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Comments: Week of March 19, 2018


1. In dozens of interviews, essays, and conversations, New York explored the impossibly urgent question of “How to Raise a Boy” (March 5–18). Daphne C. Watkins of the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work responded: “This feature is a reminder that we need to think critically about the way we are raising our boys. With changing times and passing decades, we have been able to revolutionize the roles of girls and women. But we need to start normalizing the unique ways boys develop, and treat this with the same open-mindedness we apply to girls. Girls can dance along the boundaries of gender norms, but not our boys, and we are long overdue for a change. We now live in a progressive world that eagerly waits for boys who are nurtured and celebrated for who they are and not for how they are socialized.” On the subject of locker-room talk, Peter W. Dicce, assistant dean of students and director of athletics at NYU Abu Dhabi, added: “Having coached in both the U.S. and now in the Middle East, I can say that locker rooms are more important than ever as settings for meaningful discussions about how young men should conduct themselves. The three most dangerous words in a locker room have always been ‘be a man.’ My hope is that today’s coaches will use their influence to encourage positive conversations about mutual respect and overcoming differences to attain a shared goal.” Will Leitch’s lead essay on his ambivalence toward what his father taught him, in light of how he’s trying to raise his own sons, was widely discussed. @MonitaRajpal tweeted, “All that my husband and I feel about raising our little boy as written by [Leitch]. Only difference is our boy is of mixed race. For what kind of a world do we prepare him?” But reader Elena Pavloff cautioned, “In the piece Leitch wrote, he sees success and power as a zero sum game. That his boys can only get a good job if someone else doesn’t, or more to his point, if someone else gets a good job, his boys won’t. He is completely wrong. And he is feeding into the myth that white men hold onto as to why others shouldn’t be rewarded for their hard work. You can work hard and have a good career without being an aggressive asshole and without keeping others down. Life and careers and love and religion and the world is not a zero sum game.”


2. Lisa Miller was on the ground in Parkland, Florida, with the adolescent organizers who emerged in the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting (“Inside the War Room,” March 5–18). Rebecca Kowalewicz wrote, “My generation had Columbine. We were shocked; we were appalled. But we were helpless so we moved on. And school shootings happened again. And again. And again. The kids from Douglas are doing what we, the Gen X, should have done back then. I applaud your coverage of these amazing individuals and the honest look of how they came together to work to better what past generations could not.” @nejsnave tweeted, “The media instincts of these high school students rival professionals with decades of education and experience.” AJMnyc commented, “These young students just continue to impress. They’ve been through unspeakable trauma and the tragedy of losing friends. The maturity and determination to effect change that they’ve shown in response has been truly inspirational. Only a soulless ghoul would question their sincerity.” And the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery summed it up: “This is the best piece I’ve read on the Parkland kids.”

3. In Angels in America, Nathan Lane plays the darkest character of his career — Roy Cohn — and couldn’t be happier about it, Isaac Butler discovered (“Nathan Lane Dances With the Octopus,” March 5–18). @mcgarrygirl78 tweeted, “I’ve always been a fan of Nathan Lane’s, how awesome it must have been to be in his presence and watch him transform into one of the most hated men in America.” Theater critic Jason Zinoman wrote, “One thing about this wonderful … profile of Nathan Lane, one of our greatest living actors, is it’s clear from the parts he’s considering in the future (Salesman, Lear) he’s aiming for the tallest heights.” 

4. Kera Bolonik paid tribute to her late friend the true-crime writer Michelle McNamara, whose investigation I’ll Be Gone in the Dark was posthumously published (“The Coldest Case,” March 5–18). Patton Oswalt, McNamara’s surviving husband, tweeted his appreciation: “This is an AMAZING article. Really captures the complexity of what [Michelle] was wrestling with.” And commenter papadaki wrote, “The more I read about her, the more it becomes abundantly clear that she was a very, very smart woman who deserved more fame and praise during her lifetime.” I’ll Be Gone in the Dark debuted as a No. 1 New York Times best seller.


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