The Slatest for Sept. 8: Why We Can’t Agree on Martin Short

The Slatest for Sept. 8: Why We Can’t Agree on Martin Short

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Martin Short speaks onstage during the 74th Primetime Emmys at Microsoft Theater on September 12, 2022, in Los Angeles, California.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

We’re experiencing something of a Martin Shortaissance. The Only Murders in the Building star is having a moment—but Dan Kois can’t stand the guy. “I find Martin Short’s whole schtick exhausting, sweaty, and desperately unfunny,” Kois writes. “Throughout his evolution from sketch-comedy standout to uneasy movie star to twice-failed talk-show host to enthusiastic song-and-dance man, I’ve wrinkled my nose.”

So what’s the secret to Short’s appeal? Is he a comic genius, or the most annoying actor on Earth? Come along with Kois as he tackles these burning questions.

RICO, hell no!

You may be familiar with Georgia’s RICO law from its starring role in the latest Trump indictment. But there’s another recent RICO indictment that deserves our attention. The law is being used to charge 61 people with being part of a “criminal enterprise” for their involvement in the movement against the construction of a police training complex in the forest outside Atlanta, known as Cop City.

Jocelyn Simonson explains what’s going on with the case, and why it’s a disaster for civil liberties.

Elon scapegoats the ADL

Elon Musk, holding his hands together.

Alain Jocard/AFP via Getty Images

Yes, Musk is now blaming a Jewish organization for his own failings—look in the mirror, dude!—and it’s inflaming old, insidious conspiracy theories. Emily Tamkin takes stock of the whole mess.

Big mouse plays chicken

TV watchers who get their cable via Spectrum may have noticed something weird last weekend: There was no ESPN. That’s because there’s a standoff between Spectrum’s parent, Charter Communications, and the Walt Disney Company, which owns the sports network. At a time when more Americans are cutting cords, this game of corporate chicken is worth paying attention to. At stake in all this, according to Alex Kirshner? No less than the future of TV.

Plus: Remember that time Disney fought Ron DeSantis over a weird little tract of land in Florida? Molly Olmstead tells the tale.

Some friendly advice

Three experienced defense attorneys have a warning for Kenneth Chesebro, one of the 18 co-defendants indicted alongside Trump in the Georgia election interference case.

“Your current path represents a grave threat to your liberty,” Marcus Childress, Caroline Darmody, and Katya Jestin write. “We urge you to reconsider for that purpose alone.”

The three lawyers share some friendly advice for Mr. Chesebro: Plead guilty and cooperate against Trump.

I’m at the Pizza Hut, I’m at the Taco Bell

A taco and a pizza with stylized googly eyes snuggle close near a sign for a combination Taco Bell-Pizza Hut.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images, and Getty Images Plus.

It’s part of Fast-Food Week. It’s hip-hop history. It’s a combination fast-food week/rap history. Nitish Pahwa tells the story behind the greatest fast-food anthem of all time.

Plus: Seek not for whom the purple bell tolls! Instead, Imogen West-Knights asks: What if the ideal literary magazine is about Taco Bell?


… much like a night of interrupted sleep! Ian Bardenstein tried to improve his sleep by tracking it. He shares how things really did not go as planned.

We hope you can catch some high-quality zzz’s this weekend!

Thanks so much for reading, and we’ll see you on Monday.

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