Happy Oscar weekend! What should win Best Picture? Slate’s culture desk has the answer, or actually eight answers. The video series “The Best Case for Best Picture” is hard to describe but perfectly executed; just watch a few. My favorite is the Spotlight one, which should earn Jordan Weissmann a Best Performance Eating Cake nod, and the one for The Martian, in which our boss Julia Turner demonstrates that she could cheerfully win an argument across 49 million miles of desolate space.
Back on Earth: Jeb Bush dropped out of the Republican primary race, and Seth Stevenson wrote an improbably affecting goodbye to him. Without Bush, who will stop Donald Trump, the candidate of violence and authoritarianism? Not the primary calendar’s inexorable march, says Jim Newell—although Marco Rubio finally figured out how to take him on. Not well enough, says Josh Voorhees. Anyway, it won’t make a difference, says Jamelle Bouie. Time to worry about a Trump presidency, says Voorhees. Nah, says Bouie.
While the politics guys were arguing, other Slatesters busied themselves sorting out cultural phenomena: The useful suffix -splain, which “tried to contain too many ideas and popped like a balloon.” The ubiquitous “Damn, Daniel” video, which offered “the chance to observe high school boy one-on-one interactions in the wild.” And Facebook’s new reaction buttons, which felt “strangely more constricting than the solitary like button”—although, as with everything Facebook does, “there is a double purpose at work here.”
“Hillary Clinton: The Leader You Want When the World Ends” by Eileen Myles, BuzzFeed
Wonky analysis and earnest argumentation are not the only ways to write about politics—in fact, they may not even be the best. This unruly and unapologetically idiosyncratic essay is the most compelling piece on the 2016 race that I’ve read in weeks. Essays are meant for the honest (and, ideally, stylish) thinking-through of an idea or commitment on the page, and that’s what poet Myles offers here. —J. Bryan Lowder, associate editor
“The Apple Case Will Grope Its Way Into Your Future” by Farhad Manjoo, New York Times
Coverage of the battle between Apple and the FBI has focused on the financial or national-security stakes. But this piece, by our former Slate colleague, brings the debate into our homes and reminds us how far the implications of the FBI requests could reach. Think about what the government could learn from your Amazon Echo or your Nest thermostat, and then reread George Orwell’s 1984. —Rachael Larimore, senior editor
This tweet by David Ehrlich
This week David Ehrlich, who’s filling in for Dana Stevens as Slate’s film critic while she’s on book leave, finally saw Hamilton. The story of why he didn’t see it at the Public last spring, despite his father buying him tickets, is a sad one; the mini-essay Ehrlich wrote on Twitter about the experience of finally attending the last play his father ever saw is quite beautiful. I loved it, and I’m glad Lin-Manuel Miranda did too. —Dan Kois, culture editor
Also: Amanda Hess “freaking loves Shauna Miller,” the author of this essay about the perks of being 37, divorced, and alone. Jordan Weissmann called Jeffrey Toobin’s New Yorker editorial “the eulogy that Antonin Scalia truly deserves.” I loved this amazing NPR story about an engineer who tried to stop the Challenger launch and suffered 30 years of guilt for having failed. And finally, “if you’re wondering where all the past tax returns of presidential candidates are collected,” John Dickerson tweeted, “it’s here.”
Very Short Q-and-A
This week’s personal question is addressed to senior editor Forrest Wickman.
Slate Plus: Your nipple-revealing performance as Margot Robbie in The Big Short was the breakout success of the “Best Case for Best Picture” series. How did you get into character?
Forrest Wickman: Like any good actor, I had to start with research: figuring out whether it was “Robby” or “Robey," working on my Australian accent, subduing Leonardo DiCaprio with my stilettos. But the real problem was a practical one: the bubbles. I’d bought a 36 oz. bottle of Mr. Bubble, and according to the instructions I only needed two ounces for one tubful. I started with six ounces (The Big Short didn’t skimp on the bubbles!), but the tub barely worked up a fizz. Soon, I’d emptied the entire 36 oz. bottle, but the froth hardly covered half the water’s surface. Worse: The bath was shallow, covering me only from the stomach up, and I couldn’t very well do the scene with my tits out. But then I remembered that Robbie was above all a professional. So I took a deep breath, smoothed back my flyaways, and slipped into something more comfortable.
Thanks, Forrest! And thanks to you for your Slate Plus membership, which supports Slate’s journalism. See you next week!
Slate Plus editorial director