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.
In an NPR interview, the Pretenders singer compared comments about her book—and its description of her sexual assault—to a “lynch mob.”
In maybe one of the most uncomfortable NPR interviews since Joaquin Phoenix went on Fresh Air, the Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde spoke with Morning Edition’s David Greene on Tuesday about her book, Reckless. Or, more specifically, about the mass outrage sparked by the section in which she writes about being sexually assaulted at the age of 21 by a group of bikers, and of taking “full responsibility” for it.
GREENE: I’ll just read a little bit here: “The hairy horde looked at each other. It was their lucky day. ‘How bout yous come to our place for a party.’” And you ended up with them, and then you proceeded to describe what they were asking you to do. “‘Get your bleeping clothes off, shut the bleep up, hurry up, we got bleep to do, hit her in the back of the head so it don’t leave no marks.’” This certainly sounds like an awful, awful experience with these men.
HYNDE: Uh, yeah. I suppose, if that’s how you read it, then that, yeah. You know, I was having fun, because I was so stoned. I didn’t even care. That’s what I was talking about, I was talking about the drugs more than anything, and how f***** up we were. And how it impaired our judgment to the point where it just had gotten off the scale.
Here’s what happens if astronomers make contact with a civilization on another planet.
The false alarm happened in 1997.
The Green Bank Radio Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia, was picking up some unusual signals—and Seth Shostak, then the head of the Center for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Research in Mountain View, Caifornia, was convinced that they had come from intelligent life somewhere in the universe.
“It looked like it might be the real deal,” Shostak recalled. Within a few hours, he had a call from The New York Times.
But within a day, it became clear that the source of excitement was actually a European satellite. To make matters worse, a second telescope in Georgia, which would have told the scientists about the true nature of the signal, wasn’t working.
American politicians are now eager to disown a failed criminal-justice system that’s left the U.S. with the largest incarcerated population in the world. But they've failed to reckon with history. Fifty years after Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report “The Negro Family” tragically helped create this system, it's time to reclaim his original intent.
By his own lights, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, ambassador, senator, sociologist, and itinerant American intellectual, was the product of a broken home and a pathological family. He was born in 1927 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but raised mostly in New York City. When Moynihan was 10 years old, his father, John, left the family, plunging it into poverty. Moynihan’s mother, Margaret, remarried, had another child, divorced, moved to Indiana to stay with relatives, then returned to New York, where she worked as a nurse. Moynihan’s childhood—a tangle of poverty, remarriage, relocation, and single motherhood—contrasted starkly with the idyllic American family life he would later extol.
Forget the Common Core, Finland’s youngsters are in charge of determining what happens in the classroom.
“The changes to kindergarten make me sick,” a veteran teacher in Arkansas recently admitted to me. “Think about what you did in first grade—that’s what my 5-year-old babies are expected to do.”
The difference between first grade and kindergarten may not seem like much, but what I remember about my first-grade experience in the mid-90s doesn’t match the kindergarten she described in her email: three and a half hours of daily literacy instruction, an hour and a half of daily math instruction, 20 minutes of daily “physical activity time” (officially banned from being called “recess”) and two 56-question standardized tests in literacy and math—on the fourth week of school.
That American friend—who teaches 20 students without an aide—has fought to integrate 30 minutes of “station time” into the literacy block, which includes “blocks, science, magnetic letters, play dough with letter stamps to practice words, books, and storytelling.” But the most controversial area of her classroom isn’t the blocks nor the stamps: Rather, it’s the “house station with dolls and toy food”—items her district tried to remove last year. The implication was clear: There’s no time for play in kindergarten anymore.
National Geographic Magazine has opened its annual photo contest, with the deadline for submissions coming up on November 16, 2015.
National Geographic Magazine has opened its annual photo contest, with the deadline for submissions coming up on November 16, 2015. The Grand Prize Winner will receive $10,000 and a trip to National Geographic headquarters to participate in its annual photography seminar. The kind folks at National Geographic were once again kind enough to let me choose among the contest entries so far for display here. Captions written by the individual photographers.
What went wrong with the conversion ministry, according to Alan Chambers, who once led its largest organization
In 2001, Alan Chambers was hired as the president of the world’s largest ex-gay ministry, Exodus International. That same year, U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher issued a report that stated, “there is no valid evidence showing that sexual orientation can be changed.”
Like most conservative Christian leaders at the time, Chambers considered the countercultural nature of his work a point of pride. During the latter part of the 20th century, Exodus and similar conservative groups promoted the idea that gay people could—and should try to—become straight. Ex-gay leaders traveled to churches and appeared on television news programs citing a litany of examples of happily married “former homosexuals” to demonstrate that sexual orientation is a choice and that change is possible.
Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.
And if thy brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee. And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty: thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him. And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing today.
— Deuteronomy 15: 12–15
Besides the crime which consists in violating the law, and varying from the right rule of reason, whereby a man so far becomes degenerate, and declares himself to quit the principles of human nature, and to be a noxious creature, there is commonly injury done to some person or other, and some other man receives damage by his transgression: in which case he who hath received any damage, has, besides the right of punishment common to him with other men, a particular right to seek reparation.
In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like. Here’s why that’s disastrous for education—and mental health.
Something strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense. Last December, Jeannie Suk wrote in an online article for The New Yorker about law students asking her fellow professors at Harvard not to teach rape law—or, in one case, even use the word violate (as in “that violates the law”) lest it cause students distress. In February, Laura Kipnis, a professor at Northwestern University, wrote an essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education describing a new campus politics of sexual paranoia—and was then subjected to a long investigation after students who were offended by the article and by a tweet she’d sent filed Title IX complaints against her. In June, a professor protecting himself with a pseudonym wrote an essay for Vox describing how gingerly he now has to teach. “I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me,” the headline said. A number of popular comedians, including Chris Rock, have stopped performing on college campuses (see Caitlin Flanagan’s article in this month’s issue). Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Maher have publicly condemned the oversensitivity of college students, saying too many of them can’t take a joke.
The country has seen periods of turmoil before. But this time may be different.
I am usually an optimist when it comes to Turkey’s future. Indeed, I wrote a whole book about The Rise of Turkey. But these days, I’m worried. The country faces a toxic combination of political polarization, government instability, economic slowdown, and threats of violence—from both inside and outside Turkey—that could soon add up to a catastrophe. The likelihood of that outcomeis increasing amid Russia’s bombing raids in Syria in support of its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which threaten to debilitate the moderate rebels and boost the extremists in Syria’s civil war, while leaving Turkey to deal with two unruly neighbors: Assad and ISIS.
Of course, Turkey has gone through periods of political and economic crisis before. During the 1970s, the country’s economy collapsed, and the instability led to fighting among right- and left-wing militant groups and security forces that killed thousands of people. Then, in the 1990s, Turkey was pummeled by triple-digit inflation and a full-blown Kurdish insurgency that killed tens of thousands. Turkey survived both those decades. The historian in me says that Turkey will be able to withstand the coming shock this time as well.
“Vaccine hesitancy” is a delicate way of phrasing a serious public-health problem. The World Health Organization defines it as “delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite availability of vaccination services.”
There’s a tendency to treat these vaccine-hesitant people as a monolith, the “anti-vaxers” who are putting everyone at risk. But people who don’t vaccinate aren’t just a homogenous mob of parents who fear toxins and want their kids to be exposed to chicken pox “the natural way.” There are a variety of reasons why people decide not to vaccinate, and a new paper by researchers at Rutgers University and Germany’s University of Erfurt and RWTH Aachen University, published in Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, breaks down the psychology of four different types of non-vaccinators, in the hopes of finding effective strategies to change their minds.