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World

Williamsburg and the Fall of the West

Perhaps no subculture has ever been so self-loathing (if perhaps ironically so) as the postmodern hipster. As the very personification of liberal white guilt, the twenty-first century hipster has become the bane of urbanites everywhere, including—in what must be some kind of meta-ironic practical joke—hipster magazine Adbusters, which seems to believe they are the harbinger the fall of Western civilization.

World

The Pumper of Prayer

We're not all that religious. But maybe the recent slight drop in gas prices will help us to see the light. Yes, the breathlessly covered 14-cent-per-gallon drop in gas prices that has occurred over the past couple of weeks may have a more divine explanation than droll supply and demand—the will of Almighty God.

Media

Outsourcing Bad Beer

Once again, jingoism and the flailing economy collide. The most prolific and steadily unappetizing macrobrew distiller in America, Anheuser-Busch, has agreed to a $52 billion takeover offer from Belgian-based, Brazilian-operated InBev this week, thus adding itself to the list of things-available-to-but-no-longer-of America. Think tech support, celebrity childbirth, and Madonna.

World

Ask Us Anything about the French

CNN released a questionnaire this week, as part of its "Eye on France" coverage (hosted by Kent Brockman, presumably), asking readers to chime in with their thoughts on the land of liberté, égalité, and fraternité. While the exercise seems unhelpful at best—and freedom fry-ish at worst—we've decided to take the bait and answer each question, completely off the top of our heads, because we're experts. At everything. Enjoy our haphazard, uninformed opinions on a land an ocean away with an unknown (to us) tongue.

World

Carry-On Confidential

Planning to board a plane this summer with loads of confidential documents pertinent to national security? According to State Department officials, checking the baggage with the documents is a bad idea. But if you want to carry them onto the plane with you, well, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Media

Faux-Nudity in the Times Travel Section

Readers of the New York Times Travel section probably had trouble holding down their cappuccinos this past Sunday when they were greeted with a half-page color spread of volley-balling nudists. The photo accompanied an article titled "No Shoes, No Shirts, No Worries" about the growing popularity of nudist luxury hotels. Being the venerated institution that it is, the Times would never show indecency its pages, so the photo playfully engages in a game of what Slate calls "Hide the Salami."

Food

When Fake Food Becomes Fact

This past weekend, to promote the upcoming Simpsons Movie, 7-Eleven transformed a dozen of its stores in various parts of the country into full-fledged Kwik-E-Marts, the convenience store from the TV show. While these stores will go back to being 7-Elevens soon, several other stores first seen in television and movies have been reified as lasting tributes to the fiction that inspired them.

Travel

God to Charlton Heston: Get Off the Road

The most important news story of the year came and went last week with barely a whimper. The Vatican released the Ten Commandments of Driving, the first new commandments the Church has had since Moses sauntered down Mt. Sinai more than 3,000 years ago. The only other time the Church came close to adding another Commandment was when a fellow named Jesus introduced his Golden Rule. In the end, though, even He didn't have the political clout to get his Rule passed as a Commandment.

World

A City of Two Tales

If Baltimore seems stagnant, it is only because the city has been moving in opposite directions for so long. For every progressive, radical idea that will alleviate the city's major problems and raise its citizens' hopes, two problems spring up that bring those dreams crashing down. For instance, the city's slogan, "Baltimore, the City That Reads," had to be reconsidered in light of news that 38% of the adult population reads at the lowest literacy level.

Sports

African-American, Unlike Me

What does Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton have in common with former heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis? They're both famous athletes named "Lewis," of course, but they also have the distinction of being two of the most recognizable African-Britons on the planet. What, you've never heard the term African-Briton before? Perhaps you, like certain media outlets we know, need to learn how to use the term "black."

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