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This Week

Can’t Look Away

Lines via Shutterstock

Every Friday we take a look back at the week’s headlines, centering on a theme we’ve singled out as particularly important. This week, we would rather not have known that Assad is sending YouTube videos to his wife’s iPad that mock the attack on Homs. And we’d rather be told young designers were being creative in India for a reason greater than money. But the best headlines are often the ones we know seem painful, sad, or ridiculous—ones that provoke our mashochistic tendencies and the inability to look or click away.

Guardian reads cache of Assad’s emails, finds him mocking reforms, exchanging YouTube videos with his wife:

They appear to show the president’s wife spending thousands of dollars over the internet for designer goods while he swaps entertaining internet links on his iPad and downloads music from iTunes.

“Dawn of design” found in India, though skilled young people prefer to be artists “for money and glory”:

India is now emerging into a new consumer society where the drab products, poor quality and inefficiencies of its pre-1991 controlled economy are becoming less acceptable.

Thirty-one notes on the case of the “crazy” athlete:

Examples of the “crazy” athlete include Ron Artest/Metta World Peace, Mario Balotelli, Dennis Rodman, Mike Tyson, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Milton Bradley, Randy Moss.

Report from an HR worker:

Best candidate ever? Bleeding through shredded tights and positively reeking of alcohol. Then she excused herself for a moment to smoke a cigarette outside my office. Ladies and Gentlemen, the rare interview trifecta of poor judgment!

Amnesty identifies 31 forms of torture presently used in Syria, on a scale not seen in decades:

The torture meted out to those arrested on suspicion of opposing the government has generally followed a set pattern, says the Amnesty International report, titled “I wanted to die’: Syria’s torture survivors speak out.”

For sale: prison-cell upgrade; your doctor’s cellphone number; the right to pollute:

We live in a time when almost everything can be bought and sold. Over the past three decades, markets—and market values—have come to govern our lives as never before. We did not arrive at this condition through any deliberate choice. It is almost as if it came upon us.

Three months shy of its 10th birthday, the Hague’s International Criminal Court hands down its first verdict:

Against the 5m death toll and untold victims of rape, arson and looting, the charges were narrow. Nonetheless the unanimous ruling is a victory for international justice and for Mr Lubanga’s myriad child victims.

Horror stories from the world of online dating:

My online date was eight-and-a-half months pregnant. She never mentioned that prior to our meeting. True, I swear. My first words on our date were: ’Pardon me, but are you pregnant?’

The original Walter Kirn GQ essay on business travelers that became Up in the Air:

The only people who sympathize, they say, are others who’ve been to the front and know the life. That’s what they call it: the life. It’s soldier talk.

We’ve come to think of madness as some regrettable and essentially random byproduct of combat instead of an intrinsic part of it.


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