The Magazine
May 31, 2021
“Happy Hours,” by Nina Chanel Abney.
Reporting
Annals of Espionage
Are U.S. Officials Under Silent Attack?
The Havana Syndrome first affected spies and diplomats in Cuba. Now it has spread to the White House.
By Adam Entous
Brave New World Dept.
What Robots Can—and Can’t—Do for the Old and Lonely
For elderly Americans, social isolation is especially perilous. Will machine companions fill the void?
By Katie Engelhart
American Chronicles
Are We Entering a New Political Era?
The neoliberal order seems to be collapsing. A generation of young activists is trying to insure that it’s replaced by progressive populism, not by the fascist right.
By Andrew Marantz
A Reporter at Large
The Dark Side of Congo’s Cobalt Rush
Cell phones and electric cars rely on the mineral, causing a boom in demand. Locals are hunting for this buried treasure—but are getting almost none of the profit.
By Nicolas Niarchos
More Reporting
The Critics
On Television
It’s Ryan Murphy’s World—“Halston” Is Just Living in It
In the Netflix series, Murphy keeps such a tight rein on Halston’s world that the designer is unable to breathe as a subject.
By Naomi Fry
A Critic at Large
From Guns to Gay Marriage, How Did Rights Take Over Politics?
The N.R.A., the Supreme Court, and the forces driving the country’s most intractable legal debates.
By Kelefa Sanneh
Books
Briefly Noted
“Albert and the Whale,” “There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job,” “Gold Diggers,” and “The Renunciations.”
Books
What the Bolinas Poets Built
Along the coast of California, a vibrant literary community came together, but its many styles could not be defined together.
By Dan Chiasson
Books
Why Did So Many Victorians Try to Speak with the Dead?
Many explanations have been offered for Spiritualism, but the movement was more than a fad.
By Casey Cep
More Criticism
The Talk of the Town
Steve Coll on the stakes of the crisis in Gaza; culture-war gladiators; Lucy Dacus kayaks; wrestling crowds return; a dumpling dash.
Comment
In Gaza, an Impasse Cannot Be Mistaken for Stability
Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank and its harsh blockade of Gaza have undermined its constitutional ideals and worsened internal fault lines that threaten its future.
By Steve Coll
Rome Postcard
The Last Stand at Steve Bannon’s “Gladiator School”
The Academy for the Judeo-Christian West is trying to stave off eviction from Trisulti, an eight-hundred-year-old monastery outside Rome, where its founder hopes to offer courses like “Cultural Marxism, Radical Jihad, and the C.C.P.’s Global Information Warfare.”
By Ben Munster
The Musical Life
Floating on the Hudson with Lucy Dacus
The singer-songwriter, who founded boygenius with Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker, and whose LP “Home Video” comes out next month, takes a kayak trip off Manhattan.
By Rachel Syme
Spandex Dept.
Reopening New York with Frat Boy Farva and Masha Slamovich
Driven underground by pandemic restrictions, the professional wrestlers at a Staten Island strip mall can now freely entertain audiences with body slams, face-spitting, and head-bashing with metal trash cans.
By Dan Greene
Dept. of Automation
The Automat Returns, Pushing Dumplings Into American Stomachs
How the Brooklyn Dumpling Shop serves high-concept fare, favored by Daniel Boulud, Patti LaBelle, and Fat Joe, via an update on the old Horn & Hardart system.
By Henry Alford
More Talk of the Town
Shouts & Murmurs
Shouts & Murmurs
A Letter to My Future Child
Your would-be sperm-provider and I don’t make the decision not to conceive you lightly: we’re living in a time of melting permafrost. Also, what if, as a teen-ager, you fill the bathroom with Axe body spray?
By Cora Frazier
More Shouts & Murmurs
Cartoons

“We’re meant to be finding galaxies, but the man won’t stop bird-watching.”
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Fiction
Fiction
“A, S, D, F”
“What I’m actually engaged in is a white-collar high-wire act without a safety net, where each typo means I have to start over.”
By Saïd Sayrafiezadeh
More Fiction
Puzzles & Games Dept.
Crossword
The Crossword: Friday, May 21, 2021
A lightly challenging puzzle.
By Robyn Weintraub
Poems
Poems
“Left Out of the Bible”
“What Adam said to Eve / As they lay in the dark.”
By Charles Simic
Poems
“In the Dream in Which I Am a Widow”
“I have carried a portion of your ashes overseas / to the Spanish statue of the falling angel.”
By Gabrielle Bates
More Poetry
Goings On About Town
Above & Beyond
Little Island, on the Hudson
The new public park, with its lush gardens and amphitheatre overlooking the water, is now open for exploring.
Tables for Two
Mexican Cafés Without Meat
Xilonen, in Greenpoint, homes in on house-made masa, purple potatoes, and guajillo chilies; Guevara’s, in Clinton Hill, offers young-coconut “ceviche” and sturdy nachos with black lentils and cashew crema.
By Hannah Goldfield
More Goings On About Town
Mail
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