We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Emmys Came and Went
If you missed the Emmys, basically HBO in general and Game of Thrones specifically dominated the evening of TV honors. Given the issues I have with GOT as a show, I don’t know what that’s saying about the state of entertainment here. I get that it’s compelling; I just don’t see how it deserves to win top prizes in art. How The Americans won nearly no honors is impossible to understand. But I digress. In memorable moments from female favorites, Kate McKinnon of Saturday Night Live won supporting actress in a comedy series, Maggie Smith of Downton Abbey won supporting actress in a drama series, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus won for her fourth Emmy for her role on Veep. Louis-Dreyfus delivered an uncharacteristically emotional acceptance speech; her father passed away the week prior, which she referenced in her remarks: “I’m so glad he liked Veep,” she said, “because his opinion was the one that really mattered.” Talk about touching. In another heartfelt moment, Minnie Driver sent some love to parents of special-needs children, a topic she’s grown to care about given her role in the ABC comedy Speechless, which premiered this week. —Mary Rose Somarriba
New York City Explosion
This past weekend New York and New Jersey were rocked by multiple bombs believed to have been made and planted by 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, a resident of Elizabeth, NJ. Two bombs, one that detonated and one that did not, caused panic in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood Saturday night. This followed a different explosion positioned at the end of a charity race in Seaside Park, NJ, on Saturday morning. The incident in New Jersey caused no injuries, but in Manhattan at least twenty-nine people suffered injuries from the bomb that exploded in a dumpster. Then late Sunday night and into early Monday morning police robots accidentally detonated pipe bombs found near the Elizabeth, NJ, train station. Monday morning around 8 a.m. a call to NYPD reporting an unattended suitcase near a Times Square McDonald’s caused yet another alarming scene, this time in one of the city’s most populated areas. The suitcase was empty. On Monday the suspect was arrested after a police struggle in Linden, NJ.
As more information comes out about the suspect in custody, the public has learned that he was on FBI watch lists and that his father, Mohammad Rahimi, says he alerted authorities to watch out for his son in 2014. Speaking to the New York Times, Mohammad said, “The way he speaks, his videos, when I see these things that he listens to, for example, Al Qaeda, Taliban, he watches their videos, their poetry.” Authorities are trying to determine if any direct connection links the suspect to a specific terror organization.
Meanwhile, New Yorkers have been on high alert. According to the Times, the early part of the week saw nearly 20 times the normal rate of “suspicious package” reports dialed into the NYPD, and there’s definitely an air of caution among the bustling city streets. Just one week removed from the anniversary of 9/11, the New York disposition of late is cautious yet unwavering. —Megan Madden
Queen of Katwe Opens in Theaters
Queen of Katwe, which opens today in theaters, is not your typical underdog sports story. Based on the book by Tim Crothers, the film tells the true story of Phiona Mutesi, who became the national champion of chess in Uganda at age 15. She discovered the game six years before when she stumbled upon an opportunity for a meal—if she participated in a chess program. Phiona had never seen the game before (there isn’t even a word for “chess” in her language), but she fell in love. She went on to represent Africa in the World Chess Olympiad in 2010. Crothers says Phiona’s success is so extraordinary because, “To be African is to be an underdog in the world, to be Ugandan is to be an underdog in Africa, to be from Katwe is to be an underdog in Uganda, and to be a girl is to be an underdog in Katwe.” Phiona Mutesi said she planned to continue her education, with dreams of becoming a doctor and a chess grandmaster. This is one film you might want to watch opening weekend. —Madeline Fry
Angelina Jolie Files for Divorce from Brad Pitt
This week, we learned of the split of one of the world’s most famous couples—Brangelina, that is, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Jolie filed for divorce on September 19, citing irreconcilable differences that have included reports of parenting differences. Celebrity news site TMZ reported on Thursday that Pitt is being investigated by Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services after an incident on the family's private jet.
Pitt and Jolie had officially been in a relationship since 2005 and married since 2014. It’s always sad to hear of any couple splitting, especially when there are children involved. Verily relationships editor Monica Gabriel Marshall wrote this week that the sad news for this couple can serve as a healthy reminder for the rest of us on how to avoid pitfalls in marriage—including talking out differences in values and parenting before marriage. It may not make one’s marriage impervious to the strains of the world, but it certainly helps strengthen a bond to communicate clearly upfront. —MRS
Fashion Week Brings Some Exciting Changes . . .
After several seasons of minimalistic styles coming down the runway, NYFW S/S 2017 has heralded a new chapter in fashion. We hope we can finally say goodbye to the Kardashian-esque monochrome outfits as designers unveiled collections that reflect the true spirit of feminine creativity. Bright colors, bold prints, feminine fits, and innovative layering as seen on our favorite street style queens are now influencing the looks on the runway in an extravaganza of stripes, oversized statement earrings, shimmery florals, and architectural silhouettes. The creative genius of the woman is finally being represented again on both the runway and the streets, and we couldn’t be more inspired. —Lilly Bozzone
. . . and Some Face Palms
Yesterday the globally renowned model Gigi Hadid was leaving a Max Mara show at Milan Fashion Week when a random man rushed up and grabbed her around the waist and lifted her up in the street. She elbowed him in the face and forced him to put her down. Just a crazy moment in the life of a celebrity, right? Except that the headlines in the British tabloid media that followed the incident are just so extraordinarily awful that it has to be noted: for instance, The Sun wrote "NOT MODEL BEHAVIOUR: Gigi Hadid aggressively lashes out and ELBOWS fan in the FACE after he tries to pick her up." And The Daily Mail saw it fit to comment: "Furious supermodel Gigi Hadid lashes out at fan and has to be held back by security after prankster lifts her up as she leaves Milan fashion show." Um, what?—Sophie Caldecott
Adele Ushers In a Few Surprises for New York City
Continuing on her 25 tour, powerhouse vocalist Adele stopped off in the Big Apple this week for six—yep, six—sold-out performances at the landmark Madison Square Garden. The shows (which continue through September 26) were marked by several surprises thus far. For one, lots of witty banter from the self-described sufferer of stage fright. Adele is said to have been very into storytelling in between her songs, riffing about anything from Hamilton to flatulence. What else would you expect from the ever-authentic Adele? The Grammy-winner also dedicated her Tuesday performance to Brad and Angelina upon news of their split. If anyone can lyrically accompany news of a breakup it’s Adele—that’s for sure. We only wish we could have been part of that “group breakup therapy session” as it’s been called. If you want to see more refreshingly real updates about Adele’s tour, we can highly recommend her Instagram feed, where she recently made headlines by going makeup-free in a video post. —MM
Women’s Issues Take Hold of the Spotlight This Week
The annual UN meeting this past week included some important moments where female celebrities used their names to help further causes for women. UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson continued her support of the HeForShe campaign for gender equality, announcing a recent report, and speaking out particularly on college sexual assault. “When one person’s safety is violated, everyone feels their own safety is violated,” she said.
Also making headlines this week is Amal Clooney, who is actively representing newly honored UN Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad, a 23-year-old Iraqi victim of ISIS brutality who is fighting to help other captives be freed. Murad delivered remarks at the UN asking world leaders, “if beheadings and child rape doesn’t move you to act, when will you?” Murad and Clooney also sat down with NBC for an interview explaining their plan to combat ISIS by bringing it to court for crimes against humanity. The courage of these two ladies is nothing short of inspiring. —MRS
Italy’s Fertility Day Furor
The Italian government's attempt to raise awareness about infertility and promote reproductive health has backfired, with protesters accusing officials of sexism and racism. The "Fertility Day" campaign advertising featured a picture of a woman holding an hourglass with the slogan “Beauty knows no age. Fertility does,” as well as another image of a white family with the text "Good habits to promote" next to another image of a black man drinking and a black woman apparently smoking marijuana with the text "Bad company to leave behind." Protesters have been holding signs saying they're "expecting" jobs and economic stability, not babies. Not only does the campaign lack tact, history has shown us that government incentives to boost birth rates generally fail. Italy has the European Union's lowest birthrate, and data from the Italian Ministry of Health reports that one out of five couples experience difficulty conceiving naturally. Further evidence that you can't apply a quick-fix solution to a problem that is going to require some deep cultural changes to solve. —SC
Have We Been Underestimating Internet Addiction?
New research suggests that young people who spend "excessive" amounts of time on the Internet suffer from a variety of mental health-related issues, including anxiety, short attention spans, ADHD, and impulsiveness. The study was conducted at McMaster University in Canada, and included 254 college students as subjects. Of the 254, 33 were found to be suffering from "Internet addiction" as defined by an 1998 "Internet Addiction Test." However, according to a new test that the researchers developed themselves (taking smartphones and other more recent technological developments into consideration), 42.1 percent of the students surveyed had mental health issues resulting from Internet use. The study could have some interesting applications for our mental health providers as well as for our culture at large. —SC
Good News of the Week
A 29-year-old resident of Woodbridge, Virginia, has fed more than five thousand people in need to date on a shoestring budget by couponing her heart out. NJ.com reported that she aims to feed thirty thousand people by her thirtieth birthday in September 2017. Laura Puryear told ABC News that she spends between five to ten hours looking for coupon each week. She founded the organization For the Love of Others in memory of her grandmother, who passed away in 2012, and this project is just the latest in a string of outreach programs designed to help communities in need. What a beautiful goal to work toward before your thirtieth. Consider us inspired! —SC