It’s no surprise that, after having spent early summer lying (relatively) low, Donald Trump has come roaring back with his third A.W.I. victory in four weeks. And in this instance, the six-foot-three, 215-pound phenom, who’s been known to describe an electoral trouncing at the hands of Joe Biden as a “landslide” in his favor, actually did win in a landslide—60 percent of your vote. In what was presumably his swan song, Yevgeny Prigozhin did the best he could, finishing second (12.7 percent) on the strength of having been blown out of the sky. Emily Ratajkowski took third (11.4 percent), and the excessively appreciative soccer official Luis Rubiales fourth (9.2 percent).
The nominees in this week’s edition of the Attention-Whore Index Poll are …
His first appearance in A.W.I. Why include him? Let us count the ways. But while we do—and it might take a while—can we just mention his rapping to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” at a campaign appearance, and the cease-and-desist letter that followed? That letter came from Eminem’s representatives, but it might as well have been speaking for millions of Americans.
One of Donald Trump’s lawyers told Fox News she wasn’t worried about her client’s legal peril: “If it was a normal person, honestly … I could understand the concern. President Trump is not your average person. He’s incredibly intelligent.”
Meanwhile, the incredibly intelligent, six-foot-three, 215-pound congenital liar (and well-documented golf cheat) claimed to have won the senior golf championship at his Bedminster club by shooting a round of 67, an eyebrow-raising five under par. “Now, some people will think that sounds low, but there is no hanky/lanky [sic],” he posted. “For some reason, I am just a good golfer/athlete — I have won many Club Championships.” We’re sure Vladimir Putin (eight goals in one hockey game) and Kim Jong Un (two bears and a yeti with one arrow from his bow) will have no trouble appreciating precisely how such extraordinary feats of athleticism are possible, and that hanky/lanky is never an issue.
The mother of Luis Rubiales, the embattled president of Spain’s soccer federation—who forced a kiss on a member of Spain’s World Cup–winning women’s team without her consent—locked herself inside a church and went on a hunger strike to protest his treatment: “[The] inhuman and bloody hunt that they are doing with my son is something he does not deserve.” Her fast lasted three days and then, feeling “anguished and dizzy,” according to a priest, she was taken to a hospital. Pedro Almodóvar, the arty Spanish filmmaker, whose films are replete with priests, mothers, and machismo, must be licking his lips.
A judge ruled that Giuliani was liable for defaming two Georgia election workers. And it was revealed that the disgraced, indicted, strap-cashed former mayor had put his East 66th Street Manhattan penthouse co-op up for sale, for $6.5 million. High ceilings, original details, wood-burning fireplace, a dining room spacious enough to seat 40. A perfect aerie for entertaining, cozy reflection, F.B.I. raids.
THE LOCH NESS MONSTER
The biggest search in half a century drew hundreds to “the Quest,” as monster buffs refer to it, many of them armed with drones, sonars, and hydrophones. Bulletin: no sign of Nessie. What a diva.
And now for this week’s Diary …
Even though it’s old news that FIFA officials were bribed to award the World Cup to Qatar last year (and to Moscow in 2018), the specifics of those bribes, as revealed in Tablet this week, are jaw-dropping: “The price of some FIFA committee votes was apparently higher than others. For instance, Nicolas Leoz, the now-deceased former head of South America’s soccer federation, got 5.4 million pounds ($8.5 million). But the highest payments went to Vitaly Mutko, Russia’s minister for sport between 2008 and 2016, chairman of the successful Russian bid for the 2018 World Cup, and deputy prime minister from 2016 to 2020. He got 46 million pounds ($72.6 million) on Feb. 19, 2009, followed by another 21.5 million pounds ($34 million) on Dec. 20, 2010.” That sounds like a red card at least. In fact, do they have crimson?
A woman who walked topless through the streets of this town in central France during a heat wave is being prosecuted for sexual exhibitionism. According to Le Monde, the woman, identified only as Marina, explained that in the “super hot” weather she only wanted to do as “half the men” were doing. A few days after her arrest, a thousand people marched through town, “Men and women alike went bare-chested, scrawling ‘What difference?’ in marker pens on their skin.” France’s Minister of Justice, Eric Dupont-Morett, traveled to Aurillac and, following a press conference, observed, “I noticed that none of the female journalists who interviewed me were topless. Wasn’t it hot enough?” These comments were immediately defended as having been “taken out of context.”
Two hikers in a forest in central Germany reported seeing a naked, stick-carrying “wolf man” who has been thought to be living way off the grid for at least five years. (There have been other sightings, as well as discoveries of discarded campfires and makeshift shelters in the area.) This time, the 10-minute encounter involved a lot of staring and, before they went their separate ways, a photo. Of the “wolf man.” Not a selfie of the three of them.
Jane Benzaquen, a 70-year-old grandmother and retired hotel receptionist, wants to be recognized as a daughter of the late King Hassan II of Morocco and a half-sister of his successor, King Mohammed VI. Benzaquen says she’s the progeny of a 1950s affair between then Prince Hassan and a young woman in Casablanca. The prince “never acknowledged the daughter he is alleged to have had with … a 17-year-old shop assistant of Jewish origin,” said The Times of London. “The baby was whisked away to Belgium and deposited at the age of 10 months with a foster family.” Benzaquen “wants one of the Moroccan royals to resolve the affair once and for all by submitting to a DNA test.” So far three tests “have confirmed that Benzaquen has no Western European ancestry,” said the newspaper. “Her genetic roots are in North Africa and the Middle East.”
Eight police officers removed two men and two women from the Dominion Theatre here at the intermission of a performance of Grease: The Musical “to cheers of approval from the rest of the audience” and chants of “out, out, out!,” according to The Guardian. The four had reportedly been disruptive. No injuries, no arrests. In a video clip, as the group exits, one officer is “seen turning around and giving a royal wave to the audience, prompting further applause.”
Problematic, non-indigenous, possibly alcoholic raccoons whose ancestors date to the Nazi era have become a plague in Germany, causing more than $10,000 worth of damage and prompting authorities to kill some 200,000 of them nationwide last year in an attempt to control the population—which two decades ago stood at less than 10,000. “Local media reports suggest that the animals, introduced during the Nazi rule, have been eating pet bunny rabbits and fish,” said the Daily Telegraph. “Meanwhile, some claim that they have also been drinking beer during their rampages.” —George Kalogerakis
George Kalogerakis, one of the original editor-writers at Spy, later worked for Vanity Fair, New York, and The New York Times, where he was deputy op-ed editor. A co-author of Spy: The Funny Years and co-editor of Disunion: A History of the Civil War, he is a Writer at Large at AIR MAIL