All posts tagged: lot of people

The Supreme Court’s Colorado Opinion Is About Fear, Not Law

The Supreme Court’s Colorado Opinion Is About Fear, Not Law

This is The Trump Trials by George T. Conway III, a newsletter that chronicles the former president’s legal troubles. Sign up here. You can’t always get what you want. What Mick Jagger said about life applies with equal, perhaps even greater, force to litigation. Like life, litigation has its ups and downs. It reflects human fears and frailties—because judges, lawyers, and litigants are human. Law is never perfect, and never will be. And so it is with the United States Supreme Court’s decision yesterday in Trump v. Anderson, which unanimously reversed the Supreme Court of Colorado’s decision barring Donald Trump from the state’s presidential-primary ballot. Trump’s brazen effort to end constitutional democracy in America should have been the textbook example of the sort of behavior that would lead to someone being barred from holding public office under the Fourteenth Amendment. But it was not to be, and never was to be. I talked with a lot of people about the Colorado case over the past three months, and I didn’t come across a single person …

TikTok Is Basically Just Broadcast TV Now

TikTok Is Basically Just Broadcast TV Now

The notorious social-media app has become less … social. Illustration by The Atlantic. Source: LesDaMore / Getty March 1, 2024, 4:08 PM ET When the Universal Music Group decided to pull its songs from TikTok last month in the midst of a protracted rights dispute, some called the move the “nuclear option.” UMG handles major artists including Taylor Swift and Bad Bunny, and isn’t music the lifeblood of the social app? Billboard has a separate chart for the most popular songs on TikTok; artists such as Lil Nas X effectively owe their career to the platform. Surely this would mark the end of TikTok as we know it, right? Well, not so fast. TikTok has grown into a titanic content machine with a sprawling user base; the platform has good reason to believe that it doesn’t need UMG’s catalog for the gears to turn. As creators were quick to point out following an embarrassing congressional hearing with TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew last year, during which politicians betrayed a deep unfamiliarity with the app, the …

The Lost Boys of Big Tech

The Lost Boys of Big Tech

The original “Burn Book” from Mean Girls was used to spread rumors and gossip about other girls (and some boys) at North Shore High School. Kara Swisher’s new memoir, Burn Book, tells true stories about men (and some women) who ruled Silicon Valley. In the 1990s, Swisher was a political reporter in Washington, but tuned into the dot-com revolution early and moved to California to cover it. As a handful of tech titans grew in fame and power, so did she, styling herself as “the best-connected of the tough reporters, and the toughest of the insiders,” writes the Atlantic staff writer Helen Lewis. Swisher became an innovator herself, starting a famous tech conference, launching several successful podcasts, and building a small media empire along the way. Her book collects those decades of stories and insights. On this week’s Radio Atlantic, Swisher recounts some of the most cringey moments of the early dot-com boom, including strange antics at parties she never really wanted to go to. (“I’ll admit I’m not that much fun.”) But mostly she …

How We Became Addicted to Therapy

How We Became Addicted to Therapy

A few months ago, as I was absent-mindedly mending a pillow, I thought, I should quit therapy. Then I quickly suppressed the heresy. Among many people I know, therapy is like regular exercise or taking vitamin D: something a sensible person does routinely to clear out the system. BetterHelp ran an ad where a woman says she’s ignoring a guy’s texts because he doesn’t see a therapist. “Hard pass,” she explains. “Red flag.” Therapy for many people has no natural endpoint. It’s just “baked into my life,” as one patient told the psychiatrist Richard Friedman, explaining why he’d been seeing a therapist for the past 15 years. Therapy is so destigmatized now that a lot of us sound like therapists. We’re “codependent,” “triggered,” “catastrophizing.” We cut off our friends who are toxic. Justin Bieber doesn’t fear an exposé on the damage of childhood fame; he freely discusses his trauma and healing. Oprah wonders what happened to you. And once you figure it out, you’ll find hours of free advice on TherapyTok. Friedman, who has been …

Trump Has Always Been Like This

Trump Has Always Been Like This

Ten years ago, I stood in the back of a large room at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, watching Donald Trump ramble. The celebrity billionaire had been loitering on the fringes of American politics for a few years, but this was my first time seeing him give a proper speech. At least, that’s what I thought he was supposed to be doing. Speaking at the Politics & Eggs forum is a rite of passage for presidential aspirants, and Trump at the time was going through his quadrennial ritual of noisily considering a bid for office. Typically, prospective candidates give variations on their stump speech in this setting. Trump was doing something else—he meandered and riffed and told disjointed stories with no evident connection to one another. The incoherence might have been startling if I had taken him seriously. But the year was 2014, and this was Donald Trump—the man who presided over a reality show in which Gary Busey competed in a pizza-selling contest with Meat Loaf. Nobody took Trump seriously. That was my …

What If Your Best Friend Is Your Soulmate?

What If Your Best Friend Is Your Soulmate?

A lot of the language we use to describe the crucial phases of friendship is borrowed from romantic relationships: friend “crush,” for example, or friend “break up.” A friend can stick around longer than a spouse and be the key to your daily sanity, and still lack a satisfying title. “Best friend”? “Buddy”? “BFF”? All of those fail to convey the weightiness such a relationship deserves. And what if you do “break up” with a best friend? Where do you put your grief? What are the rituals of mourning? In her new book, The Other Significant Others, Rhaina Cohen imagines how life would be different if we centered it on friends. She explains the extremes of friendship—situations in which pairs describe each other as “soulmates” and make major life decisions in tandem. We talk with Cohen about the lost history of friendship and why she cringes when couples at the altar describe each other as their “best friend.” Listen to the conversation here: Subscribe here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | YouTube | Google Podcasts | …

Why productivity makes us so anxious

Why productivity makes us so anxious

Our writers’ most helpful insights on getting things done without stressing about them too much. Francois Lenoir / Reuters February 10, 2024, 8 AM ET This is an edition of The Wonder Reader, a newsletter in which our editors recommend a set of stories to spark your curiosity and fill you with delight. Sign up here to get it every Saturday morning. “Productivity is a sore subject for a lot of people,” my colleague Amanda Mull wrote last fall—and I’ll admit that just reading that line makes me feel a little stressed. Perhaps it’s because, as Amanda puts it, “Americans invest personal productivity with moral weight, as though human worth can be divined through careful examination of work product, both professional and personal.” Today’s reading list is an attempt to contemplate productivity without experiencing the accompanying anxiety. I’ve rounded up some of our writers’ most helpful insights on getting things done and conceptualizing productivity’s role in your life. On Getting Things Done The Only Productivity Hack That Works on Me By Amanda Mull Never underestimate …

You Could Take Ozempic and Not Lose Any Weight

You Could Take Ozempic and Not Lose Any Weight

No medication in the history of modern weight loss has inspired as much awe as the latest class of obesity drugs. Wegovy and Zepbound are so effective that they are often likened to “magic” and “miracles.” Indeed, the weekly injections, which belong to a broader class known as GLP-1s, can lead to weight loss of 20 percent or more, fueling hype about a future in which many more millions of Americans take them. Major food companies including Nestlé and Conagra are considering tailoring their products to suit GLP-1 users. Underlying all this excitement is a huge assumption: They work for everyone. But for a lot of people, they just don’t. Anita, who lives in Arizona, told me she “took it for granted” that she would lose weight on a GLP-1 drug because “the people around me who were on it were just dropping weight like mad.” Instead, she didn’t shed any pounds. Likewise, Kathryn, from Florida, hasn’t lost any weight since starting the medication in October. “I was really hoping this was something that would …

He Predicted the Metaverse, Crypto, and Chatbots

He Predicted the Metaverse, Crypto, and Chatbots

Science fiction, when revisited years later, sometimes doesn’t come across as all that fictional. Speculative novels have an impressive track record at prophesying what innovations are to come, and how they might upend the world: H. G. Wells wrote about an atomic bomb decades before World War II, and Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel, Fahrenheit 451, features devices we’d describe today as Bluetooth earbuds. Perhaps no writer has been more clairvoyant about our current technological age than Neal Stephenson. His novels coined the term metaverse, laid the conceptual groundwork for cryptocurrency, and imagined a geoengineered planet. And nearly three decades before the release of ChatGPT, he presaged the current AI revolution. A core element of one of his early novels, The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, is a magical book that acts as a personal tutor and mentor for a young girl, adapting to her learning style—in essence, it is a personalized and ultra-advanced chatbot. The titular Primer speaks aloud in the voice of a live actor, known as a “ractor”—evoking how today’s …

Stopping a School Shooting – The Atlantic

Stopping a School Shooting – The Atlantic

Scot Peterson served for many years as a school resource officer in Broward County, Florida. His job was largely uneventful—he might catch a kid vaping or break up a fight—until just after Valentine’s Day 2018. That day, a gunman walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and killed 17 people. Shortly after, a video circulated showing Peterson taking cover beside a wall while the gunman was inside shooting. From then on, Peterson became known in his town, and in international media, as the “Coward of Broward.” (The accidental rhyme probably helped spread the infamy.) Peterson was later charged with seven counts of felony child neglect, three misdemeanor counts of culpable negligence, and one count of perjury. He was tried in the same courthouse where they tried the gunman, Nicholas Cruz. A jury found Peterson not guilty. However, the verdict did not resolve the major cultural questions. Should we expect a lone, sometimes poorly trained police officer with a pistol to face down a shooter with an assault rifle? And if the officer fails to do …