The fireworks have died down (hope you enjoyed the show, Jersey … better luck next year, Brooklyn and Queens) and all that’s left of this year’s patriotic festivities are the tiny flags littering the West Side Highway, the distended abdomens of the contestants in Nathan’s annual hot dog-eating contest and the sobering knowledge that, according to a new Marist poll, nearly half of the country doesn’t know when—or from what—America declared its independence. (We blame Will Smith.)
But in some ways it’s understandable. The heat can make you do crazy things. You might forget your U.S. history, you might hack into Fox News’s Twitter feed to announce President Obama’s assassination, you might decide to take a shower on the subway using a jug of water—as one woman did this weekend, in front of the city’s ever-present flock of iPhone journalists—or you might, like Time’s Mark Halperin, call the president a colloquial name for the penis on live television. Vice President Joe Biden’s summer fever manifested itself in the creation of a Twitter account, while Thaddeus McCotter’s led him to jump out of nowhere into the G.O.P. presidential race, an announcement which the obscure, Dickensian-named congressman followed by playing electric guitar on stage in Whitmore Lake, Mich.
Of course, that kind of thing wouldn’t scare the French, some of whom are still gunning for Dominique Strauss-Kahn to run for president despite the fact that he is still being held in New York pending the resolution of serious sexual assault charges (see page 8 for the latest details). Suspicion has been cast upon the testimony of his accuser, a Guinean housekeeper at Sofitel, but the fact that he had extramarital relations with a maid and then ran naked down a public hallway does not seem to be in question. And to think, we impeached Bill Clinton!
In other distressing news, the Senate’s at an impasse on the debt ceiling, Shia LaBoeuf announced plans to direct a Marilyn Manson documentary and Glenn Beck failed to cry during his final Fox broadcast last Thursday. The pasty pundit did, however, find time to flip through a stack of legal tender, free-associating in rhyme as he went. (“Oh, can we eat some cherry pie? I cannot tell a lie!” he exclaimed upon coming across a one-dollar bill. And we wonder why 26 percent of Americans cannot identify Great Britain as our motherland.)
But if it was a sad week for U.S. history teachers it was, at least, a good one for the tech world. Google+, which hopes to soon walk in Mark Zuckerberg’s well-worn Adidas sandals as the dominant force in social networking, stopped adding users to the invitation-only beta site just hours after its launch, citing “insane demand.” (Not that they don’t still have a lot to prove. Two words: Google Buzz.) Meanwhile, Zynga, the gaming network you probably know best from ignoring the repeated pleas of your Facebook friends to relieve them of their sweet seasonal ham surplus via the Café World app, revealed an I.P.O. prospectus that reports revenue of $597 million, proving thereby that people are willing to pay for fake real estate assets that have no underlying value somewhere besides Wall Street.
But social media wasn’t good for everybody this week. Entenmann’s, the baked goods company whose products have the half-life of uranium, issued an unfortunate tweet following the acquittal of accused toddler-killer Casey Anthony. “Who’s #notguilty about eating all the tasty treats they want?!” tweeted @entenmann’s Tuesday afternoon. The company later apologized. We understand, though. It’s the heat, we’re sure. Sometimes it just really gets to you.