It’s the Memorial Day weekend, and I wish I were in a better mood here at the official start of summer — and I wish this edition of Your Weekend Reader was a little sunnier. But nope.
Maybe the most pointed coverage of this nation’s continuing string of mass shootings — which, of course, continued this week in Uvalde, Texas — came from an unexpected place, the satirical news site The Onion. In the wake of this week’s heartbreaking shooting at an Uvalde elementary school, The Onion brushed off the same story it runs every time there’s a similar shooting. The headline gives you the main idea behind the story: “No Way to Prevent This, Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.”
But to add a little more punch, The Onion’s home page on Wednesday ran the same headline and story 21 separate times, including photos and datelines from the places where “this” has happened in the recent past — including Roseburg, Oregon. As of Saturday afternoon, the home page of The Onion looked the same as it did on Wednesday, and here’s a glimpse:
The Onion also had a couple of stories that had a real sting: “Report: Uvalde Gunman Had Accomplices as Far as Washington, D.C.” and “NRA Warns Banning Assault Weapons Would Infringe On Americans’ Constitutional Right To Make Them All Pay.”
The Onion isn’t the only media outlet recycling memorable stories about gun violence in the United States. Before he left The New York Times to, well, mount the shortest campaign for Oregon governor on record, Nicholas Kristof wrote a compelling piece for the newspaper about how to reduce shootings. His key point: Treat guns as a public health issue, and regulate them appropriately. He suggests using as a model the successful efforts the nation followed to regulate automobiles to reduce the death toll they cause. The piece originally ran in 2017, and the Times rolls it out frequently in the wake of a mass shooting — which is, sad to say, it regularly reappears on the paper’s website.
Kristof reappeared on the Times’ website this week with a new piece in which he updates some of the arguments he made back in 2017. He also makes reference to The Onion’s “No Way to Prevent This” story, which seemed to get an unusual amount of coverage this week.
Meanwhile, a faith-based Portland organization, Lift Every Voice Oregon, is working to get a measure on the state’s November ballot that would require people to get a permit and pass a background check before buying a gun and would limit the size of ammunition magazines to 10 rounds. The group needs to gather 112,000 signatures by July 8 to get the measure on the ballot and says it’s already got 30,000 in hand.
Let’s continue this weekend’s stroll down Bummer Avenue: Here’s a new story from the Times about an effort, led in part by Republican office-holders, to punish companies that make climate change a priority. The effort appears to have convinced Black Rock, the world’s largest asset manager, to pull back some of its efforts to persuade companies to do more to battle climate change.
Were you following the Portland murder trial of Nancy Crampton Brophy, the romance novelist who was accused of murdering her husband? Then you probably weren’t shocked by the guilty verdict, as The Oregonian/OregonLive reports. Legal experts agreed one somewhat damning piece of evidence was the fact that, years before, Brophy had written a blog post titled “How to Murder Your Husband.” And just like that, another perfect crime is foiled.
Oregon agriculture officials have given tentative approval to a controversial Foster Farms chicken facility that would be located near Scio. The Oregon Capital Chronicle, which has been monitoring the proposal, has the latest.
Staying in that part of the mid-valley for a moment: Incumbent U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader has been officially ousted by a Democratic challenger, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, in a race that never really was that close, even though uncertainty hung over it because of that ballot snafu in Clackamas County. The Oregonian/OregonLive estimates that McLeod-Skinner, a Terrebonne attorney, will wind up with about 56% of the votes cast. Schrader became vulnerable in the wake of redistricting, which resulted in a Fifth district that now stretches from Portland to Bend — and includes Republican-friendly Linn County. That’s part of the reason why some political prognosticators now believe the November race between McLeod-Skinner and Republican nominee Lori Chavez-DeRemer, the mayor of Happy Valley, might be a toss-up.
We have bad health news and good health news this weekend from The Atlantic. Which do you want to read first? The bad news? Of course.
Here goes: Some experts now believe that you’re likely to catch COVID many more times — in general, maybe once every three years. Yes, that means COVID will become kind of like the flu, and experts tend to believe that future COVID infections will be, ahem, “less dangerous.” But, as Katherine J. Wu of The Atlantic notes in this piece, considering the havoc that the coronavirus can wreak on the body — both short- and long-term — “less dangerous” may not be much of a comfort. The Atlantic keeps its Pulitzer Prize-winning coronavirus coverage outside its paywall, a decision that other news organizations should follow.
Now the good news: The sit-up, that bane of exercise routines for decades now, is a thing of the past, as trainers increasingly find that it’s relatively ineffective and can easily lead to injury. Amanda Mull has the story, for The Atlantic.
One last note from the Your Weekend Reader Health Desk: Have you spent much time this week combing the internet for information about monkeypox? Then stop right now and read this story about “cyberchondria” from the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard.
“Triangle of Sadness,” a social satire from Swedish director Ruben Ostlund, has won this year’s Palme d’Or, the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival. “Sadness” is a blunt class comedy about a fashion model celebrity couple who are invited on a luxury cruise for the uber-rich; Woody Harrelson is in the cast.
While I was waiting for that news to break, I realized that Sight and Sound, the journal of the British Film Institute, is right in the middle of polling to update its list of the best movies ever made. Everyone has their own list of best movies, but the Sight and Sound list holds a special place among film fans and is updated every 10 years, a fascinating exercise in how critical tastes change over the years. Work is underway to compile the 2022 edition of the list, which prompted me to go back to the 2012 list, which you can access here. (You might recall the fuss when “Vertigo” knocked “Citizen Kane” from the top of the list back then.) In any event, I was shocked and humiliated to note how many of those 100 films I haven’t seen. I can’t speak for you, but I’ll be spending some of the weekend rearranging my Netflix DVD queue — and, yes, I still have a Netflix DVD queue and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
That’s all for this weekend. Take a moment or two this weekend to pay tribute to the reason we have a Memorial Day, and I’ll see you next weekend.