Cocktail Chatter

Andrew Breitbart, Mormon Baptism, and Scary Fairy Tales

The week’s most interesting Slate stories.

Andrew Breitbart passed away Thursday

Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

Feeding the Media Is Like Training a Dog: What Andrew Breitbart tried to teach me about journalism,” by David Weigel. Weigel had firsthand experience with Andrew Breitbart, the loud-voiced conservative commentator who charmed and enraged him in equal measure. In response to Breitbart’s death on Thursday, Weigel considers Breitbart’s impact on the culture of political media.   

Introducing the Slate Book Review: Slate goes big on books with a new monthly special issue,” by Dan Kois.  Slate launches its new book review this weekend, which will take over the site the first weekend of every month with fresh reviews and a rotating array of cartoonists. Read the full issue at

Rick Santorum, Meet My Son: He has a degenerative disease that has left him blind, paralyzed, and increasingly nonresponsive. If I had known before he was born, I would have saved him from suffering,” by Emily Rapp. In a heart-wrenching piece, a mother whose son was born with Tay-Sachs explains why she would have aborted him if she had known he’d have this disability. And Rapp says that Rick Santorum’s stance on prenatal testing and abortion would return women to an era where they had no reproductive choice.

Should I Care If Mormons Baptize Me After I’m Dead? A Slate staff debate.” After it was revealed this week that Daniel Pearl was posthumously baptized at a Mormon temple in Idaho, a heated email debate broke out among Slate staff on whether this is a thoughtful Mormon concern or an extremely offensive practice.

He’s Alive! How Mitt Romney survived a near-death experience in Michigan,” by John Dickerson. With Super Tuesday looming ahead next week, Dickerson examines how Romney is hanging on in the clearly divided Republican race.

 “Windows Without Windows: Microsoft takes on Apple with the radically redesigned Windows 8,” by Farhad Manjoo. Microsoft’s new operating system is a bold and risky move that shows the company is trying “to embrace the tablet age without abandoning PCs,” Manjoo writes. But will PC users embrace a windowless-Windows?

 “Are Fairy Tales Out of Fashion?: I hate reading them to my young daughter—the classic versions are too violent, the Disney stories have bad values,” by Libby Copeland. Original version of fairy tales turn out to be fairly sinister for tiny tykes. Copeland says she refuses to read them to her daughter and explains why this isn’t overprotective behavior.

The New O-Bitch-uaries: Can we wait a few hours before attacking the dead?” by Katie Roiphe. Jan Berenstain, the co-author of The Berenstain Bears books, passed away on Feb. 27 and Hanna Rosin responded with a “good riddance” blog post. In a counter post, Roiphe expresses dismay over the new trend of attacking the recently deceased even “as the dead person’s possessions are still being retrieved in plastic bags by their relatives from the hospital.”

How To Solve Syria: The West isn’t going to save the country’s battered opposition. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have cards to play,” by Anne Applebaum. As Syria’s opposition withdraws from Homs, Applebaum says the West can best help the rebels by getting them to consider what’s next.

Irish Coffee, Blue Blazers, and Hot Toddies: Advice on hot drinks from the experts, like Samuel Beckett, the NIH, and Kingsley Amis,” by Troy Patterson. The country’s been having a mild winter overall, but Patterson’s red hot and hilarious piece on steaming alcoholic beverages will make you wish for some scorching grog and a heap of snow.