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“So many of the worst nightmares of parenting start with a phone call: a child out of arm’s reach, not in the house, not in her bed. Or, in this case, a text on a rainy night from my daughter to my wife, who then relayed a command to me: go pick her up now. Instead of taking the subway to the Upper West Side, as I would have any other night, I got into my car and dashed up the West Side Highway. My daughter is in middle school; this was the first time she’d ever been to a nighttime party, at the house of a friend from school. A parent would be at home the whole time, we’d been told. How bad could it be?
“There was a boy making jokes about rape,” my daughter said, five minutes later, in the passenger seat. “We told him to shut the fuck up, but he wouldn’t, and my friend’s mom told her to try to work it out herself, which was completely unfair, and everyone was crying, and I just got tired of it, and I have a headache. That’s why I texted Mom.”
I take the blame for my daughter’s casual profanity. My wife is responsible for her emotional acuity. No one can say where she gets her unflappable, don’t-mess-with-me temperament. She is a chaos manager and an empath. But adolescence is a wet street, where skidding is likely and the car sometimes feels entirely weightless. Last summer, an older girl we knew of—a friend of friends—fell from a fire escape and died during a party. When I heard the news, I did the predictable thing: I measured the distance between my nearest child and this catastrophe. It felt very short. The pills in every parent’s medicine cabinet. A friend saying, “Oh, I know what this one does.” Another friend saying, “It’s no big deal, we go out there all the time, it’s just like having a balcony.””
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"THE CAPTURE of the last territory controlled by the Islamic State on Saturday was far from a final victory over the movement, as U.S. commanders and diplomats were careful to emphasize."
"How a Gay Teen, an Internet Nazi, and a Late-Night Rendezvous Turned to Tragedy. When self-loathing meets the new age of online extremism."
"Benjamin Netanyahu ignored the intelligence operations of Beijing and Moscow for too long. Now, the Israeli government is finally paying attention, but it could be too late."
"Former Nick Jr. kids are now reckoning with this all-grown-up intrepid explorer, whose obstacles are a lot bigger than Swiper the Fox. And that is a hard pill to swallow."
"At the end of last week, the three-month Treasury bills' yield rose above the yield for 10-year Treasuries for the first time since 2007, prompting warnings that the U.S. is headed for recession later this year or in early 2020."
"A team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology attempted to answer some questions about voting with the help of artificial intelligence (AI)."
"The experts I spoke with all said that the internet had changed the way conspiracies spread, but conspiracies, both dangerous and petty, have always been with us."
"Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?"
"Trustful parents allow their children as much freedom as reasonably possible to make their own decisions. They trust their children’s instincts, judgments, and ability to learn from mistakes."
"Arugulagate. In 2007, Barack Obama was in Iowa, speaking as a presidential hopeful to a group of farmers who were worried about the stagnation of their crop prices while America’s grocery bills continued to rise."
"To say that information exists in and of itself is akin to speaking of spin without the top, of ripples without water, of a dance without the dancer, or of the Cheshire Cat’s grin without the cat."
"Ted Cruz replaces the Democrats’ muddled manifesto with a clear and unequivocal exploration of the hatred of Jews and its particular evils."