Cover Story: The Dark Power of Fraternities by Caitlin Flanagan
Since 2005, more than 60 people—the majority of them college students—have died in incidents linked to fraternities, a sobering number in itself, but one that is dwarfed by the numbers of serious injuries, assaults, and sexual crimes that regularly take place in fraternity houses. These sometimes lurid, sometimes ludicrous, and often tragic incidents are increasingly becoming public through civil lawsuits, allowing for a pretty stunning reveal: universities shifting blame onto the victims of violent crime; frats disavowing members (and liability) at the first hint of trouble; hapless parents left holding the bag. In this issue’s cover story, contributing editor Caitlin Flanaganwrites about a year-long investigation through which she reports “how fraternities exert their power over colleges, how college and university presidents can be reluctant to move unilaterally against dangerous fraternities, and how students can meet terrible fates as a result.”
The Puck Stops Here by Chris Koentges
Whether at the Olympics in Sochi, or at NHL games in the United States, a peculiar trend is growing in the ice hockey world. Finnish goaltenders have begun to pop up on teams all across the United States and Canada. The reason? In a small, rural town in Finland, a new school of hockey goaltending has been born. The teacher—the master— is Urpo Ylönen, who has been producing some of the top goaltenders in hockey for the past decade. Chris Koentges travels to the far stretches of Finland to meet and profile the man who has transformed a global sport.
Letting Go of Asperger’s by Hanna Rosin
Four months after Hanna Rosin’s son was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, the American Psychiatric Association declared that Asperger’s was no longer a valid diagnosis, which impacted her in a way she hadn’t anticipated. Although she had initially rejected labels, she had come to rely on her son’s diagnosis to explain his behavior. As she writes, “If he whacked his little brother, it wasn’t because he was jealous or because all brothers whack each other, but because he had Asperger’s.” She concludes how being forced to lose the diagnostic label was possibly the best thing for both her and her son.
- The Elephant Trainer: The Atlantic contributor Michelle Cottle profiles RNC finance co-chair, Christine Toretti, who is leading the effort to make the GOP the party of women. Read more
- We Are Running Out of Antibiotics: The founder of penicillin, Alexander Fleming, warned of a future in which antibiotics no longer worked. It appears we might already be there. Nicole Allan looks at the science, and how we can fix this problem. Read more
- In this month’s Study of Studies, Sarah Yager examines why it’s so hard to keep a secret. Read more
- The Case for Corruption: New rules and regulations have taken the politics out of government. Jonathan Rauch argues that we need to return to honest political graft. Read more
- Get Ready to Roboshop: Alexis Madrigal talks with Walmart’s senior vice president of mobile and digital, Gibu Thomas, about why a smartphone is the perfect shopping companion. Read more
The Culture File & Essay:
- Java Script: Food expert Corby Kummer explains how to make the perfect cup of coffee. Read more
- Burmese Daze: Graeme Wood takes a bizarre trip to Burma’s Drug Elimination Museum—three floors of solemn exhibits about drug abuse and government efforts to stamp it out. It is Reefer Madness meets Triumph of the Will. Read more
- Madder Than Hell: James Parker looks at how Paddy Chayefsky’s Networkenvisioned today’s maniacal media. Read more
- Why Is It So Hard for Women to Write About Sex?: Claire Dedererobserves that women have a tough time writing about female desire, because it is easier to titillate, shock, and lie than get at the messy underbelly of what women really want. Read more
Finally, just in time for Hollywood’s biggest night of the year, the Big Question on our back page: What was the biggest Oscar mistake ever made? The film critic Lisa Schwarzbaum, the former Variety editor Peter Bart, and The Atlantic’sChristopher Orr weigh in.
These articles and more are featured in the March issue of The Atlantic, available today, February 20, 2014, on TheAtlantic.com and mobile devices and on newsstands next week.