We live in a partisan age, and our news habits can reinforce our own perspectives. Consider this an effort to broaden our collective outlook with essays beyond the range of our typical selections.
FROM THE LEFT
From “‘Raising Baby Grey’ Explores the World of Gender-Neutral Parenting,” by Crispin Long in The New Yorker.
The context, from the author: Acursory look at some popular themes for the recent phenomenon of gender-reveal parties—”wheels or heels,” “touchdowns or tutus,” “bows or arrows”—makes it difficult to deny that boys and girls are funnelled into a gender binary that can be almost comically rigid.
The excerpt: The parents, who seem kind and thoughtful, use they/them pronouns for their baby, a one-year-old named Grey, and dress Grey in a variety of clothes—sometimes a tiny polo shirt or, for an L.G.B.T.Q. Pride parade, a rainbow tutu. Grey’s father is a trans man, and the desire to raise Grey without the constraints imposed by gender is rooted in and informed by the suffering he experienced being treated as a girl while growing up.
From “The Reckoning Is About More Than Police Violence,” by Delilah Friedler in Mother Jones.
The context, from the author: Why take down Honest Abe, “the Great Emancipator,” who we celebrate on Juneteenth for ending this country’s (overt) enslavement of African-descended peoples? Because we’re not just reckoning with the value of Black lives—we are re-evaluating our history as a country built on stolen land with stolen labor.
The excerpt: Migrants and refugees from all corners of the world encounter our system’s brutality; white supremacy makes sure of it. But Black and Indigenous people experience specific forms of racism that run all the way back to the founding of this nation, a nuance often lost in the catch-all “people of color.” You can’t end racism without also challenging white supremacy, colonization, and empire. One remarkable thing about the uprisings over the past month is that they’ve readily connected those dots.
The context, from the author: Hard as it is to believe, there are even crazier people in the federal government than President Donald Trump.
The excerpt: Bolton’s plan was to expose the buffoon in The Room (Where It Happened), but in the end, it is Bolton who stands exposed, not only as a warmonger par excellence but as someone who may have witnessed criminal actions by the president and did nothing.
FROM THE RIGHT
The context, from the author: The role of fathers has changed, and little in the lives of men prepares them to meet the new expectations.
The excerpt: The crisis of absent fathers is complex, but the tragic yield of that crisis is simple: about one in four American children now live without a father in the home. It can’t be that all those missing fathers are without feeling for their offspring. Perhaps the more salient explanation is that they would like to play the role of a father—maybe the father they never had—but don’t know how.
From “The Triumph Of The Country Mouse,” by Victor Davis Hanson in the National Review.
The context, from the author: Cities lose their charms when they’re engulfed in chaos, crime, and mobs — and run by virtue-signaling appeasers.
The excerpt: In small towns, outlying suburbs, and farmhouses, you can grow food, have a well, pump out your own septic tank, take target practice at home, and have a gasoline tank or a generator in reserve. You can be worth $2 billion on the Magnificent Mile, but if your Gulfstream is locked down at the airport, your driver socially distanced at home, your elevator on the blink, and your food courier a day late, then you are poorer than a peasant in Nowhere, Okla. The poor in high-rises in Queens are far more vulnerable than those in rickety farmhouses in rural Ohio.
From “Gaslighting Nobody, The Blob Struggles For Primacy,” by Kelley Beaucar Vlahos in the American Conservative.
The context, from the author: The national security elite now wants us to believe we are seeing things that aren’t really there.
The excerpt: Ten years ago, “restraint” was considered code for “isolationism” and its purveyors were treated with nominal attention and barely disguised condescension. Today, agitated national security elites who can no longer ignore the restrainers—and the positive attention they’re getting—are trying to cut them down to size.