1. Gog and Magog. James A. Haught breaks some news – at least in American papers – explaining one line of “reasoning” George W. Bush attempted to use to convince Jacques Chirac to support the invasion of Iraq:
Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East… The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled… This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.
Chirac was so confused by this reasoning that he actually called in a Swiss theologian to explain. Just last week, Chirac confirmed this in an extended interview in France.
2. Hypomania in the White House. John Gartner for Psychology Today profiles Rahm Emanuel and the Emanuel family that shaped him. He describes Emanuel as hypomanic – which he stresses is not a psychological disorder, but a condition. Some of the more interesting tidbits:
Emanuel says f*ck more frequently than “if, and, or but,” insists political scientist Larry Sabato. Obama himself regularly jokes about Emanuel’s profanity: “For Rahm, every day is a swearing-in ceremony.”
Gartner also discusses how Emanuel’s family shaped him:
Stuck with each other, the brothers created their own subculture—unlike most gifted high-energy kids, who must deal with the confusing feelings that come with being different. Like the X-Men at the Mutant Academy, the brothers felt most normal in one another’s presence, where they could be themselves—with a vengeance.
The brotherhood may have been instrumental in curbing another hallmark of hypomania. If you’re hypomanic and gifted, you always have the feeling of being the smartest guy in the room. But if you have two other guys just as smart and aggressive in the room who say, “That’s a stupid idea” and start to pound you, it’ll knock some of the grandiosity out of you.
While Rahm has called the verbal combat that took place there “gladiatorial,” Zeke described it to me as more of a Talmudic debate—the Jewish tradition of argument where one’s opponent is viewed as an ally in the search for truth. “It’s a sign of love to take someone’s view seriously,” says Zeke, who has fostered at NIH a style modeled directly on the Emanuel dinner table; he calls it “combative collegiality.”
3. Reuters! Reuters believes in a link economy. Suck on that AP.
4. The Most Interesting Man in the World. I was going to link to an article at AdAge by Jeremy Mullman on Dos Equis’s spectacularly successfuly “Most Interesting Man” campaign – but as the article went viral, AdAge has apparently attempted to limit its distribution and now placed it behind a firewall. Google does have a cached version here. For now. It’s an interesting story of how the ad campaign broke all of the rules of beer advertising – and led Dos Equis to buck the trend of declining imported beer sales and actually notch a double digit rise.
5. The NLRC: Not about abortion any more. William Saletan explains why certain pro-life Democrats are having their loyalty questioned by the National Right to Life Committee despite their unchanged anti-abortion stance:
In 2007, Ryan began to flunk the scorecard because the scorecard was no longer primarily about abortion. It wasn’t Ryan who changed. It was NRLC.
[Image by me.]