“A few miles north of San Francisco, off the coast of Sausalito, is Richardson Bay, a saltwater estuary where roughly one hundred people live out of sight from the world. Known as anchor-outs, they make their homes a quarter mile from the shore, on abandoned and unseaworthy vessels, doing their best, with little or no money, to survive.”
When narratives are examined through an evolutionary lens, they reveal shared cultural origins and the durability of storytelling itself, which has evolved as a kind of organism along with homo sapiens. “If any organism can achieve true immortality,” Ferris Jabr writes, “it is surely the story.”
The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 declared the Chinese ineligible for citizenship, this after Americans had been exploiting their labor for over forty years. Some Chinese nationals bypassed the Act with false paperwork, and decades later, the government pressured many “paper citizens” into confessing, leaving a lasting mark on many families, including the author’s.
Masood Hotak left Afghanistan in December 2015, hoping to make it to Europe. On January 3, 2016, he posted on Facebook that he’d reached the Greek island of Samos. And then… nothing. His big brother Javed has traveled thousands of miles trying to find him.
After a bout with cancer and several strokes that eliminated her quality of life, Becky Benight had had enough. She wanted to die on her own terms. Confessing her wishes to her husband Philip, he sprung her from nursing home hell in a bid for freedom; they made a pact to end their own lives to stop their chronic suffering. Everything went along according to plan until Philip woke up from his coma to discover that not only had Becky died, he’d been charged with her murder.
“I feel as though I’ve built a career by capitalizing on black pain—exploiting that of others and monetizing my own. The dilemma is both personal and political. The guilt of my ambition is intertwined with the sense of a fruitless project.”
Kevin Baker connects the dots between empty penthouses and empty storefronts in New York City, tracing how the rich have transformed what once was a significant cultural entity into “the world’s largest gated community.”
Princeton professor Imani Perry considers how Alabama, her home state, has remained stuck in the past as well as how it continues to transform.
When the village of Portpatrick, Scotland formed a trust to protect its harbor from further decay and outside ownership, a financial scandal forced the village to try a very different type of ownership model, a truly equitable one, called community shares. This model would be difficult in capitalist America.
If you’re a young couple looking for a love marriage in India, you could turn to the Love Commandos to perform your marriage ceremony and register your union with the government to make it legal. Beware that in addition to paying an expensive fee, you’ll be expected to clean, cook, run errands, and walk the bomb-sniffing dog at the Love Commando safe house.