Magazine | February 11, 2019, Issue

First-Draft Tweets

(Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

From @BerlinBureauNewYork­Times, 11/9/38:

Many storefronts, some of Jewish-owned businesses, suffered damage and broken glass during routine political demonstrations across Germany, raising questions of class and economic disparity in this economically challenged nation. Unclear at this time is who “started” the glass-breaking, but the wearing of traditional Jewish garb has been seen by many as a touchpoint and a provocation.

Here is a photograph of some of the storefronts, many of which were damaged. As you can see, many of the store owners are wearing the classic — and politically charged — small black caps to symbolize their political affiliation.

From @washpost, 4/14/65:

Henry Rathbone, military figure, attacks famous actor John Wilkes Booth in Ford’s Theater. Some early reports of casualties. The attack by an administration figure on a well-known and outspoken artist once again exacerbates tensions between the authoritarian — and some have said extra-constitutional — Lincoln administration and the progressive art world. Booth has been a vocal critic of the administration and has used his First Amendment rights, and his moral duty as an artist, to “speak truth to power,” and some have called for Rathbone’s censure and arrest in this matter.

Here is a photogravure of Rathbone in his military garb. Have you ever seen a more punchable face?

From @huffpo, 9/11/01

Muslim students, others, killed in tragic plane mishap.

From @buzzfeed, 3/30/81:

Breaking: Rogue Secret Service agent violently shoves President Ronald Reagan into presidential limousine, speculation centers around Reagan administration’s ultra-conservative positions that may have angered some rank-and-file government employees. Raises questions about Reagan agenda.

Breaking: Does the Reagan agenda spark violence? Some say that today’s incident suggests that the far-right Republican president is inspiring just that.

Clarification: After reviewing the video footage, it is clear that the lack of handgun-control legislation and the pro-military policies of the Reagan administration caused Presi­dent Reagan to encounter gunshots.

From @msnbc, 12/7/41:

Asian aircraft of Japanese origin caught in crossfire during a friendship mission, highlighting the increasingly racial and ethnic divisions that haunt America, raising questions about the fragile non-statehood currently being imposed on the Pacific Island nation of Hawai’i (pronounced “Huh-vye-ee”) and bringing to the forefront the harbor in Honolulu (pronounced “Hah-no-loo-loo”) and its desperate need of infrastructure investment.

After reviewing photographic evidence and filmed accounts, what was once thought by many to be a “friendship tour” by Japanese fighter planes is now thought to be, by some, evidence of a more complicated series of events, in which Japanese pilots and American Naval personnel exchanged gun and mortar fire, raising the issue of ethnic and religious hegemony in the complex swirl of nations, religions, and economic interests of the Asia-Pacific basin.

From @MexicoCityBureauNew­York­Times, 9/21/40:

Architect of the Soviet Revolution, confidante of Lenin and others, Leon Trotsky found dead in his Mexico City casita, the result of an encounter with an ice pick, raising questions of product safety and consumer protections and highlighting the deep divisions between those who have ice and those who have it not. Sources say Trotsky was attempting to make a daiquiri, a popular drink among progressives.

After reviewing photographs of the scene, it is now clear that early reports that Leon Trotsky died in a freak ice-pick incident did not convey the full picture of the events in Mexico City. Members of the American far-right anti-Communist media pounced on this event and the confusion following and assigned blame to Marshall Stalin, raising the troubling issue of the excesses and dangers of anti-Communist fervor.

From @BerlinBureauNewYork­Times, 11/9/89:

In a nod to his policies of glasnost and perestroika, Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev inspired local civil-rights advocates to begin the process of removing construction materials from the border barrier that encircled the city of West Berlin, which for decades had been a controversial symbol of the American-military presence in Western Europe. Caught off-guard by this move, the Bush administration has struggled to come up with a unified message, and in the wake of several other foreign-policy missteps, questions are being raised about the relevance of American power.

After reviewing more photographic material, a more complicated and nuanced picture has emerged about the events leading up to the physical collapse of what far-Right American politicians termed the “Berlin Wall.” While some have suggested that Premier Gorbachev was an enthusiastic cheerleader for the removal of the barrier, it has become clear that in many cases the “Wall” simply came down of its own accord and due to decay, the victim, in many ways, of the brutal military and economic Cold War waged by successive anti-peace Re­publican administrations.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


The Week

The Week

Maybe “But there’s no one on the job at the IRS!” isn’t the best anti-shutdown messaging.

Most Popular


White Cats and Black Swans

Making a film of Cats is a bold endeavor — it is a musical with no real plot, based on T. S. Eliot’s idea of child-appropriate poems, and old Tom was a strange cat indeed. Casting Idris Elba as the criminal cat Macavity seems almost inevitable — he has always made a great gangster — but I think there was ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Other Case against Reparations

Reparations are an ethical disaster. Proceeding from a doctrine of collective guilt, they are the penalty for slavery and Jim Crow, sins of which few living Americans stand accused. An offense against common sense as well as morality, reparations would take from Bubba and give to Barack, never mind if the former ... Read More
Health Care

The Puzzling Problem of Vaping

San Francisco -- A 29-story office building at 123 Mission Street illustrates the policy puzzles that fester because of these facts: For centuries, tobacco has been a widely used, legal consumer good that does serious and often lethal harm when used as it is intended to be used. And its harmfulness has been a ... Read More
Politics & Policy

May I See Your ID?

Identity is big these days, and probably all days: racial identity, ethnic identity, political identity, etc. Tribalism. It seems to be baked into the human cake. Only the consciously, persistently religious, or spiritual, transcend it, I suppose. (“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor ... Read More

Wolf Warrior II Tells Us a Lot about China

The Chinese economy is taking a big hit as a result of the trade war with the U.S: A leading export indicator has fallen several months in a row, Chinese companies postponed campus recruitment, and auto and housing sales dropped. A number of U.S. manufacturers are moving production outside of China. So ... Read More