Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Ice Cream Truck Morgues

Ice Cream Truck Morgues

Plus: House speaker skirmishes, college wokeness collapsing, Elf Bar, North Korea, and more…


Middle East update: On Friday, over one million people were told by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to flee northern Gaza so that Hamas could be attacked while minimizing civilian casualties. Over the weekend, about 500,000 heeded the call, and the IDF kept pushing back the evacuation deadline, seemingly attempting to hold off until more people had moved south.

They’ve gotten little credit for this: “Israel is executing the largest expulsion of Palestinians since 1948 as it bombs Gazans without discrimination,” reads a letter penned by prominent writers and academics published in The New York Review over the weekend. But going to great lengths to warn civilians, so that Hamas targets can be specifically attacked, does not strike me as indiscriminate.

IDF airstrikes have killed many, and the humanitarian crisis facing Gaza is dire: They’re running low on food, water, electricity, and—disturbingly—body bags, per the United Nations agency in charge of relief for the area. More than 2,700 Gazans have been killed in the onslaught that followed Hamas’ October 7 attack. Al Jazeera reports that ice cream trucks have been used to store dead bodies, as morgues have run out of space, and that “the hospital administration is in a state of collapse.”

“There are thousands—if not tens of thousands—of people who have flocked to the hospital,” Al-Shifa Hospital surgeon Ghassan Abu Sitta told Al Jazeera this past weekend. “Unless there is respite there is going to be a public health catastrophe at the hospital.”

Americans trapped: This Saturday, U.S. diplomats had told American citizens trapped in Gaza—of which there are roughly 500—to make their way to the Rafah border crossing, where Egyptian authorities would allow them safe passage out of Gaza between noon and 5 p.m. local time. That never happened: Negotiations were held up, as Egypt and Israel had agreed to open the border crossing if Egyptian aid was allowed into Gaza. Israel put stipulations in place regarding the screening of the supplies for weapons, to which Egypt would not agree. Media reports ensued yesterday and this morning of an agreement being reached, which has been denied by both Israeli and Egyptian officials.

It is stunning to me that more blame has not been placed on Egypt for its failure to do much of anything to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. “Egypt is apprehensive about the prospect of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees being displaced into Egypt, or of getting drawn deeper into the conflict,” reports The Wall Street Journal. Egypt claims “it has too many evacuation requests to accommodate U.S. nationals and that it can’t grant passage to one country over others.” Authorities there “also cited security concerns related to a lack of screening of individuals.” (Mixed messages are being sent, though, as tents are being put up in Egypt’s Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah seemingly in preparation for an influx from Gaza.)

Meanwhile, the hostage count has been updated. Previously, 150 Israeli hostages were thought to have been taken into Gaza, but the Israeli government now says that number is 199.

NGMI: Meanwhile in Washington, a battle that’s approximately 5 million times more trivial is playing out: after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R–Calif.) was ousted from leadership by a group of Republicans disgruntled by federal government spending, Republicans have struggled to elect a new speaker. Last week, many toyed with the idea of appointing Rep. Steve Scalise (R–La.), but now it’s looking like Rep. Jim Jordan (R–Ohio) is the tentative favorite. But apparently not enough of a favorite, as it’s looking like he’ll receive something like 40 no votes (possibly more) from fellow Republicans. This, despite the fact that Jordan has been characterized as a “darling of the party’s rabble-rousing base” and a Trump favorite.

In other words, it’s back to the drawing board for the GOP. And, really, I am the greatest victim here because this means more Roundups that must cover petty Republican infighting.

Scenes from New York:

After a summer of blockbuster hits, employees at Alamo Drafthouse in Manhattan have decided to unionize. “People were waiting longer than usual for their food and that makes them short-tempered and impatient,” one worker, Tyler Trautman, told the Associated Press. “We’re the ones facing customers. It takes a toll, a mental toll, to be yelled at by guests because their drink has been taking an hour.”

Practically life in the salt mines.


  • I think statement-making tends to be pointless, but if you’re going to do it at all, the silence on Hamas’ terrorist rampage does in fact say something:
  • Related, from The Free Press: “University donors, close your checkbooks,” writes Marc Rowan, chair of Wharton’s Board of Overseers.
  • North Korea reportedly gave 1,000 containers of munitions and equipment to Russia, helping to refill its stockpiles, depleted from its war in Ukraine. American officials think Kim Jong Un “is seeking sophisticated Russian weapons technologies in return for the munitions to boost North Korea’s military and nuclear program.”
  • ICYMI: Watch Reason‘s Robby Soave finally lose it at the awful Hamas apologism coming from many corners of the left, including spouted by his Rising co-host Briahna Joy Gray.
  • In several German cities, police have broken up pro-Palestine demonstrations.
  • Elf Bar lives to see another day, despite regulators.
  • Uganda’s leader is trying to ban secondhand clothing imports from the West.
  • More evidence in favor of free-ranging kids comes out: “Our thesis is that a primary cause of the rise in mental disorders is a decline over decades in opportunities for children and teens to play, roam, and engage in other activities independent of direct oversight and control by adults,” write researchers in The Journal of Pediatrics.
  • Some Extremely Online progressives are trying to blame Hamas’ horrific treatment of LGBT people on…the British:
Liz Wolfe is an associate editor at Reason covering tech, free speech, and China and co-host of the Reason Livestream. She has interviewed sex workerstattoo artistsventure capitaliststech CEOscrypto hype men, and the occasional restaurateur. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.


Reason is the magazine of “free minds and free markets,” offering a refreshing alternative to the left-wing and right-wing echo chambers for independent-minded readers who love liberty.
Subscribe today to save 65% off the cover price.

Leave a Reply