In March, which thanks to Vladimir Putin was not exactly a slow news month, the internet found ample time to waste on what seemed to be a rather dog-bites-man story: “Nine-year-old bullied for My Little Pony backpack.” The nine-year-old in question was, needless to say, a boy. The boy’s school told him to leave the backpack at home, for roughly the same reason that visitors to Yosemite National Park are told not to leave food in their parked cars: Bears will be bears. The boy’s mother pulled him out of school, called the media, compared her son to a rape victim blamed for dressing provocatively, and ultimately won back his right to court the disdain of his peers. She was hailed as a hero. Writing about this Pyrrhic victory in Time, David Lesser asked, “Do we want our kids to fit in or stand out?”

A society to which this question makes any sense is a society...


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