In The Week magazine: taking down Putin's pink nightie
When state censorship backfires, why badgers live in fear, and where lobsters can never be cheap
THERE weren't many things to take the world's mind off Syria this week, but The Week is undoubtedly one of the best ways of uncovering the issues that different nations of the world find equally pressing.
In Britain, needless to say, it was badgers: the vehemence of the reaction to the cull that started two weeks ago – see Controversy of The Week in Issue 936, on sale now – is in startling contrast to France and other European countries, where culling is commonplace yet there's been hardly a murmur of protest.
In Russia – see the Arts page – there has been huge excitement about a picture of Putin in a pink night-dress ruffling the head of his prime minster, dressed in uplift bra and pants. Hardly anyone had heard of, much less seen the painting, hanging in an obscure St Petersburg gallery, until the Kremlin insisted it be taken down: there's censorship for you.
And in the USA - see Best American Articles - they've been getting awfully excited about the price of lobsters. Turns out they've had so many bumper lobster harvests that prices have collapsed at the docks, but because consumers still insist on regarding them as a delightful luxury, restaurants have almost been obliged to keep the prices high.
Yes, there is something reassuring in the thought that whatever atrocities and conflagrations may be scarring the world, humans are still grounded enough to find outrage and excitement in their own backyards.