Cocktail Chatter

Carlos Danger, Summer Camp, and Trouble in Hollywood

This week’s most interesting Slate stories.

Anthony Weiner did not have the best week.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

 “The Anthony Weiner Timeline: His sexual deceptions continued in 2012 and 2013. Here’s the proof,” by William Saletan. Saletan chronicles Weiner’s history of lies, sexts, scandals, and forays in and out of office in a helpful timeline. Also in Slate, Simon Doonan investigates “shoegasms” and Weiner’s apparent fixation with women in heels, Katy Waldman offers a thoughtful contemplation of the existential sadness of the crotch shot, and Chris Kirk lets you join in the fun with the Carlos Danger name generator, a helpful tool that spits out a sexting pseudonym custom made for you.

The Hall of Famer: Deacon White invented the wind-up, popularized the catcher’s mask, and got the first hit in a professional baseball league. Now, he’s finally in Cooperstown,” by James B. Jackson. This weekend brings a new addition to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Jackson recounts the life and career of his great-grandfather, legendary James “Deacon” White, known for inventing the wind-up and popularizing the catcher’s mask.

 “My Daughter Went Away to Camp and Changed: How do I catch up?” by John Dickerson. Thirty-six years ago, Dickerson spent a summer in Camp Mishawaka. This year, his daughter was the camper, and Dickerson flew to Minnesota to pick her up. In this touching account of his visit to the camp, Dickerson relays his sense of nostalgia at returning to a familiar place and a daughter changed. He reflects on the bittersweet side of parenting: “You’re doing it best when you’re teaching them to leave you.”

 “Summer of the Mega-Flop: Last month, Steven Spielberg predicted a Hollywood implosion. Do recent big-budget disasters already prove him right?” by Ben Kenigsberg. Back in June, Spielberg predicted a paradigm-shift that would force the movie industry to “rethink its reliance on gargantuan spectacles.” Is the “season of the über-flop” upon us? Kenigsberg discusses the most recent box-office flops and how they could change the way that Hollywood does business.

 “The Royal Baby Has Arrived! Why it’s perfectly fine to obsess,” by Simon Akam. The international fascination with the royal family’s littlest addition is entirely acceptable. Akam argues that it’s much healthier to pry into Kate’s private life than to inquire into, say, Michelle Obama’s, because it’s important that we keep a healthy distance from public figures with actual power. Also in Slate, Hanna Rosin explains why the royal baby’s rosy entrance into the world might not remain so perfect for the rest of his adolescence.

What’s the Matter With North Carolina?: The state went from beacon of tolerance to bastion of voter suppression in a month,” by Dahlia Lithwick. Lawmakers in North Carolina are putting some insane bills through the state legislature, like legislation that caused 70,000 North Carolinians to lose their unemployment benefits and a proposed ban on nipples. But the worst of all? Veto-proof majorities, Lithwick explains. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act, North Carolina is free to amend its voting laws at will. And that’s what it’s planning on doing: Lithwick describes a scary new bill in the state’s legislature that would tighten voter ID rules to hurt African-Americans, women, and Democrats.

 “Inbox Hero: The new Gmail is the best thing to happen to email since the old Gmail,” by Will Oremus. Gmail is launching its new and improved inbox, complete with tabs that will separate your primary, personal, and promotional emails into different pages. Despite all the griping from the tech community, Oremus thinks the switch is great. It sorts the pesky promotional emails so they won’t clog up your inbox, and returns email to its original intention: corresponding with people you actually know.

Summer Vacation Is Evil: Camp is fun, but taking school away makes inequality in America worse,” by Matthew Yglesias. Although many Americans harbor romantic notions of the idyllic summer vacation, Yglesias makes the case that we should abolish the tradition altogether. The practice of stopping a public service for three months is insane, he says, and exacerbates the education gap between low-income and high-income students. To allow all students access to equal education, we need to shell out the extra money to keep schools open year round.

Is It Safe to Take Medication While Pregnant?: It isn’t unethical to test drugs on pregnant women. It’s unethical not to,” by Marina Kamenev. Researchers are often reluctant to enroll pregnant women in medical trials, which seems reasonable since the effects of medications on pregnancies remain unknown. Kamenev argues that researchers are actually endangering patients by failing to conduct the necessary research. Many mothers juggle pregnancy with other conditions such as diabetes or depression. Without a body of research to lean on, doctors simply do not know how to care for them. “The needs of the baby and the needs of the mother should not be mutually exclusive,” Kamenev claims.

Selfie-Loathing: Instagram is even more depressing than Facebook. Here’s why,” by Jessica Winter. We’ve heard a lot about the negative side effects of Facebook, but Winter argues that, in fact, “Facebook is not the frenemy with the most heads.” Instagram might just be worse for your self-esteem: It encourages users to spend inordinate amounts of time “curating and filtering” images only to find themselves on an “envy spiral” when faced with other seemingly effortless images. This image-driven social media platform only aggravates the woes of the “sad lurker.”