News & Politics
The Week Magazine

The Week Magazine

November 6, 2020

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

United States
The Week Publications, Inc.
Read More
48 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
only in america

A California middle school threatened to have a student arrested for missing three online classes. Mark Mastrov says his 12-year-old son is a straight-A student, and that the apparent absences were caused by his son joining sessions after roll call. Nonetheless, the school has warned the family that more absences could result in an arrest under a state truancy law. “That’s a bad law,” Mastrov says. A professor from the University of Massachusetts says referring to famous composers by their last name is racist and sexist. Writing in Slate​.com, Chris White argues that using “mono-names” for Mozart and Beethoven suggests that they are “on a different plane” from “suppressed nonwhite and nonmale” composers, and that “we need to ‘fullname’ all composers” to not perpetuate oppression. New evidence of election hacking U.S. intelligence agencies…

4 min.
prison epidemic

San Quentin, Calif. A state appellate court ordered prison officials last week to transfer or release half of the roughly 3,400 inmates at San Quentin Prison, after a coronavirus outbreak swept through the 168-year-old lockup’s aging 5-by-9-foot cells and sickened 75 percent of its total population and killed 28. In a 3-0 decision, judges said officials had acted with “deliberate indifference” to prisoners’ health, and called their actions “morally indefensible and constitutionally untenable.” The outbreak occurred in late May after prison authorities transferred 121 inmates from the California Institution for Men in Chino, where 700 people had been infected and nine had died. In court filings, lawyers argued officials tried to talk symptomatic inmates out of medical treatment and told them “they have to ‘kick it’ on their own.” Nationally, 200,000-plus…

1 min.
the day the music died for mclean

Don McLean has finally revealed the meaning of “American Pie,” said Rob Walker in The Guardian (U.K.). The symbolism has been debated for decades, and McLean has a go-to quip when asked: “It means I’ll never have to work again.” The song’s upcoming 50th anniversary will be celebrated with a documentary, a Broadway show, and a children’s book. For all its sing-along jauntiness, “American Pie” is quite sad, a eulogy for the American dream, with the refrain, “This will be the day that I die.” “I didn’t see America improving intellectually or politically,” McLean says. “It was going steadily downhill, and so was the music.” The opening verse—“Something touched me deep inside / the day the music died”—has long been interpreted as mourning Buddy Holly, McLean’s musical idol, who died…

2 min.
in the news

President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is shown in the new Borat film reaching into his pants while in a hotel room with a young actress playing Borat’s journalist daughter, but Giuliani says he was only “tucking my shirt in.” The prank comedy reveals the former New York City mayor, 76, in a Manhattan hotel suite being interviewed by Maria Bakalova, a 24-year-old actress. They enter the bedroom and Giuliani pats Bakalova on her lower back as she removes his microphone. Giuliani lies down on the bed and reaches into his pants twice; when Borat, played by Sacha Baron Cohen, bursts in, Giuliani says “Oop!” and sits up. Giuliani says he did nothing wrong, and that the released scene may have been “doctored” to discredit his efforts to implicate Joe…

1 min.
i read it in the tabloids

A Brazilian lawmaker suspected of corruption resigned after police raided his home and found him with almost $6,000 stuffed inside his underwear. State Sen. Chico Rodrigues, who was under suspicion for misappropriating Covid-19 funds, had what police described as “a large rectangular bulge” under his shorts. On request, he repeatedly reached into his underwear, taking out stack after stack of bills. Rodrigues later complained that he was targeted because he was “getting resources for the state to combat Covid-19.” A pair of raccoons broke into an empty California bank and wreaked havoc before an ATM customer outside spotted them. The two “masked bandits” climbed up a tree next to the bank, leaped into an air duct, and scurried around until the ceiling tiles broke, plunging them to the floor. A video…

1 min.
why the abortion ban came now

POLAND Michalina Kobla Wtv.pl The Polish government is willing to torture vulnerable women to keep the Catholic Church on its side, said Michalina Kobla. Our nation’s top court last week ruled that aborting a fetus with severe fetal abnormalities was unconstitutional—effectively banning all terminations in a country that already has some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. “This decision has nothing to do with actual protection of life,” since these fetuses die shortly after birth. All it does is force poor women, who can’t go abroad for abortions, to bear these doomed infants, whose lives, “spanning a few hours, will be an unimaginable torment.” The decision wasn’t sparked by a court case. A group of conservative lawmakers asked for a review of current law, knowing that the constitutional court—which the government has…