For the “Journeys” issue of Topic, Anna Holmes shares a reprint of a 1996 New York Times Magazine piece by Darcy Frey originally titled, “Something’s Got to Give.” The piece is a wild, frenetic look at the fragile fraternity of air traffic controllers minding the busiest airspace in the United States. “Every hour around here is 59 minutes of boredom and 1 of sheer terror.”
“The judge keeps a low public profile, but among attorneys in Louisiana, her reputation is feared. According to data from the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which oversees our nation’s immigration courts, Judge Reese has presided over more than 200 asylum hearings during the past five years. The applicants who have stood before her have come from all across the globe: Somalia, Eritrea, Mexico, Cameroon, Honduras. Some have lawyers, some do not; it makes little difference. Unique among her peers, during the past five years, Reese has rejected every single case.”
One British man spent his adult life devoted to his favorite star. His personal collection tells us a lot about fandom—and about the life cycles of music ephemera.
“A few hours later, after giving birth in the car’s back seat, there was paperwork to do. In my bed at New York Methodist, my daughter’s buttery newborn skin against my chest, I tabbed through papers in a blue folder embossed with the hospital’s logo: birth certificate and social security forms, lactation support resources, a brochure asking, helpfully, “Can Your Baby Hear You?”
One line on an insurance printout caught my eye. PLACE OF BIRTH: EXTRAMURAL.”
“Kingsley Hall was an experiment that is considered imperfect by all who took part in it, deeply flawed; to some on the outside, it was wildly irresponsible, perhaps a failure.”
In the 20th century, anthropologists fell over themselves to study the “cargo cult” phenomenon in the South Pacific. But was it really a new religion—or just a Western fantasy?
An incredible photo essay in which both the images and words tell the crazy story of imprisoned mortician David Sconce (up for parole in 2022). In the ’80s, Sconce turned his family’s California funeral home into a mass crematorium and black market body part- and organ-harvesting business.
“Garishly food-styled heads of hollowed-out iceberg packed with pimiento cheese, or baked beans in aspic, bolster our own superior sense of ourselves. Like the Instagram freakshake, they are fantasy transgressions against which we define our superior awesomeness.”
After her book, So You Want to Talk About Race, becomes a bestseller, Black author Ijeoma Oluo offers to build her white mother a home with her earnings and learns how race can affect the ways adult children care for their aging parents.