The Tech Issue: The last children of Down syndrome, the most famous teens on TikTok, and can history predict the future? Plus therapy and parental alienation, why remote learning isn’t the only problem with school, Eddie Murphy’s return, the existential despair of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Adrienne Rich, and more.

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December 2020

December 2020

The Tech Issue: The last children of Down syndrome, the most famous teens on TikTok, and can history predict the future? Plus therapy and parental alienation, why remote learning isn’t the only problem with school, Eddie Murphy’s return, the existential despair of <em>Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer</em>, Adrienne Rich, and more.

Cover Story

parent with hand on head of young girl

The Last Children of Down Syndrome

Prenatal testing is changing who gets born and who doesn’t. This is just the beginning.

Sarah Zhang

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Features

An illustration of an ancient Greek figure with globes for eyes, one of which is on fire and smoking

The Next Decade Could Be Even Worse

A historian believes he has discovered iron laws that predict the rise and fall of societies. He has bad news.

Graeme Wood

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three photos of producing TikTok videos

98 Million TikTok Followers Can’t Be Wrong

How a 16-year-old from suburban Connecticut became the most famous teen in America

Rachel Monroe

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illustration of child stretched between parents with words "He's Mine"

Can Children Be Persuaded to Love a Parent They Hate?

When one parent in a divorce has worked to prejudice the kids against the other parent, the last-ditch solution for some judges is to send the children to “reunification camp” with the mom or dad they can’t stand.

Barbara Bradley Hagerty

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illustration of classic Eddie Murphy costumes

The Return of Eddie Murphy

Without a road map, he blazed a trail for Black performers, and then lost his way. Now he’s back.

David Kamp

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Dispatches

illustration of apple with glitches

School Wasn’t So Great Before COVID, Either

Erika Christakis

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illustration of Mike Pondsmith

The Role-Playing Game That Predicted the Future

Darryn King

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illustration of green coronavirus as wreath with blinking lights

Christmas Dies Hard

Amanda Mull

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Frank Mari and his store

What My Dad Gave His Shop

Francesca Mari

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It Wasn’t a Gun

Allissa V. Richardson

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Culture & Critics

photo illustration of Rudolph with dripping red nose

Don’t Subject Your Kids to Rudolph

Caitlin Flanagan

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illustration of a school desk as a raised fist

Teaching Should Be Political

Clint Smith

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Illustration of Adrienne Rich

The Many Lives of Adrienne Rich

Stephanie Burt

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A Japanese mother and daughter, farmworkers in California, photographed in 1937 by Dorothea Lange

Whitewashing the Great Depression

Sarah Boxer

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Departments

The Commons: The Constitution Counted My Great-Great-Grandfather as Three-Fifths of a Free Person

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An Ode to Flight Attendants

James Parker

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Poetry

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Tinnitus

W. S. Di Piero

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