Front Page: Most Popular Stories from Slate Magazine


Here are the Top Stories from Slate Magazine.

Modern Lovers

“He didn’t want to feel old,” Emma Straub writes of one of the fortysomething protagonists of her wonderful new novel, Modern Lovers. It is such a simple, plaintive statement, and one so revealing about the human condition in general, even though Straub is talking about a specific rudderless, disaffected Brooklynite—a would-be carpenter who once played in a punk band with his now-wife, a real estate agent, and down-the-street neighbor, the proprietor of a hip locavore restaurant called Hyacinth. Andrew, Elizabeth, and Zoe met in college, where they formed Kitty’s Mustache with another classmate, Lydia, who became an indie music idol after embarking on a solo career and overdosing at 27. Scornful, ambitious Lydia was the least talented of the group, and yet she had the foresight to buy the rights to the band’s best song, a feminist anthem named for a line from Sense and Sensibility and famous for its rousing, self-defeating, and self-affirming chorus: I will be calm calm calm calm.

O.J.: Made in America

Twenty years after a California jury declared O.J. Simpson not guilty of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman after a trial that changed the way people watch TV, the two best things on American television this year have been FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and now ESPN’s O.J.: Made in America, a 7½-hour documentary that is the best piece of original programming the cable sports network has ever produced. The film is part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, which for the past seven years has produced some of the best sports documentaries around but has never previously come close to producing a work of this magnitude and power.

When the Neighborhood Gentrifies and the Elementary School Doesn’t

PORTLAND, Oregon—Across Portland’s Albina district, chic cafes advertise pour-over coffee and delicacies such as blueberry basil donuts. On Mississippi Street, hollowed-out school buses and roadside stands sell vegan barbecue and bacon jam empanadas. The street signs read “Historic Mississippi,” a nod to the area’s century-old roots, but it’s increasingly difficult to find spots that don’t evoke the decidedly ahistoric hipster vibe that now makes Portland famous.

How Hawaiian Came Back From the Dead

HILO, Hawai‘i—When Herring Kekaulike Kalua was a child growing up on Hawai‘i’s Big Island, his parents spoke mostly in their native language, ‘ōlelo Hawaii. English had long been the official language of government in the islands, mandated in schools and other public spaces. But Kalua’s family favored the soft vowels of Hawaiian, rejecting the harder consonants of English while they fished, hunted, and grew taro, customs their ancestors had passed down for generations.

The Process Worked

On Monday night, the Associated Press broke news. Tallying its survey of Democratic superdelegates—the cadre of party members and elected officials who help select the nominee—the AP found that Hillary Clinton had met the threshold needed for nomination. Regardless of Tuesday’s outcomes in California, New Jersey, and elsewhere, Clinton will be the Democratic Party’s nominee for president and the first woman to win a major party nomination.

The Angle: Closing Time for Bernie Edition

Time for Bernie to give up the ghost, writes Jim Newell. He once had a good argument for his own continued presence in the race, before Hillary Clinton had gathered a majority of pledged delegates, but “after Tuesday night’s primaries, that excuse will run out, and his arguments for holding out will be depleted,” Newell argues. “If the Sanders campaign chooses to follow an aggressive path after he loses the pledged-delegate race and continues fighting into the convention to sway superdelegates to his side, he won’t just come off as a heel. He will fail, spectacularly, endangering both his legacy and Clinton’s chances in November.”

What Twitter Pundits Have to Say About Tonight’s Primaries

Hillary Clinton finally earned enough delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination on Monday night. Well, sort of; as Bernie Sanders was quick to point out, that assumes that a bunch of superdelegates won’t change their minds between now and the convention, and in great enough numbers to make up for his deficit in regular delegates. In any case, the primary marches on: Tuesday, the two candidates compete for delegates across six states. The big contest is California, with 475 pledged delegates up for grabs—more than the other states combined. A loss there for Clinton, who once led the state by 9 points, would be an embarrassment at the very moment she’s tying a bow on her nomination. Pundits and politicos will be watching closely as results come in. Below are their live tweets, drawn from a list of top accounts curated by Slate. Those who lean left are on the left; those who lean right are on the right. Enjoy the instant spin!

How the Post Office Cured “Going Postal”

Listen to Episode 513 of Slate’s The Gist:

The Man, the Myth, the Tooth Decay Fighter

In the June 6 edition of the Hang Up and Listen’s Slate Plus bonus segment, hosts Josh Levin, Mike Pesca, and Stefan Fatsis share a few of their favorite YouTube recordings with Muhammad Ali. Have you heard the interview that prompted Ali’s legendary “What’s my name?” fight against Ernie Terrell? And did you know that the boxer was nominated for a Grammy for his recording of “Ali and His Gang Fight Mr. Tooth Decay”? Keep listening to hear more of Hang Up and Listen’s favorites!

Dear Prudence Live Chat

Need help getting along with partners, relatives, co-workers, and people in general? Ask Dear Prudence! Mallory Ortberg takes your questions on manners, morals, and more. Please keep your questions succinct (recommended max. length is around 150 words). Submit yours ahead of time below:

What’s Wrong With the Brock Turner Sentence

Six months in county jail, maybe less with good behavior. That’s the punishment Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky saw fit for Brock Turner’s crime of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster outside a Stanford frat party. Turner, 19 at the time of the assault, was found guilty of three counts of felony sexual assault and was eligible to face 14 years in state prison; county prosecutors had asked for six years.

The Gaudy Construction Project on His Head

To listen to this episode of Trumpcast, use the player below:

Alan Furst on A Hero of France and Becoming a Novelist

Listen to this episode of The Moment with guest Alan Furst:


The video above wastes zero time getting your pulse pounding. Yikes. Without giving anything away, I’ll just say that the sound this slackline daredevil’s safety harness makes is what I would sound like up there.

Dear Prudence: The “Prudie Gets Some Advice” Edition

In the first episode of the Dear Prudence podcast, Mallory takes on wedding gift etiquette and crystal cigarette holders; talks infestations, advising teenage boys, and Radio Voice with fellow advice columnist Leah Reich; answers your questions about social media humblebrags; and meditates on the problem of adult dental hygiene.

Dear Prudence Is Starting a Podcast

Over the years, Slate’s Prudence has solved many problems: What to do if your mother-in-law is terrible. What to do if your dog is terrible. What to do if you are terrible. But it’s not until this week that she’s been able to conquer one lingering predicament that has bedeviled Dear Prudence fans—the lack of a dedicated Prudie podcast. Starting today, Mallory Ortberg will produce a weekly Prudence podcast for Slate Plus members.

Can America’s Worst Transit System Be Saved?

If you think Detroit’s population decline has been bad—the city had 1.85 million residents in 1950 and just 710,000 in 2010—consider the total disintegration of its transit network. At the end of World War II, Motown and its environs were home to the largest municipally owned streetcar system in the United States. Regional streetcars, buses, and commuter railcounted an annual ridership of 490 million.

14 Republican Excuses for Donald Trump’s Racism

Three months ago, David Duke, a white supremacist, declared his support for Donald Trump. Duke—who beat a field of Republicans, and all but one Democrat, in the 1991 race for governor of Louisiana—praised Trump for saying “what I said almost 25 years ago.” When CNN’s Jake Tapper invited Trump to repudiate Duke and the KKK, Trump begged off, saying he needed more information. That prompted a rebuke from House Speaker Paul Ryan. “If a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican Party, there can be no evasion and no games,” Ryan demanded. “They must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry. This party does not prey on people’s prejudices.”

Terms of Disendearment

Mallory Ortberg, aka Dear Prudence, is online weekly to chat live with readers. An edited transcript of the chat is below. (Sign up below to get Dear Prudence delivered to your inbox each week. Read Prudie’s Slate columns here. Send questions to Prudence at [email protected].)

The Invisible Helping Hand

This article is adapted from The Inner Lives of Markets: How People Shape Them—and They Shape Us.

Olympians Should Still Go to Rio

When Muhammad Ali, Olympic and World Champion and the greatest boxer in the history of the sport, overcame the profound tremors of Parkinsonism to light the Olympic flame 20 years ago in Atlanta, he went beyond the brave spirit that has come to symbolize the Olympics. Muhammad Ali died this past weekend, and we owe it to his memory to recall this message of courage both inside and outside the boxing ring. “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life,” he once wisely said.

More Young Adults Are Living With Their Parents

In May, the Pew Research Center reported that for the first time in over 100 years, more American adults ages 18–34 live with their parents than in any other arrangement: 32 percent, narrowly edging out marriage and cohabitation at 31 percent. According to Pew, the usual suspects—a sluggish job market, repercussions of the Great Recession, widening income inequality—are not technically responsible for this trend. That honor goes instead to falling marriage rates and rising housing costs (which, of course, aren’t unrelated to a bad job market and widening income inequality).

The Paper Girls and the Alien Invaders

In the wee hours of the morning after Halloween, 1988, a paper delivery girl named Erin sets out on her route in a sleepy Ohio town, autumn leaves crunching beneath the wheels of her bike as an odd red comet streaks through the sky. She soon encounters several older teenage boys dressed in lackluster monster costumes still milling through the neighborhood; within moments, they’ve gotten physically and even sexually aggressive. One of them grabs the handlebars of her bike, demanding a free paper, and refuses to let her leave.

Experts in Female Sadness

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the forces that shaped the Manson Family seemed at once unfathomable and obvious. The grotesque and random killings were terrifying enough, but those freaky girls—both the three on trial for murder and the zonked-out bevy of singing hippie chicks who knelt on the sidewalk outside the courthouse, first with Xs carved between their eyes, then with shaved heads—made it so much worse. No one knew why they did what they did, but everyone understood they embodied the darkest undercurrents of the counterculture. They were evidence of just how bad kids could get once they rejected mainstream middle-class goals and values.

Whose Side Are You on? 

When a famous couple is happy, every website and tabloid carries the same no-drama paparazzi photos of farmers’ market jaunts and late-night club exits. But when love sours, it’s time to take sides.

Why Boston Desperately Needs More Hispanic Teachers

BOSTON—Antonio Arvelo showed up for freshman year at Georgetown University in 1995 with two garbage bags full of clothes, barely any money in his pocket, and a massive inferiority complex. Unlike the vast majority of his classmates, he had grown up poor, the son of immigrant parents from Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. The first person in his family to attend college, he arrived alone in Washington, D.C., with a major goal. “I thought I needed to follow the path to make the most money and buy my mother a house,” he says. “Honestly, I was just tired of being poor.”

How to Change White Teachers’ Lenses

LOS ANGELES—When she began teaching a class of second-graders in South Los Angeles in 2002, Amy Davis expected she’d occasionally hit snags with issues like lesson planning. But she figured she’d have little trouble relating to her mostly low-income black and Latino students. After all, she was raised nearby, in a household headed by a single mother who for years survived on welfare and food stamps. Like her students, Davis knew what it was like to grow up poor.

Where Do You Grow Great Teachers?

BROWNING, Montana—When June Bullshoe Tatsey’s father told other members of the Blackfeet tribe that he wanted his four daughters to become teachers, they laughed. It was the 1930s, during the Great Depression, and American Indians faced discrimination applying for the few available jobs. Public school teachers in the Blackfeet Indian Reservation’s main town of Browning were white. Native people simply did not become teachers.

Bernie Ends Tonight

Pundits, pols, and Democratic voters have spent the past couple of months debating when Sen. Bernie Sanders should drop out, or arguing that he should have already. But Sanders didn’t just have a right to stay in the Democratic primary race until the end of the schedule. He had an obligation to. He owed it those millions of voters and the millions of donors who contributed more than $200 million to his bid to compete until he was mathematically eliminated.

An Interview With Lydia Millet and Jenny Offill 

Last month I talked to the writer Lydia Millet about her novel Sweet Lamb of Heaven, which is a meditation on language, a Rosemary’s Baby–style horror story, a political thriller, and—as if that weren’t enough—one of the best explorations of motherhood I’ve ever read. I brought up another disturbingly good novel about language and motherhood, Jenny Offill’sDept. of Speculation, and Millet laughed and said, “You know that book is by my best friend, right?”

Googling Politics

If you Googled any of the U.S. presidential candidates over the past four months, you probably noticed an information box displaying their stances on specific political issues.

Chuck Klosterman Is Wrong! (He Says.)

Listen to Episode 512 of Slate’s The Gist:

The Angle: Majority-Minority Edition 

Donald Trump’s recent comments on federal district judge Gonzalo Curiel’s supposed partiality may seem outrageously Trumpian, but they’re aligned with a broader Republican attitude, writes Dahlia Lithwick. “Here’s the larger issue the Republican nominee’s attacks on Judge Curiel highlights,” Lithwick argues. “It is actually part and parcel of a broader GOP assault on judicial independence that predates Trump and transcends the recent racism directed at Curiel.”

The GOP’s Purity Problem

The Democratic presidential primary is in its final stretch and its outcome will dominate airwaves Tuesday night. But under the radar in North Carolina, a very different politician than Hillary Clinton is fighting her own battle against an ideological challenger in a race that almost acts as a microcosm for all the problems and dysfunctions of the Republican Party—the same ones that propelled Donald Trump to its presidential nomination.

Help! My Friend Drives Her Kids Around While She’s Drunk. Should I Call the Cops?

Every week, Mallory Ortberg answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members.

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