The Magazine

Obamaweek, unsafe Idol, etc.

From the Scrapbook.

Jul 28, 2008, Vol. 13, No. 43
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Last week on this page, we published an imaginary memo from an Obama adviser urging the Chosen One to speak at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. It concluded: "If this doesn't get you back on the cover of Newsweek, nothing will!"

We were wrong! Our July 21 issue of Newsweek arrived two days later with You'll Never Guess Who on the cover, and he hadn't even left yet for his Summer of Self-Love World Tour (featuring appearances in Jordan, the West Bank, Baghdad, Kabul, London, Paris, and Berlin, with occasional cameo roles for the Three Little Network Anchors Who Tagged Along).

Engineers, in the aerospace industry and elsewhere, calculate something called the "mean time between failures." THE SCRAPBOOK has made an analogous calculation-what we term the Mean Time Between Newsweek Obama Covers (MTBNOC). We can reveal here the results of our preliminary investigations, which show that the MTBNOC is falling at an alarming rate.

In mid-October, by our back-of-the-envelope extrapolation, every issue of Newsweek will feature His Self-Importance on the cover. Shortly thereafter, if our calculations are correct, the magazine will be forced to appear more frequently-twice a week, at first, and as a rebranded Newsdaily by early November, in order to accomodate the increasingly frequent need of editors to showcase Barack-the-Transcendent on their cover. Uncertainty is introduced into the equation at that point owing to Election Day, when the American people are allowed to weigh in with their own judgment on the merits of their prospective savior. Should the voters unaccountably fail to do their duty, some predict Newsweek may suspend publication in protest.

Sentences We Didn't Finish

"The story of Obama's religious journey is a uniquely American tale. It's one of a seeker, an intellectually curious young man trying to cobble together a religious identity out of myriad influences. Always drawn to life's Big Questions, Obama embarked on a spiritual quest in which he tried to reconcile his rational side with his yearning for transcendence. He found Christ-but that hasn't stopped him from..."

Lisa Miller and Richard Wolffe,

Newsweek, July 21, 2008

Cue Violins

According to the Writers Guild of America, working conditions on American Idol are "unsafe." WGAW president Patric M. Verrone, in an email to union members on July 15, promises an "American Idol Truth Tour" to publicize the "unsafe conditions" on the show. Our sympathies are naturally with the writers. We're not sure if the risk is black lung from breathing the fumes emitted by Paula Abdul, mayhem at the hands of Simon Cowell, or an attack by all those "dawgs" Randy Jackson keeps referring to, but we're hard pressed to think of a more urgent issue facing organized labor in this country.

No Kidding

"Clinton Not Eager to Send Back Cash" (Washington Post headline, July 16, 2008)

Preemie Losers

We sense the birth, so to speak, of a new interest group. A new study, reports USA Today, indicates that adults who were born prematurely are not only more shy than the rest of us but also less likely to have sex and get married: "The earlier babies are born, the less likely they are to marry, become parents or earn a high salary, suggests a study of nearly 1 million Norwegians, now ages 20 to 36, in today's New England Journal of Medicine." In addition, "In two studies of people in their early 20s in this month's Pediatrics, researchers found that former preemies were less likely to leave home, live with a romantic partner or be sexually active. "

The preemies, however, rallied on the comments section at AOL (which republished the story)-insisting that they do date, are intimate, and are really, really outgoing. As BigBroFla put it, "I was born 8 weeks early, 3.2 pounds. I am 42, not very shy, have my own business, many friends, never been arrested, married 10 years, pretty darn healthy, and don't even get me started about my sex drive!" (On the other hand, another reader says that if the study is accurate, he plans on inducing labor for his wife if the baby is a girl, so as to delay her sexual activity.)