Saturday, December 03, 2005

More Trash from the Village Voice

You know, I never liked the Village Voice when I lived in New York and this film review of Homecoming, a horror film with--get this, dead veterans, coming out of their graves to get to the voting booths to eject the president who sent them to war-- makes me like the paper even less. The review was so childish that I thought it was a parody at first, but alas, it was not.The only good news from this review is the following quote from the director:

You can't do theatrical political movies; people don't go to them. You can't do them on television, because you've got sponsors," he says. "Michael Moore's last picture made a lot of money, but he was vilified for it so much he's practically in hiding."

Thank goodness something good came from Moore's last picture. Thanks to Larry's Blog for pointing out this review.

What I love about these liberal filmmakers (which is, like, all of them) is that they have never gotten past the adolescent idea that what they are doing is the progressive work of genius that tells the real truth about what is going on. It's not. It is just simple boring propaganda that no one wants to see--unless you are at an Italian film festival, a self-righteous American Filmmaker or the Democratic National Committee who spent millions on DVD's of Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. Dante says that that the point of his pitiful zombie B-rated flick (I'd give it more of an F for poor imagination) is to inspire other filmmakers to make better versions of films about the atrocities of Iraq.

Perhaps, instead, it should be a wakeup call to right-leaning filmmakers to make films that expose the nonsense these liberals spout. We are already off to a great start with filmmakers like Evan Coyne Maloney with Brainwashing 201 and Michael Moore Hates America by Michael Wilson.

Update: This comment is too funny to leave in the comment section--"Dead people voting for Democrats? That's just art imitating life." Here is some video that explains the whole thing.

Update II: In honor of giving more money to right-leaning books and art etc.--here is the bookI am going to request for Christmas (actually--that would be Hanukkah for me).

The Invisible Man

Michael Gurian, a family therapist and author of The Minds of Boys : Saving Our Sons From Falling Behind in School and Life, has a great article in the Washington Post on the disappearing act of boys on college campuses. These last few paragrahs descibe the problem best:

We still barely see the burdens our sons are carrying as we change from an industrial culture to a post-industrial one. We want them to shut up, calm down and become perfect intimate partners. It doesn't matter too much who boys and men are -- what matters is who we think they should be. When I think back to the kind of classroom I created for my college students, I feel regret for the males who dropped out. When I think back to my time working in the prison system, I feel a deep sadness for the present and future generations of boys whom we still have time to save.

And I do think we can save them. I get hundreds of e-mails and letters every week, from parents, teachers and others who are beginning to realize that we must do for our sons what we did for our daughters in the industrialized schooling system -- realize that boys are struggling and need help. These teachers and parents are part of a social movement -- a boys' movement that started, I think, about 10 years ago. It's a movement that gets noticed for brief moments by the media (when Columbine happened, when Laura Bush talked about boys) and then goes underground again. It's a movement very much powered by individual women -- mainly mothers of sons -- who say things to me like the e-mailers who wrote, "I don't know anyone who doesn't have a son struggling in school," or, "I thought having a boy would be like having a girl, but when my son was born, I had to rethink things."

We all need to rethink things. We need to stop blaming, suspecting and overly medicating our boys, as if we can change this guy into the learner we want. When we decide -- as we did with our daughters -- that there isn't anything inherently wrong with our sons, when we look closely at the system that boys learn in, we will discover these boys again, for all that they are. And maybe we'll see more of them in college again.

Yes, maybe if we made the learning environment more appropriate for boys and stopped demonizing boys and men for being bad learners, airplane pedophiles and just plain jerks, the mysteriously vanishing male might reappear.

Update: Here is a good article on Gurian's methods for those of you who want to read more about boys different way of learning--thanks

Update II: Some good information from the Kansas City Star on raising boys better. I found it refreshing that the article mentioned a neurobiologist who was willing to stand up for his study results, depite them being politically incorrect--thanks to reader Jeff for pointing this out:

Sociologist Michael Kimmel of the State Universities of New York rejected anyone pressing a case that sex differences affect learning. “Really, how could you not call that anti-feminist?” he asked.

Neurobiologist Larry Cahill of the University of California-Irvine, who recently wrote up the topic in Scientific American, took exception: “Laughably wrong, but I believe that view prevails.

“A lot of scientists still don’t want to talk about sex differences in the brain. It scares people…(But) what scares me is seeing my own findings and choosing not to believe them

Friday, December 02, 2005

Liberal Hypocrisy Contest

In honor of Peter Schweizer's new book, Do As I Say (Not As I Do) : Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy, I am sponsoring a contest to see who has the best story of liberal hypocrisy. The contest will start today and run until next Thursday (December 8) when I will pick the winner--the person with the best example of liberal hypocrisy. Please see the disclaimer below for full details on how the winner will be chosen and the prizes to be awarded.

I am always amazed by the contradictions between many liberals' words and their actions. Here is an example: I have a liberal friend who harps on helping the poor, instituting a state income tax in Tennessee to help with education, and the greed of corporate institutions. She is self-employed and recently bought an expensive couch for her home. I was admiring it one day and she said, "yes, I got a good discount on my taxes for it." Puzzled, I asked how one did that. "Oh," she said without batting an eye, "I just claim it as an office expense, I do that all the time, don't you?" Uhh---no, I thought, but said nothing. This woman had no idea of her hypocritical behavior. Sometimes now when she goes on about the plight of the poor, I tell her she should donate nice stuff like the couch to the Salvation Army. She usually shuts up.

Enter by reporting your stories in the comment section.

Disclaimer: The winner will be the entry that makes me laugh the hardest, or get the angriest. This contest void where prohibited by law, or by the absence of a sense of humor. The Judge's decisions are final.

Prizes: There will be one first place winner who will receive a DVD of my documentary, Six, and an autographed copy of my book, The Scarred Heart : Understanding and Identifying Kids Who Kill (If you don't think that's much of a prize, look to see what it's selling for used these days!) The winner's entry will also be posted on Thursday on my site for the world to see their wittiness.

Update: If you think we have problems with liberal hypocrisy in the US, try reading Evil Pundit and the Currency Lad to get an idea of what is going on in other countries. Apparently, people are afraid to speak up in Australia and New Zealand--and with good reason, given the politics and laws there. At least here in the US, we can stand up to some of this politically correct nonsense. I found it interesting that one of my commenters to a previous post on the Down Under airlines that demonized men pointed out that one does not argue with the authorites on Australian or New Zealand flights. "It just isn't done." This is shameful.

Update on Thursday: Contest is now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated.

What to Do Today Instead of Lunch

If you want to brighten up your day--you can now watch a live broadcast of an AICD (Automated Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) being surgically implanted by doctors at Morriston Memorial Hospital. The surgery starts at 2:00. Unfortunately, I have a previous engagement--darn, I will be missing all the fun.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

It's an Honor Just to Be Nominated

Ok--so I didn't make it to Barbara Walter's lame list of the ten most fascinating people for 2005 but I did make it to this list.

Liberal Hypocrisy

If you have always wondered how your liberal friends can tout raising taxes (for compassionate reasons, of course!) in one breath and use the couch they bought for their home as a business deduction in another, than Peter Schweizer's new book, Do As I Say (Not As I Do) : Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy, is for you. The book looks at the way famous liberals live and finds that despite their attempt at moral superiority, their personal lives are a series of contradictions.

Social parasite Noam Chomsky denounces capitalism in one hypocritical breath, while taking millions from the Pentagon in the other (while, of course, denouncing the Pentagon as the epitome of evil). Corporate criminal Michael Moore states he does not own stocks because they represent the corrupt capitalist system, yet the back cover of the book highlights a number of Moore's stocks, including Halliburton (which made him some good money). Bill and Hillary Clinton, have claimed thousands in write-offs over the years that they were not entitled to.

Yes, Conservatives have their issues too. Rush Limbaugh has been addicted to OxyContin while going after drug addicts in his younger days, Dr. Laura posed nude in her younger days while preaching family values and Bill Bennett preached honesty, integrity and virtue, despite gambling. But they have all pointed out that they felt these acts were mistakes (except for Bennett who had never singled out gambling as immoral), and they did not benefit from their acts. Liberals, on the other hand, are not only given a pass by the media for their hypocritical behavior, but are rewarded for it. One of my readers put it best in this comment:

To me, that's the greatest value of the book: it shows how very smart, very successful liberals have become successful despite, not because, of their liberal principles. And unlike the armchair philosopher who fails to live up to his philosophy, these people are trying to persuade or even coerce others to live according to the principles and rules they themselves reject daily by their actions. To me, that's by far the greatest hypocrisy of all.

Given that these liberals don't think their advice and policies hold true for themselves, should we really base our politics on their views?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Airline Demonizes Men

If you plan to travel on some airlines this holiday season and are male--be prepared to give up your seat to an unaccompanied minor, lest your hormones get the better of you. Thanks to a reader for pointing out this story. For any male readers out there, what would you do if asked to give up your seat to an unaccompanied minor? I think I would threaten to sue unless they moved me to first class.

Update: Many readers have weighed in their views of airlines demonizing men--and some have missed the point altogether that this is a violation of human rights--particularly those of men. It is not about whether or not one wishes to sit next to an unaccompanied minor, (I probably wouldn't--I generally prefer to be left alone), women's right to equal pay or whether babysitters who are men abuse children. It is about the tendency of Western culture to demonize men to the point where many are afraid to participate fully as citizens in our current climate of "males as predators." Men are reluctant to help others, reluctant to teach children, and reluctant to involve themselves in many aspects of Western society--and if you doubt that---just try calling a few men to see if they want to supervise your kids' baseball game, volunteer at your school or lead a group of boy scouts. This fear of men is best described by the gentleman who was asked to give up his seat:

For Worsley, the incident was part of a far broader problem, which seemed to affect Western countries in general, he said.

"Men are being demonized in the media for a long time now. I think probably this is just society's reaction -- they think, 'We'd better start tightening up on everything.' It's getting to the stage when all men are viewed with distrust," he said.

"They've already chased men out of the teaching profession, especially for young children. I wouldn't want to be a Scoutmaster now. I wouldn't want to be a Catholic priest ..."

Do we really want to demonize men to the point that they are no longer able to fully fuction in our supposedly diverse society?

Update: Here is today's story on the airplane discrimination--thanks to kiwiblog.

Monday, November 28, 2005


I wish I could have saved my colleague Richard's life the way he (sort of) saved mine. The two year anniversary of his death is coming up on December 10th and I have no idea how he would want me to remember him. But what comes to mind is the day we went to court on a murder case in a small rural county four years ago. He worked with me as a psychological examiner and had been involved in the case which was a double homicide. I noticed the lack of metal detectors when we arrived in the courtroom and was a bit concerned at the large turn out of family members of both the defendant and the victims' families. I had spent a great deal of time preparing for this case and tried to ignore my feelings of uneasiness.

After my testimony, I looked up and saw Richard with his hands waving in the back of the court room. I was still on the witness stand and wondered why he was motioning for me to hurry. I walked back to him and he said,"it is time to go--I think there's a feud about to start." Sure enough, family members on both sides were upset with the verdict and were starting a fight. Richard grabbed my supplies and we hightailed it home. I never heard what, if anything, had happened that day--for all I knew--the fight went outside or fizzled out but I always teased Richard about the day he saved my life.

He was working with me when I had my heart attack and he was battling problems of his own. His wife had breast cancer and Richard never wavered in his care for her and was a very dedicated husband and father. He rarely complained about his situation but we talked about his high blood pressure and high stress level at times. After his wife died, his blood pressure became very high and he told me that he had been diagnosed with Long Q-T Syndrome. I didn't understand the gravity of his situation at that time and was still somewhat in denial over my own heart problems. We would sit and laugh about our "bad hearts" often, saying that given the stress of our job, it was no wonder we were "going down early."

Fast forward to two years ago--Richard had moved out of psychology for awhile and was selling insurance part-time. I saw him at a local store a couple of weeks before he died and he seemed happy. He was remarried and building a house and we chatted about how our lives were going. A couple of weeks later, I heard that he had died. He got out of the shower, told his wife he felt dizzy and that was it... I remember when I heard feeling like I had been hit with a ton of bricks. It struck too close to home and I felt so badly for his wife and daughter. When I started having rhythm problems last year and got my Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator (ICD), I thought about Richard. Why had I been so lucky to get help to save my life when Richard did not? Why didn't Richard get an ICD so that rather than that day marking the end of his life, it could have just involved a nasty shock and a trip to the hospital to get checked out?

I don't know why. But I do know that Richard is not the only one who has died from Long Q-T Syndrome. My cardiac rehab nurse gets misty-eyed when she talks about her neice, Maddy. Maddy was five years old when she walked into kindergarten class, raised her hand to go to the bathroom and collapsed and died while she was in there. The school nurse thought she was having a seizure and moved everything out of her way. A parent who was a nurse was there and wanted to start CPR but no one would let her. The staff believed that kids did not have heart problems. Maddy died waiting for someone to understand what was wrong with her.

When someone dies suddenly, people and even doctors will call it a heart attack--but often it is Sudden Death Syndrome caused by long Q-T Syndrome or other arrythmias. These deaths are preventable, especially if we get over the myth that only overweight older men have these problems.

To learn more about Sudden Death Syndrome and Long Q-T syndrome, check out the American Heart Association. Here is a risk assessment form for kids and adults can use it also to see if they need to be checked by their doctor for heart problems.

Update: Here are the new CPR guidelines.

Liberalism as Socially Motivated Cognition

I have mentioned a research study by the APA entitled, Political Conservatism as Socially Motivated Cognition, that appeared biased against conservatives. The study pointed out that there had been little research done on the traits of liberals--but they must have overlooked this article in Clio Psych's Journal from 2003. Here is an excerpt from the article that mentioned research on liberals from 1982--I guess the writers of the APA's biased article did not see fit to go back that far.

Research on the psychology of radical activists helps us to understand this mismatch between Chomsky's ideas and his personal style. In the 1970s, Stanley Rothman and Robert Lichter administered Thematic Apperception Tests to a large sample of "new left" radicals (Roots of Radicalism, 1982). They found that activists were characterized by weakened self-esteem, injured narcissism and paranoid tendencies. They were preoccupied with power and attracted to radical ideologies that offered clear and unambiguous answers to their questions. All of these traits can be found in the work of Chomsky and other anti-imperialist intellectuals.

And if you ever wondered why some liberals seem wishy-washy at times--this paragraph from the same article might explain things:

The unwillingness to offer alternatives reveals a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem. If they offered their own policy ideas they would be vulnerable to criticism. They would run the risk that their ideas would fail, or would not seem persuasive to others. This is especially difficult for anti-capitalists after the fall of the Soviet Union. It has also been difficult in the war against terrorism because Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden are such unsympathetic figures. Psychologically, it is easier to blame America for not finding a solution than it is to put one's own ideas on the line.

Hmmm.... I don't agree here that it is lack of self-esteem that would cause liberals to seem spineless. I think it is their desire to avoid responsibility at any cost. And speaking of spineless liberals, here is another way they avoid responsibility for murderers, they just nominate them for a nobel prize--thanks to Sissy Willis.

Update: It seems like I have struck a nerve in a number of readers with this post, so let me clarify my thoughts. My intention with this post was to point out that the original APA article on Conservatives stated that there was little published about the psychological traits of liberals. The article I linked to pointed out that there was such a study and it looked just as negative as the one that was published by the APA about Conservatives. I was mocking the way one could exploit this research much in the same way this press release from Berkeley did with the APA article in which they mention Rush Limbaugh and Reagan as right wingers like Hitler and Mussolini. I should have made these points clearer. In addition, the "spineless liberal" term was a bit over the top but I have very strong feelings about celebrities who rally to get murderers sentences reduced or released. The legal system should deal with this, not a group of actors. It just makes me think of the Norman Mailer fiasco.

Mental Health Blogging and Other Points of Interest

If you want to know more about some of the mental health blogs--check out this round-up by Dr. Sanity. I like the really cool picture of her.

Oh, and if you thought physical medicine was not impersonal enough--check out Dr. Wes's blog on cameras in your hospital room.

Scott Adams explains the rules of internet commenting. Read it--it's quite funny. Thanks to Shrinkette for pointing this out.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Slumming It

I just got back from the beginning of holiday shopping with the family---my head is spinning, I feel dizzy and on the verge of collapse. I know I am supposed to enjoy shoppping for fashion items like other women , but I hate it. Perhaps I am just a hopeless closet geek who cares as much for shoes as I do for a trip to the dentist. I don't understand how Manolo the shoe blogger can have a whole blog Thank goodness there are others out there to support this blog (although he is quite funny and I love his writing style). I just watched tons of shoppers sifting through a shoe store at the mall where I was taking advantage of the empty seating. "What", I thought, "could they possibly see in a pair of shoes that would command such a hunt?" Did I not get the shopping gene? Are women really supposed to care about shopping and whether a particular bag cost $21000? Apparently, fashion is important to many people.

Ed Driscoll talks about the importance of clothing, and finds the following rules from Manolo's shoe blog to be salient:

5) The clothes they are important. They say important things about your identity, even if you pretend that they do not.

6) The fashion it is not the nuclear rocket brain surgery. One does not need the grounding in the theoretical sciences to know how to dress well.

Sorry guys, but I only care about how I look in relation to what others expect of me--left to my own devices, I would dress like I was auditioning for a part on Ambush Makeover and feel fine about it. Even when I was younger, dressing up meant little to me. I once went to the first meeting of a formal psychoanalytic externship in gym clothes (hey, I just got out of the gym and I took a shower). I walked in on a group of over 30 people all dressed in professional clothes glaring at me. Afterwards, the supervisor came up to me and said that I would need to wear more appropriate clothes to actually see patients and I played the part while I was there. I wore whatever nice skirt or outfit I could scape together but I never felt good because of it or felt that I had any of my identity tied to my clothes.

I think because my identity is tied up in being the observer and not the observed. To me, being the observer is more fun. I love watching people and have from a young age. If you do not not stand out in any way, people act more naturally around you and let you know more about them. I found this true in my work as a psychologist and I find it true in everyday life. People do not try to impress or connect too much to people who are "slumming" it the way I do most of the time out in public. At the office, it is different, I will dress to meet the needs of my job, of course. But in my regular life, you will probably not notice me for my fashion sense because I will be the one slouching in the corner with the too large purple sweat pants, ripped t-shirt and oversized down coat from the 1980's that belonged to my husband when he was in college.