One of the best things about going to bars is conversation, which is why, except in airports, I no longer bring books to them. It would hardly be an exaggeration to say that every friendship I have made as an adult has been either initiated or sealed in a public establishment that serves intoxicating beverages. Bars are also the places where one tends to have the best conversations with strangers.
SEOUL—When my plane landed in South Korea earlier this week, the nation was much occupied with a controversy that seemed, to this American journalist, somewhat perplexing. Families of those killed by South Korea’s then-military regime during a 1980 uprising were upset because a conservative government minister had ruled against making a song called “Marching for our Beloved” the official anthem of the government’s observance of the anniversary.
Biloxi, Miss.—Now that Donald Trump has all but secured the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, those in the party who oppose him are in a bind. Some have decided to hold their noses and endorse. Others have gone in for Hillary Clinton. Some have floated the idea of supporting an independent Republican ticket headed by a respected figure such as Mitt Romney.
About 20 people are on the steps of the Treasury Building at 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue. Their signs say “NO KXL” and “CLIMATE NOT TOXIC TRADE.” In the middle there is a giant novelty check for $15 billion. The check says “Voided” in large red letters. It is raining lightly. Only one of them has an umbrella. They don’t plan to be here long.
The young men standing in front of the gate are wearing red sashes with golden lion pins. Some of them have bagpipes. They are with the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, handing out anti-abortion leaflets a few hours before Cecile Richards speaks at Georgetown in defiance of the moral law, good taste, and the Archbishop of Washington.