While in the midst of a 2 a.m. freakout months ago, I received one of the most comforting texts a friend has ever sent me. “This is hard,” he responded. “You’ve done hard things before and I believe in you.” Underneath my comforter and tear snot, I smiled. He was right: I have done hard things; resilience is a trait unique to me. I silenced my phone and went to sleep. Weeks later, I found that my friend had ripped the quote from a chart created by Whitney Goodman, an Instagram-famous therapist from Florida. Her graphic gives advice on how to respond to friends in crisis with “validation and hope.” Over 8,000 people had liked the post. They’ve all done hard things, too. I’ve never told the meme plagiarist that I’m on to him, partly because I’m a bit embarrassed with how that one-size-fits-all influencer-speak genuinely fed my soul. I appreciate the pro bono analysis from Whitney Goodman (aka @sitwithwhit), but it also … [Read more...] about Thanks To Woke ‘Scripts,’ The Way We’ve Started Talking About Mental Health Is Crazy
Wwii why did it start
Your story in this week’s issue, “God’s Work,” opens as a teen-age boy and his mother—Sander and Anna—are going door-to-door handing out religious leaflets. Anna is a committed proselytizer for her faith, while Sander is starting to chafe at his life within the church. When did you start thinking about the story? Did you always know that Sander would be the focus? This story started out, as all of mine do, with a tidbit from life—in this case a mother and son pamphleteering on a hot summer day. The son in question was eight or nine. I turned them down but thought about it for a while and came to appreciate the effort to save me, though I didn’t want to be saved. It seemed generous to me, more like a gift and less like a nuisance. It also seemed more interesting to me to be inside this world looking out than outside looking in. What did the fallen world look like? And from there to Sander was a pretty short path. He’s the one … [Read more...] about This Week in Fiction: Kevin Canty on Faith and Desire
Last summer, Trevor Noah told me that if by some crazy turn of events Trump were to be elected, he wasn’t sure he would be “able to stay” in the United States. And if, as promised, Trump decided to “open up the libel laws,” the South African host wondered, could a program like The Daily Show even exist? One month into the Trump administration, Noah is still here, still tearing into Trump four nights a week—most recently mocking his insane press conference—and delivering The Daily Show its highest-rated month since his October 2015 debut with an average of 1.4 million viewers a night in January. Just as he’s been for Daily Show alum Stephen Colbert, President Trump has been a barely-disguised blessing for Noah. During a “chilled out” Saturday morning in Boston, where he is in the middle of performing six sold-out shows at the Wilbur Theatre, Noah calls The Daily Beast to talk about his new Netflix stand-up special, Afraid of … [Read more...] about Trevor Noah: Trump Doesn’t ‘Have the Balls’ to Come on ‘The Daily Show’
Months from now, it’s likely that most people will not remember which film won Best Picture, or which of the 20 white actors held Oscar trophies at the 88th Academy Awards on Sunday night. But years from now, Chris Rock’s monologue addressing #OscarsSoWhite will continue to be legend. Wearing—quite pointedly—a white tuxedo jacket, Rock did what so many of us were waiting for him to do: He put a cultural conversation born out of embarrassing institutional racism into painful perspective. He shocked, prodded, and made those responsible for those failings wholly uncomfortable. “I’m here at the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the White People’s Choice Awards,” he said. “You realize if they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get this job. Y’all would be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now.” He made a point, dared us to laugh, and shamed a few people. He angered a lot more, arguing that calls for a boycott were … [Read more...] about Chris Rock’s Brutal Oscars Monologue Was Legendary. But It Wasn’t Perfect.
This week’s story, “F.A.Q.s,” is about a college student named Phoebe. She’s just returned to her parents’ home after breaking up with her boyfriend and, initially, is largely silent. Why did you want to write about this post-adolescent state of despair? This story is part of a larger project about a multigenerational family. The first story I wrote about the Rubinsteins is called “Apple Cake” and was published in The New Yorker a few years ago. Since that time, I’ve been writing about different members of the family and their relationships. Each character interests me, and each stage of life interests me, but what fascinates me the most is the way that characters and stages rub off one each other. When I was a child, my art teacher told me that there are no pure colors in painting. There is no such thing as pure, unadulterated blue or red. Colors define each other. I think this is true of people, as well. So this story is as much about … [Read more...] about Allegra Goodman on the Anxieties of Growing Up