The Angle

The Angle: The False Equivalency Edition

Slate’s daily newsletter on Sen. Josh Hawley, NXIVM, Arthur, and Booksmart.

Biggest Senate Jerk? In defiance of basic tenets of the legal profession, Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley attempted to skewer Trump judicial nominee Michael Bogren for representing the city of East Lansing, Michigan, against a for-profit business that turns away same-sex couples from its wedding venue. It’s hard to say why the junior senator has taken this particular stance, Mark Joseph Stern writes, unless he’s really just vying for the mantle of Most Disingenuous, Least Principled Senator (famously held by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz).

All the way to the top: As the trial for NXIVM founder Keith Raniere, who is accused of sex trafficking (among other things), continues, León Krauze takes a look at how the “self-help group” slowly but surely infiltrated the upper echelons of Mexican society. But NXIVM’s story hasn’t been as widely told there, and perhaps this is why: “In Mexico, Raniere found a cult leader’s trifecta: access to the country’s political elite, gullible followers with deep pockets, and a country in crisis that could offer him both influence and money.”

Fully consistently sad: Alabama Public Television’s recent decision to ban an episode of Arthur featuring the same-sex wedding of the kids’ teacher, Mr. Ratburn, is just the latest in a long line of homophobic content decisions from APT. In maintaining this consistent stance, Ronald Krotoszynski writes, “APT is sticking to its guns. Even in a post-Obergefell world, APT still believes that a cartoon character’s same-sex wedding requires NC-17 treatment.” And doing that, he writes, is a public television betrayal of Fred Rogers.

Supergood: In Booksmart, actress Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut, two teenage best friends try to crash a graduation party on the last day of their senior year. If the movie’s premise sounds a lot like Superbad, the fact that co-star Beanie Feldstein is Jonah Hill’s younger sister won’t dispel that comparison. But the gender-flipped, queer-inclusive nature of the film gives it a fresh new energy and emotional sensibility that critic Dana Stevens enjoyed.

For fun: When your kitten attacks.

Only a rival monster can help,
Vicky