The Angle

The Angle: Dukakis Unplugged Edition

Slate’s daily newsletter on Obama’s Supreme Court strategy, a charmingly candid former governor, and a bitter feud between two fantasy authors. 

Studies of Hands (Two of Them Holding Forks), Vincent Van Gogh, March 1885.

Van Gogh Museum/Wikimedia Commons

Hello! Welcome back to the Newsletter Once Known as “Today in Slate.” In its new form, the Angle will share the most interesting ideas about the news each day, highlighting thought-provoking pieces from Slate as well as other fascinating stories from around the Web. 

Isaac Chotiner interviewed Michael Dukakis, eliciting frank comments about the Bush family, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Antonin Scalia, who attended Harvard Law School at the same time as the former governor. The result will join Garrett Quinn’s Boston magazine trash pickup article and Matt Viser’s Boston Globe turkey carcass piece in our personal pantheon of Delightful Dukakis Links. 


How will President Obama pick his nominee to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat? We can get a pretty good idea from looking at his past pronouncements on the matter, writes Dahlia Lithwick. His choice will probably be somebody “empathetic” but not an activist, somebody with the ability to make cross-partisan coalitions happen. In short, Lithwick argues: “The anti-Scalia.”


William Saletan gives us a list of nine ways Obama might circumvent future Republican roadblocks of his nominee. “My money is on [D.C. Circuit Judge Sri] Srinivasan. He checks off every box,” Saletan writes. (Jeffrey Toobin profiled Srinivasan for the New Yorker in 2013, when the then–deputy solicitor general was nominated for the D.C. Circuit; the piece was headlined “The Supreme Court Nominee-in-Waiting.”) 


Why is one fantasy author suing another for the use of totally unremarkable tropes, like “secret societies of supernatural crusaders tasked with protecting the unsuspecting human race from predatory demons”? Laura Miller dives into the confusing legal fight between Cassandra Clare and Sherrilyn Kenyon, finding that the animosity toward Clare is rooted in social mores of the fan-fiction community. “The prospect of going pro and striking it rich seems to many fan-fiction writers like a serpent in the garden,” Miller writes, “corrupting what once felt like an idyllic, egalitarian gift-economy of like-minded dabblers.”

Informational interviews are a gateway to all kinds of unfairness, writes L.V. Anderson. Such coffee-date setups are more accessible to people with connections and access, and they “cloud managers’ judgment about the things that matter—skills and expertise—in favor of the things that don’t: graciousness, humor, conversational ease, things the interviewer and interviewee have in common.”

For fun: See if you can guess which artist drew which pair of floating hands, in this week’s interactive quiz by Andrew Kahn. 

Resisting all kinds of hand puns,


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