The Atlantic Daily: Celebrity Is a Kind of Infrastructure

Built up around Michael Jackson: everything from other artists to money to an almost celestial devotion. Plus the most politically tolerant county in America.

What We’re Following

Michael Jackson’s star power hasn’t dimmed, even after jarring new allegations of child molestation and pedophilia in the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland. The movie focuses on the stories of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who lay out, in gut-wrenching detail, stories of how Jackson lured them and their families with his celebrity and then abused them for years in his Neverland mansion. It paints a disturbing picture of how Jackson leveraged his fame as a cudgel against young boys and evaded the murmurs of wrongdoing that dogged him throughout his career, including through a very public 2005 child-molestation trial. What happens when musical fandom blurs with religious devotion to a celebrity’s art?

Newly emboldened House Democrats are going on the offense against the president. Jerry Nadler, the head Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, subpoenaed some 80 witnesses and organizations for documents as part of the investigation into the Trump administration’s “abuses of power.” The targets of the requests show just how broad the probe is in its scope, touching on everything from Russian collusion and obstruction of justice to potential campaign-finance wrongdoings and the machinations of Trump’s real-estate empire. The list of witnesses includes those in the president’s inner circle, such as his son Donald Trump Jr. and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and the new probe could pave the way for future impeachment proceedings in the House.

It should come as no surprise that most Americans harbor deep-seated biases based on political affiliation. By one measure, the rate of marriages of politically mixed people has halved since the 1970s. But that interparty animus isn’t distributed equally across the nation: The most intolerant Americans tend to be older, whiter, and more partisan than the country writ large. This new ranking of counties in the U.S. shows where denizens tend to be more politically open versus prejudiced.

Among the most tolerant places in the country is Watertown, New York, a remote town near the Canada border. See how your own county fares here. Does this square with your experience in real life?

Let us know at, and we may feature your response on our website and in future editions of The Atlantic Daily.


The Tropical Fruit That Could Have Been an All-American Favorite

(Lee Reich / AP)

A century ago, this fruit was on the cusp of becoming an American favorite, but today most Americans haven’t even heard of it. What happened? Read on.

Evening Read

To get the word out about their egg-freezing services, a coterie of fertility start-ups are putting together evocative social-media campaigns—in one notable instance, a company advertises using a sassy pink cartoon of a human egg. But there’s a fine line between trying to make the expensive procedure accessible and turning even motherhood into a consumerist beauty product.

“The ways Americans have been expected to save up their money to buy these very different things have been uncomfortably similar for a long time, but by dressing up a deeply personal procedure in the visual trappings of modern consumerism, egg-freezing start-ups might have made those similarities just a bit too clear. The little cartoon egg might be a bridge too far, encouraging young women into medical debt for a service they likely won’t need and that itself provides no guarantees.”

→ Read the rest

Dear Therapist

Every Monday, Lori Gottlieb answers questions from readers about their problems, big and small. This week, Maggie from Florida writes:

“My boyfriend and I are in our early 20s, and we recently moved in together after being in a long-distance relationship for four years. I've always known that he battles depression and has mild Asperger’s. Recently, his depression has gotten much worse, and because this is the first time he has gotten very depressed since we’ve been physically together, I have no idea what I’m doing. It is like I’m walking on eggshells every time we speak, and if I say the wrong thing, he just shuts down.”

→ Read the rest, and Lori’s response. Have a question? Email Lori anytime at

The Atlantic Crossword

Click here for The Atlantic's free daily crossword

(Illustration: Araki Koman)

Have you tried your hand at our daily mini crossword (available on our website, here)? Monday is the perfect day to start—the puzzle gets bigger and more difficult throughout the week.

→ Challenge your friends, or try to beat your own solving time

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