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  • Manufacturer

In last week’s Agenda, I made reference to the fact that Johannes Gutenberg, after he published the Bible, endeavored to publish what he called a “purgation-calendar”—a laxative timetable. That gem of a fact was from a recent Vanity Fair article by Michael Lewis, mostly about the German economy but led off by a bizarre and hilarious disquisition on what Lewis sees as a national preoccupation with scatology. Only part of that explanation is excerpted below; the fecal thread runs through the whole article, which is well worth reading for Lewis’s accessible, informed account of the position that Germany finds itself in—deciding whether or not to use its economic finesse to prop up other European countries who are, financially speaking, up shit creek.