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The News You May Have Missed

January-February 2017



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The Prophet Motive

The day after the U.S. election, prominent Nigerian televangelist T.B. Joshua removed a prediction from his Facebook page stating that Hillary Clinton would be America’s next president (BBC News, Nov. 9). Joshua, who is known as “the prophet” to his many followers, had told his congregation the previous Sunday that he “saw” a woman winning. His now-deleted post read in part, “Ten days ago I saw the president of America with a narrow win…. What I frankly saw was a woman.” Joshua, one of the richest pastors in Africa (in 2011 Forbes estimated his wealth to be $10-15 million), claims to have foreseen various world events, including the death of Michael Jackson in 2009 and the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 in Russian airspace in 2014. He also claims to have performed multiple miracles, including curing people of HIV. Joshua did also predict, perhaps correctly, that “the new [U.S.] president will be facing several challenges,” including “attempts to possibly pass a vote of no confidence on the new president. The boat of the new president will be rocked.”

Haute Couture’s “Non Serviam”

A week after the U.S. election, French fashion designer Sophie Theallet, who has dressed former first lady Michelle Obama, offered a pre-emptive refusal to dress the incoming first lady, Melania Trump, should she ask for some of Theallet’s clothes (The Federalist, Nov. 18). “As one who celebrates and strives for diversity, individual freedom and respect for all lifestyles,” Theallet wrote in her unsolicited letter, “I will not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next First Lady. The rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by…. I encourage my fellow designers to do the same.” Her announcement refusing to provide her services to Melania Trump based on moral objections has been applauded as “noble,” “patriotic,” and displaying “admirable integrity” — from the same corners that excoriate private businesses (e.g., bakeries, florists, and photographers) that refuse to provide services for same-sex weddings based on moral objections.

Presidential Dejection

College campuses around the country did their best to soothe their most sensitive students after the U.S. election. The University of Michigan’s Law School, for example, announced a “post-election self-care” event, complete with “food” and “play” — including Play-Doh, Legos, and bubbles. (The event was such an embarrassment that the school scrubbed it from the calendar and canceled the event.) Cornell University held a “Cry-In” over Donald Trump’s victory on the school’s quad. Stanford University e-mailed students that psychological counseling was available for anyone experiencing “uncertainty, anger, anxiety and/or fear” after the election of Trump. The University of Pennsylvania (Trump’s alma mater) offered “safe spaces” with puppy petting and coloring books. At Tufts University, arts and crafts were offered as therapy to angry and despairing students, while the University of Kansas made “therapy dogs” available to traumatized students (The College Fix, Nov. 15).


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