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Gaybros, the Decline of Al Pacino, and How Not to Woo the GOP

The week’s most interesting Slate stories.

If President Obama wants a grand bargain, he needs to get along with John Boehner.

Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

How Not to Woo Republicans: If Obama really wants a grand bargain, he should knock off the wisecracks about the GOP,” by John Dickerson. Dickerson outlines how Obama’s public jokes are hurting his quest for a budget compromise and suggests that the president would be better off taking a page from LBJ and allowing his opponents to feel superior.

Meet the Gaybros: They like sports, hunting, and beer. They make the gay community mad,” by J. Bryan Lowder. Lowder spends time with a group of gay men calling themselves “gaybros,” who enjoy “traditionally manly interests like sports, hunting, and beer,” and examines the conflict between so-called masculine gays and effeminate gays. He concludes that gaybros may not be as different from the rest of the gay community as they think.

Is It Too Late for Al Pacino? Phil Spector suggests he might never regain his rightful place at the center of Hollywood,” by Karina Longworth. Longworth traces the unfortunate trajectory of Pacino’s acting and worries that his latest role is proof that he will spend the rest of his career “pumping out endless variations on the trademarked Pacino Wall of Sound.”

The Only Problem With the Greatest Hoodie Ever Made: They can’t make them fast enough,” by Farhad Manjoo. Revisiting American Giant, the company a previous Slate story rocketed to prominence, Manjoo learns how unprecedented demand lead to a complete restructuring of the apparel startup.

Not That High: Today’s marijuana is too strong, and that’s bad for new business,” by Emma Marris. Now that weed is legalized in Washington and Colorado, demand for the drug is emerging among a new demographic—middle-aged parents. Marris explores how their desire for weaker recreational marijuana may change the market.

 “Your Favorite Show Is Too Long: Why the miniseries is the ideal form for television,” by David Haglund. In honor of Top of the Lake, Jane Campion’s excellent new miniseries, Haglund argues that no matter how much we love to follow our favorite characters every week, limited series with planned out arcs and endings are the superior form artistically.

South Africa’s Unfinished Revolution: The post-apartheid country has made enormous strides. But its progress won’t be complete until it deepens its democracy,” by Anne Applebaum. Though South Africa has changed radically in the last two decades, Applebaum argues that its transition won’t be complete until power is transferred away from the party that has ruled for that entire period.

The GOP, Now With Less Crazy; The Republican plan to reform the party is less a program of reform than a rough blueprint about how to marginalize the nutters at the base,” by David Weigel. With the GOP floundering, Weigel analyzes the party’s plan to recover by reducing situations where candidates have to comment on polarizing social issues.

Past Their Prime: When is a superaged spirit too old to drink?” by Kara Newman. Finding herself surprisingly unimpressed by a 50-year-old scotch, Newman investigates the process of aging and discovers that older isn’t necessarily better.

The Sexual Fetish of Gay Marriage Opponents: Defenders of DOMA and Proposition 8 say marriage isn’t about love or parenting. It’s about coitus,” by Mark Joseph Stern. Stern looks at the difference between “conjugal marriage”—it’s all about the sex—and “revisionist marriage”—it’s an emotional union. And he critiques a book by Robert P. George that claims a “conjugal union” between heterosexuals is the “most appropriate environment for rearing children.” .