His true identity, which was revealed after his arrest at J.F.K. airport last November, isn’t Prince Khalid of Saudi Arabia, but Anthony Enrique Gignac, a Colombian orphan adopted by an American couple and transported to Michigan when he was six years old. Embarking on a life of crime and deception that spanned 30 years, he became an “epic con artist” for whom “no scheme is out of reach,” according to a U.S. attorney. His most recent scam involved allegedly duping 26 international investors out of $8 million, while simultaneously attempting to con Miami billionaire Jeffrey Soffer, the ex-husband of supermodel Elle Macpherson, into taking him on as a partner in the Fontainebleau hotel. Gignac initially pleaded guilty to both schemes—only to reverse himself at a hearing in July, where his attorney successfully argued for a trial by jury.
But the technically unparalleled Messi has never been as beloved as Diego. Messi is a genius who makes his teammates better, but Maradona’s gift was more precious: he made everyone believe they were great and could be greater. Maradona was at his best when representing the underdogs: the Argentine national team, of course, beating England and Germany en route to win the 1986 World Cup. Even more famously, though, at Napoli, where Maradona led a group of mostly average players (like the inconspicuous Careca and Alemão) to triumphs unprecedented for the small team: two Italian leagues, one Italian Cup, one Italian Super Cup, and one UEFA Cup.
My best-case scenario for what’s going on now is—assuming that within the next half year, we do deal successfully with the COVID crisis—that it will become a model for people all around the world recognizing common problems, rallying together to deal with a common problem. My best-case scenario is that, having defeated COVID, we will go on to attempt to defeat and succeed in defeating climate change. For that reason, I see a potential silver lining, and that’s my best-case scenario for what’s going on now.
IN 2015, PINTEREST—allegedly the kinder, nicer tech company—partnered with the consultancy Paradigm to increase diversity in the company, whose workforce remains only 4 percent Black. Yet even as the usual platitudes about diversity and inclusion and bringing change to the boys’ club that is the tech world were being mouthed on the outside, inside the company, a different and racist reality prevailed. According to a report in the Washington Post, a Black female employee, the only one on her team, was told by a white supervisor not to speak during meetings, after which the supervisor took credit for her work. Another executive “joked” that she should play the “servant” and “serve” the other members of the team.
This suggests that travel restrictions weren’t justified later in the pandemic except in highly connected countries, or in regions with low transmission that wanted to keep the virus out, says co-author Mark Jit, an infectious-disease modeller at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Preventing travel from high-prevalence countries would be sufficient to reduce exposure in many regions, says Jit.
“Countries shouldn’t instinctively say that, just because there is a pandemic, we should have travel restrictions.” Hoffman says that observational studies are now needed to tease out the effectiveness of countries completely shutting their borders. “There is a good chance that a whole lot of what we are doing is causing more harm than good.”
EARLY INTO Naji Bakhti’s Between Beirut and the Moon, the novel’s protagonist Adam hides in a single bathroom with his family from Israeli aircraft bombs dropping in the distance. As the hours pass, Adam’s father asks him and his younger sister about school, literature, and soccer to distract them, while his chain-smoking mother reminds him that he’s “lucky” because he will now have inspiration as a writer later on. Adam resents his mother’s positive spin; not only does he find her use of black humor unsettling — after all, no citizenry would possibly be thankful for being bombed — but he dreams with unflinching determination of becoming an astronaut, not a writer: “I wanted to shout back … to exclaim that there was probably infinitely more inspiration in space than there ever would be in a tiny old bathroom in Beirut.”
Each of these men, like all Black father figures, fights against the still pervasive stereotype of the absent Black father. It’s a notion that gained currency in the 1960s as the political advancements of the civil rights movement failed to translate into economic and social progress for everyday Black Americans, and social science research turned away from structural explanations for inequality toward a search for behavioral causes. In 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then an assistant secretary of labor, delivered a report to the Johnson White House, The Negro Family: The Case for National Action, arguing that the plight of Black American communities was in decline due to a simple factor: the crumbling of the family unit and, in particular, children being raised in fatherless homes.
In 1947, a 16-year-old David Cornwell left the British boarding school system where he’d spent many unhappy years and ended up in Switzerland, where he studied German at the University of Bern—and caught the attention of British intelligence. As the restless child of an estranged mother and a con-man father, and a precocious student of modern languages to boot, the young wayfarer was a natural recruitment target for the security services, which scooped him up in the late 1940s to be “a teenaged errand boy of British Intelligence,” as he put it in his 2016 memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel. Over the next 15 years, those little errands would continue and grow, furnishing Cornwell with the material that would fill the whopping 25 spy novels he wrote under the pen name John le Carré.
I discovered Morris 20 years ago while working at the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge. With a newly minted degree in literature, it was pretty much the only job I was qualified for. The used-book department in the basement had that musty scent of dust and other people’s houses. After work one quiet Sunday night I spotted “The World” on the shelf in the “Essays” section, equidistant from volumes by James Baldwin and Virginia Woolf. Small images of global landmarks adorned the spine and caught my eye. The minimal title — solemn, seductive and assured — snapped me to attention. The essays — impressionistic but set in tangible and at times familiar places — were like nothing I’d read before.
That’s probably because Wilson’s face has yet to appear on his own show. Viewers merely hear his narration — voice nasal, tone deadly dry — and catch glimpses of him in mirrors as he wanders around New York City with a camera, interacting with everyday people. Episodes like How to Put Up Scaffolding, How to Cover Your Furniture, and How to Make the Perfect Risotto begin with Wilson attempting to learn something practical. But each time the effort spirals into hilarious, sometimes poignant, and impossible-to-predict chaos, taking him everywhere from the home of a nude foreskin enthusiast to a beach resort in Cancun packed with college students on spring break.