He loved Reddit and its unceasing conversations about the nuances of memes-he seemed in love with the whole enterprise, as if it were an adolescent crush
I couldn't understand how this had happened. The situation was ludicrously overdetermined, as contrived as a bad movie. My husband and I poured everything we had into nurturing an empathetic, observant child. Until then, it had seemed to be working. Teachers and family friends had always commented on Sam's kindness and especially his gentleness toward the underdog. Then an internet chorus of alt-right sirens sings their song of American History X to my kid and he turns into the evil twin of Alex P. Keaton: merciless, intolerant, unwilling to extend the benefit of the doubt to anyone.
I trained myself to freeze my facial expression into something neutral so that when I countered Sam's remarks-Feminists keep divorced dads from seeing their kids was a favorite-it would seem as if I'd actually considered his perspective. I tried to tell myself that at least he was talking to me. And at least he cared about something again; he was animated and engaged.
I did try to clear my own mind enough to understand some situations as he did, such as his belief that the men's-rights movement restored justice to the world. Sam pledged fealty to the idea of men's rights because, as he said, his former administrator had privileged girls' words and experiences over boys', and that's how all of his troubles had started in the first place. ...