Heineken’s new ad about political unity tries to succeed where Pepsi failed

Reactions to the “Worlds Apart” ad campaign illustrate why political change takes more than sharing a drink. The latest attempt by a major beverage company to wade into the turbulent sociopolitical climate through advertising is being met with significantly more praise than Pepsi’s recent botched attempt with Kendall Jenner. Heineken’s new “Worlds Apart” ad, released April 20, asks a simple but fraught question: Can people on opposite ends of the world’s increasingly polarized ideological spectrum…

"Heineken’s new ad about political unity tries to succeed where Pepsi failed"

Marine Le Pen’s party is facing allegations of Holocaust denial … again

Jean-François Jalkh was a longtime party worker behind the scenes. He’s been accused of minimizing the Holocaust in an interview from 2000. French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen’s success in the first round of elections was widely attributed to her hard-fought effort to “detoxify” her far-right National Front party of the anti-Semitism that marked its past, and to root out Holocaust minimizers from its leadership. There was even a French word coined for the effort,…

"Marine Le Pen’s party is facing allegations of Holocaust denial … again"

Neil Gaiman’s obsession with identifying the metaphor, in one Americans Gods passage

Nearly all of Neil Gaiman’s books have a moment where the narrator steps back, looks at the reader knowingly, and says, “You get that this is a metaphor, right?” In Stardust, Fairy is a metaphor for story; in Neverwhere, London Below is a metaphor for the unknown. And as you’re nodding and saying, “Yes, I took high school English, I see what you’re doing here,” the narrator will add, “But also it’s real,” and then…

"Neil Gaiman’s obsession with identifying the metaphor, in one Americans Gods passage"

Trump’s environmental agenda at 100 days: lazy and plutocratic

No serious accomplishments or coherent philosophy, just favors for fossil fuels. Donald Trump has been in office long enough now to make his leadership style clear. There’s the chaos and daily mini scandals, the rumors and intrigues, the bewildering fire hose of clickbait, yes. But in terms of actual governance, what Trump has done so far can be summed up in two words: lazy and plutocratic. Trump has always been a performer above all, hungry…

"Trump’s environmental agenda at 100 days: lazy and plutocratic"

Elisabeth Moss on The Handmaid’s Tale and what happens when sex becomes a radical political act

What do her Handmaid’s Tale character and Mad Men character have in common? “A fantastic stubbornness.” Elisabeth Moss gives what might be the TV performance of the year in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The actress is probably best known for her work as Peggy Olson on AMC’s long-running drama Mad Men. In her new role, she plays the character of Offred — a woman forced to live as a “handmaid” and valued only for her…

"Elisabeth Moss on The Handmaid’s Tale and what happens when sex becomes a radical political act"

Photos: what Cassini saw as it dived in between Saturn and its rings

The spacecraft survived its first “grand finale” dive. These pictures prove it. On Wednesday April 26, the Cassini spacecraft did something extraordinary: It slipped through the gap between Saturn and its rings, becoming the first spacecraft ever to explore this region. The trip took it closer to the top of Saturn’s atmosphere than any spacecraft had been before. And, yes, there are pictures. On Thursday, NASA released these unprocessed images from Cassini. (Unprocessed means dust…

"Photos: what Cassini saw as it dived in between Saturn and its rings"

Fox News’s problem is way bigger than O’Reilly

Before you get too excited about O’Reilly’s firing, look at his replacements. Fox News’s decision to fire Bill O’Reilly over his history of sexual harassment allegations is a big deal. O’Reilly has been the most influential voice on cable news for years, and it took significant pressure from advertisers to finally get Fox to part ways with their star. In an internal memo explaining the decision to fire O’Reilly, Fox News’s owners stated their “consistent…

"Fox News’s problem is way bigger than O’Reilly"

Report: Trump’s aides now prefer to present him with one option rather than letting him choose among several

This is a stark contrast to past presidents, who have styled themselves as “deciders.” There’s a time-tested way for White House aides or other administration officials to roll a president into approving a preferred policy of theirs while letting him think he’s still in charge. They present him with three options: one of which is obviously too extreme, one of which is far too weak, and the third of which is just right. This last…

"Report: Trump’s aides now prefer to present him with one option rather than letting him choose among several"

British Columbia has a plan to counter Trump’s tariffs with a blow to American coal

A worthwhile Canadian initiative. British Columbia’s prime minister, Christy Clark, has an idea for Canada to hit back at President Trump’s new softwood lumber tariffs in a way that microtargets his political base — banning thermal coal exports from her province’s ports. The ports themselves are under federal jurisdiction, so it would be up to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau whether to try for this action. But Clark explained during a press conference Wednesday at…

"British Columbia has a plan to counter Trump’s tariffs with a blow to American coal"

What the French election tells us about the rise of populism

This is not an existential crisis for Western democracy. The recent election in France has, once again, raised questions about the political fate of Europe — and of the West more generally. In France, the election results were more or less what pollsters expected: Centrist independent Emmanuel Macron and far-right populist Marine Le Pen advanced to the second and final round of voting. Macron and Le Pen have almost nothing in common, save for their…

"What the French election tells us about the rise of populism"