Weird Week: A beatified blogger, poop balloons, and rude Americans

The short week had no shortage of strange headlines.

  • A millennial blogger dubbed “God’s influencer” is slated to become the Catholic Church’s next saint. Pope Francis cleared the path for Carlo Acutis, who died in 2006 at age 15, to become a saint after attributing a second miracle (the minimum for sainthood eligibility) to the 21st-century evangelizer. If canonized, Acutis, who earned the nickname “God’s influencer” through his efforts to spread biblical teachings online by building websites for parishes and documenting Eucharistic miracles, would become the first millennial saint. He also apparently loved video games and Nutella.
  • North Korea sent hundreds of poop- and trash-filled balloons to South Korea, turning dirty politics disgusting. According to the North Korean government, the campaign is in response to similar activities from South Korean activists, who’ve previously floated balloons filled with propaganda pamphlets, medicine, money, and USB drives containing foreign media to their northern neighbors. South Korean authorities have called the act a violation of international law and a safety concern for its citizens; meanwhile, North Korean officials are calling it “freedom of expression.” (We call it petty.)
  • Asking nicely? Nope, not in America. In a new study on American etiquette, UCLA researchers found that the word “please” is hardly a part of Americans’ vocabularies anymore. Out of 1k “request attempts,” adults used the phrase just 7% of the time; among children, it was used in 10% of requests. (Fitting: According to a 2023 report, just 52% of US adults consider politeness an important quality for kids to have.) And when “please” is used, it’s typically to stave off resistance from the requestee. Turning down a polite request? Now that would be rude.

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