The Atlantic

John Fetterman (D-Vibes)

Even if you don’t know a single policy he supports, chances are good that you know what John Fetterman looks like. Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor is larger than life at 6 foot 8, distinctively bald with a salt-and-pepper goatee, draped in a baggy shirt or hoodie. Oh, and he’s a shorts guy too.
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The Intersectionality of Hate

“The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be—will be utterly submerged. It’s all scientific stuff; it’s been proved.”. These are not the words of the teenager who walked into a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday to hunt down Black Americans, although they might as well be. These are the words of Tom Buchanan, a rich, repugnant character in the 1925 novel The Great Gatsby.
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How a SIDS Study Became a Media Train Wreck

Sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, “will be a thing of the past,” according to Carmel Harrington, a sleep researcher at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, in Australia. A press release describes her new study, out this month, as a “game-changing” effort and a “world-first breakthrough” that could prevent future deaths from the tragic illness. Celebrations quickly spread on social media: “THEY FOUND THE CAUSE OF SIDS. Excuse me while I cry for all the parents,” one viral tweet declared. “Closest thing to a miracle in a long time,” said another. The press soon picked up the story. On Friday, a segment on Good Morning America touted Harrington’s “very, very important study” of SIDS, while a story in the New York Post promised that her data would “bring closure to countless parents who have endured the nightmare of losing a child.”

Why the Internet Hates Amber Heard

A shadow box above Rebecca’s dining-room table, hanging there since 2006, displays an autographed copy of the Pirates of the Caribbean script—signed by Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, and Johnny Depp. Though Rebecca, at age 36, is emphatically no longer a Depp fan, she says she keeps the script on her wall as a conversation starter. If someone asks about it, maybe she’ll go into the full story, rather than pretending she never liked Depp. “Also it’s not like it’s his smug little face,” she told me.

What It Would Take to See the World Completely Differently

When the marine biologist Rachel Carson was a young girl, she discovered a fossilized shell while hiking around her family’s hillside property in Springdale, Pennsylvania. Those who knew her then would later contend that this relic sparked such intense reverie in her that she instantly felt a tug toward the sea. What was this ancient creature, and what was the world it had known?

The Problem With Wills

The chances are reasonable that you’ll die before making a will. According to most studies, fewer than half of American adults report having a last will and testament that lays out how they want their property divided up, among other final wishes. Though some portion of that group opts for alternative types of estate planning, while others might draft a will late in life, many just never get around to designating their heirs at all.

There’s a Better Way to Debate Abortion

If Justice Samuel Alito’s draft majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization becomes law, we will enter a post–Roe v. Wade world in which the laws governing abortion will be legislatively decided in 50 states. In the short term, at least, the abortion debate will...

Absolute Power

Mohammed bin Salman is modernizing a stubbornly premodern kingdom, Graeme Wood wrote in April. He has also eliminated rivals and critics, creating a climate of fear without precedent in Saudi Arabia’s history. Graeme Wood’s article is the best argument I’ve read in some time for why the West needs...

Don’t Make Your Own Formula

By the time they are six months old, 75 percent of babies in the U.S. use formula. And for many babies under 1, formula is the primary or exclusive source of nutrition—which is why the baby-formula shortage is so frightening to many parents. The reasons for the shortage include the general supply-chain issues plaguing many sectors of the economy and the shutdown of a major formula plant earlier this year due to contamination. Manufacturers have increased production, but can’t ramp up fast enough to meet demand, because such production is heavily regulated.

The Defiant Strangeness of Werner Herzog

Twenty-five years ago, while in Tokyo directing an opera, the German filmmaker Werner Herzog turned down the offer of a private audience with the emperor of Japan. “It was a faux pas, so awful, so catastrophic that I wish to this day that the earth had swallowed me up,” Herzog writes in the preface to his first novel, The Twilight World. Nonetheless, his hosts wondered whether he might like to meet some other Japanese celebrity. Without hesitation, he asked to visit Hiroo Onoda.

The Biggest Threat to Putin’s Control of Crimea

In May 2020, the Ukrainian writer Serhiy Zhadan stood before a crowd of battle-hardened Ukrainian marines at a base in Mariupol, roughly 40 miles from the Russian border. The soldiers had been holding the line for six years against Russian proxies in the Donbas, and Zhadan had come to boost morale with some poetry.

Readers Offer Their Moral Dilemmas

This is an edition of Up for Debate, a newsletter by Conor Friedersdorf. On Wednesdays, he rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Every Monday, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here. Last week, I asked readers to describe a moral...

Scenes From Svalbard

The Svalbard archipelago is a Norwegian group of islands located in the Arctic Ocean, about 650 miles (1,050 kilometers) from the North Pole. It is home to the northernmost year-round settlements on Earth, with an overall population of about 2,900. In recent years, Svalbard has been moving its economy more toward tourism and scientific research and away from coal mining, which supported much of the economy since the early 20th century. Gathered below are recent images of the landscapes and inhabitants of Svalbard.

Why Tucker Carlson Should Want the Buffalo Manifesto Made Public

The alleged teenage mass shooter in Buffalo, New York, wrote and posted a 180-page manifesto. I read the whole thing, and the only part that surprised me was the banality of his stated intention to eat “corn beef hash” for breakfast, followed by lunch at McDonald’s, before killing as many Black people as possible. He expects to go to prison and either die there or someday be freed as a hero, after white people fight back en masse against the attempt to “replace” them in the lands where they live. Committing what he calls “an act of terrorism” is his method of warning all non-white people to “leave [white territory] while you still can, as long as the White man lives you will never be safe here.”

The Atlantic Expands Books Coverage and Announces an Imprint With Independent Publisher Zando

The Atlantic, a literary destination since its founding 165 years ago as a magazine of “Literature, Art, and Politics,” is today unveiling a dramatically expanded Books section devoted to essays, criticism, reporting, original fiction, poetry, and book recommendations, and announcing a first-of-its-kind book imprint called Atlantic Editions in partnership with the independent publisher Zando. Atlantic Editions will publish a series of books by Atlantic writers, each on a single and timely topic.

The Atlantic’s June Cover Story: “Chasing Joan Didion”

Last fall, having heard that Joan Didion’s health was in decline, The Atlantic’s staff writer Caitlin Flanagan got in her car and started driving across California. “I wanted to feel close to the girl who came from Nowhere, California (have you ever been to Sacramento?), and blasted herself into the center of everything. I wanted to feel close to the young woman who’d gone to Berkeley, and studied with professors I knew, and relied on them—as I had once relied on them—to show her a path. The thing to do was get in the car and drive. I would go and find her in the places where she’d lived.”

Actually, Summer Is Not Tomorrow

Sign up for Kaitlyn and Lizzie’s newsletter here. Lizzie: As inspiration for this newsletter, which is about a birthday party, I started researching well-known birthday moments in movies, to see how the birthday celebrations that I experience in my life stack up to those in the cinematic universe. I found IMDb’s “25 Most Memorable Birthday Scene in Movies,” which offers helpful descriptions of said birthday scenes. Excerpts include “Schindler’s birthday party where he is kissing every woman present” in Schindler’s List, “Damien’s 5th birthday” in The Omen, and “Birds attack on Cathy’s birthday” in The Birds. These are dark birthdays! Even the description of 13 Going On 30 (“Wakes up being 30 years old woman on 13th birthday”) has an air of inevitable trauma.

Introducing an Expanded Books Section

When Emily Dickinson encountered her first real book as a child, she experienced a moment of pure, joyful recognition. “This, then, is a book!” she exclaimed. “And there are more of them!” The Atlantic would go on to publish Dickinson’s poems; perhaps more important, it introduced her to a lifelong mentor, Thomas Wentworth Higginson. After Dickinson read his article “Letter to a Young Contributor” in the April 1862 issue of The Atlantic, she wrote to him, beginning a decades-long correspondence. Higginson would, eventually, help put together the first collection of her poetry. Looking back, I’m grateful for that early, elated meeting of reader and reading material. This, then, is a book!

The America That Killed George Floyd

In the late ’90s, not long after I left Cameroon to attend college in the United States, I learned of a word used in certain African-immigrant communities to refer to African Americans: Akata. It was not uttered with affection; far from it—Akata means “wild animal,” and thus has much in common with the N-word. In my early days here, it wasn’t unusual for me to see a fellow African look at an African American and say, with a sneer, “Look at that Akata,” or “I just don’t understand these Akatas.”