Political Asylum — August 29, 2012, 10:25 am

Alternate Roll Call

An exchange from last night in Tampa, where, after an eternity of keeping Mitt Romney at arm’s length, the G.O.P finally nominated him as its standard-bearer against Barack Obama. As always, there was a feather-preening roll call, during which each state introduced itself and cast its votes.

Jack: Kevin, don’t you wish sometimes that when the states introduced themselves, they’d dispense with the Chamber of Commerce pablum?

Florida, “the Lightning Capital of the World,” where more people are injured by God’s wrath than all the other states combined! The state that specifically outlaws sex with porcupines, and whose governor is the World Weekly News’s Bat Boy, casts all its votes for the next President of the United States, Mitt Romney!

Kevin: Nevada, the bankruptcy state, where the mustang is not only a wild horse but a job-creating brothel, setting of more pawnshop reality-shows than any other state in the nation, the proud adopted home of Bugsy Siegel and Virginia Hill, throws all in for Mitt Romney!

Jack: Maine—the producer of 90 percent of America’s toothpicks and the home of Joshua Chamberlain, the last Civil War soldier to die of his wounds (in 1914, at the age of eighty-six), whose residents are still required by law to carry shotguns to church in the event of Indian attacks, and the state that brags it has more French speakers than any other state, lance fièrement toutes ses voix pour Mitt Romney.

Kevin: Mississippi, the birthplace of Elvis, the Confederate holdout that abolished slavery in 1995 (that’s right, 1995, look it up!). Mississippi, the home of more churches per capita than any other state, and the inventor of the soft toilet seat (like we said, look it up), proudly casts all of its votes for Jefferson Davis IV.

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Arab artists take up — and look past — regional politics
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“Qalandia 2087, 2009,” by Wafa Hourani
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Visiting His Own Grave © Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
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“Heroin isn’t the weakness Art Pepper submits to; it’s the passion he revels in.”
Photograph (detail) © Laurie Pepper
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"Policymakers, recognizing the growing influence of civil disobedience and riots on the direction of the nation, had already begun turning to science for a response."
Illustration by Richard Mia
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“Almond insists that watching football does more than feed an appetite for violence. It’s a kind of modern-day human sacrifice, and it makes us more likely to go to war.”
Photograph by Harold Edgerton

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In Praise of Idleness


I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

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