Fighting Words: President Donald Trump responded to a speech by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with an all-caps tweet that warned of “CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE” if Iran should ever threaten the United States. While political and economic conditions in the two countries make it unlikely that these comments will lead to war, the threat could still be dangerous. Trump’s past bluffs to North Korea provide some insight into what he might be thinking now, and how world leaders could react.
Segregated Places: Three years after a video of a white policeman violently restraining a young black girl at a pool party in McKinney, Texas, went viral, the suburban community is still deeply divided over the incident, Olga Khazan reports. In New York City, the new public-school chancellor Richard Carranza is vowing to integrate the city’s schools—a task that activists have struggled with for more than 50 years. Adam Harris asks: Can he do it?
Mel Brooks has just turned 92, and, as far as anyone can tell, he is unaltered. He has blue-gray eyes and a rakish smile; his hair is white and full; the voice remains powerfully hoarse, with traces of Louis Armstrong’s music filtering through the guttural tones. When Brooks gets excited, that voice bursts out of him like a tiger bursting out of the bush. At other times, he murmurs rapidly, teenage-style, “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” …
Edward Said spoke of a “late style” in certain artists—a changed consciousness near the end, a practice of concision, definitiveness, and in some cases rejection of convention and even of the audience itself … But [Brooks’s] style now, in his 90s, is the same as it was decades ago when he was making such madcap-profound films as Young Frankenstein and appearing with Carl Reiner in the world-historical comedy routine The 2,000 Year Old Man. I have seen him twice in the past few months, in Los Angeles and then in New York, and he remains prodigal in expression, memory, and imagination.
Experience teaches us that when we are in the act of writing we are alone and on our own, in a kind of absolute state of Do Not Disturb. And experience tells us further that each story is a specific thing, never a general thing—never. The words in the story we are writing now might as well never have been used before. They all shine; they are never smudged. Stories are new things, stories make words new; that is one of their illusions and part of their beauty. And of course the great stories of the world are the ones that seem new to their readers on and on, always new because they keep their power of revealing something.
Every week, Lori Gottlieb gives advice on life’s dilemmas, big and small, in the Dear Therapist column. An anonymous reader writes:
My 30-year-old son and I had a fight on Mother’s Day, and he walked out and went home. We screamed at each other and both said things that were extremely ugly and hurtful. However, I cannot get over this hurt …
He wants to press the reset button (is that a Millennial thing?) and just say, “Forget about it. Let’s get past it.” But I feel we have to do a do-over. I want him to fix it, and he is being stubborn and won’t. We have been talking about it for six weeks now, and he doesn’t want to talk about it anymore.
I adore my son, but I’m still so angry. What’s a mother to do?