Taking stock of people and ideas in the news.
July 27 2001 8:30 PM


Let's get rid of it.

Except for the arrival of the royal bundle of joy, July was a pretty tumultuous month. Egypt is in chaos, the verdict in the Zimmerman trial divided the country, there were deadly train crashes in Quebec and Spain, and then we had to endure another Anthony Weiner scandal. August has to better, right? Wrong.  If history’s any indication, it’ll be worse. In 2001, Editor David Plotz made the case for reforming August and shortening it to 10 days.  Per Slate tradition, the article is reprinted below.

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Here is a framework for compromise. Cede the first 10 days of August back to July, thus extending holiday revelry for more than a week. September would claim the last 10 days of August, mollifying the folks who can't wait to get back to serious work. Labor Day would come 10 days earlier, the school year would run longer, and the rush of fall activity could get jump-started. August itself will keep 10 days. That is just enough: Every summer we'll be able to toot happily, "Gosh, August went by so quickly this year!"

And as for the 31st day, it will be designated a holiday independent from any month. It will fall after the 10th and last day of August, and it will celebrate the end of that most useless month.

Correction, Aug. 23, 2004: This article originally omitted Bill Clinton from the list of presidents born in August. ( Return to the corrected sentence.)