The Stranger

17 articles
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Coming out in a country where that can get you killed.

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How mergers between Catholic institutions and secular hospitals are changing the nature of health care.

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On an affliction for the digital age, “Munchausen by internet.”

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The aftermath of a stranger’s death and the puzzle of psychosis.

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An essay on the “history, meaning and practice of suicide, from third-century Christian death cults to the Aurora Bridge.”

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She survived an evil, gruesome attack. Her partner did not. An account of a victim, a widow, telling her story on the witness stand.

Update, 4/16/12: This piece was just awarded the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.
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I first learned about cloud lovers in a police report concerning a man who received a blowjob from a young woman and went mad. The man — let's call him Carl (police reports have the names of suspects and victims redacted) — was in his 40s, and the woman, let's call her Lisa, was almost 18. The two first met in the fall of 2003 at a local TV station that was holding a contest to find the best video footage of Northwest clouds. According to the report, which was lost when I cleaned my messy desk in 2005 (I'm recalling all of this from an imperfect memory), Carl, who was married and well-to-do, fell in love with Lisa, whose family was not so well-off, upon seeing her for the first time. He had a videocassette in his hand; she had a videocassette in her hand. He showed his tape to the station's weatherman (sun, sky, clouds). She showed hers (clouds, sky, sun). During the contest, his eyes could not escape her beauty. After the contest, the impression she made on his mind intensified. That bewitching coin in the short story by Jorge Luis Borges, "The Zahir," comes to mind. If a person sees this coin only once, the memory of its image begins to more and more dominate his/her thoughts and dreams. Soon the coin becomes the mind's sole reality. Lisa's face was Carl's Zahir.
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On killing and eating small game in Seattle.

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 The writer speaks with his father for the first and last time.

My father moved back to Nigeria one month after I was born. Neither I nor my sister Ijeoma, who is a year and a half my elder, have any recollection of him. Over the course of the next 16 years, we did not receive so much as a phone call from him, until one day in the spring of 1999, when a crinkled envelope bearing unfamiliar postage stamps showed up in the mailbox of Ijeoma's first apartment. Enclosed was a brief letter from our father in which he explained the strange coincidence that had led to him "finding" us.* It was a convoluted story involving his niece marrying the brother of one of our mother's close friends from years ago. As a postscript to the letter, he expressed his desire to speak to us and included his telephone number.

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The anatomy of a bungled, massively expensive undercover sting conducted by the Seattle Police Department.

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An investigation into the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in Alaska Native villages.

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On the genesis of the It Gets Better Project.

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With Washington State debating a bill that would force Christian pregnancy centers to be more forthright about their anti-abortion agenda, a pair of reporters hear firsthand what the centers are telling young women.

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How the bulk of the cocaine entering the U.S. ends up cut with a cattle dewormer.

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Returning to the scenes of three famous deaths in Seattle.

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A profile of the mysterious and moderately intelligent Giant Pacific Octopus.

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Murderous editors, allegations of insanity, connections to the Church of Satan, illegal predatory-pricing schemes, and more than $21 million on the line—the crazy alt-weekly war in San Francisco has it all.