Newsweek March 22, 2013

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United States
The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC
37 号


all for $100

OBSCENITY , SUPREM E Court Justice Potter Stewart famously declared, is difficult to define but rather easy to identify One knows it when one sees it. British philosopher Bertrand Russell provided a more succinct definition: “Obscenity is whatever happens to shock some elderly and ignorant magistrate.” In 1972, elderly and ignorant magistrates, alongside conservative Christians and radical feminists, were shocked by the runaway success of the low-budget porno-comedy film Deep Throat, which quickly distinguished itself as the highest-grossing adult movie in American history. The film’s male lead, Harry Reems-the suggestive nom de porn of Brooklyn-born actor Herbert Streicher-was paid the princely sum of $100 for his performance. Deep Throat’s infiltration of the mainstream (it grossed, according to some estimates, $50 million) demanded legal remedy. And the Nixon administration, sinking in the quicksand…

a holy book

NEWLY ENTHRONED, his papal whites barely wrinkled, Francis I has taken the Roman Catholic world by storm. Vaticanistas parse the pontiff’s every gesture and genuflection, but the good will toward the new pope is hard to miss. “Humble,” “simple,” “unpretentious,” and “a compassionate conservative” are a few of the characteristics he’s been assigned, though it may be prayerful thinking. The fact is precious little of substance has been revealed about what the simpatico Argentine cleric actually believes. Until now. It turns out there’s plenty to mine, and the best part is not locked away in church archives but spelled out in a series of conversations between Jorge Mario Bergoglio and his fellow Argentine, Rabbi Abraham Skorka. For 20 years, the archbishop of Buenos Aires and Skorka, leader of the Latin American Jewish…

wang yi

WANG YI is urbane, multilingual, pragmatic, and, when needed, a wily negotiator. In short: he is everything a top diplomat should be. And that is a good thing, because as China’s new foreign minister, he’ll have his hands full. A Japan specialist who speaks fluent Japanese, Wang’s most urgent priority is the alarming deterioration of Sino-Japanese tensions, triggered by a territorial dispute and exacerbated by lingering memories of Japan’s occupation of parts of China until the end of World War II. The big question, however, is whether Wang and China’s other professional diplomats have much room to maneuver, given growing nationalism and the mounting influence of hawkish generals. Xi Jinping, who officially became China’s president this month, has exhorted the Army to “get ready to fight well and to w i n…

wait before you date

TEEN ROMANCE may have been dissected a million ways by popular culture, but that dubious analysis pales in comparison to a recent study that followed the arc of teen dating from grades 6 to 12. “We see four trajectories,” says Pamela Orpinas, a professor of behavioral research at the University of Georgia and the lead author of the study, which included 600 students. “Some kids never or hardly ever dated; some kids did not date during middle school and started dating during high school. Others dated all the time-or at least that’s what they reported. And others reported dating all the time in sixth grade, and then decreased, and then increased again.” And the significance of these trajectories? Those who dated the most were shooting toward disaster: they were four times more…

little island, big problem

WHO’S GOING to bail out Cyprus: Brussels or Moscow? That’s the multibillion-dollar question. In mid-March, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund proposed a rescue package for the tiny island-to the tune of roughly $20.5 billion. But this bailout proposal was different: $13 billion in aid being offered was conditional upon Cyprus raising the remaining $7.5 billion through a hefty one-time tax on its bank depositors. Not surprisingly the Cypriots, among others, were not pleased with this idea. And on March 19, to Brussels’s surprise, the Cypriot Parliament overwhelmingly rejected the bailout package. Officials are now scrambling to arrive at a solution before March 26, when Cypriot banks are scheduled to reopen. To some, the Cyprus crisis may seem like much ado about nothing-surely a tiny country of under a…

check, please!

IT HAPPENED again not long ago. We went out to dinner and had a perfectly pleasant meal. We were sated. Ready to go. Then we sat. And I wondered what I always wonder: Who among my fellow Americans enjoys this ritual? You ask for the check. The waiter walks away. He brings it. He walks away again. You put your card in the little sleeve. You wait. The waiter picks it up. He walks away again. Eventually after reciting the specials at one table and opening a bottle of wine at another, he returns. And finally 20 minutes after you were ready to leave, the restaurant is ready for you to leave. Within those 20 minutes is contained not just the customer’s inconvenience, but a national crisis and disgrace. America suffers…