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The Week Magazine November 22, 2019

The Week makes sense of the news by curating the best of the U.S. and international media into a succinct, lively digest.

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48 Issues


2 min.
editor’s letter

Lacking a pulse is no longer an obstacle to having a thriving Hollywood career. That became clear last week when director Anton Ernst announced that James Dean—dead since 1955—had been cast in a leading role in his upcoming Vietnam War movie, Finding Jack. To resurrect Dean, Ernst will feed old footage and photos of the Rebel Without a Cause star into advanced CGI software. Still-breathing actors reacted with outrage, perhaps fearing the dead might soon come for their jobs. “This is awful,” said Captain America star Chris Evans. “Maybe we can get a computer to paint us a new Picasso. The complete lack of understanding here is shameful.” The entertainment industry has experimented with digital necromancy before: High-tech wizardry allowed Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher to reprise their Star Wars…

5 min.
witnesses tie trump to ukraine demands

What happened The House of Representatives’ first public impeachment hearings commenced this week with testimony from a top American diplomat that President Trump was deeply invested in efforts to pressure Ukraine for investigations that would help his re-election campaign. William Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, revealed that his staff overheard Trump asking European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland about “the investigations” on a phone call, with Sondland telling Trump the Ukrainians were “ready to move forward.” Taylor said this call came after Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, had been pressuring Ukraine to launch investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Taylor also said that Sondland told his staff that Trump “cares more about the investigations of Biden” than anything else involving Ukraine. The damaging new revelations came…

3 min.
bloomberg files to join democratic field

What happened The Democratic presidential primary was shaken up this week after Michael Bloomberg—the billionaire businessman and former three-term mayor of New York City—filed to run in Alabama and Arkansas, barreling into the primary’s center lane. Bloomberg, who at 77 has amassed a $52 billion fortune on the strength of a global media company, said in March that he would not run in 2020. But he’d grown increasingly concerned that the front-runners, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), could not beat President Trump. Bloomberg, who became a national political force by donating tens of millions of dollars to Democratic candidates and gun control groups, has said he would finance any campaign with his own money. Advisers said that his wealth lets Bloomberg be “unbought and unbossed” and…

2 min.
it wasn’t all bad

When Ethan Crispo walked into a Waffle House in Birmingham, Ala., for a midnight snack, he was sure he’d go home with an empty stomach. There were 30 customers in the restaurant and—because of a scheduling mishap—only one harried employee, Ben, who was cooking the food and cleaning up. Then, a customer asked Ben for an apron, stepped behind the counter, and started washing dishes. Two other diners began busing tables, and the restaurant was running smoothly again. “Humanity isn’t just good,” said Crispo. “It’s great.” Jonathan Pinkard has a new heart and a new family, all thanks to nurse Lori Wood. The autistic 27-year-old was living in a men’s shelter and in need of a heart transplant when he arrived at Georgia’s Piedmont Newnan Hospital late last year. But because…

3 min.
the berlin wall: 30 years on, what has changed?

So much for “the End of History,” said Ishaan Tharoor in The Washington Post. When the Berlin Wall came down 30 years ago this past weekend, the free world reacted with giddy euphoria. That revolutionary moment didn’t just mean the reunification of Germany, we were told, or even the defeat of communism and the end of the Cold War. The peaceful fall of the Wall was hailed as history’s joyous finish line, after which the global triumph of liberal democracy and capitalism was no longer in serious question. But history, it turns out, “never ‘ended.’” Thirty years later, Communist China is the world’s “looming hegemon”; Hungary and Poland are embracing authoritarian, one-party rule; the forces of tribalism and “demagogic populism” are ripping Europe apart; after a fleeting “Arab Spring,” the…

1 min.
good week/bad week

Good week for: Modern vampires, after Ambrosia, a Silicon Valley startup, resumed selling transfusions of blood plasma from young donors to wealthy, aging customers hoping to reinvigorate themselves. Ambrosia’s CEO had temporarily suspended operations after the FDA warned that the transfusions—which cost $8,000 per liter—had “no proven clinical benefit.” Ivanka Trump, who has single-handedly created 14 million jobs since 2017, a senior White House official (her father) boasted in a speech. This means Ivanka deserves credit for a staggering 233 percent of the 6 million U.S. jobs created during this period. Stasis, after the Dow Jones industrial average closed on Tuesday at 27691.49, representing a daily loss or gain of exactly 0.00 percent. This was the market’s first “flat finish” since 2014. Bad week for: Millennials, with a new study warning of “troubling generational health…