Six Days, Later
The Economist on the 40th anniversary of the Six-Day War.
Updated Friday, May 25, 2007, at 3:06 PM
Economist, May 26
The cover article commemorates the 40th anniversary of Israel's Six-Day War. In light of continuing violence in the Middle East, it "has come to look like one of history's pyrrhic victories." The Jewish state's triumph over neighboring Arab forces left Israelis "intoxicated by victory and the Arabs paralysed by humiliation." The subsequent land grab gave rise to today's conflict, "feeding poison into the wounded relations between Islam and the West as a whole." The article argues, "Israel must give up the West Bank and share Jerusalem; the Palestinians must give up the dream of return and make Israel feel secure as a Jewish state. All the rest is detail."… A special report addresses America's "marriage gap," the "widening gulf between how the best- and least-educated Americans approach marriage and child-rearing." In recent years, the divorce rate has dropped among Americans with college degrees, while continuing to increase in groups with lower education levels. Marriage is itself a "wealth-generating institution," linked to increased productivity and greater prosperity.—P.F.
Time, June 4 A special report gives No Child Left Behind a "C," praising the program for "spotlighting schools that fail to educate all their children" while outlining areas for improvement. Problems include the program's tendency to encourage test-prep instead of learning and troublesome inconsistencies in states' testing methods. NCLB received an "F" in the category "helping schools improve," since "even the Department of Education concedes that its remedies for chronic school failure are not working." The legislation is up for renewal this year, so Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., are wading through a "mind-numbing" number of suggested revisions. … A piece examines how the "psychology of disgust" affects marketing: "Some products—trash bags, diapers, kitty litter, tampons—invoke a subconscious feeling of disgust even before they're used for their ultimate messy purposes." The oft-irrational but hard-wired concept of "touch transference"—a "fancy term for cooties"—is beginning to affect where retailers place products customers feel are "icky."— D.S.
New York Times Magazine, May 27 Stephen Rodrick follows The 40-Year-Old Virgin writer/producer Judd Apatow around the set of his new film, Knocked Up. Apatow's peculiar comedic material arose from difficult situations in his own past. He weathered the painful divorce of his parents, the cancellation of several television shows—"the thing in life most like a divorce"—and dark days of depression. Now, he's turning his focus to the serious aspects of life and says Knocked Up is a "valentine" to his family. … Christopher Caldwell puts faces on the "increasingly entrenched" parallel society developing between German society and the almost 3 million German residents of Turkish descent. Germany's interior minister is focusing on how the two groups "meet, mate, [and] marry" because the country's immigration problem is increasingly centered around marriage. Young Turkish-Germans are uneasy with the individuality and "degenerate" state of Germans their age, and the majority still import spouses from their homeland. Turkish-Germans are clinging to the Muslim value of "sleeping on the same pillow until the end of your life" and widening a troubling divide.— D.S.
New York, May 28 The cover article is a collection of first-person accounts of cancer, "the ultimate life-altering experience." New medical advancements and high-profile victims like Tony Snow and Elizabeth Edwards are changing the disease. "Two decades ago, cancer was a sentence, with a period at the end," writes the article. "Now it's rambling—discursive, ending uncertain." One person who beat stomach cancer writes, "I think a lot of people die because they lose interest in life; they stop caring about anything other than playing golf or going south. Florida is a place I wouldn't mind going after I die, but not while I'm alive." An 81-year-old Auschwitz survivor notes, "Human evil is worse than this cancer."… An article profiles recent West Point graduates, "the first class to matriculate after the war in Iraq began." While the cadets project a "clear-eyed idealism," the outlook for their class is daunting: "[T]he most likely scenario is that all but a handful of [2007's] 900 graduates will be in harm's way by this time next year."— P.F.
Chronicle of Higher Education, May 25
A special report analyzes the past 24 years of U.S. News & World Report's college rankings system, concluding that it "does not provide a level playing field for all contestants." Despite the noncooperation of many colleges and the insistence of academics that the system "has no intellectual value," the U.S News rankings—referred to in-house as their "swimsuit issue"—"remain … as influential as ever." They even figure into how some universities structure their priorities and reward their leadership. U.S. News Editor Brian Kelly counters that the system is simply a "journalistic device" that represents the magazine's "best judgment of what is important." … A piece reports five influential congressmen have mailed letters to the top 10 illegal-downloading colleges, as named by the RIAA and MPAA. The colleges received "the most notices of copyright infringement over the past academic year." The letter contains a detailed survey, asking colleges for information on their piracy-prevention measures. Several college presidents indicated that their institutions would willingly participate; others balked, saying the survey unfairly singled them out.—D.S.
Weekly Standard, May 28 The cover story describes how the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., came to be and mourns the spread of "unmonumental" memorials. The winning design, "Crescent of Embrace," initially drew criticism because the crescent is an Islamic symbol. The revised version, which replaces the crescent with a "bowl," will also include 40 groves of trees, 40 red and sugar maples, and a "Tower of Voices" housing 40 wind chimes, to commemorate the 40 passengers aboard Flight 93. The author expresses dismay that this $45 million structure, expected to pump nearly $90 million into the local economy within five years, will replace the current ad hoc memorial. … An editorial argues that the war in Iraq, like World War II before it, is a "fundamental [test] of character." Pulling out now would mean admitting defeat to al-Qaida and deferring to Iran. It would also mean abandoning leaders who have stood up to Shiite militias. By withdrawing, "[w]e will have exposed every decent person in the country to destruction."— C.B.
The New Yorker, May 28
Adam Gopnik investigates a recent explosion of literature investigating Abraham Lincoln's language—and what it tells us about him. Did his Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton say Lincoln belonged to the "ages" or the "angels"? This disputed detail colors our conflicting views of Lincoln as a "cold-blooded nationalist" and "stoic emperor" or a "tender, soulful figure of saintly probity and patience." While remaining resolutely "not any kind of churchgoing Christian," Lincoln appeared to settle on an uneasy blend of "enlightenment rationalism and Calvinist fatalism." Gopnik concludes that both versions of the "ages and angels" story are convincing, and appropriately so. … Anthony Lane reminisces on the work of Georges Remi, the creator of the comic character "Tintin," whom Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are bringing to the big screen. The wildly popular investigator appeared in 23 books that sold 200 million copies. He was an investigator "younger than Maigret, more geographically thrusting, and far less fond of the bottle, but imbued by his creator with a similar, lightly-borne air of moral purpose."— D.S.
Newsweek, May 28 The cover article assesses Bill Clinton's impact on Hillary's run for the presidency. Sen. Clinton's campaign is "carefully working to manage an asset no other presidential candidate has ever had: a spouse who has run, and won, twice." Critics have derided Bill Clinton's presidency as a "holiday from history," but Hillary Clinton's campaign mangers "are convinced that the more the country is asked to remember the Clinton past, the better her fortunes will be." One source inside the Bush camp warns that the former president could have a hard time playing Hillary's No. 2: "Bush senior thinks Clinton had better be careful what he wishes for; her winning will be harder for him than he can imagine."… A special report ranks America's top 100 public high schools. Some experts decry the ranking system's formula, which uses Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Cambridge tests, for not being comprehensive enough: It's "wrong for Newsweek to label 'best' schools with high dropout rates and low average test scores."— P.F.
Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.
Paige Ferrari is a freelance writer and former Slate intern.
David Sessions is a former Slate intern. He is currently a blogger at Politics Daily.