Entertainment

Radhika Jones on the Rebel of Formula 1 and Other Fall Superstars


Of all the surprises in Chris Heath’s mesmerizing cover profile of the Formula 1 icon Lewis Hamilton, the one that charmed me most is that Hamilton dislikes driving. Not on the racecourse, to be clear—there he channels the joy and dedication of an athlete who found the exact thing he was born to do (one thinks of Serena Williams on the tennis court, Simone Biles on the gymnastics floor). No, this was about being hamstrung by two-way traffic and junctions and impatient road hogs, navigating the twisty roads outside the picturesque town of Èze in the South of France, where he talked to Chris about his tumultuous season and what’s to come. Formula 1 is huge in Europe and growing its profile in the U.S., thanks in part to Netflix’s gripping series Drive to Survive, and Hamilton is in a class of one when it comes to his racing bona fides but also his grace and sportsmanship, in victory and in defeat. Here he speaks without reservation of his disappointment after a controversial call that cost him a deserved win, of the friends who pulled him out of despair, and of the fortitude that brought him to the pinnacle of achievement in the first place—the same fortitude, mixed with a healthy dose of rebellious spirit, that now carries him through.

The pleasures and personalities in this September issue abound: a star-studded feature on Mario Carbone and his celebrity-magnet restaurants; the first interview with Audrey Gelman since her dizzyingly successful start-up The Wing suffered its equally dizzying decline and fall; an archive dive into irresistible, never-before-seen correspondence from Eve Babitz to literary frenemy Joan Didion; and an in-depth interview with post–prime time Rachel Maddow, who is downshifting her presence as the face of MSNBC at arguably the precise moment when her audience needs her most, on the eve of extremely consequential midterm elections.

On that note, as much as we love to look forward to the fall slate, it feels particularly important this September to acknowledge the darkness preceding it. The summer of 2022 was marked by a series of Supreme Court decisions that fundamentally altered our cultural and political landscape, from Miranda rights to the EPA to bodily autonomy. The shock of the Dobbs decision, if I try to diagnose my own, had less to do with the actual ruling; conservative legislators and judges have been chipping away at Roe for decades, and I wish I could say I was surprised that candidates for the highest bench lied about their commitment to upholding precedent. Nor is it surprising, in the arc of American history, to confront the fact that certain classes of people are afforded fewer rights and protections than others. What struck me was the backslide: the idea that for my 49 years as an American woman, born the day after Roe v. Wade was decided, I possessed an agency over my body that, depending on what state they live in, my nieces and goddaughter might not; and further, the notion, offensive in the extreme, that the Supreme Court now presumed to frame my own relationship to my body differently. In constitutional terms, we have recognized more rights over the last 230 years, not taken them away. And so the decision overturning Roe feels bizarre not only in its feeble originalist claims (as if the founders were sparing bandwidth for the privacy or privileges of any women), but in its reversal of a trajectory toward greater, if always imperfect, equality of opportunity for all citizens. On the day of the abortion decision, I happened to be flying to London, and things looked even worse from abroad because—as I heard from everyone who asked me about it—the United States had revealed itself to be not a beacon but a backward force.

We will have more to say on these topics throughout the fall. For this issue, Cristian Farias takes on the subject of the Supreme Court’s current war on democracy, the way the conservative wing of the Court is helping to dismantle democratic apparatuses against popular will and even reason. With scant respect for history and precedent, they use the blunt tools at their disposal to derail our future.



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