INTERNATIONAL MAIN STORIES PEOPLE THE U.K. Ukraine’s Mindy GETS A eastern Kaling’s NEW P.M. blitz secret p.14 Liz Truss p.5 p.10 THE BEST OF THE U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL MEDIA Enter the king Can Charles III live up to Queen Elizabeth’s legacy? p.4 SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 VOLUME 22 ISSUE 1097 WWW.THEWEEK.COM ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS
Contents 3 Editor’s letter The accolades pouring in this week for Queen Elizabeth II too intimately, for those who remember the leaked tapes of rightfully praised her deep sense of duty. They also mentioned her love of horses and corgis–possibly because, for Americans at his bedroom talk with his then affair partner and now queen, least, that’s the main thing we knew about her. The late queen was a model of reticence, managing to be a very public figure for the former Camilla Parker-Bowles. We know what he likes seven decades without commenting on issues of the day–except to say, sometimes quite movingly, that Britain would get through it (homeopathy, interfaith dialogue) and what he dislikes (modern all. Her life was an immense act of self-discipline (see Obituaries, p.39). It must have helped that she took on her role at a time architecture, genetically modified crops). He’s been open about when there was still considerable deference toward the ruling family, and reporters did not shove microphones in royal faces. his passion for battling climate change and his belief that it will Unlike his mother, though, King Charles III can’t simply take tremendous effort and sacrifice. Thanks to Robert Jobson’s disappear into the role (see Main stories, p.4). Over the long, long course of his wait for the throne, he has given numerous 2018 book Charles at Seventy, which was written with the interviews and been mercilessly hounded by the slavering British press. The entire world knows him intimately—far cooperation of the then prince’s office, we know that Charles opposed the Iraq invasion, has studied the Quran, and signs letters to Middle Eastern leaders in Arabic. This past summer we also learned that he accepted $3 million in bags of cash for his charities from a former prime minister of Qatar, a donation that, while not illegal, certainly raised eyebrows. The king, in short, has baggage. Can he keep the British monarchy Susan Caskie going? It will be interesting to watch. Managing editor NEWS Mourners leave tributes outside Buckingham Palace. (p.4) Editor-in-chief: William Falk Getty (2) 4 Main stories ARTS LEISURE Managing editors: Susan Caskie, The U.K. mourns Mark Gimein Elizabeth as Charles 23 Books 31 Food & Drink Assistant managing editor: Jay Wilkins ascends; Ukraine’s Jay Gould, Wall Street’s Giving ribs the vindaloo Deputy editor/Arts: Chris Mitchell lightning counterstrike indispensable villain treatment; why Houston Deputy editor/News: Chris Erikson rules fried chicken Senior editors: Nick Aspinwall, Danny Funt, 6 Controversy of the week 24 Author of the week Scott Meslow, Rebecca Nathanson, Wrangling over the Mar- From Hamnet to another 32 Travel Dale Obbie, Zach Schonbrun, Hallie Stiller a-Lago investigation tragic child of history West meets East in Art director: Paul Crawford Moorish Spain; America’s Deputy art director: Rosanna Bulian 7 The U.S. at a glance 26 Art & Stage oldest Chinese restaurant Photo editor: Mark Rykoff Bannon faces new The worrisome rise of Copy editor: Jane A. Halsey charges; politician kills the artbots BUSINESS Researcher: Nick Gallagher investigative journalist in Contributing editors: Ryan Devlin, Las Vegas 28 Film & Home 36 News at a glance Bruno Maddox Media Inﬂation deﬁes hopes of 8 The world at a glance Viola Davis improvement; Goldman’s Group publisher: Paul Vizza Populist right gains in commands Apple Card woes ([emailprotected]) Sweden; another Putin an all- Account director: Mary Gallagher critic turns up dead; woman 37 Making money ([emailprotected]) repression in Hong Kong army How effective is ‘effective Media planning manager: Andrea Crino altruism’?; mortgage rates Direct response advertising: 10 People Mindy highest since 2008 Anthony Smyth ([emailprotected]) Mindy Kaling on single Kaling motherhood; conquering 38 Best columns SVP, Women’s, Homes, and News: Everest—again and again (p.10) Starbucks becomes ground Sophie Wybrew-Bond zero for unions; paltry Managing director, news Richard Campbell 11 Briefing proﬁts in the weed business SVP, finance: Maria Beckett How climate change VP, Consumer Marketing-Global makes ‘weather whiplash’ Superbrands: Nina La France routine Consumer marketing director: Leslie Guarnieri 12 Best U.S. columns Manufacturing manager, North America: Why the Supreme Court Lori Crook is losing credibility; Operations manager: diversity in Tolkien’s Cassandra Mondonedo world Visit us at TheWeek.com. 15 Best international For customer service go to columns TheWeek.com/service. Cataclysmic ﬂoods in Renew a subscription at Pakistan; a tragedy in RenewTheWeek.com or give a Canada’s Cree Nation gift at GiveTheWeek.com. 16 Talking points THE WEEK September 23, 2022 Did Biden’s MAGA attack go too far?; falling U.S. life expectancy; Jackson’s grim water crisis
4 NEWS The main stories... Charles III takes throne as U.K. mourns Elizabeth II What happened Britain ruled a vast “global empire,” she was a steady presence amid King Charles III assumed the mantle decades of “epochal changes.” She as Britain’s new monarch this week, leaves behind a nation “with an vowing to uphold his mother’s legacy uncertain future”—and growing of “selﬂess service” as a stunned na- questions about the monarchy’s role tion mourned the passing of Queen in it. Those are sure to grow under Elizabeth II after 70 years on the Charles, who lacks his mother’s throne. After the queen’s death at 96 “star power,” popularity, and public was announced, throngs of Britons restraint. Thus begins “a new and gathered to pay tribute to the only unwritten chapter for the British monarch most had ever known—one monarchy and the country itself.” who’d ascended to the throne at 25 and ruled through 15 prime ministers What the columnists said and 14 U.S. presidents. “It’s a mas- Go ahead and mourn the queen, said sive shock to the nation,” said Adam Karen Attiah in The Washington Wilkinson-Hill, 22, one of thousands Post, “but we must speak the ugly who massed in front of Buckingham truths” about “the racist, colonial Palace, crying, hugging, and piling Charles III with Camilla, the new Queen Consort empire she so dutifully represented.” bouquets in stacks. The head of state Amid the hagiographies, “fantasy and ignorance” are colliding with for more than a dozen countries from Jamaica to New Zealand, Elizabeth died two days after appointing a new prime minister, Liz Britain’s brutal record of subjugation—and the lingering bitterness Truss, to replace the resigning Boris Johnson. She was “the rock on of those whose families “suffered massacre and displacement” as the queen draped herself in “plundered” jewels. With a mother which modern Britain was built,” said Truss. who grew up singing “God Save the Queen” in pre-independence Charles, 73, was proclaimed the new monarch at a ceremony Nigeria, it’s a legacy I can’t forgive. marked by gun salutes and trumpet blasts. The oldest person ever Elizabeth leaves a gaping “void,” said Geoffrey Wheatcroft in New to ascend the British throne, the former Prince of Wales comes to York magazine, and we Brits “aren’t quite sure about the man who the job after a lifetime of training but still does not beneﬁt from the now steps into it.” Not all the “derision heaped on Charles” ever deep admiration from the public that his mother enjoyed. He paid since the death of Princess Diana 25 years ago has been fair. “But tribute to her “duration, dedication, and devotion,” and pledged he’s a crank” who has damaged his image with his “all-too-public to “follow the inspiring example I have been set.” He began a tour marital difﬁculties” and ignored a key reason for his mother’s suc- of the U.K.’s four nations with a visit to Northern Ireland and cess: She kept her opinions to herself. Instead he’s lobbied cabinet recorded a televised address to the British people. “I shall endeavor members and aired his views on everything from the climate to al- to serve you with loyalty, respect, and love, as I have throughout ternative medicine—coming off as “the sort of chap you shy away my life,” he said. from in the pub.” The queen’s body was taken from Balmoral Castle, the summer residence in Scotland where she died, to Edinburgh, then to Buck- “Where does the British monarchy go” now? said John Cassidy in The New Yorker. Even as a hereditary monarch atop a democratic ingham Palace. On Wednesday her cofﬁn was brought by horse- state increasingly “seems like an anachronism,” the royal family drawn carriage to Westminster Hall to lie in state for four days, remains resoundingly popular. The where the line of visiting mourners was looming question is whether Charles expected to stretch for miles. “I have What next? can maintain such support—not only known her all my life. And now she’s at home but also in the 14 former gone,” said retired butcher Dave Stanley, Queen Elizabeth II’s death “set in motion an colonies where he’ll serve as head of 78. “It’s the end of an era.” intricate period of mourning” that will last for What the editorials said 10 days, said Lauren Said-Moorhouse and Max state. “On both fronts, supporters Foster in CNN.com. Following stops in Edin- of the monarchy have reason to be “We’ve lost a world leader” whose “de- burgh and Buckingham Palace, her body will lie concerned.” cades of selﬂess duty” inspired untold in state at Westminster Hall for four days, where In this day and age a constitutional millions, said the Houston Chronicle. A her former subjects can file past it around the monarchy is “logically indefensible,” “wise woman who personiﬁed strength clock. On Monday, Sept. 19, a Westminster Abbey said Andrew Sullivan in his Substack at a time when few got the chance,” Eliz- funeral will bring “heads of state and dignitar- newsletter—but it’s nonetheless a abeth was a grand ﬁgure “in a fast-food ies from around the world.” She’ll be buried on legacy worth holding on to. The world starved for grandeur,” who gave the grounds of Windsor Castle alongside her Crown is a unifying force that tran- her nation “a beacon of stability through husband of 73 years, Prince Philip. And what of scends contemporary political divisions times of tumult.” Even Americans “who the queen’s beloved corgis? asked Derek Hawkins and offers “a symbol of continuity prefer elections to royal bloodlines” and and Karla Adam in The Washington Post. Over and stability” that bestows “meaning “rigid class hierarchies” should mourn her 70-year reign the queen owned more than 30 and happiness.” In “times of profound the loss of her duty, grace, and restraint. of the pampered pets.The two she left behind, acrimony,” that’s a gift whose value is Muick and Sandy, will live with her son Prince “hard to measure.” The queen is dead. Elizabeth’s death is a “national shock,” Andrew and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson. “Long live the King.” said The Guardian (U.K.). Born when AP THE WEEK September 23, 2022 Illustration by Howard McWilliam. Cover photos from Getty, Lockheed Martin, Getty
...and how they were covered NEWS 5 Ukrainian troops send Russians fleeing in the northeast What happened ibly, “a path to Ukrainian victory” seems to In a dramatic reshaping of the battleﬁeld, be opening. Ukrainian forces chased Russian troops Zelensky strides into liberated Izium. Yet this jubilant moment is “not with- out of much of Kharkiv over the past two out peril,” said The Wall Street Journal. weeks, retaking in days what it took Russia Ukraine’s battleﬁeld coups are a major months to capture. Ukraine tricked Russia humiliation for Putin, who could now be by telegraphing its plans for a major coun- “capable of anything.” Will he call a draft, teroffensive in the south around Kherson, risking unrest at home? Will he “engage causing Russian commanders to shift tens of NATO forces in some fashion?” Might he thousands of troops to that region. Ukraine even reach for tactical nukes? That last idea did make modest gains in the south, but is “horriﬁc to contemplate,” but Western the bulk of its forces burst through Rus- leaders need to plan for such a horror now sian front lines in the northeast over the rather than “thinking it can’t happen.” past two weeks, winning back 3,000 square miles of territory—more than a tenth of What the columnists said Russia’s total gains since the Feb. 24 invasion. Among the dozens of settlements they liberated were Izium, Kupiansk, and Balakliya, The southern front wasn’t “a mere distraction,” said Dalibor key logistical hubs for Russian forces. The attack severely degraded Rohac in the New York Post. Ukrainian troops there have been the Russian forces that had remained in the north, including at least grinding away at Russian capabilities. And though their enemy still one ostensibly elite unit, and sent them into a headlong retreat. has a bigger arsenal, the Ukrainians “now enjoy the technological Russian soldiers abandoned their equipment, including about 40 edge,” having transitioned from their Cold War–era arms to mod- tanks, 35 military vehicles, and even two jets, and some attempted ern weaponry supplied by NATO countries. Russia, by contrast, is to disguise themselves as civilians. increasingly relying on faulty drones from Iran and artillery shells from North Korea. Russia called the retreat a strategic “regrouping” and responded But Ukraine’s window for success may soon close, said Bret with widespread shelling, damaging power stations in Kharkiv and Stephens in The New York Times. The muddy season that bogged other cities. But cracks in Russia’s pro-war consensus appeared to down Russian tanks in March will be back this fall, and it “gener- be growing. Pundits on state television, which usually follows the ally favors defense over offense.” By winter, the ice “may largely Kremlin line, said the war might not be winnable or even worth- freeze the front lines in place.” President Biden, who deserves “full while, while low-level city ofﬁcials in Moscow and St. Petersburg credit” for robustly arming Ukraine so far, should recognize that called on President Vladimir Putin to resign. Meanwhile, Ukrainian further advances demand airpower and give Kyiv our “nearly four President Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise visit to Izium to dozen aging F-16s.” mark his country’s recent victories. “Our blue-and-yellow ﬂag is already ﬂying in de-occupied Izium,” he said. “It will be so in every “Even if they prove ephemeral,” said Anne Applebaum in The Ukrainian city and village.” Atlantic, Ukraine’s recent gains “change the nature of this war.” An outright victory, and a potentially fatal crisis of legitimacy for Putin, What the editorials said The Ukrainians have “pulled off the seemingly impossible,” could follow. “This is not a prediction; it’s a warning.” Russia has said The Boston Globe. The trap they set for the Russians in the no mechanism for replacing its tyrannical president, and there’s south allowed them to barrel ahead in the north, erasing Russian no telling what will happen if political elites turn on him. Western gains since April. The morale of the Russians, “ﬁghting with old leaders mustn’t meddle in Russian politics, of course, as that would equipment and for a cause many have long since lost faith in,” is backﬁre, but they needn’t lend Putin legitimacy he doesn’t deserve plummeting. Russian desertions are becoming so common that in future negotiations. “The possibility of instability in Russia, a Ukraine has set up a surrender hotline for soldiers to call. Incred- nuclear power, terriﬁes many. But it may now be unavoidable.” It wasn’t all bad QSince 2015, veterinarian Brad Ryan has visited 62 national QTheTSA’s oldest working canine has retired after a decade of ser- QWhen a deaf six-year-old dog parks and driven 50,000 miles with an unlikely travel partner: vice, which included sniffing for named Dave arrived at a Humane explosives at Super Bowls, NCAA Society in Michigan, the staff set His 92-year-old grandmother, Joy. The pair’s adventures have championships, and Special out to find him a perfect home. Olympics events. The dog, named At an adoption event, Dave met taken them to Hawaiian volcanoes, Californian Joshua trees, Eebbers, and his lifelong partner, 14-year-old Walker Cousineau, who Jean Carney, celebrated with has autism and is hard of hearing, and an Alaskan park inside the Arctic Circle. The project started bomb-shaped cakes and stuffed and they became fast friends. Walk- toys. The Minneapolis-based er’s family brought Dave home, when Joy admitted that, despite her love of nature, she’d Vizsla-Labrador earned another and they learned his commands— title shortly before his sendoff: communicated by signs—and never seen a mountain in winner of the TSA’s 2022 Cut- began teaching new ones. Walker’s est Canine Contest. While most mom, Mindy Cousineau, says Dave person. Seven years later, the dogs trained in the TSA’s Puppy and her son are now inseparable. Program retire at seven or eight, “Neither one can be far from the pair is now planning to visit Carney says, her 11-year-old hasn’t other’s sight,” she said. slowed down at all. the National Park of American Samoa in the South Pacific. Brad said that throughout Reuters, Cheryl Hutchison their travels, his grandma has helped him through his own mental-health issues. “I was trying to do something to help her, and she ended up Brad and Joy saving me in the process.” THE WEEK September 23, 2022
6 NEWS Controversy of the week Mar-a-Lago investigation: Is it stalling out? Since the FBI showed up at Mar-a-Lago search- seems to barely understand.” Yet it’s not that ing for sensitive government documents in complicated, said Quinta Jurecic in Lawfare. early August, Donald Trump has tried to hurl Executive privilege “is meant to protect “one monkey wrench after another” into the internal executive branch conversations investigation, said Carol Lam in NBC News. from being disclosed outside the branch,” His legal team has produced a blizzard of filings but the Department of Justice is part of the in an attempt to stall the Justice Department’s executive branch. Right now, the only person probe into why the former president took the empowered to invoke executive privilege is documents to his Florida home when he left the incumbent president, namely one Joseph the White House, why he refused to give them R. Biden, not a former chief executive with back despite repeated official requests, and Trump: Does the law apply to him? a basement full of stolen documents. Let’s what he did with them in the intervening year just “let Trump have his special master,”said and a half. Now those desperate efforts may be gaining “traction.” Chris Truax in The Bulwark. Judge Cannon was explicit that noth- Last week, despite reports that the classified documents included ing should delay an intelligence assessment of any damage done details of a foreign country’s nuclear program, Judge Aileen Cannon by Trump’s possession of classified documents. And if he does get granted Trump’s absurd request for a “special master” to review the prosecuted, her show of “excessive fairness” will make a conviction seized documents. That could set up a “protracted court fight” over “that much harder to overturn on appeal.” whom to name in that role, said Alan Feuer and Charlie Savage in Less flimsy than the privilege argument is Trump’s claim that he The New York Times. This week, the Department of Justice agreed had already declassified the documents, said Andrew McCarthy to one of Trump’s suggestions: retired Judge Raymond Dearie. But in National Review. Presidents have broad authority to do so. It’s even if Dearie is appointed, the 78-year-old will still have to wade notable, though, that Trump’s lawyers have not made that assertion through some 13,000 documents to see whether any are personal or in court. That might be because they know it isn’t true. Or they protected by executive privilege—a complex region of constitutional may have figured out that if he actually did “declassify highly sen- law that could tie the case up in litigation for months. Trump “has sitive national defense secrets en masse,” without alerting the rel- succeeded for now in using what amounts to a procedural sideshow evant intelligence and national security agencies, “that itself would to stall the criminal investigation.” be a scandal—in some ways worse than the scandal we now have.” Cannon’s order for a special master is “a train wreck of judicial In fact, said Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post, Trump’s legal reasoning” said Ian Millhiser in Vox. The Trump appointee argued “brain trust” has yet to offer any substantive defense at all of his that the rules don’t apply to the former president because—yes, she conduct—probably because “he has no defense.” One of his law- really said this—he faces higher reputational harm than ordinary yers has already denied knowing that any documents were stored people would if any of their personal effects were taken. Her ruling in the Mar-a-Lago office. With his legal team unwilling to “take the “plays with legal concepts, such as executive privilege, which she fall” for him, Trump’s problems are only “multiplying.” Only in America Good week for: In other news Getty QThe Alabama Department Higher consciousness, when San Francisco’s Board of Super- Stock-trading conflicts of Corrections has clarified visors voted unanimously to decriminalize magic mushrooms, rampant in Congress its dress code for civilians peyote, ayahuasca, and other plant-based psychedelic drugs. Super- witnessing executions. In July, visor Dean Preston said the board was simply “following science From 2019 to 2021, 97 sitting the department made national and data.” senators and House mem- headlines when it turned bers reported more than away a reporter because her Do-overs, with the release of iOS 16, a software update that will 3,700 trades by themselves skirt was too short. With Alan give Apple iPhone users up to 15 minutes to edit typos from sent or their family members in Eugene Miller scheduled to text messages. Users prone to attacks of late-night nostalgia can financial assets related to their die this month, officials last even delete sent messages entirely, though the window to “Undo committee assignments, The week reminded journalists Send” is a cruelly short two minutes. New York Times reported this that skirts must extend below week. As Congress debates the knee, the “waist and chest Lunch, with a new study suggesting that eating only during day- tightening rules for lawmaker area” must be covered, and light hours can substantially decrease symptoms of depression and investing, the Times high- witnesses must wear “a com- anxiety. lighted numerous ethically plete set of undergarments.” doubtful moves: Sen.Tommy Bad week for: Tuberville (R-Ala.) traded QWarner Bros. has tweaked contracts tied to cattle prices its popular MultiVersus Inclusivity, when progressive Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) while his committee discussed video game so that Velma marked the anniversary of 9/11 with a tweet remembering the cattle markets, Rep.Bob Gibbs from Scooby Doo no longer “2,996 people killed,” a number that includes the hijackers. (R-Ohio) bought shares of a summons the police for help. pharma firm while his com- The change comes after Green energy, when a team of West Virginia coal miners came mittee investigated its high complaints that the game had to the rescue of an out-of-state couple whose electric car ran out of drug prices, and the wife of made Velma “a Karen,” by battery charge. Miner Daniel House says he steered clear of poten- Rep.Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) having a white woman call tially contentious topics while helping push the couple’s car, but sold Boeing shares a day the cops on nonwhite charac- did gift them a “Friends of Coal” license-plate souvenir. before his committee released ters, including Space Jam’s damaging findings about the LeBron James. Horse trading, with claims in a new book by New York Times company’s two fatal crashes. reporter David Enrich that Donald Trump once tried to pay a THE WEEK September 23, 2022 $2 million legal bill by giving his lawyer a horse. “This isn’t the 1800s,” the lawyer stammered. “You can’t pay me with a horse.”
The U.S. at a glance... NEWS 7 Memphis Washington, D.C. New York City City reeling: Outrage over the high- Expanding election probe: Justice profile abduction and murder of kinder- Department officials last week seized the No pardon this time: Manhattan pros- garten teacher Eliza Fletcher escalated phones of two top advisers to former President Trump and issued subpoenas to ecutors last week charged Steve Bannon, further after the about 40 people in Trump’s orbit, mark- alleged killer ing a significant escalation of the federal a former campaign strategist and White was accused probe into Trump’s efforts to overturn this week of a the 2020 election results. Phones were House adviser to Donald Trump, with separate kidnap- taken from Boris Epshteyn, who helped ping and rape in coordinate Trump’s legal efforts, and defrauding Americans who sought to the fall of 2021. Mike Roman, a campaign strategist. Fletcher (l.); Henderson Fletcher, 34, Former Trump deputy chief of staff donate funds for was out on her morning jog earlier this Dan Scavino received a subpoena, as month when she was forced into an SUV, did Bernard Kerik, a former New York construction of a surveillance footage showed. Prosecutors City police commissioner who promoted charged Cleotha Henderson with first- false claims of voter fraud. The dozens southern border degree murder after Fletcher’s remains of subpoenas sought a wide range of were found blocks from Henderson’s information, including the scheme to wall. “They will brother’s apartment and DNA on shoes install Trump-loyal electors in swing left at the scene matched Henderson’s. states won by Joe Biden, the organizing never shut me The 38-year-old has an extensive criminal of Trump’s rally on Jan. 6, and Trump’s record and was released from prison in Save America PAC, which has been rais- up,” Bannon, 2020 after serving 19 years for aggra- ing money since he left office. vated kidnapping. Henderson 68, said before was charged for the 2021 case Houston after a rape kit linking his DNA Presidential inquisitor: Kenneth Starr, the pleading not Bannon arraignment to the crimes sat in storage for former U.S. solicitor general and federal guilty. “They’ll months. Days after Fletcher’s judge who became a household name in murder, a 19-year-old the 1990s after investigating President Bill have to kill me first.” After facing federal Memphis shooter streamed Clinton, died this week at age 76 from on Facebook Live part of a complications from surgery. Named an charges for the same alleged scheme, rampage that killed four people independent counsel in 1994 to investi- and injured three others. gate Bill and Hillary Clinton’s involve- Bannon received a pardon from Trump in ment in the Whitewater real estate scan- dal, Starr widened the probe to include the final days of his presidency, but that Paula Jones’ allegations of sexual harass- ment against the president and his alleged didn’t protect the right-wing firebrand false statements about having an affair with Monica Lewinsky. Starr’s report from future state charges. Prosecutors to Congress became famous for includ- ing lurid descriptions of the Clinton- say Bannon played an integral role with Lewinsky relationship. Afterward, Starr served as president of Baylor University in the organization We Build the Wall Inc., Texas but was removed from his post in 2016 after the Baptist school mishandled headed by wounded Iraq War vet- alleged sexual assault by football play- ers. Starr also faced criticism for having eran Brian Kolfage. Hundreds helped alleged child abuser Jeffrey Epstein get immunity from federal prosecution. of New Yorkers allegedly donated to a GoFundMe page that clearly said Kolfage wouldn’t profit, but prosecutors allege Bannon funneled more than $100,000 to Kolfage and profited himself, too. Kolfage pleaded guilty in a federal case. Las Vegas Washington, D.C. Journalist slain: Clark County Public Abortion on the Administrator Robert Telles was charged ballot: Sen. Lindsey this week with murder in the stabbing Graham (R-S.C.) death of journalist Jeff German, whose introduced a bill that reporting in the Las would outlaw abor- Vegas Review-Journal tions nationwide after preceded Telles’ pri- 15 weeks of preg- mary defeat in June. nancy, putting pres- Known as a dogged sure on Republican investigative reporter, candidates who hoped Sen. Graham Telles German, 69, had spent to avoid the issue to back a national months covering alle- ban. Graham’s Senate bill—which has no gations from Telles’ colleagues of “emo- realistic chance of passing—makes excep- tional stress, bullying, and favoritism,” tions for rape, incest, and to save the life as well as allegations that Telles and a of the mother. “That should be where subordinate, both married, were involved America is at,” said Graham, who just in an affair. German was working on weeks earlier said abortion laws should another story about Telles, 45, when the be left to the states. Senate Minority reporter was ambushed outside his home Leader Mitch McConnell said abortion and stabbed multiple times. Authorities law should be decided state by state. “I’m Memphis Police Department, AP, Getty, AP, Getty say Telles—a Democrat who had criti- not sure what he’s thinking,” Sen. Shelley cized German’s work on Twitter—was Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said of Graham. “lying in wait” for German, and DNA Among Republican candidates in tight found under German’s fingernails alleg- Senate races, Herschel Walker in Georgia edly matched samples taken from Telles. and Blake Masters in Arizona said they Authorities also allegedly found the would support Graham’s bill, while Joe straw hat and gray sneakers seen on the O’Dea in Colorado and Tiffany Smiley in suspect at Telles’ home, cut to pieces in Washington said they wouldn’t. Mehmet “a likely attempt to destroy evidence,” Oz in Pennsylvania declined to give a investigators said. firm answer. THE WEEK September 23, 2022
8 NEWS The world at a glance... Warsaw Stockholm Demanding reparations: Poland Right makes gains: Sweden’s center-left Social has asked Germany to pay repa- Democratic Party won the parliamentary elec- rations for Nazi damages to the tion this week but could still fall from power. country during World War II. The The Social Democrats, who have governed Akesson since 2014, remained the largest single party, ruling Law and Justice party said Poland suffered $1.3 trillion in war with 30.5 percent of the vote. But as The Week went to press, the Warsaw in 1945 losses, the highest such estimate yet. center-right bloc headed by Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson “The sum was calculated using the looked likely to get a larger share of the vote overall and thus most limited, conservative method,” said party leader Jaroslaw the first crack at forming a coalition government. The big success Kaczynski. “It would be possible to increase it.” Around 6 million story of the election, though, was the far-right Sweden Democrats Poles, including 3 million Polish Jews, were killed during the war, party, led by Jimmie Akesson, which took the second-largest vote and Warsaw was razed during the 1944 uprising against the Nazi share with 20 percent. The Sweden Democrats won’t be asked to occupiers. After the war, Poland under Communist rule waived form a government, though, because the other right-wing parties its right to reparations. The Polish opposition said Kaczynski’s won’t allow its members in the cabinet. demand was simply an attempt to stir up nationalist sentiment, while Germany said the matter was closed. London New flags for a new ruler: The death of Queen Elizabeth II last week means that the United Kingdom must now change its anthem, flags, and money. No monarch has died in most Britons’ living memory, and the Bank of England felt the need to clarify that the more than 4.7 billion banknotes featur- ing the queen already in use would continue The Queen’s Colours to be legal tender. The process to recall and replace the notes will take about two years, while coins featuring Elizabeth are expected to remain in circulation for many more. Britain is also changing its national anthem back to the male version, “God Save the King.” Military flags containing the royal cipher EIIR for Elizabeth II Regina will have to be replaced with CIIIR for Charles III Rex. Mexico City Saint John’s, Antigua Military controls civilian force: Mexico has put the army in charge of the 115,000-member civilian national guard. President and Barbuda Andrés Manuel López Obrador replaced Mexico’s corrupt federal police with the new national guard in 2019. But recently he began No more constitutional monarchy?: pushing to revise the constitution to allow the military to control the guard, saying that was the only way to ward off corruption. Antigua and Barbuda said this week it When he couldn’t get the required congressional supermajority will hold a referendum on becoming a for the amendment, he simply pushed the change through Congress last republic, meaning it would no longer Browne week—a move of dubious legality. The bow to the British monarch. Prime guard has been ineffective in battling organized crime and cartels: Last year Minister Gaston Browne made the announcement after confirm- it made only about 8,000 arrests across the entire country of 130 million peo- ing King Charles III as the new head of state, saying that the ple, and only 14 of those arrests were Mexico’s National Guard the result of detective work. planned vote should not be seen as “an act of hostility.” Several Havana other Caribbean nations have debated shedding the monarchy Coming to America: Nearly 180,000 Cubans entered the U.S. through Mexico over the year ending in July, the largest exodus in recent years because of growing antipathy toward the British Getty (2), AP, Reuters in Cuban history, new data shows. Many Cubans are fleeing the prolonged economic crisis, which has left grocery shelves empty royal family and Britain’s legacy of colonialism. Barbados became and spiked prices by nearly 30 percent. But others are fed up with government repression. Mass protests broke out last year over a republic in 2021, and leading Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner the high prices, and authorities sentenced hundreds of the pro- testers to prison terms as long as 25 years. The exodus “reflects said last week that the passing of Queen Elizabeth II would “make the desperation, the lack of hope, and the lack of future people on the island feel,” Jorge Duany, head of the Cuban Research Jamaica’s break with monarchy easier.” Institute at Florida International University, told The Wall Street Journal. Most migrants start their overland journey to the U.S. in Nicaragua, which dropped visa requirements for Cubans last year. THE WEEK September 23, 2022
The world at a glance... NEWS 9 Moscow Samarkand, Uzbekistan Putin critic plunges from window: Ravil Maganov, Xi meets Putin: Chinese leader Xi Jinping ventured outside China the chairman of Russian oil giant Lukoil, fell to for the first time in over two years this week to attend a regional his death two weeks ago from a hospital sixth- summit and meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Xi has floor window in Moscow, Russian media reported. not traveled abroad since China shut its borders in March 2020 At least five other prominent Russian oil and due to the Covid pandemic, and his three-day trip to Kazakhstan gas executives have died, four of them ostensibly and Uzbekistan, two former Soviet republics, was a chance to by suicide, since late January. Anders Aslund, a Maganov assert China’s influence in Russia’s backyard. He was to meet Russian expert at Georgetown University, said the with Putin at the annual meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Kremlin apparently suspected in late 2021 that someone in the oil Organization, and the Kremlin said the two leaders planned to industry was leaking information about the coming invasion of discuss Ukraine and Taiwan and reinforce what a spokesperson Ukraine, and many have speculated that President Vladimir Putin called their “no-limits” strategic partnership. The European sanc- ordered the executives killed. Maganov may have become a target tions imposed over the war in Ukraine have led Russia to dramat- after Lukoil’s board of directors in March called for an end to the ically increase its oil and gas sales to China in recent months. Ukraine conflict. Pyongyang Preemptive nuclear strikes OK’d: North Korea passed a law last week codifying the right to launch preemptive nuclear strikes. In a speech to the authoritarian state’s rubber-stamp parliament, President Kim Jong Un vowed Kim: ‘No bargaining’ his country would no longer enter negotia- tions with the U.S. over its nuclear arsenal. The new legislation will “draw an irretrievable line so that there can be no bargaining over nuclear weapons,” Kim said. “There will never be any dec- laration of giving up our nukes or denuclearization.” Officials in both South Korea and the U.S. recently warned that Pyongyang is preparing to conduct its first nuclear tests since 2017. As recently as 2018, North Korea had agreed to work toward denucleariza- tion, but it broke off all talks with the U.S. the following year. Hong Kong Children’s book authors imprisoned: Hong Kong authorities sentenced five speech therapists to 19 months in prison last week for producing children’s books deemed to be seditious. Prosecutors said the sheep characters in the picture books were clearly meant to depict the Hong Kong people The sheep resist. while the wolves represented Beijing. One book showed sheep resisting as wolves attempted to take over their village. Another showed 12 sheep fleeing the wolves—a reference, authorities said, to the 12 activists captured at sea in 2020 attempting to escape to Taiwan. While the five book cre- ators pleaded not guilty, they had admitted in media interviews to alluding to social issues in their books. China crushed Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement in 2019 and imposed a draco- nian national security law that criminalized acts of dissent. Bengaluru, India Torrential floods: Severe monsoon rains pelted Bengaluru last Mogadishu, Somalia week, causing flooding that for several days all but paralyzed the Famine is coming: The Horn of Africa is city known as India’s Silicon Valley. The flooding was worst in the Millions are hungry. on the verge of famine, the U.N. warned southeastern suburbs that are home to offices of Microsoft, Dell, last week. U.N. humanitarian chief JPMorgan Chase, and other U.S. companies, as well as many Martin Griffiths said parts of Somalia will enter famine condi- Indian tech firms. Some workers tweeted photos of themselves tions this fall because of the relentless drought and the sharp rise commuting to work by tractor, while others were simply stranded in global food and fuel prices. “Famine is at the door, and today in their homes. In the wake of the we are receiving a final warning,” he said. About 1 million people floods, Bengaluru officials bulldozed in Somalia have left their homes in search of food and aid, and hundreds of structures that had been Getty, Reuters, Getty (2), AP humanitarian workers say countless children are already mal- illegally built atop storm drains— nourished. “We are burying babies and watching with heartbreak including posh apartments and the as mothers cry,” said Daud Jiran, Somalia country director for cricket pitch of a prominent private the aid group Mercy Corps. The U.S. has donated $1.6 billion in school. “Nobody will be spared, humanitarian aid to Somalia this fiscal year, but aid workers say whether the rich or the poor,” said they desperately need more. one city engineer. Underwater for days THE WEEK September 23, 2022
10 NEWS People Keeping his cool at 29,000 feet Kenton Cool is growing uneasy about guiding rich people up the world’s tallest mountains, said Simon Usborne in the Financial Times (U.K.). The British mountaineer has reached the summit of Mount Everest 16 times—a record for a non-Sherpa—and for about $300,000 he provides one-on-one guide services up Everest. “The day that I don’t go there,” says Cool, 49, “I will miss it like I probably would one of my own children.” But Himalayan mountaintops have become ever more crowded, with more peaks seeing the long queues of climbers that are now routine on Everest; since the beginning of 2021, nine climbers have died trying to scale the savage K2. “It’s my business to take people to these summits,” Cool says, “yet there is a conflict within me that’s really not sitting too well right now.” Cool, who shattered his heels with a fall in his 20s, has known at least 40 friends who’ve died attempting climbs, and worries about an influx of overambitious amateurs. “What happens if we get split up?” Cool says. “Will people have that instinct to say, ‘I’ve got my ice ax, I’ve got my crampons on, I know what I’m doing,’ or are they going to sit down in the snow and wait to die?” The twins who married twins Why Kaling keeps a big secret Identical twins Jeremy and Josh Salyers grew up imagining they Mindy Kaling loves mining her private life for creative material, might one day marry identical twin sisters, said Cathy Free but there’s one story she’s not ready to tell, said Neha Prakash in The Washington Post. In 2017, the brothers, who lived in in Marie Claire. The actress and writer still hasn’t disclosed the Tennessee, attended the annual Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, father of her two children, even to close friends. “The choice Ohio, where they met identical twins Brittany and Briana Deane, to have a child—by yourself, on your own terms—was the best lawyers who had similar dreams of marrying a set of identical part of my life,” says Kaling, 43. She’s protective of her children’s siblings. “We’d decided that if we couldn’t find twins to marry, privacy, opting not to post photos of her 4-year-old daughter, then we just wouldn’t get married,” said Jeremy, 38. “I was Katherine, and 2-year-old son, Spencer, on social media. For attracted to Briana and Josh was attracted to Brittany.” After more women to take control of their career and family timelines, a year of long-distance dating with the Virginia-based sisters, she says, it would help if freezing eggs were cheaper. “I wish Josh and Jeremy proposed at the same time to Brittany and every 19-year-old girl would come home from college and that Briana—in matching outfits, with identical diamond rings, on the gift—instead of buying them jewelry or a vacation or what- Feb. 2 (2-2). The sisters recall saying “yes” at the same time. ever—is that their parents would take them to freeze their eggs,” In late 2020, Brittany had a son, Jett, and the following spring she says. Tabloids have speculated about the father of Kaling’s Briana had a son, Jax. The boys, though technically cousins, kids, but Kaling says that most of the public wants to avoid the have genetics similar to those of siblings and look alike; they’re subject. “Culture largely says, ‘We don’t wanna hear about you. known as quaternary twins. The six Salyerses live together at a Your entire deal bums everyone out.’” Maybe one day there will wedding venue they own and operate near Roanoke, Va. “We do be a TV show or movie about happy single mothers in their 40s, everything together, so it just made sense that we would all live she says. “I can’t imagine anyone besides me would write it, so I together,” Jeremy said. “Probably the best part about our situa- have to find the time to do that.” tion, though, is that if you’re upset, you don’t have to be alone.” QBritney Spears discharged a furious photographs. If that’s their stance, Spears last month after Bündchen, 42, left their Maarten de Boer/The Licensing Project, Getty (2) public blast last week at her teen- said in response, “I have failed as a mother.” Tampa home for Costa Rica. “It’s all per- Although she said it feels like “a huge part sonal,” he said of his absence. “I’m 45 years age sons, whom she reportedly of me has died” during the estrangement old, man.There’s a lot of s--- going on.” But hasn’t seen in about six months. from her boys, she added, “I’m afraid to ahead of the Bucs’ season-opening victory, “I don’t understand how it’s so inform you guys I’m not willing to see you Bündchen tweeted, “Let’s goTom Brady!” easy for them to just cut me off,” until I feel valued.” Spears, 40, said on Instagram. QChelsea Clinton used to call Ivanka Trump The boys—Sean, 16, and Jayden, QTampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom a “very close friend,” but Clinton said last 15—have been living with their Brady and his wife, supermodel Gisele week that the two haven’t spoken since father, Spears’ ex-husband Kevin Bündchen, appeared this week to be mov- Trump “crossed to the dark side” almost ing past an “epic fight” that overshadowed six years ago. After their parents Hillary Federline. In a recent interview, Bucs training camp, sources told the New Clinton and DonaldTrump squared off in Jayden had defended his grandfather York Post. The couple have talked pub- the 2016 presidential election, Chelsea, 42, Jamie—who oversaw Spears’ conser- licly about Bündchen resenting having to told Bravo that they last spoke shortly after vatorship for 13 years—and said that sideline her career to care for their three the election. But she denied the claim in he and his brother are upset about children while Brady focuses on football, a memoir from Ivanka’s husband, Jared Spears attacking their family members and she reportedly was furious over Brady Kushner, that he and Ivanka invited Chelsea on social media and posting seminude reneging on his March decision to retire. to dinner after the election in the hope of Brady missed 11 days of preseason practice maintaining a “cordial relationship.” THE WEEK September 23, 2022
Briefing NEWS 11 The new normal of ‘weather whiplash’ Large regions in the U.S. and abroad are getting doubly hammered, as devastating ﬂoods follow historic droughts. What is ‘weather whiplash’? temperatures. As the air warms, it It’s the paradoxical phenomenon can hold more water vapor: about that occurs when areas experiencing 4 percent more for every degree wilting drought are also hit with tor- Fahrenheit. Warmer air takes longer rential flooding. And it’s on the rise. to get saturated and then has more The U.S. has baked under record water to unleash when it does. An heat waves and crippling drought this analysis of 150 locations by the group summer, with roughly half the coun- Climate Central found that 90 per- try experiencing at least moderate cent get harder rainfalls now than in drought and huge swaths of the West, 1970. And by sucking more humidity Midwest, and Texas under severe out of the ground, warmer air not drought conditions. But the summer only worsens drought but also sets also brought five “1,000-year” the stage for worse flooding. That’s floods—defined as deluges so extreme because hard, dry ground is less able they have only a 0.1 percent chance to absorb water, which leads to exces- of happening in any given year. Four sive runoff. Drought and associated of those were in areas experiencing Dallas in August, when streets became rivers wildfires also kill trees and plants, drought. The flash flooding that hit further reducing the soil’s ability to Dallas last month, for instance, is a case study in weather whip- hold water. Because the rain doesn’t sink in, it doesn’t relieve the lash. With dozens of days that sizzled over 100 degrees and 67 underlying drought, and the vicious cycle continues. straight days with no rainfall, Dallas County—like 27 percent of How is the rest of the world affected? Texas—was suffering “exceptional” drought, the U.S. Drought Monitor’s most acute category. Then came a biblical storm that China’s southwestern Sichuan province saw an unprecedented pounded parts of the city with more than a foot of rain in a heat wave that dried up rivers and reservoirs, shut down hydro- 12-hour stretch. Neighborhoods and roadways were swamped, electric plants, and led to the rationing of drinking water. The police cars were swept away, and hundreds of people had to be whiplash came in August, when massive flooding forced some rescued. The whole thing cost up to $6 billion in damages and lost 120,000 people to evacuate. Western Europe, too, has been economic output. afflicted by both a historic drought, which dried up rivers and Where else did this phenomenon strike? exposed sunken WWII ships, and torrential rains, which caused deadly floods across England, France, Germany, and Belgium. St. Louis broke its record for single-day rainfall in late July And all those disasters have been dwarfed by the catastrophe with a 9-inch downpour that trapped people in their homes and in Pakistan, where an epic heat wave of temperatures above stranded drivers on washed-out streets. The next day, Kentucky 120 degrees was followed by monsoon rains that displaced was hit with torrential rains that ultimately killed more than three millions, killed at least 1,300, wiped out crops, and submerged dozen people and displaced thousands. Those disasters caused more than a third of the country. (See Best international columns, over $1 billion in damage—a catastrophe that could take years p.15.) “Wild swings between extreme precipitation and extreme to recover from. In Arizona, Nevada, aridity—this is how most people and and New Mexico—in the midst of the California’s coming megaflood most ecosystems on Earth are expe- worst megadrought in 1,200 years— riencing climate change,” said UCLA late-August monsoon rains brought As bad as this summer’s “1,000-year” floods climate scientist Daniel Swain. flash floods that closed highways, were, they’ll look like spray from a garden hose cut off power, and submerged the compared with the megaflood expected to hit Can this cycle be stopped? California in the coming decades. That was the Las Vegas Strip. Even Death Valley, warning issued last month in a report by UCLA No. Even if humans succeed in slash- Calif., the driest spot in America, climate scientists, who say warming has wors- ing carbon emissions, climate scien- saw nearly a year’s worth of rainfall ened the risk of a monster storm that would tists agree, the near-term changes are in several hours in August, stranding funnel water from the Pacific Ocean and dump baked in. The U.N. Intergovernmental hundreds, blowing out a water main, asmuch as 100 inches on some parts of the Panel on Climate Change’s 2022 and damaging hundreds of miles of state. This beast of a storm could displace up to report said with “high confidence” road. Such rapid weather swings are 10million people, submerge entire cities, and that the duo of drought and “extreme now “more violent and disruptive,” turn central California into a “vast inland sea,” precipitation events” will intensify said Jennifer Francis, a scientist at the the report said, and the damage from it could hit in coming years. To cope, countries Woodwell Climate Research Center in $1trillion. There’s a precedent: Such a superstorm must invest in early-warning systems, Massachusetts. It’s “yet another clear hit in 1862, bringing 30 consecutive days of rain upgrade infrastructure to withstand signal that the climate crisis is with us and unleashing massive floods across the state. water, and build new developments now.” If the planet continues warm- But the state’s population then was under half a with floods in mind. “The infrastruc- ing, the swings will become more million, while it’s now nearly 40million. The odds ture we have is really built for a cli- common. of such a storm happening in any given year mate we are not living in anymore,” have risen to 1 in 50, estimate the authors—and Andreas Prein of the National Center Why is it happening? they’ll continue to rise as the planet warms. The for Atmospheric Research told The disaster will come, said co-author Daniel Swain. The same culprit lies behind both the “It’s a question of when rather than if.” Washington Post. “These kinds of Reuters droughts and the deluges: rising global events are our new normal.” THE WEEK September 23, 2022
12 NEWS Best columns: The U.S. John Roberts Chief Justice John Roberts knows his conservative colleagues have gone It must be true... clearly saw on an activist tear, even if he won’t say so publicly, said Ruth Marcus. this coming “The court’s approval rating has tanked”—just 1 in 4 Americans has I read it in the tabloids confidence in the court, per Gallup—and Roberts is blaming the public Ruth Marcus for misunderstanding the role of judges. Disagreeing with an opinion, he QA Wendy’s employee in said last week, “is not a basis for criticizing the legitimacy of the court.” Pennsylvania was arrested The Washington Post That “convenient framing” misrepresents why so many people are fed for sabotaging railroad up with the court’s façade of political neutrality. Americans understand equipment in a bid to that right-wing activists stacked the court to guarantee outcomes like disrupt traffic and ensure a the Dobbs abortion decision. The new conservative supermajority quiet work shift. The 34-year- “abandoned normal rules of restraint, twisted or ignored doctrine, and old was identified by co- substituted raw power to achieve its desired result.” Ironically, Roberts workers after security cam- understands the fallout “better than anyone.” In 2006, he noted how eras captured him, dressed important it is that the court not appear “to be lurching around be- in his Wendy’s uniform, in- cause of changes in personnel.” In his concurring opinion in Dobbs, he stalling a device designed to warned that stripping abortion rights would cause a “serious jolt to the activate a crossing gate. He legal system.” Now Roberts “finds himself in the awkward position of and an accomplice hoped defending against the very criticism he knew was coming.” “that would prevent people from getting to Wendy’s, and Lord of the The uproar over multiracial casting in Middle Earth is more than simply they could have a slow night Rings versus the complaints of nerdy purists, said Helen Young. The Rings of Power, at work,” said an officer with the racists an Amazon series that premiered earlier this month, has drawn fire— the Tilden Township police. including an online trolling campaign and negative “review bombing” of The man was charged with Helen Young the Amazon Prime site—for using actors of color in prominent roles as criminal mischief and reck- Elves, Dwarves, and other denizens of a fantasy world based on J.R.R. less endangerment. The Conversation Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. These criticisms don’t originate with ordi- nary Tolkien fans, many of whom “welcome the increased diversity.” QA Nebraska man set a They’re mostly from “far-right political actors” who are weaponizing world record by paddling the issue “to help get fascist talking points into the mainstream.” White 38miles supremacists have long claimed Tolkien’s work, pointing out that his down the good races, like Elves, are portrayed as Nordic, while the evil ones, like Missouri the flat-nosed, slant-eyed Orcs, draw on Orientalist stereotypes. These River in a “racial hierarchies” do make his novels a useful political tool for the hollowed- far right. But the rich world he built is for everyone, and it simply can’t out giant be ceded to those who would use it to divide. The racists have missed pumpkin. another “central theme” in Tolkien’s work: that “evil is only defeated” Power-plant when differing peoples form alliances and “fight against it together.” worker Duane Using God Placing a boss’s claims of religious objections ahead of access to life- Hansen, who grew the to deny basic saving medication is “morally and intellectually repulsive,” said Mark 846-pound gourd himself, health care Joseph Stern. But a federal judge’s ruling last week that the government completed the 11-hour voy- can’t require employers to cover PrEP antiretroviral drugs, which pre- age to mark his 60th birth- Mark Joseph Stern vent HIV, could portend something far worse: bans on mandates for day, battling cold, heavy “almost any preventative care.” A group of Texas plaintiffs argued that rain, rocks, and aching knees Slate the Affordable Care Act’s rules made them complicit in potential “ho- along his way. “I probably mosexual behavior,” drug use, and extramarital sex, violating their reli- won’t try this again,” he said gious beliefs. District Judge Reed O’Connor, known for trying to strike afterward. “If somebody down the entire ACA in 2018, endorsed that argument. But he also went breaks this record, I will bow further and ruled that the government agencies that decide on ACA re- down to them because they quirements for preventive care lack authority to create such policy. The are tough.” decision will be appealed. But it can give the Supreme Court’s conserva- tive supermajority “the opportunity it craves” to hobble these agen- Q A clinic in Amsterdam cies. All sorts of treatments—HIV tests, breast cancer screening, heart is looking to hire some- medication—could be next. That would “shred the ACA,” and cause one who can vomit on “grievous harm to millions of Americans.” command—and has received a stack of applica- Viewpoint “Former White House staffer Steve Bannon turned himself in to New York tions. Kindt Clinics, which helps treat psychological authorities [last] Thursday morning to face a set of charges that should be afflictions, including various phobias, is seeking some- intensely familiar to him: money laundering, scheming to defraud, and conspiracy. Bannon’s legal one who can help people overcome their fear of fate is a portent for his former boss. It indicates that even if Trump had issued himself a ‘self-pardon’ vomiting by regurgitating in front of them during therapy in the closing days of his term, as he reportedly considered, it wouldn’t protect him from the state sessions. The roughly 100 applications were “many and local investigations into him and his businesses. As he prepares to take another run at the presi- more than expected,” said a clinic psychologist. “There dency, Trump is likely to become more convinced than ever that only the Oval Office can provide the are so many that it is almost Reuters impossible to oversee.” legal safety he craves.” Hayes Brown in MSNBC.com THE WEEK September 30, 2022
14 NEWS Best columns: Europe ROMANIA Romania’s celebration of “fools and stupidity” is caught on camera. Each episode makes fun of no laughing matter, said Cornel Nistorescu. Our some hapless citizen’s “ignorance and selfishness,” Laughing at culture has always loved to make fun of the vil- and above all his dubious grasp of grammar. We fools could lage idiot, with folk tales, songs, and jokes that find it hilarious when someone can’t tell left from lead us astray mock someone’s inability to grasp a basic truth. right or “doesn’t understand that he can’t carry These “quintessentially Romanian” themes have electricity in a bucket.” But even as we are laugh- Cornel Nistorescu roots in old rituals to ward off evil spirits. But in ing at these buffoons, we are abandoning our own modern times, we’ve taken it too far, until we have responsibility to educate them, condemning them Cotidianul elevated what is essentially a “cult of the fool.” to the role of clown for our amusement. Where The wildly popular TV show D’ale lui Mitica, will that lead us when a show about dopes, not GERMANY for example, mocks actual Romanian dolts, some heroes, attracts the widest TV audience? Soon, we of them bureaucrats clinging mindlessly to inane could see a village idiot as our next major news We’ve already policies, but many others just ordinary people anchor—or worse, our next prime minister. paid for our crimes Poland says Germany should pay for Polish suffer- many over the years.” In 1972, for example, West ing under the Nazis, said Thomas Jansen, but how Germany gave Polish victims of human experi- Thomas Jansen much more can Warsaw actually expect? The Pol- ments in Nazi concentration camps 100 million ish government said last week it estimated Poland’s German marks, some $320 million at that time, Frankfurter Allgemeine World War II losses at some $1.3 trillion and worth many times more today. Three years later, Zeitung would demand an unspecified amount of “German West Germany granted Poland a sizable loan. reparations.” Soon after the war, Poland waived And after the USSR collapsed in 1991, Germany direct compensation from Germany in favor of a made multiple large payments, both to Poland in proportion of Germany’s payout to the USSR. It general and to Polish victims used as forced labor, may be true that Poland was under intense pres- after which Warsaw “agreed not to make any fur- sure from its Soviet paymasters when it made that ther claims.” In total, Germany forked over some deal, and it’s unclear how much money Moscow $2 billion to Poland in reparations. That’s a sum ultimately transferred. Still, it is undeniable that more vast than we paid to any country but Israel. Poland has “received a lot of money from Ger- Does Poland really think it deserves more? U.K.: An untested leader in a time of crisis Liz Truss had the rug pulled out from nies on their “stupefying” $196 billion under her on her first week in office, said in profits. Incurring billions in debt is Sebastian Payne in the Financial Times. indeed “unprecedented in peacetime,” Dues-paying Conservative Party members but it’s also what “needs to be done representing a mere 0.2 percent of the now,” said Janet Daley in The Daily electorate chose Truss, the former foreign Telegraph. Upon taking office, Truss secretary, as a last-ditch option to replace made a “Churchillian call” for action, the scandal-plagued Boris Johnson, and casting our country as one in crisis. With polls say just 12 percent of British people Russia’s war in Ukraine choking off gas believe she will be a good leader. When supplies, Truss has been dealt “an im- she took office as prime minister last possible hand.” The British people “do week at age 47, after 12 years in Parlia- not expect their leaders to be gods or ment, her mission was to get a grip on Truss: Dealt ‘an impossible hand’ superheroes.” They expect competence, Britain’s metastasizing energy crisis. Yet and if Truss delivers, they will give her within 48 hours, the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the ascen- “the benefit of the doubt.” dancy of King Charles III shook the country and “reshaped her nascent premiership,” instantly thrusting her and her “relatively But is she up to it? asked Matt Honeycombe-Foster in Politico inexperienced team” onto the international stage. So far, her .eu (Belgium). Before Truss entered the leadership race, the leadership in this time of national mourning has been plodding. “somewhat goofy” lawmaker was mostly known for “shouting In Parliament, Truss delivered a serviceable but banal tribute to about pork,” in a 2014 speech to the Conservative Party that the queen, while it was Johnson’s soaring, eight-minute salute to went unflatteringly viral. Something of a libertarian, she is much “Elizabeth the Great” that made Britons weep. more conservative than most Britons—though, indeed, she can be a “shape-shifter” in her views. She was passionately against Perhaps it’s a blessing that the media has turned its attention Brexit, for example, only to champion it after the referendum away from her and to “King Charles and the future of the mon- had passed. While she claims she is not the second coming of archy,” said Simon Jenkins in The Guardian. Truss immediately union-busting, tax-slashing Margaret Thatcher, she did write ruffled feathers by sacking “the few able ministers who had sur- a book calling British workers “among the worst idlers in the vived Johnson’s mayhem” in favor of her own cronies. Her first world.” And it’s a tough moment to become prime minister. order of business was to deliver relief on skyrocketing heating Even before the queen’s death, the U.K. was experiencing “a bills. But her $172 billion package to cap the bills amounts to a tumultuous time,” with strikes “hobbling everything from the giant bailout to the energy industry: She is financing it by bor- railways to the ports” and the country on the brink of recession. rowing from future taxpayers rather than taxing energy compa- Good luck, Liz. You’ll need it. Reuters THE WEEK September 23, 2022
Best columns: International NEWS 15 Pakistan: How to recover from cataclysmic floods? Pakistan’s floods are an “indescribable $1 billion in a matter of weeks to tragedy,” said Khalid Bhatti in The rebuild Notre Dame when it burned News International (Pakistan). Two down in 2019—and the cathedral was months of relentless rains burst dams just a building, after all. What does it and turned fields into lakes, inundating tell us when “a drowning country must entire villages and leaving a third of the beg for aid?” Only that to the rest of country underwater. Time is already the world, “our lives are dispensable.” running out “to save the flood victims from starvation and disease.” Millions Yet we can’t simply cry victim, said of Pakistanis lack food, drinking water, Ishtiaq Ali Mehkri in The Express medical aid, and tents, and authorities Tribune (Pakistan). Our culture of fear that water- and mosquito-borne “nepotism, corruption, and bad gov- diseases like cholera and dengue will ernance” is largely to blame for the break out. In Sindh and Balochistan, the Wading home past a submerged gas station in Sindh failures of our bridges and dams and situation is “grim,” with hundreds of for our lack of an efficient system to thousands of people—many of them children—already sick with evacuate people ahead of floods. How telling that “the colonial malaria, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal illness. The floods washed edifices over rivers and railways stand tall to this day,” while away 2 million acres of farmland, destroying livelihoods and the newer infrastructure that we built ourselves crumbled into crops and leaving behind “highly contaminated stagnant water.” the floodwaters. We had massive deadly floods in 2010, too, Tens of thousands of people are reporting rashes and itching; remember? Why didn’t we draw up an evacuation plan after that, just as many have respiratory complaints. “We need to work on or build a network of small dams that could redirect waters? We a war footing” to save lives. For two weeks now, state and local are victims not only of climate change but also of corruption. governments, aid groups, and the armed forces have been trying their best, “but the magnitude and scale of devastation is so big How can we possibly pay for our recovery? asked The Express that these efforts seem inadequate.” Tribune in an editorial. Inflation is running above 27 percent, driven by soaring food and fuel prices. The value of the rupee It’s a disaster “of nightmarish proportions,” said Pakistani writer has plunged, while sovereign debt now exceeds $250 billion. Fatima Bhutto in The Guardian (U.K.). The losses stand at Of course, “feeding 220 million mouths is the biggest challenge.” $30 billion and could go up. Yet so far, the world’s wealthiest The floods wiped out crops and livestock, worsening our countries have given Pakistan relatively little aid. The $50 mil- already existing hunger crisis. When people can’t afford their lion in assistance from the U.S. and the $17 million from the electric bills and can find neither rice nor bread, their only U.K. look paltry considering that Western donors raised nearly option is mass unrest. “Pakistan is on the verge of it.” CANADA “How could these attacks have happened?” had not been under better supervision. Myles had asked David Butt. All of Canada is asking the a shocking 59 convictions yet was released in Horrifying same question after two men stabbed 10 people February after serving part of a five-year sentence killing spree to death and wounded 18 others in and near the for assault and robbery, and was not re-arrested in Cree Nation James Smith Cree Nation reserve in Saskatchewan even after he failed to meet his parole conditions. over Labor Day weekend. There can be no trial, Canadians need to know whether the “social im- David Butt as both suspects are dead: Damien Sanderson was perative to reduce the shameful overpopulation of found stabbed to death last week, and his brother Indigenous people” in Canadian prisons played a The Globe and Mail Myles died in unclear circumstances days later role in his release, as well as how Canada’s racist after police ran him off the road. We can, though, policies may have helped drive him to a life of have a public inquiry to determine why Myles, a crime. Preventing future tragedies will require “an Cree man with “a history of violence”—including honest look at what more than a century of racist against his in-laws, who were among the victims— dehumanization can create over the years.” CHILE Chileans want a new constitution, said Andrea abolished the Senate, and woven the fight against Gartenlaub, but evidently not an ultra-left one. climate change into every aspect of policy. Chil- Was the new In 2020, an overwhelming 78 percent of Chileans eans, though, rejected the ambitious document by constitution voted to replace the 1980 constitution, drafted a resounding 62 percent. Pro-government voices too far left? under the Pinochet dictatorship, with a new one. blamed the defeat on “a brutal smear campaign,” But far fewer turned out to elect the constituent while the opposition said the document was too Andrea Gartenlaub assembly of regular people that was tasked with radical. Both criticisms may be true. Above all, actually writing the new document. When leftist though, voters could not support “a text that they La Tercera President Gabriel Boric took office earlier this year, did not feel was theirs.” The process will now he made passing an ultra-progressive constitution begin anew, in parliament, and hopefully, this Getty his personal mission, and the result was an un- time, lawmakers will consult the people directly. wieldy tome of nearly 500 articles that would “Most voters do not have Twitter, they do not have enshrined rights to abortion and housing, shout—but they have an opinion.” THE WEEK September 23, 2022
16 NEWS Talking points Noted Biden: A fierce attack on ‘MAGA Republicans’ QIn midterms this fall, President Biden has finally Instead of “dismantling 60percent of American voters will have an elec- “called out the elephant in the MAGA Republicanism,” he’s tion denier on their ballot running for House, Senate, room,” said Frida Ghitis in succeeded only in alienat- or a statewide office such as governor or secretary CNN.com. In a series of recent ing half the country’s voters of state. A survey of all 540 Republican candidates speeches, the president has while “branding Democrats for major office found 199 who fully denied the addressed head-on the “exis- as the party of sanctimony legitimacy of the 2020 election, 118 of whom are tential threat to democracy” and condescension.” So much all but guaranteed to win. Only 74 fully accepted the posed by Donald Trump’s for “genial Joe from Scran- vote results; many others refused to say. authoritarian MAGA move- ton,” said William McGurn FiveThirtyEight.com ment. He fired his opening A radical fringe, or the heart of the GOP? in The Wall Street Journal. shot in a prime-time speech Unpopular with voters and QFrom the start of the pandemic through May, in which he warned that Trump and “MAGA worried about a midterm bloodbath, the self- nearly 8million children worldwide lost a parent or Republicans” embrace “an extremism that proclaimed uniter has apparently decided his best other primary caregiver to Covid, a new study threatens the very foundation of our republic.” bet is “to paint political opponents as not merely found. Nearly half of those deaths occurred in India In a speech in Maryland last week he turned the wrong but evil and pray voters end up hating the alone, while in Bolivia and Peru, Covid deaths heat up further, calling on “those who love this other guys more than they hate him.” partially orphaned about 1in 50 kids. country” to save it from a violent, hate-filled NPR.org enemy bent on “literally destroying American Actually, the president is being too generous in QThis sum- politics.” His comments—including a recent refer- exempting “the majority of Republicans” from mer was Europe’s ence to MAGA ideology as “semi-fascism”—have condemnation, said Renée Graham in The Boston hottest on record, with ignited outrage from aggrieved Republicans. But Globe. If there are Republicans who really ques- temperatures soaring to with “fiery conviction” Biden “spoke the truth” tion “their party’s full embrace of Trumpism, most 109 in France, 104 in the U.K., and 102 in Germany. and sent a needed “call to action against a very have remained awfully quiet about it.” Much of Fewer than 5percent of homes in those countries real threat.” the party “would leave this nation in ashes.” By have air conditioning. absolving Trump’s quiet enablers, Biden lets them Time Biden’s broadsides are divisive and damaging, said “look elsewhere for answers to the sorry state of QNearly 750 migrants so far have died at the U.S. Bret Stephens in The New York Times. I happen the nation instead of inward at their own com- southern border during the fiscal year that ends to agree that Trump poses “a unique threat to plicity.” If Biden’s wake-up call is “partisan,” so Sept.30, according to the Department of Homeland democracy.” But by conflating “MAGA Republi- be it, said Leonard Pitts Jr. in the Miami Herald. Security. That’s more than three times the number cans” with any conservative who opposes abortion With the country at a “crossroads of peril,” this who died in fiscal year 2020, and significantly rights and gay marriage, he’s chosen to “treat tens is not the time for “seeking common ground with up from 2021’s previous record of 557 deaths. of millions of Americans as the enemy within.” malign forces.” Aidgroups say the migrants are taking riskier American life expectancy: A precipitous drop paths to reach the U.S. and succumbing to heat The U.S. has become the “death trap of the U.S. decline was greater for men than women, Getty (2) exhaustion. wealthy world,” said Derek Thompson in The and for Hispanic and Black Americans than white Atlantic. Americans born in 2021 can expect to and Asian Americans. But it was most devastat- CNN.com survive to age 76.1, the lowest U.S. life expec- ing for Native Americans, said German Lopez tancy since 1996, the National Center for Health and Ashley Wu in The New York Times; their life THE WEEK September 23, 2022 Statistics reports. That’s a 2.7-year plunge since expectancy plunged an astonishing 6.6 years. The 2019, “the largest two-year decline in nearly a virus hit them so hard because Native Americans century.” Covid, of course, caused about half of tend to be poorer and sicker, yet health care is the drop—and because of our shameful vaccine “often inaccessible” to them, because the federal hesitancy, more Americans succumbed to Covid program Indian Health Service has “a fraction of after the vaccines were available than before. the funding” per person that Medicare gets. But our mortality crisis goes much deeper than the pandemic. Americans are more likely than “Do Americans no longer care how long they Europeans to die as babies, teenagers, and adults. live?” asked Edward Luce in the Financial Times The most obvious reason is our three outliers of (U.K.). Opioid use, obesity, and gun violence are “guns, drugs, and cars.” We have vastly more gun at epidemic levels, yet there is no political will deaths and more overdose deaths than any other to do anything about them. Some 40 percent of rich country, and a higher death rate from road Americans are obese, which worsens many health accidents. It’s as if Americans, for all our afflu- conditions, including Covid, but because “insult- ence, suffer from “a lifelong death premium.” ing half your adult population is not a great way to win votes,” both parties say nothing. And no As other developed nations began rebounding administration has fixed the country’s broken from the pandemic last year, said William Galston health-care system, which spends more than half in The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. kept on slid- again as much per patient as any other country ing. As a result, the life-expectancy gap between only to get middling outcomes. This is the true the U.S. and its peers “expanded by nearly two American exceptionalism—a “mortality crisis” years,” and now even China is ahead of us. The the U.S. isn’t even trying to solve.
Talking points NEWS 17 Jackson: Grim water crisis drags on Wit & Wisdom After a week of being told editorial. Turning Jackson “There is always more to shower with their mouths into “a progressive parable waiting for you on the closed, said Nick Judin of systemic racism” lets city other side of fear.” and Ashton Pittman in The officials off the hook. The Journalist Elaine Welteroth, quoted in Good Housekeeping Guardian (U.K.), the people $490 million Jackson allo- “The whole aim of of Jackson, Miss., are seeing cated for water and sewer practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and faint “signs of progress.” The improvements since 2013, hence clamorous to be led Mississippi capital has had for example, was often mis- to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most a boil-water advisory since spent; in a 2020 report, of them imaginary.” July, and floods knocked out the EPA accused the city of H.L. Mencken, quoted the decaying pumps at its understaffing wastewater in FedSmith main wastewater treatment Residents rely on bottled water. plants and neglecting vital “Buy land.They ain’t plants altogether on Aug. 29. maintenance. But Jackson making any more of So it was good news that workers got the flow Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, a Democrat, the stuff.” going again last week—but that’s not enough. says it will take billions more dollars to fix the Will Rogers, quoted in Yahoo Finance The water itself is “still undrinkable,” and some mess. Clearly, the city “needs more help than “A ship in harbor is safe, households have “coffee-colored” liquid spewing money alone can provide.” but that is not what ships from their faucets. Nor is relief in sight: Many are built for.” of the city’s pipes are more than 100 years old. Don’t think this problem is Jackson’s alone, Philanthropist John G. Shedd, quoted in Aish.com Last week’s emergency fixes “are just patches said Paul Chinowsky in the Bridgeport, Conn., “Learn from the mistakes on an ailing, aged system” at risk of collapse. Post. Since the “golden age of infrastructure of others. You can never live long enough to make For Jackson, whose population is more than development” in the 1960s and ’70s, the nation’s them all yourself.” 80 percent Black, the water crisis marks “a culmi- water systems haven’t been kept up. Already, a Groucho Marx, quoted in nation of centuries of racism, neglect, and theft,” water main breaks somewhere in the U.S. once The Economist said Danielle Moodie in The Daily Beast. White every two minutes, and climate change will only “Don’t call me a saint. I don’t want to be flight, poverty, and apathetic, tight-fisted state leg- increase the severity of drought, flooding, and dismissed so easily.” islators have produced a “manmade disaster” that other events that will further overtax our anti- Journalist Dorothy Day, harms residents’ health and dignity. This is “the quated pumps and pipes. While federal funds quoted in Catholic Courier devastation of environmental racism” in action. from last year’s big infrastructure bill and this “They throw you a round ball and give you year’s Inflation Reduction Act will help, it’s far a round bat and tell you Yet water services are “fundamentally a local short of what’s needed. Jackson may well be “just to hit it squarely.” responsibility,” said The Wall Street Journal in an the start of an escalating trend.” Ted Williams, quoted in Sports Illustrated Energy blackmail: Can Europe hold out? Poll watch AP Vladimir Putin is trying to “weaponize winter” higher prices, cutting energy use by 10 to 15 per- in retaliation for Western sanctions, said Mar- cent, and postponing German plans to close QTwo and a half years tin Sandbu in the Financial Times (U.K.), and nuclear plants and Dutch plans to phase out gas after the Covid pandemic the energy crisis we’ve long been warned about drilling. Europe will also need to go through with first broke out, 33% of “is now a reality.” Europe has let itself become plans for a “power-price cap and windfall tax.” Americans believe it is dependent on Russian gas imports; that “has That last part is key, said Paul Krugman in The now over, while 65% say allowed the Kremlin to drive up power prices to New York Times. Just letting prices skyrocket it is still with us. About extreme levels.” Russia has cut off gas supplies to so ordinary Europeans use less energy is “gro- 25% of Americans still the Continent through the Nord Stream 1 pipe- tesquely inequitable.” Europe is on a wartime wear masks in crowded line, although some gas continues to flow from footing, and for democracies in wartime “pre- outdoor settings, 48% in Russia to Europe through Ukraine. Now Euro- serving a sense of fairness has to take priority.” airplanes, and 39% on pean governments are urging residents to turn public transportation. down the heat if they hope to avoid rationing Putin wants to use the “soaring costs of food and 60% of Americans say in the colder months. “Millions of energy users energy” to rouse the “useful idiots” of the popu- they plan to get the are facing serious hardship” as the cost of living list fringe, said Andreas Kluth in Bloomberg. At a Omicron-specific booster escalates, factories shut down, and cries for gov- cost-of-living protest in Prague, tens of thousands by the end of the year, ernment action strengthen. But “if EU leaders can chanted anti-EU slogans and echoed “the Krem- while 7% say they’ll hang together through a tough winter, they will lin’s narrative.” Similar events are taking place get boosted next year. finally be building the energy union they need.” in other EU countries. If Europe does not make headway on energy costs soon, the turmoil could Axios/Ipsos European leaders must “deliver the hard truth also reveal “the limits to solidarity with Ukraine” that there’s no pain-free option,” said Lionel as people choose between their comfort and sup- THE WEEK September 23, 2022 Laurent in Bloomberg. The U.K. just lifted its port for the beleaguered nation, said Suzanne ban on fracking in a bid to curb costs, but in the Lynch and Jacopo Barigazzi in Politico. “Every Netherlands, home to Europe’s largest onshore European leader is under pressure to contain gas field, residents are resistant to increasing drill- spiraling costs,” and as they face “an increasingly ing. Defeating Putin means sacrifices: accepting desperate electorate,” time is running out.
18 NEWS Pick of the week’s cartoons THE WEEK September 23, 2022 For more political cartoons, visit: www.theweek.com/cartoons.
Pick of the week’s cartoons NEWS 19 THE WEEK September 23, 2022
20 NEWS Technology Apple: Modest upgrades, unless you go ‘Pro’ Apple’s iPhone 14 launch event last week it out.” The solution is the “Dynamic featured “an awful lot of discussion Island,” a black box that appears around about ways you could die,” said Geof- the cutout and fills the void with noti- frey Fowler in The Washington Post. The fications, like “how much life is left in phone’s enhanced technology includes a your AirPods, or even a sports score.” feature that automatically “connects to It feels “like a vital new part of Apple’s satellites to send SOS messages” in the design language.” This is Apple’s genius, event of an emergency outside of cell cov- said Jesus Diaz in Fast Company. The erage. “Automatic crash detection” that Dynamic Island still looks ugly, and captures motion data and alerts authori- “Apple knows it.” But instead of shy- ties if it suspects you’ve been in a severe ing away from it, Apple doubled down, accident is another potential lifesaving added some clever interface elements, and feature. All this is good, but truthfully, made it a “centerpiece” of the phone’s “I wouldn’t make an upgrade decision Pro models are getting most of Apple’s attention. design. “That is a true master class” in based on the hope an iPhone might save turning “a drawback into an advantage.” your life.” If emergency SOS features are not among your key concerns, then the “biggest news” from the launch is that Apple With inflation weighing on their wallets, iPhone buyers “might kept the price of the base model at $799, “despite rocketing be pickier than ever” this year, said Dan Gallagher in The Wall inflation.” There are also somewhat better cameras, though as Street Journal. Phone sales have been dropping around the world. with other recent launches, Apple “saved the biggest improve- So Apple has been careful not to alienate buyers with price in- ment for the Pro line,” which will cost you at least $999. creases for the base model, and instead has been stuffing more upgrades into the pricier models to shift as many customers as There’s one more reason to upgrade to the Pro, said Alex Cranz possible to the Pro. That why this year, “only the iPhone 14 Pro in The Verge: It finally ditches the notch. Introduced with the models will get the company’s new A16 processor”; the baseline iPhone X in 2017, the controversial “notch” is the blank space iPhone 14 will carry last year’s chip. The better cameras in the at the top of every iPhone that contains Apple’s critical front- Pro line also drive users to get more memory, a “lucrative trade- facing camera and microphone. Users have groused about its up” for Apple. The strategy is working: Pro models accounted for appearance for years, “and it looks like Apple has finally figured 41 percent of sales for last year’s iPhone 13. Innovation of the week Bytes: What’s new in tech If you’ve ever dreamed of owning DOJ lays out Google antitrust claims tion that turns off apps at a certain time. Getty, U-Boat Worx your own personal submarine, it’s Another workaround: “When children reach now easier to get one, said C.C. Weiss The Justice Department said Google spends their time limit on an app, they can remove in New Atlas. The Nemo submers- “enormous sums” to buy exclusivity and it and re-download the program,” bringing ible from Dutch manufacturer U-Boat maintain its dominance as the default search the countdown back to zero. Keeping your Worx was introduced last year, but engine in the U.S., said Leah Nylen in Bloom- software up-to-date helps; Apple has quashed production is just getting underway, berg. The contracts “form the basis of the these hacks in its latest iOS versions. But there with the goal of starting shipments DOJ’s landmark antitrust lawsuit” against are more esoteric hacks, too, such as surrepti- in 2023 and “getting 1,000 subs in Google, which isn’t expected to formally tiously turning on screen recording to capture the water by 2030.” After slashing begin until next year. The Justice Department the passwords that parents type in. its original price tag by 40percent, just laid out its views of Google’s business for the company is asking just under the first time last week during a hearing in Getting rid of space debris $600,000—a relative bargain in the Washington. The agency focused on Google’s sub world, where “seven-figure” billion-dollar contracts that “ensure its search Federal regulators have set their eye on price tags are common. For that engine is set as the default and comes pre- cleaning up space junk, said Jon Brodkin in money, you get “an air-conditioned installed” on almost all new phones. By con- Ars Technica. A Federal Communications transparent acrylic bubble for truly trast, Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, a dis- Commission rule proposed last week would immersive views.” The vessel comes tant rival, is set as the default only on its own require satellite operators such as SpaceX to with a handheld controller that Edge browser and Amazon’s Fire tablets. remove any defunct satellites from orbit “as “lends a video game–like ease to soon as practicable” or within five years. The maneuvering” at depths down to Kids’ device password hacks agency is hoping to decrease space debris, 330feet. It can be launched from the which is expected to worsen as the skies get shore, a boat ramp, or a yacht. Kids are adept at finding ways around de- more crowded with commercial objects beam- vices’ parental controls, said Julie Jargon in ing signals back to Earth. The FCC said there THE WEEK September 23, 2022 The Wall Street Journal. Even if your kids are now 4,800 satellites, the vast majority don’t have your passwords, “TikTok and in low Earth orbit; SpaceX alone is seeking YouTube are full of tutorials on how to permission for 30,000 more, mainly to supply download programs that promise to bypass” its Starlink internet service. Currently, there Apple’s Screen Time limits. On older iPads is only a voluntary “25-year standard” for and iPhones, simply changing the time zone removing dead satellites. on the device can fool the Screen Time func-
22 NEWS Health & Science The first synthetic embryos Scientists have created mouse embryos of different genes in birth defects, and Synthetic embryo, right, compared with natural in the lab from stem cells, rather than develop organs and tissues for people from a sperm and an egg—a major who need transplants. In this study, the Cambridge, tells CNN.com. “This has breakthrough that could eventually shed mouse embryos could be kept alive for been the dream of our community for light on early miscarriages. Until recently, only eight days, short of a mouse’s full, years, and a major focus of our work for it has only been possible to grow mam- 20-day gestational period—yet that was a decade, and finally we’ve done it.” malian embryos in utero, which makes long enough for them to develop a brain, them difficult to monitor and examine. a beating heart, and all the components The researchers hope they can eventually that make up the body. Of course, cre- grow human embryos, and that by watch- ating human synthetic embryos will ing them grow in the lab rather than in a pose myriad ethical, legal, and techni- uterus they will get a better idea of why cal challenges that could take years to so many pregnancies fail in the early overcome. But it’s “just unbelievable that stages. Synthetic embryos could also be we’ve got this far,” author Magdalena used to test new drugs, uncover the role Zernicka-Goetz, from the University of Black tea is good for you. Paxlovid for the elderly Mushrooms help heavy drinkers Drink tea, live longer? The Covid treatment Paxlovid signifi- Treating heavy drinkers with psychedelics cantly reduces hospitalizations and deaths in conjunction with psychotherapy sharply Does drinking a few cups of tea a day among older patients, new research from improves their chances of cutting back on protect you from an early death? That’s Israel suggests. The study is one of the booze, a new study suggests. Researchers the suggestion of a new study that tracked first to examine the drug’s effectiveness recruited 93 men and women, ages 25 to nearly half a million people in the U.K. against Omicron, now the dominant vari- 65, who met the clinical criteria for alcohol over 14 years, reports the Independent ant around the world, reports The New use disorder. Roughly half were given a pill (U.K.). Tea is widely considered a health- York Times. The researchers examined the containing psilocybin, the active ingredient ful beverage because it contains substances medical records of almost 110,000 people, in magic mushrooms, followed by another that reduce inflammation. But most all at least 40 years old and considered at a month later; the other half received a research on its benefits has focused on high risk from the disease, with most hav- placebo. Both groups were given counsel- green teas rather than the black teas widely ing either been vaccinated or previously ing before, during, and after the medication favored in Britain. The new study found infected. Among over-65s, the patients sessions. By the end of the eight-month that people who drank two or more cups who took Paxlovid had a 73 percent lower trial, the psilocybin group reported an a day of English Breakfast or Earl Grey risk of being hospitalized and a 79 percent 83 percent reduction in heavy drinking; had between a 9 percent and 13 percent reduced risk of death. Surprisingly, though, the control group, in contrast, saw a slight lower risk of death over the study period the drug appeared to make no significant increase in their consumption. Nearly half than those who didn’t drink tea at all. Tea difference in outcomes for younger adults. of those given the psychedelic stopped consumption was also linked with a lower That runs contrary to two other studies drinking entirely, in some cases for years, risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. that showed Paxlovid helped those between compared with only about a quarter of Interestingly, the results held whether or 50 and 64 with underlying health problems those given the placebo. “That means that not people added milk or sugar to their or obesity. Ashish Jha, the White House it’s not that we’re masking symptoms” of cup, and regardless of their ability to break Covid response coordinator, said Paxlovid the disorder, author Michael Bogenschutz, down caffeine. Experts emphasize that the should still be given to anyone age 50 or from New York University Langone, tells findings don’t prove a causal link between older. “Of course a drug that stops virus The Wall Street Journal. “It means that tea and longevity. “Observational stud- replication in a 70-year-old will do the people have really changed in some way. ies like this always raise the question: Is same in a 60-year-old,” he said. That’s really exciting.” there something else about tea drinkers that makes them healthier?” said Marion New oldest mammal proves otherwise. While reptiles have Nestle, a professor of food studies at New many different sets of teeth over their York University. “I like tea. It’s great to Researchers have found a new contender lives, Brasilodon had only two—a clear drink. But a cautious interpretation seems for title of world’s oldest mammal: a like a good idea.” marker for mammals. The first set started shrew-like creature that coexisted with developing at the embryonic stage; the early dinosaurs some 225million years second after birth. The discovery should Amadei and Handford, Getty, Royal Anatomical Society ago. Brasilodon quadrangularis, which help scientists understand the evolu- grew to about 8inches long, has beaten tion of modern mammals, reports USA the previous record holder, Today. “Our paper raises the the gerbil-like Morganucodon, level of debate about what by about 20million years. defines a mammal,” says Scientists previously believed co-author Moya Meredith that the species, which lived Smith, from King’s College in what is now the southern- London, “and shows that it most section of Brazil, was a was a much earlier time of reptile, but an examination origin in the fossil record of its fossil dental records Like a big shrew than previously known.” THE WEEK September 23, 2022
ARTS 23 Review of reviews: Books Book of the week amassing wealth before establishing his lasting reputation for treachery when he American Rascal: fleeced Vanderbilt of $7 million in a battle HowJayGould Built Wall for control of the Erie Railroad and a year Street’s Biggest Fortune later imperiled the entire U.S. economy when he tried to corner the gold market. By by Greg Steinmetz 1873, when he was punched in the face by an investor, he had so many enemies that (Simon & Schuster, $29) The New York Times marveled that such attacks didn’t happen several times daily. In the era of the so-called robber barons, Gould: A Wall Street chaos agent “Jay Gould was seen as the most malevo- Much of what bothered Gould’s contem- lent of them all,” said Richard Snow in The You don’t need to look hard for evidence poraries was simply the abstract nature of Wall Street Journal. Fellow mogul Cornelius of Gould’s villainy, said Todd Farley in the finance, said T.J. Stiles in The New York Vanderbilt called Gould both “a damned New York Post. He “would do anything Times. Gould was a liar and schemer, but villain” and “the smartest man in America,” to make a buck: flouting laws, manipulat- he was also ahead of his time in harnessing while cartoonists depicted him as a small, ing stocks, bribing officials, backstabbing the power of corporations to amass and dark spider. At the dawn of modern U.S. friends.” Born to a poor farming family in deploy capital, and his maneuvers “crystal- capitalism, “this little spider, could, at his 1836, he began his chase of wealth at 17, lized the debate over the nature of a finan- whim, devastate vast commercial empires working as a surveyor and then a tannery cial order that we now take for granted.” and bring continentwide railroad systems operator before shifting his attention to Steinmetz focuses on Gould rather than on to ruin,” and it’s worth reconsidering the New York City’s stock and bond markets questions about his legacy and winds up judgments of Gould’s contemporaries. This in his early 20s, focusing on railroads. Too with a book that’s “neither an elegant work “lively, succinct, altogether admirable” new short, at 5-foot-1, to be drafted into the nor a scholarly one.” Maury Klein’s 1986 biography by Greg Steinmetz, a former Union Army, Gould spent the Civil War biography remains the definitive study of editor at the Journal, allows readers to do Gould, a man whose greed helped build the just that. Though many others have written productivity engine we know as the U.S. about the reclusive 19th-century plutocrat, economy. “Finance has grown ever more Steinmetz “reveals something surprising or abstract since.” shocking on nearly every page.” Getty Novel of the week Diary of a Misfit: Parks delayed her search a bit too long, A Memoir and a Mystery said Lauren LeBlanc in The Boston Globe. Haven Roy died in 2006, leaving Parks no way by Casey Parks (Knopf, $29) to chart his childhood or his experiences by Emma Donoghue of bias except through the conflicting Casey Parks’ search- recollections of surviving friends and (Little, Brown, $28) ing new memoir acquaintances. In numerous trips back “opens with the to Louisiana, Parks learned that Roy “Very few readers have been praying anecdote that had mowed lawns for a living and loved for a novel like this,” said Ron Charles in launched a thou- church, animals, and country music. Her The Washington Post. Set in A.D.600, sand questions,” persistence in trying to learn more makes it focuses on a priest and two monks said Ilana Masad in clear that she also needed to sort out her who attempt to build a monastery on NPR.org. Parks, a own relationship with her community and an isolated rock off Ireland’s coast. But reporter from rural the church that had expelled her. “Dig Emma Donoghue, the author of Room, Louisiana, recalls deeper, and one sees the way that Parks excels at stories that unfold in spare being shocked in repeatedly used her research as a means to spaces, and this story “creates an eerie 2002 when her heal a fractured mother-daughter bond.” atmosphere that should resonate with grandmother—after anyone willing to think deeply about witnessing the Parks never pretends that the book will the blessings and costs of devoting protests of Parks’ inconsolable mother— be primarily journalistic, said Meredith one’s life to a transcendent cause.” passionately defended Parks’ right to live Maran in Oprah Daily. “What gives Diary As the trio’s leader, Artt, pushes his as a lesbian and then sat down to explain. of a Misfit its lasting impact is the task charges to put piety above survival, the Parks’ grandmother had once been best undertaken and accomplished by Parks’ possibility of looming tragedy “starts friends with a person known as Roy memoirist self: to understand and rid her- to haunt these pages like the coming Hudgins, “a woman who lived as a man,” self of self-loathing.” In the end, “the very winter.” Donoghue “wrings plenty of as she described him, noting that neigh- intensity with which Parks pursues Roy’s narrative sustenance from her barren bors readily embraced Roy as the kind, story reveals the depth of Parks’ longing to landscape,” said Paraic O’Donnell in gentle person he was. Intrigued that a non- love herself despite the cruel, homophobic The Guardian. Though “somber in cisgender person had found acceptance in forces that turned both Parks and Roy into aspect,” this tale of misplaced faith the Deep South of the 1950s, Parks vowed misfits.” The book that she’s written will is “crowded with beautiful details.” to find out what happened to Roy. Freely “serve as a beacon” for many others still What’s more, “its subject is a universal blending memoir and reportage, her book yearning to escape that feeling. one: We’re all stuck on this rock, trying proves “a wonderful addition to the genre.” to keep hold of simple moral truths while quietly losing our minds.” THE WEEK September 23, 2022
24 ARTS The Book List Best books…chosen by Buzz Bissinger Author of the week Journalist Buzz Bissinger is the author of the sports classic Friday Night Lights. His Maggie O’Farrell new book, The Mosquito Bowl, focuses on Marines stationed in the Pacific in 1944 and a football game they played shortly before the invasion of Okinawa. Maggie O’Farrell clicked with Lucrezia de Medici from the Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad won a moment the best-selling nov- Boo (2012). This is the best nonfiction book, of Pulitzer Prize, but for my money, Manhattan elist first laid eyes on the 16th- those I’ve read, of the past 35 years. Boo’s depic- Beach is better—a full-speed-ahead narrative I century teenage bride, said tion of the Indian slum Annawadi, in the shadow raced through. It reads like novels used to read. Elizabeth Harris in The New of new hotels supposedly heralding Mumbai’s Egan is not only a superb writer but a tireless York Times. O’Farrell, who transformation, is unforgettable. The writing is reporter and researcher, using riveting detail to elegant and sophisticated and the reporting abso- re-create the atmosphere of World War II and the in early 2020 lutely mind-blowing. Brooklyn Navy Yard. was about to score a Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon (2010). Set A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles global hit at a down-and-out West Virginia racetrack, this (2016). Towles’ novel is like a grown-up version with Hamnet, is a tour de force, creating the atmosphere of of Eloise, but far more captivating, because it a novel about a place no one cares about except the indelible concerns a Russian count placed under house William characters consigned to work there. Virtually arrest and consigned to spend the rest of his life Shakespeare’s every sentence is thick and lush. You can practi- at the famed Metropol hotel. You blaze through doomed son, was musing cally see, taste, and smell this pothole of sadness, it and finish hungering for more. about the subject of a 19th- obscurity, dark humor, and resilience. century poem when she Common Ground by J. Anthony Lukas (1985). turned to her smartphone In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1966). I read this Pulitzer winner in my early 30s and and came across a striking Capote controversially labeled this true-crime couldn’t believe the depth of the reporting and portrait of Lucrezia. Married book a “nonfiction novel.” But the depth of writing. I was intimidated: I had entertained at 15, this child of Florentine reporting is magnificent, and the writing spell- writing a book, but there seemed to be no way royalty would be dead a year binding. The first three pages alone are worth the I could write one half, one quarter, or even a later, rumored to have been price of admission, creating a sense of place bet- 10th as well. Common Ground is about Boston’s poisoned by her husband, ter than anything I’ve ever read. 1970s busing crisis. But it’s really a depiction of the Duke of Ferrara. Now America—endlessly fractured by race, politics, Lucrezia was staring back at Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (2017). and the church. O’Farrell across 500 years. “I knew, as soon as I saw her Also of interest...in kids these days face, that I had my next book,” the Irish-born author says. “I Behind Their Screens The Tomorrow Game just wanted to pull back the curtain and say, ‘It’s your turn by Emily Weinstein & Carrie James (MIT, $28) by Sudhir Venkatesh (Simon & Schuster, $28) to speak. What story are you going to tell?’” Here, at last, is a truly useful guide Sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh under- for “any parent constantly arguing stands the struggles of South Side The Lucrezia we meet in with their teens about screens,” said Chicago “as well as anyone,” said O’Farrell’s The Marriage Oliver Mulvihill in the San Francisco Cory Oldweiler in The Boston Globe. Portrait fears for her life from Chronicle. Written by two Harvard In his new book, the author of Gang page one, said Stephanie researchers who interviewed teenagers Leader for a Day focuses on two Bunbury in The Sydney to understand how young people use social media teenagers heading for confrontation while racing Morning Herald. Though his- and what help they’d welcome in limiting its pull, to acquire guns. Readers also meet gun dealers, a tory can’t confirm Lucrezia the book “reads like a message from young peo- cop, and a minister, providing a glimpse into how was murdered, O’Farrell chose ple to adults.” Kids aren’t blind to the hazards one community tries to control gun trafficking. to run with that story after that adults worry about, and for that this book’s But because the focus is so narrow, the propulsive reading that the girl’s hus- authors “give teens the credit they deserve.” story proves “more illustrative than informative.” band, Alfonso, at one point forced his own sister to watch Slenderman The Stolen Year as her lover was strangled to Getty death on his orders. O’Farrell’s by Kathleen Hale (Grove, $27) by Anya Kamenetz (PublicAffairs, $29) Lucrezia isn’t powerless. Bright and well-educated, she It’s a story that “still mystifies,” To learn from the school closures that knows how to assert herself, said Nathan Smith in the New York accompanied the spread of Covid, and O’Farrell felt obliged, after Observer. In 2014, two preteen “we have to risk harder questions,” finishing the novel, to visit the Wisconsin girls, inspired by internet said Sarah Menkedick in The New girl’s grave inside an Italian tales about a mythic figure named York Times. With her new book, monastery. There she learned Slenderman, led a friend into the education writer Anya Kamenetz that none of the monastery’s woods and tried to stab her to death. Kathleen provides “a relentless account of ruptures in so previous visitors had ever Hale’s retelling should quiet fears that the internet many Americans’ lives,” and she writes about the asked to see Lucrezia’s resting can corrupt any child. One perpetrator was men- effects on children “with empathy and skill.” But place, which made O’Farrell tally ill, and the outcome of the trial “reminds after asking why communities were so poor at also the first to leave flowers. readers how the judicial system sometimes reopening schools, she never digs for an answer. “And I did cry,” she says. “I remains myopic in its search for justice.” Instead, it’s “left for the reader to squint at.” was just so sad for her.” THE WEEK September 23, 2022
26 ARTS Review of reviews: Art & Stage Art and AI: The sudden rise of machine-generated imagery Artists everywhere are getting “under- Allen’s prize-winner, ‘Théâtre D’opéra Spatial’ never draw anything as detailed as standably nervous” about recent Théâtre D’opéra Spatial. “If anything, advances in artificial intelligence, said final image using Photoshop and similar we will have more artists,” and as the Kevin Roose in The New York Times. tools, then arranging to print the image on technology progresses, “we might see Last month, a winner of an art prize canvas. He devised the finished product the emergence of art styles that none at the Colorado State Fair “sparked using AI much as a photographer creates have seen before.” a furious backlash” when he posted an image using a camera. But Allen, a the news and explained that he’d tabletop game developer, is awed by AI’s You can’t blame traditional artists if created his blue-ribbon image using capabilities and urges artists and illustrators they’re unhappy, said Luke Plunkett Midjourney, an AI program. Critics to embrace the technology rather than fight in Kotaku. Image generators work on Twitter quickly accused 39-year- it. “Art is dead, dude,” he says. “AI won. their magic, after all, by analyzing old Jason Allen of cheating. “We’re Humans lost.” A more heartening lesson to the aesthetics of millions of pre- watching the death of artistry unfold take from his victory, though, is that image existing images, meaning that every right before our eyes,” read one generators are likely to “expand the appre- AI-generated image is essentially “a tweet. To be fair, Allen had won in ciation for and creation of art” by opening casserole made from art created by the digital art category and made the field to people, like him, who could actual human artists,” and none of no secret of how the image, a print he them are compensated for their input. The titled Théâtre D’opéra Spatial, had been capabilities of DALL-E 2, one of the most produced. But the rules of art making are sophisticated image generators, “make clearly changing. Tools released just this crystal clear just how disruptive this tech- year, including Midjourney, “have made it nology will be,” said Loz Blain in New possible for rank amateurs to create com- Atlas. Given a specific prompt, DALL-E 2 plex, abstract, or photorealistic works sim- can conjure an image of just about any- ply by typing a few words into a text box.” thing you can imagine and even mimic the style of a favorite artist’s work. Its arrival Allen’s creative process, to be clear, “was marks “an incredible democratization of not a push-button operation,” said Lance visual creativity” while aiming “a knife to Eliot in Forbes. He claims to have spent the heart of anyone who’s spent decades 80 hours on his entry, first on fine-tuning refining their artistic techniques in the hope his text prompts, then by touching up the of making a living from them.” Kate Connelly Theater, New York City ++++ “You may not know her name,” but Kate Berlant: A deadpan faux egotist character. Berlant displays an “incredible Jason Allen, Sara Krulwich/The New York Times/Redux Berlant “can’t hide any longer,” said Jason agility” as she shifts through fictional and Zinoman in The New York Times. “Only NYMag.com. The lobby is draped in Kate metafictional versions of herself. Directed a handful of times have I stumbled upon iconography, including the star’s black tank by fellow comedian Bo Burnham, who’s an artist so radically different, so thrill- top displayed like a museum object, and “no stranger to playing with the idea that ingly alien, that it scrambled my sense of once Berlant appears on stage and launches the only truth is performance,” Berlant the possible,” and Berlant, a 35-year-old into her tale of woe—about dreaming of feigns sincerity—and then pulls the rug out experimental comic who falls into that major stardom since childhood and fail- on us—at least one too many times. Even category, is now performing an 80-minute ing to attain it—she builds a performance so, Kate remains a “towering” and often one-woman show that’s more ambitious that’s “exquisite, impeccable, and abso- “wildly funny” refutation of the idea that than anything she’s attempted before. lutely deadpan.” At times, scripted techni- sharing access to an authentic inner self is a Playing an exaggerated version of herself, cal errors interrupt the show, and Berlant path to transcendence. Berlant stars as Kate, a performer on converses with the audience or a stage the cusp of broad fame who’s staging a manager in the wings as if she has broken “One should always be cautious using the downtown one-woman show that’s meant M-word,” said Tim Teeman in The Daily to be a springboard to a breakthrough. Beast. “But here is an occasion when it is But Berlant undermines the confessional entirely fitting: Kate is a masterpiece, and tradition “from every side,” said Alexis if you have the opportunity to go see it, Soloski, also in the Times. “She plays with you must.” For all of the demolition work its creeds the way that a cat might toy it does on the tropes of traditional perfor- with a mouse—teasing, batting, swiping, mance and personal storytelling, “it is mauling.” The results are very funny, and also a bravura encapsulation of everything posit an unsettling idea—“that authenticity theater can be.” It’s energizing. It builds is just one more act.” an invigorating camaraderie. And “just when you are immersed in its absurdity, its “Kate opens before you actually enter the laughter at itself and everything around it, theater,” said Kathryn VanArendonk in it pierces you emotionally.” THE WEEK September 23, 2022
28 ARTS Review of reviews: Film & Home Media The Woman “If this is what a Hollywood- New York Post. But this crowded King ized blockbuster looks like in $50 million period epic is “an Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood 2022, bring it on,” said Kate ensemble effort through and (PG-13) Erbland in IndieWire. “A through” as it turns back the ++++ crowd-pleasing action epic clock to the 1820s to show how Women warriors battle to that just so happens to center an all-woman fighting force led save their kingdom. a group of African female by Davis’ General Nanisca helped warriors,” The Woman King the kingdom of Dahomey fight “makes for a hell of a time at off threats from a larger tribe that the movies,” mixing strong Davis leads the charge. was selling captives to Portuguese acting and stirring battle slave traders. “Subtlety is not sequences. And though the tale is weakened by “a the film’s strong point,” said Cary Darling in the touch of the soap operatic,” seeing such familiar San Francisco Chronicle. The Oyo foes of the real- Hollywood hokum in a film that dramatizes African life women warriors known as the Agojie weren’t as history is “part of what makes it so special.” Viola villainous as they’re depicted here. But for anyone Davis, in the title role, “gives the sort of power- who likes to be entertained while imagining life in ful, stoic, tormented performance we’ve come to the past, this well-made popcorn movie “sure beats expect from her,” said Johnny Oleksinski in the a Wikipedia page.” (In theaters only) Moonage The new David Bowie docu- star comes across as a perpetual Daydream mentary is “a movie to give seeker—often racked by doubts— Directed by Brett Morgen yourself over to,” said Owen whose life swung like a pendulum (PG-13) Gleiberman in Variety. Director “between an impulse to connect ++++ Brett Morgen, benefiting from and another to withdraw,” said A fitting homage to a protean artist unfettered access to the art-rock Joshua Rothkopf in Entertainment icon’s archives, “seems to have Weekly. That insight “feels like created this movie to be rock ’n’ a serious contribution to music roll.” He dispenses with straight criticism,” while the narration chronology and talking heads to Bowie at his glam peak drawn exclusively from old Bowie assemble a “hallucinatory” mon- interviews “supplies eye-opening tage powered by thrilling concert footage, Bowie’s surprises on a second-by-second basis.” Sonically often “volcanic” music, and a free-association tour and visually restless, Moonage Daydream “never of imagery that the British shape-shifter invented relaxes or lets its audience relax,” said Steve Pond or was inspired by. Showing initially only at IMAX in The Wrap. “It might exhaust viewers who theaters, “the movie is 2 hours and 20 minutes of can’t surrender to it,” but if you’re a Bowie fan, sound and fury,” but it also “dissolves a lot of the “see it in the biggest, loudest place you can find.” usual categories of our thinking about Bowie.” The (In theaters only) The 2022 Emmys: A predictable night with a few welcome surprises “The Emmys always have an uphill bat- Mike White and the women of ‘White Lotus’ But those were the outliers, said Daniel Sony Pictures, Getty (2) tle,” said Rob Sheffield in Rolling Stone. Fienberg in The Hollywood Reporter. As a Typically the “least glamorous” and “least Abbott Elementary. The “visibly shocked” cultural event, the Emmys rise or fall on a surprising” of awards shows, the annual actress began her acceptance speech by belt- simple principle: “Keep the surprises com- ceremony, which celebrates the best of tele- ing out a Dianne Reeves song, prompting a ing and maybe that’s what people will talk vision, also tends to reward the same shows standing ovation. And South Korean actor about around the fictional water coolers and performers every year. This year’s edi- Lee Jung-jae’s Best Actor win for Squid tomorrow.” But when the night’s biggest tion was no different. The awards for best Game was “little short of spectacular,” said trophies go to “big repeats,” that’s “just series went to repeat winners Succession Stuart Heritage in The Guardian. “Given too much repetition for anything sponta- and Ted Lasso, and three of the lead acting the sheer conservatism at the heart of these neous to emerge.” Less than a day after nominees had previously won for play- awards, this never seemed like something the Emmys aired, “I barely remember the ing the same role: Jean Smart (Hacks), that could ever happen,” and I “would have telecast at all.” Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso), and Zendaya put money on the language barrier blocking (Euphoria). The message was clear: “Once him from victory. But I was wrong, and this And the winners were... you win one of these statues, you have to was a victory for the ages.” work hard not to win it again.” Drama series: Succession Comedy series:Ted Lasso “In a night that seemed largely predict- Limited series:The White Lotus able, there were still some surprises,” said Performers in a drama series: Zendaya Yvonne Villarreal in the Los Angeles Times. (Euphoria) and Lee Jung-jae (Squid Game) One “electrifying” moment came when Performers in a comedy series: Jean Smart first-time nominee Sheryl Lee Ralph won (Hacks) and Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso) Best Supporting Actress for the sitcom Performers in a limited series: Amanda Seyfried (The Dropout) and Michael Keaton (Dopesick) THE WEEK September 23, 2022
30 ARTS Television Streaming tips The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching Pizza, tacos, and more... Quantum Leap Shaw as Maarva in the new ‘Star Wars’ spin-off A time-travel series last seen in 1993 is making Chef’s Table: Pizza the jump to 2022, with a new cast taking up the be satisfied until she re-engineers the man him- One of TV’s best food series confidential Quantum Leap project where the old self. Available Wednesday, Sept. 21, Peacock is devoting its new season to crew left off. Scott Bakula starred in the original a topic that fires real passion. as a quantum physicist who hopscotched across Lou The six-episode survey of the the 20th century, leaping into other people’s Allison Janney has played some tough characters art of pizza making visits the bodies and putting wrongs right. This time, TV in her illustrious career, but none as tough as the kitchens of such contempo- veteran Raymond Lee plays the leaper: another title character of this new feature-length thriller. rary greats as Minneapolis’ physicist who steps into the project accelerator Lou is a loner who leaps into action when a Ann Kim, Phoenix’s Chris and is catapulted into a series of adventures neighbor, played by Jurnee Smollett, arrives Bianco, and Rome’s Gabriele while his team looks to return him to the present. during a storm and announces that her daughter Bonci. Netflix Monday, Sept. 19, at 10 p.m., NBC has been kidnapped. With the distraught mom following, Lou displays impressive tracking and Best in Dough Reboot firearm skills. And both women are withholding There’s no explaining why Not every old network show should be resur- secrets that will complicate their quest. Available it’s taken so long for some- rected. In this new spoof series from the co- Friday, Sept. 23, Netflix one to cook up a pizza-baking creator of Modern Family, the washed-up stars competition series. But of a fictional early-2000s sitcom are plucked Other highlights there’s one here now, and it from irrelevance when a streaming service Super/Natural delivers the works, including attempts a reboot. Dysfunction ensues as the cast A new series, produced by James Cameron and pizza chefs ridiculing certain members, played by Keegan-Michael Key, Judy narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, highlights regional styles and saucy Greer, Calum Worthy, and Johnny Knoxville, animals with powers that seem to transcend grandmothers drawing the bring along their old baggage. Paul Reiser co- nature. Available Wednesday, Sept. 21, Disney+ line when challenged to cre- stars. Available Tuesday, Sept. 20, Hulu ate a “pizza cupcake.” Hulu The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone Andor An affecting documentary profiles Georgie Stone, The Pizza Show A spin-off of a Star Wars spin-off, this new series an Australian transgender activist who was 10 In this series, Brooklyn presents the origin story of a rebel spy featured when her family began a fight to allow her to pizzaiolo Frank Pinello in the 2016 movie Rogue One. Diego Luna transition. Available Thursday, Sept. 22, Netflix serves as your guide to the reprises his role as Cassian Andor, this time as best spots in pizza towns a cynical young thief who has no thoughts of On the Come Up from New Haven, Conn., rebelling against the Empire when he’s drawn Based on a novel by The Hate U Give author to Naples, Italy. He affably into the fledgling cause. The first three episodes Angie Thomas, this feature-length drama follows mixes it up with some of the arrive simultaneously to launch the series, which a teen rapper who’s under pressure to break pizza world’s most colorful will also have Stellan Skarsgard, Forest Whitaker, through. Available Friday, Sept. 23, Paramount+ characters. Pluto TV and Fiona Shaw in featured roles. Available Wednesday, Sept. 21, Disney+ The Taco Chronicles Taco styles also vary by Meet Cute region and the interplay Finally, a Pete Davidson romance that isn’t tab- between tradition and inno- loid fodder. In this new rom-com, a Peacock vation. This mouthwatering original, the recent Saturday Night Live alum series goes deep on the ori- co-stars opposite Kaley Cuoco, as they play two gins of pit-roasted cochinita, singles who seem to be living a love-at-first-sight brisket-like suadero, and moment. But we soon learn that Cuoco’s Sheila more. Netflix has a time machine that has allowed her to repeat and fine-tune the encounter, and that she won’t Taco Trip New Orleans chef Aaron Show of the week Disney+, ABC Sanchez tours a different U.S. city in each episode of Abbott Elementary this Emmy-nominated series that celebrates the country’s Class is back in session at Abbott Elementary. top taquerias. Discovery+ Quinta Brunson’s Emmy-winning sitcom proved in its first season that half-hour network com- Fresh, Fried & Crispy edies can still be hilarious and relevant, and Daym Drops made a name also that there’s much humor to be mined from for himself as a connoisseur struggling teachers at an underfunded public of fried foods by sharing en- school. In Season2, expect a celebrity cameo ergetic reviews that he filmed in the first episode and story lines that wander in his car. Set loose from outside the school’s walls. As viewers glimpse those confines, he’s even more of the lives of their favorite characters, the more entertaining. Netflix biggest question—whether Janine and Gregory will become a couple—should remain a favorite Creator-star Brunson: In a class of her own subject. Wednesday, Sept.21, at 9p.m., ABC THE WEEK September 23, 2022 • All listings are Eastern Time.
LEISURE 31 Food & Drink Vindaloo ribs: A flavorful marriage centuries in the making “Almost all cuisines, in some way, have an Sunday ribs with a long history To make the pickled onions: Place all ingre- element of fusion,” says Anita Jaisinghani dients plus 2 cups water in a container. in Marsala: Recipes From India, the Land For the marinated ribs: Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days before of Spices (Ten Speed Press). Consider vin- 1 rack baby back ribs (2 to 3 lbs) discarding the spices. daloo, a Goan adaptation of a Portuguese 2 tbsp red wine dish. Nowhere in the world did European 2 tbsp mustard oil Marinate and roast ribs: Place entire rib imperialism have greater impact than in 1 tbsp minced garlic rack on a baking sheet. In a small bowl, Goa, where Portugal’s colonial empire 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper whisk together red wine, mustard oil, forced mass conversions to Christianity and ¼ tsp ground cloves minced garlic, black pepper, cloves, and salt. in one century changed the coastal region’s 1 tbsp sea salt Rub all over ribs and marinate bone side food culture as well. Vindaloo is a Goan down in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or adaptation of carne de vinho e alhos, or For the masala: up to overnight. meat cooked in wine, vinegar, and garlic. ½ cup coconut milk The Portuguese imported the chiles from 2 tbsp red chile powder Preheat oven to 450. Place ribs bone side Brazil, while the addition of a complex 1 tbsp jaggery up on a pan and roast for 45 minutes. spice masala is an Indian contribution. 1 tbsp ground ginger ½ tsp ground turmeric Make masala: While ribs roast, in a small These vindaloo ribs are great with a side 1 tbsp toasted ground cumin bowl whisk together coconut milk, chile of pickled onions, which should be made 1 tsp sea salt powder, jaggery, ginger, turmeric, cumin, in advance. The amchur, jaggery, mustard 1 lb small potatoes, cut in half if large and salt. oil, and a pre-mixed garam masala can be 1 tbsp amchur (dried mango powder) found in Indian markets. 1 tsp garam masala Remove ribs from oven, flip them over, and lower oven temperature to 250. Place Recipe of the week potatoes around ribs and pour sauce over Vindaloo ribs ribs and potatoes. Cover with foil, making For the pickled onions: sure to tuck corners tight, and bake for 1½ 1 large red onion, peeled and sliced to 2 hours, until meat is tender and sliding 1 small beet, peeled and sliced off the bone. 2 star-anise pods 6 whole red chiles Turn off oven and remove foil from sheet. 4 black cardamom pods Sprinkle with amchur and garam masala 2 large cinnamon sticks and let ribs rest in oven for another 30 min- ½ cup red wine utes. Bring to table with the pickled onions. 2 tsp sea salt Serves 5 or 6. Dining out: Why Houston is fried chicken heaven Sotol: A Mexican underdog Fried chicken holds a special place in the cultural life of Dinner at a Frenchy’s If you’ve never heard of sotol, you’re not Houston, and “no other city’s offerings can compare,” alone, said Danielle Dorsey in Thrillist. said Brittany Britto Garley in Eater. The tradition has Overshadowed by tequila and mezcal, roots in Houston’s history as a major destination for the Mexican spirit is distilled from the formerly enslaved Black Americans. But waves of spiky desert plant it’s named after, a European and East Asian immigrants built upon the cousin of agave, and it has been made tradition, too, and it has only grown richer as the cult for hundreds of years. If you can track of shatteringly crispy skin has spread and Houston some down, try it neat before letting has evolved into an especially diverse city. its distinctive sweetness shine through in a margarita. Johnny Autry Frenchy’s “A city staple,” this Black-owned blend before frying and “the results IZO Sotol ($65). The cores of local chain debuted in 1969, when New are remarkable: flavorful, juicy, and wild-grown sotol are slow- Orleans transplant “Frenchy” Creuzot intro- lightly crusted fried chicken,” always roasted in fire pits to create this duced quick-service Creole food to Hous- served with a side of “magic mustard.” “grassy and earthy” sotol with a ton. “King” Creuzot, 73, who took over the 6652Southwest Freeway “smooth and clean finish.” business from his father, keeps the chicken Dak & Bop Chef Jason Cho combines Desert Door Sotol ($37). This recipe simple, but when the poultry hits the influences from his Korean heritage Driftwood, Texas–produced fryer, “magic happens.” Lines out the door and Houston-area upbringing in fla- sotol is “reminiscent of a bour- are common, and the main dish has even vorful fried chicken with a paper-thin bon, with spiced cinnamon, earned a seal of approval from Beyoncé, a crust. The chicken pieces are dredged oak, and vanilla flavors.” Houston native. Multiple locations in batter, brushed with sauces such as Los Magos Sotol ($65). Ideal Himalaya Kaiser Lashkari’s extraordinary riff Sriracha honey lime, then double fried. for use in craft cocktails, this on fried chicken begins, believe it or not, “The experience of biting into a leg is sotol “lands soft on the palate, with removing the skin. The meat mari- comparable to crunching on a potato with a blend of earthy and nates for three days in a fiery Indian spice chip.” 1805 W. 18th St. floral notes.” THE WEEK September 23, 2022
32 LEISURE Travel This week’s dream: Where Europe meets North Africa On our final day in Moorish Spain, “we Inside the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba referred to the Muslim invaders as Moors, drove south, as far as we could go,” because the Roman name for North Africa said Nina Burleigh in The New York the bronze doors of the cathedral, one of had been Mauretania. When Spanish Times. Perhaps because my father was the largest in the world. In Córdoba, a Christians expelled Muslims and Jews in Swedish-American and my mother Iraqi, Gothic cathedral is actually nestled inside the late 15th century, they left many of the “I’ve always been drawn to places where one of Europe’s grandest mosques, “a forest Moors’ ornate castles and mosques standing West and East converge and dissolve into of 856 columns supporting 365 red-and- and even incorporated Islamic patterns into each other,” and the port of Tarifa is a white-striped arches.” All are vestiges of their own architecture. special gateway. It sits at the mouth of the era, beginning in the early 700s, after the Mediterranean, where Europe nearly an army of Arabs and Berbers crossed the The Alhambra, in Granada, is particularly touches North Africa. A mere 45-minute strait, conquered the Iberian Peninsula, magnificent. The stronghold of Spain’s last ferry ride across the Strait of Gibraltar and called it al-Andalus. Europeans in turn Muslim rulers towers over the city “like a soon would land my husband and me in castle in the clouds,” and a stroll through Tangier, Morocco—another world. But the palace and fortress complex feels “like evidence of cultural exchange had been all a surreal trip into a giant vitrine of carved around us for the past week as we explored ivory.” It was here that the Nasrid dynasty Andalusia, on Spain’s southern edge, a ceded power to Ferdinand and Isabella, in region where the food, music, language, a 1492 ceremony, yet the Moorish influ- and architecture all attest to 781 years of ence lives on. Outside the palace, I smelled past Muslim rule. saffron wafting from a souk-like market, and “only in Granada did I see tourist “Throughout Andalusia, there is no clear- shops selling T-shirts with the town’s name cut line between Christian and Muslim in Arabic script.” architecture.” In Seville, where our trip At Granada’s Casa Morisca (hotelcasa began, intricate Arabic calligraphy adorns morisca.com), doubles start at $90. Hotel of the week Getting the flavor of... A 10th-floor tapas lounge Colorado’s sheepdog championship America’s oldest Chinese restaurant Conrad Los Angeles “The Meeker Classic is a gathering place for The Pekin Noodle Parlor is a national treasure, Los Angeles what some might consider an obscure interest,” said Richard Grant in Smithsonian magazine. “What sets this hotel apart” are the megawatt names who said Andria Hautamaki in Afar. Each September, The oldest continuously operating Chinese res- helped launch it this summer, said William O’Connor in The however, thousands of spectators flock to taurant in the U.S. has been feeding the people Daily Beast. Starchitect Frank Gehry designed the build- Meeker, Colo., to watch a sheepdog competition of Butte, Mont., since 1911. Back then, the city ing, “a sculptural tower of stacked rectangular boxes.” that’s one of the most challenging in the world. was a mining hub “riven by anti-Chinese preju- Interior designer Tara Bernerd has made the 305 rooms soft Sheepdog trialing tests the skills of herding dogs dice.” But miners like to gamble, and until the and understated, with linen walls and white oak floors. and their handlers, who use whistles and vocal 1950s, the family-owned eatery housed an illegal Celebrated restaurateur José Andrés oversees the four commands to communicate with their canine gambling den in its basement. Visitors can see onsite eateries. San Laurel, the luxury hotel’s signature partners from afar. “For many of these handlers, the old roulette wheel, slot machines, and poker restaurant, overlooks Gehry’s dazzling Disney Concert Hall working with a dog to gather and move livestock tables, as well as a maze of tunnels that once con- from its plant-laden deck. “It’s one of those classic spaces is a way of life.” The contest’s tough, mountain- nected nearby speakeasies, brothels, and opium that L.A. does really well,” a “snazzy” green oasis in an grazed ewes are new to What an airline owes you dens. Shady dealings no urban setting. hilton.com; doubles from $519 interacting with dogs, doubt transpired upstairs, THE WEEK September 23, 2022 though. The canine When a flight gets canceled or delayed, too. “The seating arrange- competitors must assert it’s maddening to have to pore over ments are unusual,” with themselves as they fetch fine print to learn how the airline might 17 tables that are concealed a flock, drive it toward compensate you, said Karen Schwartz by curtained booths. Today, the handler, separate the in The Washington Post. Fortunately, the the Pekin is all that remains sheep, then help enclose U.S.Transportation Department website of Butte’s Chinatown, and five of them in a pen. created a new online tool that offers a longtime owner Danny Last year’s champion was quick view of what each airline offers in Wong died in 2020. His a highly decorated border the event of a “controllable” disruption, son took over, though, and collie named Alice. Alice such as mechanical problems. A glance 111 years on, “the restau- today at the transportation.gov dash- rant is going strong.” Chop had onlookers holding board “tells consumers that American, their breath when she Delta, United, and JetBlue make the suey, chow mein, and other penned her sheep with most promises when it comes to rebook- Chinese-American com- Alamy just a few seconds left ing and hotels,” while Frontier makes the fort foods dominate the on the clock. After her fewest. One of the tool’s purposes is to menu, and because there’s victory, she dove into a pressure airlines to provide competitive a bar next to the dining tub of water and lounged amenities—and maybe it’s working. Last area, “the atmosphere can in the grass while fans month, only Southwest guaranteed free get very lively on a busy snapped photos. rebooking. Now, all 10 major airlines do. Saturday night.”
34 Best properties on the market This week: Victorian homes 1 St. Martinsburg, 2 Chicago This 1885David P. McMasters W.Va. The HC Berry house Gold Coast town house Long & Foster Companies/Forbes Global Properties was built circa 1890. This was renovated in 2017. restored four-bedroom The single-family, five- painted lady features bedroom home com- high ceilings, built-ins, bines original structural elements and contemporary detail, pocket doors, stained-glass with high ceilings, clerestory and arched windows, three transoms, five fireplaces, gas fireplaces, open chef’s kitchen with waterfall counters, carved stair spindles, curved bedroom walls, and two balconies; rooms living room with wet bar, primary bedroom with coffered include a parlor, sitting room, 15-foot dining room, primary suite with ceiling, two laundry rooms, roof deck, and two-car garage. jetted tub and private porch, and full-floor attic. The 0.4-acre garden lot Nearby are high-end restaurants and shopping and the includes a patio and garage; downtown is walking distance. $550,000. Oak Street Beach. $3,990,000. Jennifer Ames, Engel & Carolyn Snyder, Snyder Bailey & Assocs., (304) 283-1537 Völkers Chicago North Shore, (773) 908-3632 3 Havre de Grace, Md. The Spencer Silver Mansion is an 1896 stone-clad house. The six-bedroom home features inlaid hardwood parquet floors, original tilework and oak and chestnut woodwork, tiger-oak pocket doors, a stained-glass stair window, an electri- fied original chandelier, ornate fireplace mantels, a formal parlor and dining room, a butler’s pantry, and a wraparound porch. The lot has trees, lawns, flowers, shrubs, and a carriage house with bedroom, kitchenette, and fireplace; town amenities and the river promenade are walking distance. $1,500,000. Eileen Dayton, Long & Foster Companies/Forbes Global Properties, (410) 688-4891 THE WEEK September 23, 2022
Best properties on the market 35 4 Pittsburgh The Baywood Mansion, a seven-bedroom Second Empire home, has been designated a Pittsburgh his- toric landmark. Built in 1880, the 22-room house retains its inlaid hardwood floors, ornate high ceilings, and elaborate carved-wood and painted de- tails, murals, plasterwork, tile fireplaces, pan- eling, and stained glass. The 1.8-acre wooded, landscaped lot is steps from Highland Park, with the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG aquarium, walking trails, and two lakes. $2,988,000. Mark Jennings, Piatt Sotheby’s International Realty, (412) 321-9999 2 6 4 3 1 5 5 Charleston, S.C. Built in 1894, this five-bedroom Harleston Village home won a Carolopolis award for excellence in historic preservation. The house features a stained-glass front door, eight carved-wood fireplaces, entry with bay window, octagonal sitting room, double living room and library, chef’s kitchen, and octago- nal sunroom. Outside are a patio, porch, kitchen deck opening to a large walled garden, off-street parking, and Colonial Lake across the street. $3,400,000. Ann Chapman Ailstock, Carolina One Real Estate/Luxury Portfolio International, (843) 729-0263 Steal of the week 6 Craryville, N.Y. This 1852 home stands on 11.67 wooded acres between the Catskills and Berkshires. The five-bedroom house has pocket doors, multiple decorated ceilings, a brick fire- place, wide-plank floors, an eat-in cook’s kitchen with marble counters, and a back staircase to a library and reading nook. The property includes a barn, a 14-foot-deep swimming pond, and a stream; New York City is two hours’ drive. $500,000. Jennifer Capala, William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty, (917) 685-6925 THE WEEK September 23, 2022
36 BUSINESS The news at a glance The bottom line Prices: Data show broad, persistent inflation QIncluding sports rights, Defying predictions that infla- The new numbers undermined Amazon is projected to spend $15billion on pro- tion would moderate, prices rose the hope that lower prices at gramming for its Amazon Prime Video streaming across an expanding array of the pump would resolve our service this year. Netflix is expected to spend about products and services in August, inflation woes, said Neil Irwin $13.6billion, Disney+ $9.5billion, and Warner said Jeff Cox in CNBC.com. and Courtenay Brown in Axios. Bros. Discovery $6.5billion. Bloomberg The Consumer Price Index rose Take food and energy out of the QCorporate travel bookings 8.3 percent last month compared equation, and shelter costs still grew 73percent in August from July, and business- with a year earlier, a slower pace jumped by the biggest amount travel bookings for trips starting between Sept.1 than the previous two months. in a single month since 1991. and Nov.19 have increased nearly sixfold compared with But new data released this Sticker shock continues. Prices for medical care, outdoor a year ago. Team off-site re- week beyond the headline infla- equipment, new autos, and treats now represent 38per- cent of business travel. tion number painted a gloomier picture. While furniture all accelerated. “The sheer breadth of Axios gas prices tumbled by 10.6 percent in August, these pressures suggests our inflationary woes are QMore beef cows “food, shelter, and medical services drove costs not just isolated to a few sectors hit by the pan- were slaugh- higher.” Inflation seems to be “persistent and demic or the Russia-Ukraine war.” It points to tered in July than in entrenched,” and the prospect of further aggres- “an overall economy that is simply too hot, with any month since sive interest-rate hikes sent the stock market to more money sloshing around than goods and ser- record- keeping began in 1986, its worst day since June 2020. vices that are available.” according to the USDA. Farmers are sending cows Disney: Loeb ends push for ESPN sale A TikTok guide Reuters, Getty to slaughter earlier due to to auto theft severe drought, which is Activist investor Daniel Loeb said this week he would stop pushing affecting 60percent of the Disney to spin off ESPN, said Erin Hudson in Bloomberg. After acquir- Law enforcement nation’s cattle herds. ing a $1 billion stake in Disney last month, “Loeb suggested spinning off is blaming a viral NPR.org ESPN would allow the company” to reduce debt. ESPN, known as “the TikTok challenge for worldwide leader in sports,” is facing new threats in the competition for a steep rise in Kia QThe Census Bureau said sports-broadcasting rights, including from Apple and Amazon. Disney and Hyundai thefts median household income chief Bob Chapek confirmed reports that Disney had received inquiries across the country, was $70,800 in 2021, down from “interested parties” about the sports network, but Loeb tweeted he said Joe Barrett in The from an inflation-adjusted now has “a better understanding” of ESPN’s growth potential. Wall Street Journal. 2020 estimate of $71,2000, “In Chicago, 601 Kias though the difference was Goldman: High defaults for Apple Card users and Hyundais were not statistically significant. reported stolen in The official poverty rate in Goldman Sachs’ foray into credit-card lending is becoming riskier, said August, compared 2021 was 11.6percent, with Hugh Son in CNBC.com. A report last week found that 2.93 percent of with 58 in the same 37.9million people living Goldman’s card customers—most of whom use the Apple Card—had month a year ago. below the income threshold missed payments for at least six months in the second quarter, a rate that Those vehicles have of $27,740 for a four-person is easily “the worst among big U.S. card issuers.” The bank has set aside made up nearly half household. reserves with the expectation of more defaults. “The profile of Goldman’s the cars reported The Wall Street Journal card customers” resembles that of subprime borrowers: More than a stolen in St.Louis this quarter of the loans have gone to customers with FICO scores below 660. year, too. Milwaukee QKing CharlesIII’s private was one of the first estate, the Duchy of Corn- Firearms: Credit card firms agree to track gun stores cities hit by a wave of wall, has holdings valued Kia and Hyundai thefts at roughly $1.4billion, com- Visa, Mastercard, and American Express have agreed to adopt changes last year. “It is thought pared with about $949mil- intended to better monitor gun sales, said Nathan Bomey in Axios. The to be the base” of lion in the late queen’s pri- credit card companies said this week they would begin labeling gun a group of thieves vate portfolio, which Charles retailers under a unique “merchant category code” rather than as spe- called the Kia Boys, will also inherit tax-free. cialty retailers, potentially making it easier to detect unusual firearms who have produced That’s a small fraction of spending and flag illegal purchases. “It’s unclear whether retailers that viral videos “targeting the royal family’s estimated also sell other products,” such as Walmart, will use the new merchant certain models of the $28billion fortune. code for firearms. The code only “shows where an individual spends the cars”—those with The New York Times money, but not what items were purchased.” mechanical keys, not key fobs. In how-to THE WEEK September 23, 2022 Peloton: Co-founders leave amid turnaround efforts videos shared online, thieves easily snatch Top executives are leaving Peloton as the once-hot exercise equip- a car by removing its ment maker “races to turn itself around,” said Sharon Terlep in The steering column, then Wall Street Journal. Co-founder and former chief executive John Foley hot-wiring it using a resigned his chairmanship of the board of the struggling fitness company, standard USB cable while fellow co-founder Hisao Kushi will leave his post as the company’s in the turn-to-start chief legal officer Oct. 3. Peloton’s chief commercial officer also stepped ignition. aside. “A pandemic-fueled spike in demand for Peloton’s at-home work- outs” fizzled and “left the company with a glut of unsold bicycles.”
Making money BUSINESS 37 ‘Effective altruism’: How much giving is really enough? A movement of extreme giving that goes by happens, though, it’s inevitable that these the name of “effective altruism” has gone admirable intentions get distorted or oblit- mainstream, said Gideon Lewis-Kraus in erated, either by politicians or “techno-bro The New Yorker. The once-fringe doctrine entrepreneurs.” Indeed, Silicon Valley first sprang out of philosophy-nerd groups is already eroding EA’s credibility, said at Oxford University about a decade ago Christine Emba in The Washington Post. around a simple moral imperative to save as The movement began with the promotion many lives as possible. “Among other back- of “basic-needs interventions in global of-the-envelope estimates, effective altruists health and poverty.” But that’s too mun- believe that a life in the developing world can dane for people like Musk and Bankman- be saved for about $4,000” (roughly the cost Fried. Rather than “dirty their hands by of each life saved through malaria-prevention dealing with actual living humans in need,” efforts). Many live very frugally; one of the Preventing malaria: A cheap way to save lives they have seized on the effective altruists’ founders of the movement, Will MacAskill, concern for future humans and pledged lives on about $30,000 a year and gives the rest of his income fortunes to reduce “the chance of a sci-fi apocalypse” wiping out away. The EAs contend all philanthropy should be steered in the our descendants. direction of saving the greatest number of lives. A new book by MacAskill extends this approach even further: to the generations If recasting EA as “longtermism” means that an inordinate of humans yet unborn. This “much vaster idea” concerning “the amount of money and energy will be directed to the distant threat of humanity’s annihilation,” either from disease or “run- future, that’s an obvious and immediate harm, said Kelsey away AI” has gained traction among other technocrats, such as Piper in Vox.com. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. Elon Musk and crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried. MacAskill’s book “has put weird stuff front and center,” but the reaction has also “introduced tons of people to effective “EA is the new woke,” said Kathleen Stock in UnHerd. “At face altruism, including to the more direct work on today’s con- value, while woke seems to be all heart—about oozing empathy crete problems.” GiveWell, a charity organization that “directs for certain minority groups at the expense of more hard-headed effective-altruist cash to top-priority global health causes,” and complicated concerns—EA seems to be all head.” But the has grown in size from just $11 million in 2012 to more than two have a lot more in common. Each insists that we extend our $595 million raised last year. “There is plenty of passion—and narrow moral impulses “and radically scale them up.” Once that money—to go around.” Edward Echwalu/Malaria Consortium What the experts say in tech—364,970—than for software Charity of the week engineers—342,586.” Now some recruiters Mortgage rates highest since 2008 have been forced to cut back their rates or are According to the getting transferred to work in different depart- University ofTexas Mortgage rates have climbed back up to a 14- ments. Veteran recruiters expect the industry MD Anderson year high, said Rob Wile in NBCNews.com. to bounce back. But companies have shifted, Cancer Center, The average fixed rate on a 30-year mortgage they say, from “gumdrops—or ‘nice to have’ brain tumors strike hit 5.89 percent last week, the highest since hires” to “painkillers, who are employees that approximately 2008. After surging this spring as the Federal solve an acute problem.” 2,500 children in Reserve began raising interest rates, mortgage America every year. Since 1991, the rates “briefly declined for a period this sum- Finders keepers? Not so fast... Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (www mer” as mortgage applications dipped. Higher .curethekids.org) has sought to improve mortgage rates, which have now nearly A U.S. appeals court overturned a ruling that the lives of these vulnerable patients.The doubled since January, have significantly had allowed hedge funds to keep $500 mil- nonprofit has funded research, therapy, impacted potential homebuyers and are begin- lion that was accidentally wired to them and cures to fight the deadliest form of ning to bite sellers, too. “For the first time in by Citigroup, said Sujeet Indap and Joshua childhood cancer and has allocated close nearly 18 months, the average U.S. home sold Franklin in the Financial Times. In 2020, Citi to $50million to innovation in the diag- below its asking price, according to Redfin.” mistakenly sent the entire principal and all nosis, treatment, and early detection of The median home sale price in August was outstanding interest—roughly $900 million— tumors. Additionally, the foundation sup- $370,000, down 6 percent from June. to creditors of Revlon, the cosmetics giant. ports families through initiatives like the Despite the glaring error, several asset manag- Butterfly Fund, which grants emergency A job deficit for recruiters ers “refused to return their share,” arguing financial aid for expenses such as trans- they were owed the money anyway. Citi’s portation and rehabilitation. PBTF has Tech-job recruiters have quickly gone from error became infamous in finance circles, also developed a Peer to Peer Mentoring boom times to bust, said Erin Griffith in The and the saga has now lasted two years. A program to provide emotional con- New York Times. After years of “aggressive federal judge ruled last year that the creditors nections for parents, teens, and young growth and hiring sprees,” tech companies could keep the money, but the appeals court adults dealing with a rare—and deeply have been dialing it back in recent months, said that “the circumstances were suspicious challenging—diagnosis. and some have even announced layoffs or enough that the lenders” should have checked hiring freezes. That shift has been painful with the bank. Each charity we feature has earned a for recruiters, who had been “the front- four-star overall rating from Charity line soldiers in a war for talent.” Last year, Navigator, which rates not-for-profit “there were more job postings for recruiters 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 September 23, 2022
38 Best columns: Business Starbucks: Baristas take up the union fight Starbucks founder Howard Schultz employees are “forming smaller groups used to be considered “one of the led by workers on a store-by-store nation’s most progressive CEOs,” said basis.” Labor leaders are looking at Andy Serwer and Dylan Croll in Yahoo Starbucks as “a crucial test of whether Finance. Under his stewardship, the cof- these nascent unions hold the key to fee giant installed “some of the most gen- reviving” a wider movement. erous benefits and work policies of any company in America,” including health The numbers tell a different story, said care, company stock options, and free col- John Stossel in Reason. Despite “media lege tuition. But its pro-worker reputation hype,” union membership is down is being tested. After a trying pandemic, by half a million workers since 2019. many baristas are demanding better pay, Some polls suggest support for unions stronger safety precautions, and “a voice Is this the future of the labor movement? is on the rise, but that’s also misleading, at the table.” Since December, work- said Jeff Jacoby in The Boston Globe. ers have voted to unionize at 210 of the company’s 9,000 U.S. “A new Gallup poll found that 71 percent of Americans say they stores. Schultz, who returned to serve as the company’s interim approve of unions, the highest level recorded since 1965.” That’s CEO since April, is now under fire for “behaving unethically and great, but does it add up to more workers actually joining them? even illegally” when it comes to staunching the activity. It’s turned Hardly. Among non-governmental employees, only 6.1 percent Starbucks into “the poster child for anti-unionism.” That’s quite a now belong to unions. mess to sort out for Schultz and his announced successor, Laxman Narasimhan, who will become CEO in 2023. Yes, said Steven Greenhouse in The Washington Post, “corpo- rate executives who insist that workers don’t want unions” often Schultz is behaving like “Andrew Carnegie with an espresso remind us that membership has declined precipitously. But those machine,” said Hamilton Nolan in The Guardian. Starbucks numbers don’t reflect how the pandemic has changed young famously refers to its employees as “partners.” Really? The workers’ minds, or the surge in efforts led by younger, educated National Labor Relations Board had to sanction the company workers. “Undergraduates who work in college dining halls and for withholding raises and other benefits from its newly union- libraries have flocked to labor’s banner.” The pandemic has also ized workers. It has also been accused of “firing 85 workers played an outsize role. “Many frontline workers, whether super- for organizing” and closing stores that were recently unionized. market cashiers, bus drivers, health-care workers, meat-packers, Starbucks Workers United represents “a new breed of organized or fast-food cooks, risked their lives day after day.” They’re labor,” said Taylor Nicole Rogers in the Financial Times. In- furious at the treatment they got from employers. Unions are stead of aligning with a larger, sector-specific union, Starbucks coming back—with a vengeance. Weed isn’t You might think it’s a golden age to be in the mari- cannabis companies from writing off any business as profitable juana business, said Paul Demko, but most weed expenses—a relic of a section that was enacted in the as you think companies are “hemorrhaging red ink.” Nineteen early 1980s “in response to outrage over a tax court states have now legalized the sale of recreational ruling that a cocaine dealer was entitled to deduct his Paul Demko weed, including major new markets like New York, operating expenses.” As a result, weed companies are New Jersey, and Virginia last year. Industry revenues frequently paying tax rates “that can eclipse 70 per- Politico are projected to hit $32 billion in 2022, “more than cent.” Federal banking restrictions also force canna- double what sales were just three years ago.” You bis companies to pay much higher interest on loans. would think that would translate into profits, but it And don’t overlook the fact that “the goods cannot does not. Two dozen of the largest publicly traded cross state lines.” That means businesses “must build U.S. operators “collectively lost more than $550 mil- separate farms, factories, and stores in each state lion in the first six months of this year.” The biggest where they do business.” Marijuana’s popularity is culprit, by far, is the federal tax code. It still prohibits undeniable, but “it’s not easy selling weed.” Public sector Poor pay and high stress are making government state prisons due to the dearth of correctional offi- workers need jobs ever harder to fill, said Catherine Rampell. cers. It’s hard to blame workers when “public-sector better pay “The private sector has already recovered the jobs jobs already paid less than their private-sector coun- lost early in the pandemic,” and then some. The terparts.” And while private firms have been rapidly Catherine Rampell public sector? It’s still down 647,000 from February raising compensation to compete in the tight labor 2020. Teachers account for roughly half that de- market, governments—many of which are flush The Washington Post cline, “causing major disruptions as children return with cash—have been slower to adapt. They need to to school.” But other shortages are starting to take pony up to recruit for jobs that have become “more their toll. In Indianapolis, for instance, “trash isn’t unpleasant, stressful, or unpopular in recent years, Getty getting picked up.” A school-bus driver shortage thanks to public harassment or distrust.” If the fi- in Franklin County, Wis., is leaving students in the nancial and psychic rewards of taking these positions lurch. Last week, Florida’s state legislature approved keeps eroding, who is going to fulfill the basic gov- a plan to activate the National Guard to mind its ernment functions that Americans take for granted? THE WEEK September 23, 2022
Obituaries 39 The queen who held a changing nation together Queen Queen Elizabeth II was to exist. India had become independent Elizabeth II Britain’s most steadfast a few years earlier, and Ghana, Kenya, public servant. During and many other British territories fought 1926–2022 her seven decades on for independence in the early years of her reign. But as monarch of the the throne, the longest-reigning British Commonwealth of 15 realms and more than 50 nations, Elizabeth “kept Britain monarch in history was a bulwark of closely linked to its former territories”— sometimes irritating prime ministers, constancy through a time of extraordinary such as Margaret Thatcher, who didn’t value the connection as she did. When changes, including the reluctant relinquish- Australians voted in 1999 not to break away as a republic, the vote was “seen ing of African former colonies, the joining as reflecting a loyalty to Elizabeth rather than the U.K.” of the European Union, and the leaving of Her family members were rather less it in Brexit. Her governments spanned 15 popular—and more prone to scandal, said The New York Times. Early in her prime ministers, from the elder statesman reign, her sister Margaret sought permis- sion to marry a divorced man, some- Winston Churchill to the newly elected thing Elizabeth, as head of the Church of England, had to decline. Forty years Liz Truss, whom she welcomed just days later, in 1992, three of her children’s marriages fell apart. Charles separated before her death. Frugal, hardworking, from his vastly more popular wife, Diana; Anne divorced her husband, Mark Phillips; and Andrew separated from his wife, and deeply religious, the queen studied Sarah Ferguson. Windsor Castle also burned that year, and the queen was forced for the first time to agree to pay income taxes. her boxful of government documents with In a major speech in November of that year, Elizabeth proclaimed 1992 her “annus horribilis.” Yet the drama wouldn’t peak until careful diligence every day and went to five years later, when Diana was killed in a Paris car crash and the British people erupted in a massive outpouring of public grief. church faithfully on Sundays. She gave The queen’s dispassionate response and initial refusal to lower the Union Jack to half-mast at Buckingham Palace left her “seeming no interviews, and her private thoughts cold and emotionally estranged from her subjects,” an uncharac- teristic misstep. It was one of several times in her reign that public remained as unknown as the contents of opinion began flirting with the abolition of the monarchy. her ever-present handbag. She was open The royal family stayed in the tabloids, said The Telegraph (U.K.). Elizabeth’s grandson Prince Harry’s bride Meghan Markle, a only about her dedication to her duties as divorced, biracial American actress, was unhappy as a duchess, and after the couple decamped for the U.S., they gave an inter- queen of the United Kingdom, supreme view “hinting at racism” in the royal family. Meanwhile, Prince Andrew—the queen’s favorite child—was forced to give up royal governor of the Church of England, and duties after being accused of sexual assault on a teenage girl at the Manhattan townhouse of his longtime friend, the pedophile finan- leader of the British Commonwealth. “I declare before you all,” cier Jeffrey Epstein. But despite all the turmoil, Elizabeth found ways to show her keen sense of fun in her later years. At the open- she said in an address from Cape Town, South Africa, on her 21st ing of the London Olympics in 2012, the queen, then 86, was shown seemingly parachuting out of a helicopter with actor Daniel birthday, “that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall Craig as James Bond, and for her Platinum Jubilee celebration ear- lier this year, she appeared in a video with a CGI Paddington Bear, be devoted to your service and to the service of our great imperial pulling a marmalade sandwich from her purse. family to which we all belong.” After Prince Philip died in 2021, though, the queen’s health declined noticeably. She cut a frail figure at his funeral, where she Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was the daughter of Albert, Duke of had to sit alone in a pew because of Covid restrictions, and she York, the second son of King George V, and his wife Elizabeth, of began holding more audiences at her Scottish home, Balmoral the Scottish aristocracy. As a toddler she was known as Lilibet, “in Castle, rather than traveling to the palace in London. Still, she imitation of her attempts to say her name,” said The Times (U.K.), continued working until the end, a duty she saw as owed to God. and that remained her family’s pet name for her. Raised by nan- “When life seems hard,” she said in 2008, “the courageous do not nies, she was often left with her doting royal grandparents, and lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more deter- her grandfather the king gifted her with her first pony, a Shetland mined to struggle for a better future.” named Peggy, on her fourth birthday. For the rest of her life, she had a love of riding and racing rivaled only by her fondness for her evolving pack of corgis. She was not expected ever to rule, said The Guardian (U.K.). But after the king died in 1936, her uncle lasted only months as King Edward VIII before abdicating to marry the American divorcée Wallis Simpson. At age 10, Elizabeth was told she was a future queen, and her education took a sudden turn: constitutional his- tory with the vice provost of Eton College, as well as French lessons and riding and dancing classes. Already a more serious child than her bubbly younger sister Margaret, Elizabeth “became aware even then that she should not show emotion and must maintain a certain reserve.” Still, she fell in love early and hard, at age 13, with the dashing, 18-year-old Prince Philip, a Navy cadet and “the impoverished nephew of the deposed king of Greece.” The two exchanged letters for years and were separated by World War II—Philip saw action, while Elizabeth did a brief stint as an auto mechanic—before marrying in 1947 in a ceremony that cheered up a war-weary nation. She became pregnant with Charles, the first of her four children, just three months later, and with her only daughter, Anne, two years after that. Getty Elizabeth was on a royal tour in Kenya in 1952 when the news came that her father had died, making her queen at age 25, said The Washington Post. The empire she was touring soon ceased THE WEEK September 23, 2022
40 The last word The novel-writing machine Writers are turning to artiﬁcial intelligence to help them churn out chapters of their books, said Josh Dzieza in The Verge. It’s making them question what ﬁction writing is really about. ON A TUESDAY in mid- a database of novels to search March, Jennifer Lepp when she felt she was overusing was precisely 80.41 per- a phrase and wanted to see how cent finished writing Bring Your other authors finished the sen- Beach Owl, the latest install- tence. She told herself she would ment in her series about a detec- use Sudowrite the same way— tive witch in central Florida, and just inspiration, no cutting and she was behind schedule. The pasting its prose. color-coded, 11-column spread- LANGUAGE MODELS LIKE sheet she keeps open on a sec- GPT-3 are word-prediction ond monitor as she writes told machines. Fed an enormous her just how far behind: She amount of text, the model adjusts had three days to write 9,278 its billions of initially random- words if she was to get the book ized mathematical parameters edited, formatted, promoted, until, when presented with new uploaded to Amazon’s Kindle text, it does a pretty good job platform, and in the hands of of predicting what words come eager readers who expected a next. This method gets it surpris- new novel every nine weeks. ingly far. By training on far more Lepp became an author six years Sudowrite was ‘trained’ with plot twists and sensory descriptions. text and using far more param- ago, after deciding she could no Amit Gupta and James Yu, it’s one of many eters than past models, GPT-3 longer stomach having to spout “corporate AI writing programs built on OpenAI’s gained at least the partial ability to do doublespeak” to employees as companies language model GPT-3 that have launched basic arithmetic, translate languages, write downsized. She had spent the prior two since it was opened to developers last year. working code—despite never having been decades working in management at a But where most of these tools are meant explicitly trained in math, translation, or series of web-hosting companies, where to write company emails and marketing programming—and write plausibly human- she developed disciplined project manage- copy, Sudowrite is designed for fiction seeming prose. ment skills that have translated surpris- writers. Authors paste what they’ve written ingly well to writing fiction for Amazon’s into a soothing sunset-colored interface, But ultimately, GPT-3’s entire world is Kindle platform. select some words, and have the AI rewrite words or, to be precise, mathematical rep- resentations of common sequences of char- In Amazon’s self-service publishing arm, them in an ominous tone, or with more acters called tokens—and that can cause it Kindle Direct Publishing, Lepp found an inner conflict, or propose a plot twist, or to behave strangely. It might happen to give unexpected avenue into a literary career she generate descriptions in every sense plus sensible responses when asked about some- had once dreamed of and abandoned. “It’s metaphor. thing people have written abundantly and not Dostoevsky,” Lepp said of her work, Eager to see what it could do, Lepp selected correctly about. But ask which is heavier, but she takes pride in delivering enjoyable a 500-word chunk of her novel, a climac- a goldfish or a whale, and it will tell you a “potato chip books” to her readers, and tic confrontation in a swamp between the goldfish. Or ask what Napoleon said about they reward her with an annual income detective witch and a band of pixies, and hamburgers, and it will say, “Hamburgers that can reach the low six figures. pasted it into the program. Highlighting are the food of the gods.” It’s just making one of the pixies, named Nutmeg, she a guess based on statistical patterns in lan- Lepp, who writes under the pen name clicked “describe.” guage, and that may or may not have any Leanne Leeds in the “paranormal cozy correlation to the world as humans under- mystery” subgenre, allots herself precisely “Nutmeg’s hair is red, but her bright green stand it. Like a good bullshitter, it’s better 49 days to write and self-edit a book. This eyes show that she has more in common at form and style than substance. pace, she said, is just on the cusp of being with creatures of the night than with day,” unsustainably slow. She once surveyed her the program returned. To create Sudowrite, Gupta and Yu col- mailing list to ask how long readers would lected plot twists from short stories and wait between books before abandoning her Lepp was impressed. “Holy crap,” she synopses of novels, presenting them to for another writer. The average was four tweeted. Not only had Sudowrite picked GPT-3 as examples. For descriptions, they months. Writer’s block is a luxury she can’t up that the scene Lepp had pasted took wrote sentences about smells, sounds, and afford, which is why as soon as she heard place at night but also it had gleaned that other senses so that GPT-3 would know about an artificial intelligence tool designed Nutmeg was a pixie and that Lepp’s pixies what’s being asked of it when a writer to break through it, she started beseeching have brightly colored hair. clicks “describe.” And it does generally its developers on Twitter for access to the seem to understand the assignment, though beta test. She wasn’t sure how she felt about using it sometimes takes it in unexpected direc- AI, but she was always quick to adopt The tool was called Sudowrite. Designed technologies that could help streamline tions. For instance, Lepp found that the Getty (2) by developers turned sci-fi authors her operation. She had already compiled program had a tendency to bestow her THE WEEK September 23, 2022
The last word 41 characters with swords. Despite there not favorite sushi restaurant in here,’” Lepp tainly be more burnt out. “There’s some- really being any swords in her version of recalled. She hadn’t. It was a scene that thing different about working with the AI magical Florida, it would have characters was written by the AI. and editing those words, and then coming unsheathing blades mid-conversation or up with my own and then editing it, that’s fondling hilts as they sat on the porch. There are probably a lot of sushi restau- much easier. It’s less emotionally taxing. It’s rants that could be described as having less tiresome; it’s less fatiguing. I need to She figures this is because the model was well-lit booths and wood paneling. But, pay attention much less closely. I don’t get likely trained on far more examples of soon, she noticed other changes. Writing, as deeply into the writing as I did before, high fantasy than the much smaller genre for her, had always been a fully immersive and yet, I found a balance where I still feel of paranormal cozy mystery, so when it process. She would dream about her char- very connected to the story, and I still feel sees her writing about magic, it assumes acters and wake up thinking about them. it’s wholly mine.” some sword unsheathing and hilt fondling As the AI took on more of the work, she is going to happen. There were weirder realized that had stopped. With the help of the program, Lepp misfires, too. Like when the model kept recently ramped up production yet again. saying the Greek god Apollo’s “eyes were “I started going to sleep, and I wasn’t She is now writing two series simultane- as big as a gopher’s” or that “the moon thinking about the story anymore. And ously, toggling between the witch detec- was truly mother-of-pearl, the white of then I went back to write and sat down, tive and a new mystery-solving heroine, a the sea, rubbed smooth by the groins of and I would forget why people were 50-year-old divorced owner of an animal drowned brides.” doing things. Or I’d have to look up what rescue who comes into possession of a somebody said because I lost the thread magical platter that allows her to com- Or when it exuberantly overextended of truth,” she said. Normally, she wove municate with cats. It was an expansion metaphors: “Alice closed her eyes and a subtle moral lesson through her novels; she felt she had to make just to stay in sighed, savoring the moment before reality it was something her readers liked. But place. With an increasing share of her came back crashing down on them like the by Chapter 3, she realized she had no profits going back to Amazon in the form weight of an elephant sitting on them both idea what this book’s would be, and she of advertising, she needed to stand out while being eaten by a shark in an airplane found a moral theme wasn’t something amid increasing competition. Instead of full of ninjas puking out their eyes and she could go back and retroactively insert. six books a year, her revised spreadsheet blood for no apparent reason other than Rather than guiding the AI, she started to forecasts 10. that they were ninjas who liked puke so think she had “followed the AI down the much they couldn’t help themselves from rabbit hole.” For Lepp and her peers, ebooks created spewing it out of their orifices at every an unexpected chance to vault midcareer opportunity.” “It didn’t feel like mine anymore. It was into a dream job. Reader expectations and very uncomfortable to look back over what Amazon’s algorithms have demanded ever- Gradually, Lepp figured out how to steer I wrote and not really feel connected to the faster output, and they’ve worked hard the AI. She would sketch an outline of a words or the ideas.” to keep up. AI may offer a lifeline now, scene, press expand, and let the program but what happens when the programs get do the writing. She would then edit the LEPP ADJUSTED HER approach after better—how much more acceleration can output, paste it back into Sudowrite, and her alienating experience following authors take? “There’s a concern that we prompt the AI to continue. If it started the program’s lead. She still uses just got our foot in the door; we just got to veer in a direction she didn’t like, she Sudowrite, but she keeps it on a shorter the ability to do this,” she said. “I think nudged it back by writing a few sentences leash. She pastes everything she’s written everybody’s afraid because we cannot sus- and setting it loose again. She found that so far into the program, leaves a sentence tain a pace against a computer.” she no longer needed to work in complete half-finished, and only then lets it write. Or silence and solitude. Even better, she was she gives it the basics of a scene and tells it The technology isn’t there yet. She thinks actually ahead of schedule. Her production to write a description of something specific. more fully automating fiction right now had increased 23.1 percent. would produce novels that are too generic, “Like I know we’re going into the lobby, channeled into the grooves of the most When she finished the first chapter, she and I know that this lobby is a secret popular plots. But, based on the improve- sent it to her “beta readers”—a group that paranormal fish hospital for nyads, but I ment she’s seen over the year she’s been offers early feedback—with special instruc- don’t particularly care what that looks like using Sudowrite, she doesn’t doubt that it tions to highlight anything that sounded other than that there’s two big fish tanks will get there eventually. It wouldn’t even off or out of character. Nothing with tons of fish and it’s high-end,” she have to go far. Readers, especially readers seemed amiss. “That was kind explained. So she tells it that, and it gives of genre fiction, like the familiar, she said, of creepy,” she said. “It starts the same basic form with a slightly differ- to make you wonder, do I her 150 words about crystal chandeliers, ent twist or setting. It’s precisely the sort even have any talent if a gold etching, and marble. “My time is of thing AI should be able to handle. “I computer can just mimic think that’s the real danger, that you can do me?” better spent on the important aspects of that and then nothing’s original anymore. the mystery and the story than sit- Everything’s just a copy of something else,” Worse, some of the ting there for 10 minutes trying she said. “The problem is, that’s what sentences her readers to come up with the descrip- readers like.” highlighted as being particularly tion of the lobby.” good had come from the machine. Adapted from a story that originally But the most disconcerting moment She’s a little embarrassed appeared in The Verge (www.theverge came when she gave the chapter to to say she’s become reliant .com). Used with permission. her husband to read. “He turned on it. Not that she couldn’t to her and said, ‘Wow, you put our write without it, but she THE WEEK September 23, 2022 thinks her writing wouldn’t be as rich, and she would cer-
42 The Puzzle Page Crossword No. 664: I Am So Outta Here by Matt Gaffney The Week Contest ACROSS 43 Tampa Bay 9 Baltimore paper This week’s question: To help certain patients overcome 1 Traffic light color Buccaneers star who 10 Court cover their fear of vomiting, a phobia clinic in Amsterdam 6 Pasture sound bizarrely quit the 11 In the distant past wants to hire someone who can regurgitate on com- 9 Leaves no escape team in January by 12 Author mand. What should that person’s job title be? removing his gear 13 Not very trustworthy 14 Gumption mid-game and running 21 Two-wheeled carriage Last week’s contest: A Detroit man had a tattoo parlor 15 Be human, it’s said off the field 22 Not clerical implant a chip in his hand that unlocks and starts his 16 Business with a front 27 1942 Best Actress Tesla. What would you call a company devoted solely 46 Size smaller than large to microchipping people who want to move through the desk (abbr.) winner Garson world without keys, phones, or other portable devices? 17 The Love Boat 28 Math great Carl 47 Plug-___ (updating THE WINNER: “Silicon Valet” bartender downloads) Friedrich ___ Tim Nicholson, Glen Ellyn, Ill. 18 Translucent 29 Weak brother of film 48 Mineralogist’s find 30 Popular street food SECOND PLACE: “Tag! You’re It.” toothpaste 49 Carrier until 2001 31 Beautify Marcus Richardson, Picayune, Miss. 19 Piano key material 52 U.S. senator who 32 Mr. Schindler 20 World Chess 33 Courage, in metaphor THIRD PLACE: “Armed Fobbery” walked out of a 2019 34 Guinness holder Laurel Rose, Pittsburgh champion who quit a committee hearing 38 Weapon for Tyrion tournament midway after protesting For runners-up and complete contest rules, please go on Sept.5 after President Trump’s Lannister totheweek.com/contest. apparently suspecting withdrawal of troops 39 Quick recharge How to enter: Submissions should be emailed to an opponent of from Syria 41 Locate [emailprotected] Please include your name, cheating 56 Location 42 Five-time Wimbledon address, and daytime telephone number for verifica- 23 Suffix with baron 58 Sports ___ (athletic tion; this week, please type “Vomit job” in the sub- 24 P, to Pythagoras wear) champion 25 Seine contents 59 Drink slowly 44 Number of feet from ject line. Entries are due by 26 Food often fried 60 Troubled noon, Eastern Time, Tuesday, 29 Actor who quit the 61 Tanker’s cargo third to home Sept.20. Winners will appear 1956 movie Carousel, 62 Didn’t go out for 45 Many have received on the Puzzle Page next issue annoyed that new dinner and at theweek.com/puzzles on technology required 63 Spacek in Castle Rock new titles this month Friday, Sept.23. In the case of each scene to be shot 64 Artsy Anderson 49 Blind mice head count identical or similar entries, the twice 65 Dove and Frost, for two 50 Doubting statement first one received gets credit. 32 Big bird 51 Cries of assent 35 Abbr. after examples DOWN 53 Puts a cold pack on WThe winner gets a one-year 36 God, in Geneva 1 Genre from Japan 54 One of five “Greats” subscription to The Week. 37 Caught sight of 2 Southwest sights 55 Prefix with correct 38 Young Sheldon 3 Talks a big game 56 Sanditon airer Sudoku network 4 Fictitious Hansen 57 Chain of islands? 39 Apples and pears, 5 Kept happening Fill in all the botanically 6 Light in the darkness boxes so that HMRS 40 Gentle 7 Song for one voice each row, column, 41 Word in a monk’s 8 Wingback chair and outlined name features square includes 42 Tunnel creators all the numbers from 1 through 9. Difficulty: hard Find the solutions to all The Week’s puzzles online: www.theweek.com/puzzle. ©2022. All rights reserved. The Week (ISSN 1533-8304)) is published weekly, except January 7, January 14, July 15, and September 16. The Week is published by The Week Publications, Inc., 135 West 41st Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10017. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send change of address to The Week, PO Box 37252, Boone, IA 50037-0252. One-year subscription rates: U.S. $199; Canada $229; all other countries $269 in prepaid U.S. funds. Publications Mail Agreement No. 40031590, Registration No. 140467846. Return Undeliverable Canadian Addresses to P.O. Box 503, RPO West Beaver Creek, Richmond Hill, ON L4B 4R6. The Week is a member of The New York Times News Service, The Washington Post/Bloomberg News Service, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services, and subscribes to The Associated Press. The Week is part of Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885), registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Quay House,The Ambury, Bath BA11UA. THE WEEK September 23, 2022 Sources: A complete list of publications cited inThe Week can be found at theweek.com/sources.