On June 9, 1993, the Montreal Canadiens -- of whom I, like my confederate Andrew Cohen, have been a fan since the age of zero, and who had won the National Hockey League championship only once since the their last dynasty years in the '70s -- were headed into game five of the Stanley Cup finals against the Los Angeles Kings, up three games to one. That's a comfortable lead, but the Kings were Wayne Gretzky's team; they'd taken the first game of the series 4-1 and pushed the Canadiens into overtime in each of the next three. With the possibility that the Habs could win it all that night, my pals and I felt compelled to head down to the Forum to see what the scalpers were asking. $100 for a standing-room ticket may not seem like much now -- and frankly, it didn't seem like much the next day -- but then and there, we doubted our luck that our team would manage a fourth win in a row and settled for a sports bar on rue Saint-Laurent.
The next morning, this was the off-lede story on the front page ofThe Montreal Gazette:
Unleashing seven years of pent-up frustration, thousands of Montreal hockey fans swarmed downtown last night smashing car windows, overturning cars and looting stores as part of the explosion of emotions which followed the Canadiens' 24th Stanley Cup victory.
They poured out of the Forum, were joined by thousands of other fans congregating downtown and took over Ste. Catherine St.
Despite a heavy police presence in the streets the delirious fans went on a rampage. They swept along the street turning over cars, smashing store windows and attacking remote trucks belonging to television stations.
... Montreal Urban Community police, stung by criticism of their slow reaction to outof-hand celebrations after the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup in 1986, said they had deployed about four times the number of officers and patrol vehicles in the area surrounding the Forum than they would normally send to a hockey game.
But this time they were overwhelmed by sheer numbers as the fans took over Ste. Catherine St. and brought traffic to a standstill.
All of which is largely how things are remembered today: years of pent-up frustration, thousands of violent fans rioting, overwhelmed police. ... But it's not true.
As the final minutes of the game had passed, and everyone at our bar started realizing that we'd really won, euphoria took over. I remember a guy in a Habs jersey bear-hugging me, weeping, just because I was there beside him in the middle of it all. Before long, we spilled out of the bar into a river of Montrealers flowing down toward Sainte-Catherine, and from there west to the Forum. I've never seen anything like it since. The slightest eye contact was all any two people seemed to need before embracing, slapping each other on the back, or patting each other on the face, wide-eyed, yelling victory -- maybe in French, maybe in English.
By the time we were half-way down Sainte-Catherine, though, the scene was filling out in odd ways. We started noticing packs of young guys huddled on the side streets, carrying empty duffle bags. Others hung back with walkie-talkies, one in a doorway over here, another in an alleyway across the street. None of them were moving. The crowed thickened. Police were out in full riot gear, but they were concentrated in tight groups, far away from one another. For three or four long blocks at a time, we didn't see them at all. Then, the sound of breaking glass. People started darting from the side streets against the pedestrian flow, hitting shop windows and bagging the goods. These weren't fans; they were crews. Most folks in the street were stunned, many started booing loudly. A few idiots idly picked up sunglasses or T-shirts from shattered storefronts.
In the last few blocks before the Forum, the looting got worse, along, now, with the random trashing of property -- bus doors, bank windows, street lamps. A car had been flipped over and torched. Some people were into the rampaging. But most clearly weren't. There were confrontations between rioters and non-rioters. A few fights broke out. Looking up at the Forum, I heard someone walking behind me say in an American accent, "This city sucks! I'm never coming back here again ...."
Flashing forward to Vancouver this week, the story there seems straigtforward. You can read the reporting, which is far more extensive than it was in Montreal 18 years ago, and you can watch the raw ugliness for yourself all over YouTube. But we still don't really understand what drove this riot -- and should be slow to reckon that the apparent irony of Canadians rioting, or the reality of people from a famously beautiful city turning vicious, tells us anything about Vancouver or Canucks fans as a whole.
Forget credit hours—in a quest to cut costs, universities are simply asking students to prove their mastery of a subject.
MANCHESTER, Mich.—Had Daniella Kippnick followed in the footsteps of the hundreds of millions of students who have earned university degrees in the past millennium, she might be slumping in a lecture hall somewhere while a professor droned. But Kippnick has no course lectures. She has no courses to attend at all. No classroom, no college quad, no grades. Her university has no deadlines or tenure-track professors.
Instead, Kippnick makes her way through different subject matters on the way to a bachelor’s in accounting. When she feels she’s mastered a certain subject, she takes a test at home, where a proctor watches her from afar by monitoring her computer and watching her over a video feed. If she proves she’s competent—by getting the equivalent of a B—she passes and moves on to the next subject.
Bernie Sanders and Jeb Bush look abroad for inspiration, heralding the end of American exceptionalism.
This election cycle, two candidates have dared to touch a third rail in American politics.
Not Social Security reform. Not Medicare. Not ethanol subsidies. The shibboleth that politicians are suddenly willing to discuss is the idea that America might have something to learn from other countries.
The most notable example is Bernie Sanders, who renewed his praise for Western Europe in a recent interview with Ezra Klein. “Where is the UK? Where is France? Germany is the economic powerhouse in Europe,” Sanders said. “They provide health care to all of their people, they provide free college education to their kids.”
On ABC’s This Week in May, George Stephanopoulos asked Sanders about this sort of rhetoric. “I can hear the Republican attack ad right now: ‘He wants American to look more like Scandinavia,’” the host said. Sanders didn’t flinch:
Even when a dentist kills an adored lion, and everyone is furious, there’s loftier righteousness to be had.
Now is the point in the story of Cecil the lion—amid non-stop news coverage and passionate social-media advocacy—when people get tired of hearing about Cecil the lion. Even if they hesitate to say it.
But Cecil fatigue is only going to get worse. On Friday morning, Zimbabwe’s environment minister, Oppah Muchinguri, called for the extradition of the man who killed him, the Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer. Muchinguri would like Palmer to be “held accountable for his illegal action”—paying a reported $50,000 to kill Cecil with an arrow after luring him away from protected land. And she’s far from alone in demanding accountability. This week, the Internet has served as a bastion of judgment and vigilante justice—just like usual, except that this was a perfect storm directed at a single person. It might be called an outrage singularity.
On “Back to Back Freestyle” and “Charged Up,” the rapper forgoes the high road in his beef with Meek Mill.
Once upon a time, Drake made a vow of silence. “Diss me, you'll never hear a reply for it,” he said on “Successful,” the 2009 song in which the Toronto rapper correctly predicted he’d soon be superwealthy. This week, Drake has broken his vow twice over, a fact about which he seems conflicted. “When I look back,” he says on the new track “Back to Back Freestyle,” “I might be mad that I gave this attention.”
“This” is the beef started by the 28-year-old Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill, who recently tweeted accusations that Drake doesn’t write his own material. Depending on who you talk to or how you look at it, this is either a big deal or no deal at all. On Instagram, Lupe Fiasco had a good take: “Ghostwriting, or borrowing lines, or taking suggestions from the room has always been in rap and will always be in rap. It is nothing to go crazy over or be offended about unless you are someone who postures him or herself on the importance of authenticity and tries to portray that quality to your fans or the public at large. Then we might have a problem.”
A hawkish senator doesn't apply the lessons of Iraq
Earlier this week, Senator Lindsey Graham, a hawkish Republican from South Carolina, used a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to stage a theatrical display of his disdain for the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran.
The most telling part of his time in the spotlight came when he pressed Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to declare who would win if the United States and Iran fought a war:
Here’s a transcript of the relevant part:
Graham: Could we win a war with Iran? Who wins the war between us and Iran? Who wins? Do you have any doubt who wins?
Carter: No. The United States.
Graham: We. Win.
Little more than a decade ago, when Senator Graham urged the invasion of Iraq, he may well have asked a general, “Could we win a war against Saddam Hussein? Who wins?” The answer would’ve been the same: “The United States.” And the U.S. did rout Hussein’s army. It drove the dictator into a hole, and he was executed by the government that the United States installed. And yet, the fact that the Iraqi government of 2002 lost the Iraq War didn’t turn out to mean that the U.S. won it. It incurred trillions in costs; thousands of dead Americans; thousands more with missing limbs and post-traumatic stress disorder and years of deployments away from spouses and children; and in the end, a broken Iraq with large swaths of its territory controlled by ISIS, a force the Iraqis cannot seem to defeat. That’s what happened last time a Lindsey Graham-backed war was waged.
Netflix’s revival of the ensemble cult film does far more than play on nostalgia—it’s an absurd, densely plotted prequel that never forgets to be funny.
At some point, given time, word of mouth, and endless rewatching, a cult classic evolves into a universally beloved media property. Netflix, it seems, has become the arbiter of that transformation—first and most notably by reviving the adored-but-prematurely-canceled Arrested Development for a fourth season. Now the service is continuing this effort by turning the 2001 comedy Wet Hot American Summer, a critical and commercial bomb on its release, into an eight-episode prequel miniseries. Though it all but vanished without a trace on release, Wet Hot’s shaggy, surreal charm and its cast of future stars have helped it endure over the years, and despite its bizarre positioning, the Netflix edition hasn’t missed a beat, even 14 years later.
The IOC’s selection of Beijing as the host of its 2022 games is met with a lukewarm response.
When the International Olympic Committee selected Beijing on Friday as the host for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, the Chinese capital became the first city to have hosted both the Summer and Winter games. This, most likely, isn’t coincidental: Beijing’s hosting of the Summer games in 2008 was generally considered a success, and Almaty, the Kazakh city whose bid placed second, lacks comparable experience.
A closer examination of Beijing’s 2022 bid, though, reveals the selection is far more peculiar than it seems at first glance. One reason: It barely snows in Beijing. China’s northern plain is extremely dry, and what precipitation that falls in the capital tends to occur during the summer. Beijing’s Olympic planners have assured the IOC this won’t be a problem—the country will simply use artificial snow to accommodate events, such as skiing, that require it.
Every time you shrug, you don’t need to Google, then copy, then paste.
Updated, 2:20 p.m.
All hail ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
In its 11 strokes, the symbol encapsulates what it’s like to be an individual on the Internet. With raised arms and a half-turned smile, it exudes the melancholia, the malaise, the acceptance, and (finally) the embrace of knowing that something’s wrong on the Internet and you can’t do anything about it.
As Kyle Chayka writes in a new history of the symbol at The Awl, the meaning of the “the shruggie” is always two, if not three- or four-, fold. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ represents nihilism, “bemused resignation,” and “a Zen-like tool to accept the chaos of universe.” It is Sisyphus in unicode. I use it at least 10 times a day.
For a long time, however, I used it with some difficulty. Unlike better-known emoticons like :) or ;), ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ borrows characters from the Japanese syllabary called katakana. That makes it a kaomoji, a Japanese emoticon; it also makes it, on Western alphabetical keyboards at least, very hard to type. But then I found a solution, and it saves me having to google “smiley sideways shrug” every time I want to quickly rail at the world’s inherent lack of meaning.
Researchers say the most important variable is your expectations.
Let’s talk about that age-old question: What is happiness?
Ben Franklin said it’s wine (or beer, in the more well-known version of the quote). Peanuts creator Charles Schultz said it’s a warm puppy; his brainchild Charlie Brown, in a not-so-subtle slight to Snoopy, said it’s actually learning to whistle. Pharrell Williams, weirdly, said it’s a room without a roof. Research has said it’s ordinary experiences, or having kids, or maybe just genetics. The U.S. founding fathers didn’t specify, but they promised we’d all have the right to go after it. We used to think it’s something money can’t buy, though even that has been cast into doubt.
Clearly, there’s still some confusion.
Now researchers think they’ve found another answer, at least for the short term: Happiness is the management of expectations. In a study published earlier this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of British neuroscientists created an equation that they say accurately predicted the short-term happiness of more than 18,000 people by comparing their expectations of an event to its real-life outcomes.
Jim Gilmore joins the race, and the Republican field jockeys for spots in the August 6 debate in Cleveland.
After decades as the butt of countless jokes, it’s Cleveland’s turn to laugh: Seldom have so many powerful people been so desperate to get to the Forest City. There’s one week until the Republican Party’s first primary debate of the cycle on August 6, and now there’s a mad dash to get into the top 10 and qualify for the main event.
With former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore filing papers to run for president on July 29, there are now 17 “major” candidates vying for the GOP nomination, though that’s an awfully imprecise descriptor. It takes in candidates with lengthy experience and a good chance at the White House, like Scott Walker and Jeb Bush; at least one person who is polling well but is manifestly unserious, namely Donald Trump; and people with long experience but no chance at the White House, like Gilmore. Yet it also excludes other people with long experience but no chance at the White House, such as former IRS Commissioner Mark Everson.