year.
Autos: Tesla sales still far below promises Tesla’s sales picked up this month, but whether the electric-car maker “can ever achieve sustainable profits remains an open question,” said Russ Mitchell in the Los Angeles Times. While CEO Elon Musk told Wall Street the company would sell 360,000 to 400,000 cars this year, demand “remains far below the level in late 2018.” The release of Tesla’s midrange Model 3 has cannibalized sales of its more expensive models. Tesla’s “plan was to sell so many Model 3s that higher volume would make up for smaller profit margins,” but Model 3 sales are running at less than half the levels Musk hoped for.
L.A. has too many dream houses Los Angeles developers are “going to extraordinary lengths” to unload new mega-mansions, said Katherine Clarke in The Wall Street Journal. Private lenders and wealthy individuals, including “the king of subprime car loans,” have provided hundreds of millions of dollars to build about 50 ultrahigh-end L.A.-area spec houses. But now “there are not enough buyers to go around.” Says one agent, “We have an enormous oversupply of these white boxes.” Sellers have been holding “themed bashes in lieu of traditional open houses” and “hiring marketing experts to reimagine homes as individual brands.” One developer is throwing in Andy Warhol’s 1974 Rolls-Royce with a $15.6 million home, and found a Warhol lookalike to shoot marketing videos. Another mansion, on the market in Brentwood, is said to have “a secret room for growing and smoking marijuana.” Despite the ploys, “price cuts are the order of the day.”
Q Jay-Z is the first
Reviews: Not every star shines so bright in Oregon, worked for a small It’s funny how readily we “take the advice newspaper, started a magazine of complete strangers” when shopfor $22, and had a 10-year stint ping online, said Joanne Chen in in the Navy as a nuclear weldThe New York Times. More than ing inspector.” Now he spends 80 percent of “Americans say they his time testing everything from read online reviews at least some air fryers and popcorn makers of the time.” But on sites such to dog food and motor oil—and as Amazon and Yelp, businesses a Segway that he credited with have learned to “exploit the ratgiving him a very smooth ride, ing system to the seller’s or the though he exceeded its weight platform’s advantage,” ultimately limit by 70 pounds. “rendering the star-rating scale useless.” Even in the case of verified reviews, it can be But sellers are still finding ways hard to know what the stars mean. For hotel to deceive prospective buyers, searches, for instance, five stars can simply In private Facebook groups, stars are for sale. said Zachary Crockett in The “mean everything is what I expected,” which Hustle.co. “I identified more than 150 private Facebook groups may explain how a budget-level “Hampton Inn averaged a fivewhere sellers openly exchange free products” for five-star reviews. star rating on my recent search for a hotel in Maine.” I joined four of them and was “barraged with a flurry of private messages from vendors hawking” water flosses, dog-grooming Amazon has stepped up the effort to provide transparency, tools, and fanny packs. One offered to pay me $10 for a sterling said Louise Matsakis in Wired.com. Its “Vine Voices” program review of what was already “one of the highest-ranked iPhone sends free merchandise for testing to an invite-only community chargers, touting 3,971 five-star reviews and a trusted ‘Amazon of “trusted reviewers.” Amazon has also started ranking its choice’ label.” When it arrived, the charger broke within minutes. Top 10,000 Contributors on a daily leaderboard not “just by I reached out to Amazon and those thousands of five-star reviews the number of reviews a person has but also by how many cusfor the charger disappeared. “The product now has 11 reviews tomers found their feedback to be helpful.” The current No. 1 and holds a rating of 2.5 stars.” But before all those disappeared, reviewer is a 66-year-old from North Dakota who has posted nearly 2,500 appraisals since 2002, said Kim Hyatt in the Fargo, “how many shoppers spotted this $13.99 charger pack on Amazon’s first-page results” and fell for the scam? N.D., Forum. Charles William Anderson has “owned a bakery
What the experts say The grad school debt scandal Graduate school programs may be the worst culprits in the student debt crisis, said Kevin Carey in The New York Times. New college loan data released by the Department of Education frequently reveals “debt levels that make little sense.” For instance, M.F.A. graduates of the Academy of Art University in San Francisco “earn only about $35,000 a year.” But on average, they borrowed more than $85,000— nearly twice the national figure. A master’s in architecture at Pratt Institute required average borrowing of $157,000, “while the same degree from Ohio State produced average debt of $38,000.” At the University of Southern California, the average sum borrowed for a master’s in social work was $109,486—in a field in which no one expects to get rich.
A hidden small-business risk “Even the smallest companies can be vulnerable” to cyberfraud, and you don’t need to have a working website for your business to be affected, said Ruth Simon in The Wall Street Journal. Innovative Higher Ed Consulting, a two-person startup in New York designed to help academics promote their research, had to close after receiving a $27,000 bill from Bank of America for reversing nearly 4,000 ques-
Charity of the week tionable charges over a two-month span. IHEC had not turned on the bank’s recommended security features on its credit-processing system because “it wasn’t yet linked to the company’s website, which was still under construction.” But within days, fraudsters started sending in fake charges—one dollar at a time as the scammers tested stolen credit card numbers—even as the two founders desperately tried to get the bank to shut down the account.
IRS plans a new withholding form The IRS this week released a draft of its new tax-withholding form, said Darla Mercado in CNBC.com. The new W-4 form, which the IRS expects to start using in 2020, “looks for greater specificity” in the total amount of allowances you’re claiming, asking for details such as multiple jobs within your household. “An additional section calls for taxpayers to claim their dependents” and provide details of “other income that didn’t have taxes withheld up front, including interest, dividends, and retirement income.” The IRS is currently taking comments on the proposed form from the public. This past year was the first time that filers submitted returns under the new tax law, and the average refund check went down from $2,778 last year to $2,729.
Founded in 1876, the Appalachian Mountain Club (outdoors.org) is the nation’s oldest conservation organization, working to foster a love for the outdoors and protect the waters, parks, mountains, forests, and hiking trails in the Northeast. AMC advocates on the federal and state levels for conservation funding, and its research department examines how climate change affects the region. It also offers thousands of trips every year to lowincome youth, with scholarships, free equipment loans, and discounted lodging; for many, it is their first introduction to wilderness. As part of its “Maine Woods Initiative,” AMC has created over 120 miles of recreational trails, maintained campsites, created three sporting camps, and purchased and protected 70,000 acres of Maine forestland. Each charity we feature has earned a four-star overall rating from Charity Navigator, which rates not-for-profit organizations on the strength of their finances, their governance practices, and the transparency of their operations. Four stars is the group’s highest rating. THE WEEK June 14, 2019
Best columns: Business
Trade: Will tariffs make growth grind to a halt?
was stuck watching CNN. Cue the Twitter thumbpad: “All negative & so much Fake News, very bad for U.S. Big ratings drop,” Trump tweeted this week, “why doesn’t owner @ATT do something?” Then he doubled down on a boycott call: “I believe that if people stoped [sic] using or subscribing to @ATT, they would be forced make big changes at @CNN.”
Let’s be clear here. The president is encouraging “economic retaliation against a U.S. telecom for the politics of one of its subsidiaries.” Obviously, it’s not appropriate. It’s also futile. Not only is AT&T among the world’s largest telecom and media companies, it’s also one of small number of regional cable monopolies, and “dominates much of the South.” So many of its customers have nowhere else to go. This campaign will fail, as similar ones have in the past. However powerful Trump’s megaphone, his base ignored calls for boycotts against Nike and HarleyDavidson. In fact, after Trump told his supporters to boycott Nike, the company’s shares rose 31 percent.
“Rich farmers, not mom-and-pop farms,” will be the big winners in Trump’s $28 billion tariff bailout, said Michael Hiltzik. Soybean exports have cratered, thanks to the China trade war, and pork, corn, grain, and dairy producers are all worried anew, now that the president has announced plans to impose tariffs on Mexican imports next week. To cover most of their losses, Trump issued a $12 billion farm bailout last year and an additional $16 billion bailout last week. But most of that money will go not to the small holdings that account for 89 percent of American farms, but to large industrialized operations. Most of them are
already “major beneficiaries of federal crop support programs that steer billions in subsidies and low-priced crop insurance—including insurance that already covers some of their losses in the trade war.” Meanwhile, “reports from the prairie states indicate that the trade war is driving many small farmers out of business.” Trump tweeted recently that “our great Patriot farmers” have been “forgotten” for many years. That’s not true: U.S. agriculture has been among the most heavily subsidized sectors of the economy. It’s just that with the tariff bailout, as with other farm subsidies, the biggest payments will go to those “who need them least.”
president wants America’s largest telecom to Trump abuses “The suffer” for CNN’s politics, said Tina Nguyen. The drew Donald Trump’s attention for a simple his power to network reason: Fox News “is no longer broadcasting in where the Murdoch-owned network received punish CNN Britain, abysmal ratings,” so on his trip to London Trump Tina Nguyen
Mega-farms get a sweet trade bailout Michael Hiltzik
Los Angeles Times
THE WEEK June 14, 2019
knowing what the trade environment With a multi-front trade war stretchwill be like “from now until the end ing from China to Mexico, President of business today.” Trump may have “upended” the U.S. economy, said Jim Tankersley in The For months, the president has “pressed New York Times. Trump has now “enthe Federal Reserve to cut interest rates acted or threatened what amounts to a to make the economy take off,” said nearly $200 billion annual tax increase Victoria Guida in Politico.com. Now on American businesses and consumTrump’s tariffs may get him what ers.” In effect, all the money Trump’s he wants. The Fed says it’s “closely signature 2017 tax cut put into consummonitoring” the effect of trade wars ers’ pockets may now be taken back on the economy, and many economists by the White House’s trade policy. The are predicting a rate cut “to stave off Federal Reserve Bank of New York estia dramatic slowdown.” Those predicmated that last year tariffs cost the typiU.S.-Mexico trade: $50 billion in goods each month tions sent the sagging market briefly cal American household $414. Carrying out the latest round of threats against China alone would increase soaring this week, but investors remain worried that Trump’s “aggressive trade policies may have damaged the U.S. economy,” that to $831. Mexican tariffs would add more. With inexpensaid Thomas Franck in CNBC.com. Hedge fund manager Stansive foreign components costing more or becoming unavailable, ley Druckenmiller “sold everything and bought Treasurys” after manufacturing activity in the U.S. is slowing—with some busiTrump started tweeting tariff threats. The investor, who has conness owners “citing rising concerns over the cost and uncertainty sistently beaten the markets, warns that Trump has given foreign brought on by tariffs.” leaders “no off ramp to make a deal.” If the threatened tariffs on Mexico go into effect, the auto inNo one knows how an extended trade war will play out, since dustry will be hit hard, said Eric Lawrence in the Detroit Free “we haven’t had one since the 1930s,” said Greg Ip in The Wall Press. Ironically, the duties could hurt U.S.-based car brands Street Journal. The 1973 oil embargo, however, may give us a while largely sparing many Japanese and German ones. Fiat Chrysler and General Motors each assemble about 25 percent of clue. It “tripled the price of oil and plunged the U.S. into what was then its worst recession” in 40 years. The oil embargo their cars sold in the U.S. in Mexico; for Toyota and Hyundai, ultimately made the U.S. “insulate” itself from dependence on the number is just 11 percent. “Passing the costs on to consumforeign oil. A trade war, too, may make the U.S. less reliant on ers” would likely increase the average cost of a GM vehicle by cheap products from abroad—but only after painful adjustments $2,400. Beyond the immediate effect on prices, the industry “weighing on growth for years to come.” faces the prospect of planning five or 10 years ahead without
Obituaries The quarterback who led Green Bay’s dynasty Vince Lombardi joined the Green Bay Packers in 1959 looking for 1934–2019 a field general to match his obsessive will to win. The disastrously underperforming team’s young part-time quarterback, Bart Starr, showed potential. But Starr was “so polite,” coach Lombardi later recalled, “that I wondered if maybe he wasn’t too nice a boy to be the authoritarian leader your quarterback must be.” Lombardi gave the introspective player a shot, and Starr went on to become one of the most revered leaders in NFL history, guiding Green Bay to championships in 1961, ’62, and ’65 and the first two Super Bowls in ’66 and ’67. The decade’s most accurate passer and a onetime MVP, Starr was best known for his motivational gifts: A quarterback, he said, must inspire teammates “to go to the gates of hell with him.” Bart Starr
a high school all-American, and as a sophomore at the University of Alabama he led the Crimson Tide to the Cotton Bowl. But Starr suffered a back injury during a vicious hazing ritual and rarely suited up again for Alabama. “Drafted in 1956 by the Packers with the 200th pick, Starr received little playing time before Lombardi took over the team.”
Standing 6-foot-1, with an “average-at-best throwing arm,” Starr wasn’t an imposing athlete, said USA Today. He was, however, tempered perfectly for Lombardi. Their sophisticated offense met its match in 1966 against the Dallas Cowboys, in a 36-below Lambeau Field classic remembered as the “Ice Bowl.” One game away from the Super Bowl and down 17-14, Starr led a nearly 70-yard drive to within inches of the end zone. With 16 seconds left after two failed handoffs, the quarterback plunged in himself for one of the most Bryan Bartlett Starr was born in Montgomery, Ala., said The Washington Post. His disciplinarian iconic touchdowns in football history. The Hall of Famer earned accolades long after his playing days father—an Air Force master sergeant—favored ended, said The New York Times, helping create a his younger brother, Hilton, the “more aggressive player in family football games.” When the future care center in Wisconsin for at-risk teenagers. The Bart Starr Award is now given annually by the Packer was 13, Hilton died of tetanus, and as a result his “father urged the scrawny Starr to match NFL to the player who shows “outstanding character and leadership on and off the field.” his brother’s intensity on the field.” He became
The All-Star who became a Red Sox scapegoat By any reasonable standard, Bill Buckner had a stellar baseball career. 1949–2019 He connected for 2,715 hits and 174 home runs over 22 seasons, never striking out more than twice in one game. But one fateful play in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series turned Buckner into a symbol of sports failure. He was playing first base for the Boston Red Sox when New York Mets’ outfielder Mookie Wilson hit a ground ball straight toward him with the game tied in the bottom of the 10th inning. It looked like an easy out, but the ball shot between Buckner’s legs, allowing a runner on second base to score the winning run for the Mets, who went on to claim the championship in Game 7. Buckner received death threats after the gaffe and was let go by the Red Sox the following July. “You can never really forget it,” Buckner said in 2011. “Here we are, 25 years later, still talking about it.”
Born in Vallejo, Calif., “Buckner excelled at football and baseball as a youth,” said The New York Times. At age 19, he was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second round of the 1968 amateur draft. Buckner won the National
League batting title with the Chicago Cubs in 1980, with a .324 average, and was named to the All-Star team in 1981. Despite beginning his career as a “speedy outfielder,” he was hobbled by injuries. “By the time he went to Boston, in a trade in 1984, he had become a full-time first baseman.” Buckner was a key member of the 1986 Red Sox World Series team, and often played with “aching knees and ankles,” said The Boston Globe. But even though the Red Sox choked away a two-run lead before his Game 6 error, fans blamed Buckner. The media replayed the gaffe endlessly, with the footage becoming synonymous with Boston’s championship drought, which lasted from 1918 to 2004. In retirement, Buckner moved his family to a 2,000-acre ranch in Idaho, “in part to escape the taunts of fans,” said The Washington Post. But after the Red Sox won the World Series in 2007, he returned to throw out the first pitch of the following season. Buckner received a standing ovation. “It’s life, and everybody has to deal with something,” he said. “Most of the time it’s a lot more important than a baseball game.”
35 The race car champ who got back on the track after a fiery crash On Aug. 1, 1976, Niki Lauda was on the second lap of the German Grand Prix when his Ferrari smashed through a guardrail at 140 mph and exploded in flames. Niki The reigning Lauda Formula 1 1949–2019 world champion was trapped inside the burning cockpit for 55 seconds before being pulled free. His arms and head were badly burned and his lungs scorched from inhaling burning plastic. In the hospital, a Catholic priest administered last rites to the Austrian driver; Lauda, who was conscious, was furious. “I wanted someone to help me live in this world and not to pass into the next,” he recalled. “I thought, ‘Now I really am going to stay alive.’” Six weeks later, with fluid still seeping through his bandages, Lauda was back in a race car. He won the championship the following year and again in 1984. Born to a wealthy Viennese family, the young Lauda “showed little interest in anything but cars,” said The Washington Post. By age 14 “he was barreling around a family estate in an old Volkswagen.” Rejecting his parents’ entreaties to join the family paper-manufacturing business, he entered his first F1 race in 1972, joining Team Ferrari two years later. He dominated the sport in 1975, winning five races and his first championship. A licensed commercial pilot, the driver launched his own airline, Lauda Air, in 1979. He was devastated when one of his Boeing airliners crashed in Bangkok in 1991, killing 223 people, said The Guardian (U.K.). Lauda didn’t rest until he’d proved to the world—“and to the reluctant manufacturer”—that the tragedy had been caused by a mechanical failure. “If I race and kill myself, OK,” he said of the crash. “But these people just bought a ticket to fly safely from A to B.” THE WEEK June 14, 2019
The last word
Cowed by the culture cops Online mobs are attacking the authors of young adult fiction for daring to imagine lives different from their own, said journalist Jesse Singal in Reason. Now publishers are canceling releases and new voices are being silenced. a case study in toxic internet culture, look no further than the online world of young adult fiction. That might seem surprising: After all, we’re talking about boy wizards and sexy vampires and mawkish coming-of-age tales here, right?
me. EXPLAIN IT RIGHT THE FUQ NOW,” accusing the author of “internalized racism and anti-blackness.” The logic appears to be that because our world has racism, it’s unacceptable to imagine a world that does not. Perhaps most inflammatory was the claim that a character in the book assisted Ana and then conveniently died, in a manner redolent of the “Magical Negro”—an American cinematic trope, famously criticized by Spike Lee in 2001, in which a black character exists solely for the purpose of helping out, or granting folksy wisdom to, a white protagonist.
Here’s the short version: In recent years, young adult, or Y.A., fiction has come into its own as a genre, reliably producing a small number of megahits that have turned their authors into millionaires. During that same period, it has begun to grapple with some difficult questions about diversity and representation. Y.A. fiction, like many other areas of publishing, has a bit of a diversity problem, despite being a liberal-minded industry centered in New York City. But while the motivation behind the movement for more diverse voices is commendable, the manifestation of this impulse on social media has been nothing short of cannibalistic. The Twitter community surrounding the genre—one in which authors, editors, agents, adult readers, and reviewers outnumber youthful readers—has become a cesspool of toxicity. “Y.A. Twitter,” as it’s called, is a mess. “Young adult books are being targeted in intense social media callouts, draggings, and pile-ons—sometimes before anybody’s even read them,” Kat Rosenfield wrote in New York magazine’s Vulture.com in 2017. Y.A. Twitter features frequent over-the-top claims that various people in the community are “abusing” one another, with the term often used in a deeply watered-down sense. “The scandals that loom so large on Twitter don’t necessarily interest consumers; instead, the tempest of these controversies remains confined to a handful of internet teapots where a few angry voices can seem thunderously loud,” Rosenfeld wrote. “Still, some publishing professionals imagine that the outrage will eventually become powerful enough to rattle the industry.” The worriers were prescient. In 2019, books are not only getting excoriated by online critics who haven’t read them. They’re getting unpublished entirely. Such an incident unfolded last winter with a book called Blood Heir. Amélie Wen Zhao, a woman of Chinese descent who was born in Paris and raised in Beijing, had won herself an enviable three-book deal for an THE WEEK June 14, 2019
Zhao: Canceled, then un-canceled
Anastasia-tinged adventure: “In the Cyrilian Empire,” went the publication materials, “Affinites are reviled and enslaved. Their varied abilities to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, might be the most monstrous of them all. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.” The adventure kicks off when Ana’s father is murdered and she is framed, forcing her to flee. The first book was due out in June. In January, though, there emerged a vague Twitter-centered whisper campaign against Zhao. A main allegation was that she had taken to capturing screenshots of other people’s mean tweets about her, presumably in order to someday enact revenge—though no one provided any evidence she had actually done this. It was open season from there: People picked over the limited information about the book to find something, anything, to justify being angry. L.L. McKinney, a Y.A. author who had recently published her own debut novel and who tends to be an active participant in these pile-ons, noted that some of the publicity material described Blood Heir’s fictional world as one in which “oppression is blind to skin color.” She tweeted: “...someone explain this to
During these pre-release blowups, hardly anyone has read the book in question. At this point, a forthcoming novel has usually been seen only by those who have received advance copies from the publisher. So it was here: Early reviewers began spreading the rumor that Blood Heir treated a black character horribly. Yet the character in question—described by the author as having “tawny” and “bronze” skin and eyes that are a “startling aquamarine”—doesn’t actually seem to have been meant to be coded as black. The vagueness of the charges didn’t matter. Zhao posted an apologetic tweet announcing that Blood Heir wouldn’t be published.
HE NEXT CANCELLATION occurred
not long after. It centered on Kosoko Jackson, whose website until recently described him as “a vocal champion of diversity in Y.A. literature, the author of Y.A. novels featuring African-American queer protagonists, and a sensitivity reader for Big Five Publishers.” Jackson is black and gay—this matters here, a lot—and was preparing for the release of his debut young adult novel, A Place for Wolves, an adventure-romance between two young men set against the backdrop of the Kosovo War. The book was slated for release on March 26. Jackson had amassed some enthusiastic blurbs from established names in Y.A. fiction, and he seemed poised for a successful debut, in part because Wolves was going to be a so-called #ownvoices release— #ownvoices being a hashtag coined by the Y.A. author Corinne Duyvis to “highlight books that are written by an author that shares a marginalized identity with the
Nathan Bajar/The New York Times/Redux
F YOU’RE LOOKING for
The last word protagonist,” as the website BookRiot.com explains. Jackson, an enforcer of social justice norms and a gay black man writing about gay black protagonists, should have been safe, right? Nope. It all came crashing down quite quickly. As with any internet outrage, it’s hard to know exactly what sparked it, but a major turning point came in the form of a Twitter post about the novel: “HEY HOW ABOUT WE DONT PROMOTE OR SUPPORT BOOKS ABOUT A ROMANCE BETWEEN AND THE VICTIMIZATION OF 2 AMERICANS, SET DURING A REAL LIFE HISTORICAL GENOCIDE WHERE THE VILLAIN IS PART OF THE DEMOGRAPHIC THAT WAS ETHNICALLY CLEANSED,” tweeted @flightofstarz on Feb. 25.
Part of what makes this story so interesting is that Jackson himself has been on the other side of these online attacks on authors. His outspoken tweets during the Blood Heir controversy, for example, fit neatly into Kat Rosenfield’s general description of his community’s online-surveillance tendencies: “Many members of Y.A. Book Twitter have become culture cops, monitoring their peers across multiple platforms for violations.” Jackson has also advocated for a very narrow conception of who is allowed to write which stories. “Stories about the civil rights movement should be written by black people,” he tweeted during one outrage out-
The tweet pointed to a review on Goodreads.com. Many Y.A. readers and authors maintain accounts there, and it is the site of many an attempted Y.A. kneecapping. After authors get targeted, they’re often flooded with onestar reviews. “I have to be absolutely f---ing honest here, everybody,” this post starts. “I’ve never been so disgusted in my life.” The reviewer proceeds to argue that it’s insensitive to center a story set during the Kosovo conflict around two Americans. One character particularly grated on the reviewer: “Don’t even get me started on the well-educated Muslim man, Professor Beqiri, who turns out to be a cold-blooded terrorist who’s [sic] only purpose seems to be to murder and torture and commit harm, even killing his own men,” she wrote.
I managed to obtain a copy of Jackson’s book. It’s not good. The writing is clunky and the characters are poorly developed. Beqiri is a laughably bad villain—a twodimensional cardboard cutout. But at the time, many of those leading the charge against it had none of the context required to have an informed discussion about whether and to what extent Jackson handled his narrative task responsibly, including in his portrayal of Beqiri. Why? Because the general public did not have access to the book. As a result, the critics got a lot of basic stuff wrong. For one thing, the story doesn’t feature “two Americans,” as many people claimed—the protagonist’s boyfriend is from Brazil, not the United States. For another, Beqiri’s religion isn’t mentioned at all, even though many online outrage-mongers made it sound as if he were portrayed as some sort of radical Muslim stereotype.
Jackson: Judged guilty by Twitter
break. “Stories of suffrage should be written by women. Ergo, stories about boys during horrific and life changing times, like the AIDS EPIDEMIC, should be written by gay men. Why is this so hard to get?”
CHADENFREUDE IS AN easy
reaction here: The guy who helped contribute to a stifling climate of plot policing and paranoia received the same treatment he had doled out to others. But the right response isn’t to point and laugh—Ha-ha!— like the bully Nelson Muntz on The Simpsons. It’s to recognize that these online social dynamics constrain and distort young adult literature in unfortunate ways. These episodes will inevitably affect Y.A. publishing—and perhaps other areas of publishing, if the fever spreads. This is now a pattern. It feels increasingly possible that at least some publishers, rather than adopt commonsense, liberal-minded approaches to the goals of increasing diversity and representation in Y.A. fiction, will instead adopt norms in line with Jackson’s tweet about gay stories: Only Xs can write about X, and only Ys can write about Y. All because of an extremely small but incredibly loud group of Twitter users insatiable in their outrage. Imagine what a pointless, depressing loss that would be for the readers of the future.
37 When I solicited emails via Twitter from those in and around the Y.A. community, some of the most depressing notes I got were from writers of color who’ve had bad experiences with white editors and agents telling them what they can and can’t write about. “I think the biggest thing I resent is that being told to stay in my lane for me apparently means writing about a country I wasn’t born in, have only the vaguest connection to or knowledge about, and doesn’t particularly interest me,” one nonwhite writer told me. “I’d much rather write about the Roman Empire or the Diadochi states after the collapse of Alexander’s empire, but it’s clear they want a very specific kind of ownvoices from me rather than letting me write about whatever I feel like.” A second writer, a Latina woman, mentioned that, upon having her manuscript rejected by an agent, she couldn’t help but wonder whether it was because she didn’t hew enough to stereotype. “I’m not completely certain race was why the agent rejected me,” she wrote. “I don’t want to blame my failures on something I had no part in, but, with the culture the way it is, it’s difficult not to wonder and worry. It’s very concerning, and making race relations worse. It’s created a doubleedged sword for minorities. I feel like a mascot if I talk about my race, and I feel that if I play up my race to gain points with these people, I feed their fantasy narrative of how they’re heroes saving minorities from...whatever it is they think they’re saving us from.” The problem is that social media warps and distorts everything. Those most vociferous about their views on a given issue— in this case, Twitter mobs obsessing over the races of characters in Y.A. novels—can fool everyone else into thinking they represent a reasonable majority. The publishing industry and authors themselves are going to have to learn to discount this fun house– mirror effect, or there are going to be a lot more canceled books. There’s one encouraging data point: At the end of April, after the Kosoko Jackson controversy illuminated some of the excesses of Y.A. cancel culture, Amélie Wen Zhao announced that in fact she would publish Blood Heir. It’s now scheduled for release in November. Most of the online responses I saw were positive— a useful reminder it doesn’t pay to give in to online bullies. Excerpted from an article originally published in Reason magazine. Used with permission. THE WEEK June 14, 2019
The Puzzle Page
Crossword No. 507: Movie Arrangement by Matt Gaffney 1
The Week Contest
ACROSS 1 Some kids dressed all in black on Halloween 7 Like Boban Marjanovic 11 Caesar or Vicious 14 Peter of Venus 15 Ohio’s Lake ___ College 16 Grow older 17 1996 sci-fi comedy in which Jack Nicholson and Glenn Close play the president and first lady 19 Texted grin 20 “Was there anything ___?” 21 [Not my error] 22 Will property 24 Green government org. 26 Filbert, for example 28 Radiate 29 1995 rom-com for which Mira Sorvino won an Oscar 34 Words before pork or chicken, on Chinese menus 35 Flies like an eagle 36 Rainy-day mixture 37 Four before Feb. 39 Judge known by her initials 40 Cracklin’ ___ Bran (Kellogg’s cereal) 43 Some rec centers 45 Philosopher Spinoza 47 2006 historical drama with Kirsten Dunst in the title role 51 On 52 Very small drink 53 What A means, on some cards THE WEEK June 14, 2019
54 Rogue automaker 57 ___ Speedwagon (“Keep On Loving You” band) 59 Golden years funds 62 “So ___ heard!” 63 Oscar-nominated 2003 documentary about Louis Kahn 66 West Coast paper, briefly 67 Part of an archipelago 68 Mark who won the 1998 Masters and British Open 69 Year, in Yucatán 70 Monopoly card 71 Genre for the justreleased Octavia Spencer movie Ma— which provides the initials of this puzzle’s four theme entries DOWN 1 Alaska city where the Iditarod ends 2 Slanted type of type (abbr.) 3 27-Down, for example 4 Haydn and Biden, e.g. 5 Pie ___ mode 6 Groups of related items 7 Oolong holders 8 Up-and-down path 9 Dig, on Facebook 10 Word often misused for “fewer” 11 Italian deli buy 12 Outfield shout 13 Erasing key 18 Funny Fey
23 Turner and Koppel, for two 25 In one’s kitchen, say 27 Frequent role for Chris Hemsworth 29 “Delish!” 30 Vowels before a dollar amount 31 Plant with swordshaped leaves 32 Bat mitzvah figure 33 Princess Leia ___ (Carrie Fisher role) 38 Beach vacation acquisitions 40 It includes the auditory canal and the auricle 41 Pretense 42 With 43-Down, golfer’s nervousness when putting 43 See 42-Down 44 “Shaken, not ___” 46 Poem presenter 47 City where Ali and Frazier fought in 1975 48 Anti-anxiety pill 49 ___ the occasion (seized the moment) 50 Org. that deals with barrels 55 Surrounded by 56 Its third letter stands for “Stock” 58 “Call on me, teacher!” 60 Prefix for bat or polis 61 Twinkling thing 64 Subject of a bar flight, maybe 65 “This is what I think,” briefly
This week’s question: A tourist who used Airbnb to book a “clean room with private bathroom” in Amsterdam was shocked to discover that his accommodation was a shipping container parked on a sidewalk, equipped with three mattresses and a portable potty. Please come up with a short, catchy slogan that the container’s owners could use to advertise their minimalist vacation property. Last week’s contest: Russian President Vladimir Putin scored a remarkable eight goals in an exhibition ice hockey match, after defenders mysteriously skated out of the way of the 66-year-old autocrat. If Hollywood were to make a movie about a tyrant who becomes a true sports star, what title could it give the film? THE WINNER: “KGB to MVP”
Catherine Pomiecko, Natick, Mass. SECOND PLACE: “Full-Court Oppressor” Ken Kellam III, Dallas THIRD PLACE: “Remember the Tyrants” Steve Zeitchik, New York City For runners-up and complete contest rules, please go to theweek.com/contest. How to enter: Submissions should be emailed to contest @theweek.com. Please include your name, address, and daytime telephone number for verification; this week, type “Vacation rental” in the subject line. Entries are due by noon, Eastern Time, Tuesday, June 11. Winners will appear on the Puzzle Page next issue and at theweek.com/puzzles on Friday, June 14. In the case of identical or similar entries, the first one received gets credit. W The winner gets a one-year subscription to The Week.
Sudoku Fill in all the boxes so that each row, column, and outlined square includes all the numbers from 1 through 9. Difficulty: hard
Find the solutions to all The Week’s puzzles online: www.theweek.com/puzzle.
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