The Magazine
October 11, 2021
“Magic Formula,” by Luci Gutiérrez.
Reporting
Annals of Science
Can Nuclear Fusion Put the Brakes on Climate Change?
Amid an escalating crisis, the power source offers a dream—or a pipe dream—of limitless clean energy.
By Rivka Galchen
American Chronicles
Fatty Arbuckle and the Birth of the Celebrity Scandal
A murder charge, a media frenzy, a banishment, and accusations of sexual abuse in Hollywood. What can the Arbuckle affair, now a hundred years old, teach us today?
By Michael Schulman
A Reporter at Large
The Ship That Became a Bomb
Stranded in Yemen’s war zone, a decaying supertanker has more than a million barrels of oil aboard. If—or when—it explodes or sinks, thousands may die.
By Ed Caesar
Personal History
A Botched Circumcision and Its Aftermath
The constant discomfort of a genital injury creates a covenant of pain. It is impossible to think about anything else.
By Gary Shteyngart
More Reporting
The Critics
The Art World
Jasper Johns Remains Contemporary Art’s Philosopher King
A major retrospective shows that the ninety-one-year-old artist’s greatness endures.
By Peter Schjeldahl
Books
The Myth of Oscar Wilde’s Martyrdom
He cast himself in a dazzling array of roles, both on and off the page. Can history restore the full measure of Wilde’s complexity?
By Clare Bucknell
Books
Briefly Noted
“Late City,” “Assembly,” “God, Human, Animal, Machine,” and “The History of Bones.”
The Theatre
The Precious Contingencies of Immigrants in “Sanctuary City”
Martyna Majok’s play, presented by New York Theatre Workshop at the Lucille Lortel, focusses on two precisely defined characters to explore the injustices experienced by Dreamers in America.
By Vinson Cunningham
On Television
A Conflicted Portrait of Linda Tripp in “Impeachment”
The latest installment of “American Crime Story” wants to complicate the villainization of Tripp, the civil servant who betrayed Monica Lewinsky, by putting her treachery in the greater context of a cultural and political rot.
By Doreen St. Félix
More Criticism
The Talk of the Town
Jelani Cobb on the harm of Republican recount fever; an anti-Cuomo musical; Wolfgang Van Halen; the legacy of Wilmington’s 1898 coup; Jeff Daniels sings.
Comment
Why Republicans Are Still Recounting Votes
The point of the so-called audits is not so much to delegitimize the past election as it is to normalize unnecessary reviews of future ones—including, perhaps, a 2024 race in which Trump’s name may be on the ballot.
By Jelani Cobb
Dept. of Insinuation
Cuomo, the Musical!
When Hank Morris was put in prison by Andrew Cuomo for a kickback scheme involving the state pension fund, Morris’s plea agreement prevented him from complaining that he got railroaded. So he made a musical, “A Turtle on a Fence Post,” to speak for him.
By Andrew Marantz
Dept. of Fandom
Rachel, Joey, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, Ross . . . and Wolfgang
Wolfgang Van Halen, the front man of Mammoth WVH and the son of Eddie Van Halen, pays a visit, in between stadium shows with Guns N’ Roses, to his happy place: the Friends Experience, in Gramercy Park.
By Mark Yarm
Overdue Memorial
Searching for the Descendants of Racial Terrorism
In 1898, white supremacists in Wilmington, North Carolina, staged a coup and murdered dozens of Black residents. More than a century later, a team of volunteers tries to track down every living relative of the victims.
By Lauren Collins
Character Studies
Jeff Daniels Channels Atticus Finch
The “To Kill a Mockingbird” star returns to Broadway and discusses his protest music and how his new series, “American Rust,” offers a window onto white, working-class towns like his own.
By Sheelah Kolhatkar
More Talk of the Town
Shouts & Murmurs
Shouts & Murmurs
The Stress-Free Family Meal Plan
May contain trace amounts of stress.
By Kate Sidley
More Shouts & Murmurs
Cartoons
Fiction
Fiction
“The Ghost Birds”
“As people accepted that the birds were gone for good, the Paranormal Birding Society took flight.”
By Karen Russell
More Fiction
Puzzles & Games Dept.
Crossword
The Crossword: Friday, October 1, 2021
A lightly challenging puzzle.
By Caitlin Reid
Poems
Poems
“Without”
“The world will keep trudging through time without us.”
By Joy Harjo
Poems
“Damsons”
“What the crowd holds dear / is the notion there’ll be no reckoning in the political sphere.”
By Paul Muldoon
More Poetry
Goings On About Town
Art
The Luminous Abstractions of Etel Adnan
A Guggenheim exhibition opening on Oct. 8 includes the artist’s paintings of the view of Mt. Tamalpais from her home in Sausalito.
Tables for Two
A Different Kind of Soba at Sarashina Horii
A new restaurant in the Flatiron district serves white soba, made from the core of the buckwheat seed, in a soy-laced house broth or with a cold dipping sauce, accompanied by meaty mushrooms or lightly battered lobster tempura.
By Shauna Lyon
More Goings On About Town
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