Saturday, May 19, 2007

Jules Crittenden's Good News/Bad News is up.

Where are the Men?

Ann Althouse has an interesting post on why men don't like organized adult courses in tennis, wine tasting, sailing etc. The NYT's article Ann referred to had a wine buyer and manager explain why men didn't attend his "important" events as readily as women:

He offered this explanation for the disparity: “It’s argued that women are better tasters of wine than men. A higher percentage of women have more taste-bud receptors.” So maybe they are getting more out of the class. But, echoing others who lead classes, he added: “It may also come down to the fact that men think they know more about wine anyway, so they don’t need to learn more about it.”

Ann sees the negativity towards men in the explanation and states:

But it would be so easy to turn that around and present the male side as positive.

Men prefer to look at something they have decided to do and figure it out on their own. They like to observe, analyze, and discover. They accept the risks and enjoy the excitement of trial and error. They don't like sitting around having someone tell them what to do, and they aren't intrigued by the prospect of meeting women who spend so much time doing something they loathe.

One of Ann's commenters stated that she was "channeling Dr. Helen" in her "defense" of men's attitudes and hey, I'm not complaining. It's good to know that others are picking up on the negative depictions of men in the media and speaking up.

But what I really wanted to say in this post is that if you want to know where the men are, just look around. Go out in the world and see what men might be interested in--if you are really looking for guys, don't go to a class geared for women and their interests and wonder why the guys don't show. This week, I saw the college campus loaded with males (of all ages) drinking beer, the gun range with more men than I could count, and the Apple store at the mall loaded with guys looking for computer equipment. Now, if you are a woman and these hobbies do not appeal to you, than think how a guy must feel when walking into a wine tasting class where the instructor caters to the needs of women and sees his male students as "know-it-alls." Is it any wonder that men don't show up for class?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

New Healthy Heart Handbook for Women

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute asked me to let my readers know about a new handbook they are promoting called "The Healthy Heart Handbook for Women." Following is the description:

"The 122-page, full-color, twentieth anniversary edition of the Healthy Heart Handbook for Women provides the most recent information on women's heart disease and practical suggestions for reducing your own risk."

I read over the booklet and it is chockfull of advice and information for women--so if you are a female reader or have a mother, sister, or daughter who you think could benefit from the information, please pass it along. You can download or view the booklet for free or for a small fee for a paper version here.

For the men who want to know more about heart disease or other vascular problems, you can check out the National, Lung, and Blood Institute's home page.

Interview with Conn Iggulden: The Dangerous Book for Boys

I have written several posts on The Dangerous Book for Boys and so, of course, we had to track down one of the authors for an interview on why the book is so popular. Today, we spoke to Conn Iggulden, who along with his brother, put the book together by actually conducting each of the experiments in a shed and spent their days playing marbles and building go-carts--sounds like fun way to do research. Conn, who used to be a teacher, tells us why it is so important to let go of the fear and overprotection that parents and institutions have responded with to what used to be common childhood adventures. He talks about how boys learn, why they need go-carts more than computers, and how we can swing the pendulum back to the middle where both girls and boys' needs are seen as important.

You can listen to the show directly -- no downloading needed -- by going here and clicking on the gray Flash player. You can get the file directly for listening via Windows Media, Realplayer, Quicktime, etc., by clicking right here. And you can get a lo-fi version suitable for dialup, cellphones, etc. by going here and selecting lo-fi. And, of course, you can always get a free subscrption via iTunes. You can see our archives at the

This podcast is sponsored by Volvocars.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Are the media and "civilized" society exacerbating psychological stress in police officers?

Today while reading one of my trade magazines, The National Psychologist, I came across an interesting article on the heavy psychological impact that police shootings have on law enforcement officers (LEOs):

It is well established that LEOs suffer an elevated incidence of stress-related problems (e.g., depression, alcohol and substance abuse, marital conflicts, divorce and suicide) with the negative effects impacting families and friends as well.

When an LEO is involved in a shooting, whether as the target of an offender or as a line-of-duty shooter, there is unbridled attention devoted to the incident by news media and the public.

It is commonplace for law enforcement agencies to require “administrative leave” (or something similar) while even a seemingly “clean shoot” is investigated. Media fan the flames and the burden of shooting someone (under any set of circumstances) results in profound stress.

According to the article, our society also contributes to the stress of an officer involved in a shooting:

Part of the problem is that our civilized society holds firmly to the notion that violence between people must not be countenanced (except in the commercial media!) This axiom applies even to LEOs who use any level of force, and most certainly deadly force, in the line of duty. The individual who must resort to taking the life of another person, even for the protection of self or others, has been reinforced to feel guilty and rendered incapable of finding psychological resolution of the relevant conflicts.

Certainly LEOs differ in their resilience to stress as well as abilities and resources for coping and affect regulation. Nonetheless, the social framework applies a special filter for shooting incidents, making life difficult for any LEO who engages in a shooting incident.

Notice that the incident itself is not what makes the officer guilty and stressed, it is the media and public making their lives miserable. If even police officers are made to feel guilty for protecting the lives of citizens by our "don't defend yourself or anyone else" culture and media, I can't imagine how civilians who had to use force are made to feel after an incident in which they had to protect themselves or others. The article goes on to look at why officers are afraid to ask for psychological help, but maybe the real question is: "why is the officer treated as a pariah instead of a hero for protecting others from mayhem?" For if they were treated as a hero, or at least with some respect for doing their job, then maybe, they could resolve the shooting incident a whole lot faster or on their own without professional help.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

To all those moms out there, happy Mother's Day. Jules Crittenden has an interesting post entitled, "Motherthink" in honor of Mother's Day.

Update: Jack Lail at the Knoxville News-Sentinel put together a collection of Tennessee women bloggers for Mother's Day. I see two of my favorites on the list--View from the Front Porch by gun blogger Tamara K. and Domestic Psychology by Cathy, a mom of five.