The week that was: 16th–22nd May
What happened between 16th and 22nd May over the past five years? We pored over a half-decade’s worth of Delayed Gratification to find the most interesting, surprising and quirky events to have happened on these dates from 2011 to 2015.
In 2011, Donald Trump announced he would not run for president of the US in 2012. “This decision does not come easily or without regret,” he said in a lengthy statement. “My potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country. I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election.” At the time, CNN noted that Trump had been hinting at running for political office for two decades but had never followed through. They asked: “So did Trump really intend to run this time – or ever?” Now we know the answer.
Also in 2011, Dan Gorske ate his 25,000th Big Mac. At the time, the Guardian reported that Gorske got hooked on the McDonald’s double-patty staple when he celebrated the purchase of a car by eating three of them. Since 2011, he hasn’t lost his passion for Big Macs: in January 2016, he claimed the tally stood at 28,308 burgers. His weight is still a very respectable 200 pounds (he’s 6″2) and his cholesterol levels – miraculously – are normal.
On 18th May 2013, Francois Hollande signed a same-sex marriage bill into law, making France the ninth European country to allow gay marriage – and the 14th worldwide. Since then, eight further countries have followed suit; the US, the UK and Ireland among them. The most recent country to legalise gay marriage was Colombia on 28th April, making it the fourth South American nation to do so. Click here for a full chronological list of the countries which have legalised gay marriage.
Two years ago, on 19th May 2014, South Korean president Park Geun-hye said she would disband the country’s coastguard. The remarks came a month after the ferry MV Sewol sank, killing more than 300 people – mostly schoolchildren. At the time, we published this long-form feature on Yoo Byung-eun, the reclusive artist, religious leader and wealthy industrialist who became a scapegoat for the tragedy and whose body was found in a plum orchard a few weeks after the disaster.
Three years ago on Friday, the European Space Agency announced that British astronaut Tim Peake had been selected to fly to the International Space Station in 2015, meaning he would become the first British citizen to live and work on the space station. Peake boarded the ISS in late 2015 and on 15th January of this year he became the first astronaut to spacewalk wearing the British flag on his suit. For a beautiful spacewalking infographic, check out issue #22 of Delayed Gratification, which will be out in mid-June.
Last year on 21st May, Collins released its latest official Scrabble dictionary which added 6,500 new words – including ‘yeesh’ and ‘obvs’ – to the game’s approved list. The release caused much dismay among the Scrabble elite, with Sue Bowman, the membership secretary of the British Association of Scrabble Players, complaining to the Daily Telegraph that the new dictionary was “an abuse of the English language“. She explained: “I am not a great fan of textspeak.” But while ‘ridic’ and ‘shizzle’ are now accepted in the official Scrabble vocabulary, ‘afterclap’ and ‘carcolepsy’ remain in language limbo: here’s our selection of some of 2015’s best words submitted to Collins dictionary.
And finally, 22nd May 2014 saw Thailand’s 12th military coup since the end of absolute of absolute monarchy in the country in 1932. Back in issue #15 of Delayed Gratification, we published a photo story on the coup. Here are some highlights.
Slow Journalism in your inbox, plus infographics, offers and more: sign up for the DG newsletter. Sign me up
Thanks for signing up.