Friday, September 30, 2005

Insider poll

The entertainment show, Insider, had a poll this week asking viewers to vote for one of the three women they would want for president. The three included Condi Rice, Hilary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey (Oh yeah, she's qualified). I mistakenly assumed that the Insider's audience would vote for Oprah or Hilary given the demographics that would watch a show about celebrities. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Condi Rice received 47% of the vote, Hilary 37% and Oprah, a mere 12%. Seems the American public knows the difference between a media darling, a socialist and a real leader.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Blogging as Therapy

I attended a seminar over the summer on Free Speech, the Internet and the Challenge of Advancing Technology at a law school conference. One of the speakers mentioned a symposium he had attended in Europe to explore violence and the internet; he indicated that the European members of this conference felt there was a need for more governmental control over speech on the internet due to the potential for violent behavior as a result of hate speech.

When it came time for questions, I asked what research this conference had access to that showed a correlation between violence and free speech on the internet. The speaker stated that no such correlation had been proven to exist as of yet, but the European panel saw the potential for violence as a concern. What about the potential for the internet to do good? Did these so-called researchers consider that there was also a potential for the internet to inhibit violence?

Perhaps these European academics should come sit in my therapy office for a week and talk to the people I have seen who use the internet as a way to stop themselves from becoming violent. Maybe they would be interested to know about the nine year old boy who made plans to kill his principal but decided that computers were a lot more interesting. Or what about the 50-year-old potential mass murderer I saw who used a journal and the internet to sublimate his feelings of aggression into words and found others in chat rooms to comfort him? It is amazing to me that academics who proclaim to use science or research to back their ideas make their suggestions for policy changes on politically correct hunches rather than actual hard core data.

To see more on the mistakes academics make about human behavior, see my article at Tech Central Station entitled, "Overhumanizing the Enemy."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Pretty Women Don't Get Sick

So I went to Cardiac Rehabilitation today; I had a heart attack over six years ago which was a shock to me and still is today when I think about it (which is often). Having heart problems is a drag--I love it when people try to console me by saying, "at least you don't have cancer." Thanks--I think.

Actually, heart problems can be just as debillitating as cancer although the prospects of treatment are better. I just got an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) last February to deal with the rhythm problems caused by the heart attack. It is a little device that regulates my irregular heartbeats and will give me a shock if needed. I love the website Zapper that describes those of us who have not been shocked by our device as "Joeys" and those that have as "Electric Kangaroos." I have not had a shock yet and hope I don't unless absolutely necessary. If there are any readers out there who have these devices, I would love to hear from you--especially women. I have yet to meet another woman with an ICD--hopefully they are few and far between.

However, I have read that women often don't want these devices implanted as they don't add to your sex appeal. I've talked with women who literally will risk their life rather than have a piece of metal inserted that could save it. Of course, these women are often asymptomatic and don't realize the consequences of a cardiac event that is not reversible. Once you have spent a few nights on a cardiac ward gasping for air and listening to the elderly woman in the next room taking her last breath, feeling sexy and attractive is the last thing on your mind. My roommate in the hospital (who had a horrible case of viral cardiomyopathy) and I spent most of one night laughing at late night tv commercials asking us how our sex life was going. "Not so good at the moment" was all my roomate could sputter after having a zillon medical tests and lying in bed with a catheter between her legs.

Heart problems among women are more common than breast cancer, yet they get less attention. I suspect this is because breast cancer marketing has to do with breasts and young women. In most people's minds, heart problems are assoicated with fat old men and to most people, there is nothing sexy about that. Isn't it time we changed our preconceptions about heart disease?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Oxygen network is starting a new season of Snapped, a show about women who kill on October 2. A recent press release states that the new shows will focus on women who kill to defend themselves or their children. I guess all those women for gun control should catch some of these shows to see why our second amendment rights are so important. You can catch me (as an expert) on the first two seasons of Snapped on the Oxygen network which shows in re-runs. The schedule is here.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Boys and Low Self-Esteem

I received my American Psychologist (the journal of the American Psychological Association) in the mail today. In an article by Janet Shibley Hyde of the University of Wisconsin on gender similarities, she points out that girls are not the only ones with self-esteem problems. Hyde states, "In short, self-esteem is roughly as much a problem for adolescent boys as it is for adolescent girls. The popular media's focus on girls as the ones with self-esteem problems may carry a huge cost in leading parents, teachers, and other professionals to overlook boys' self-esteem problems, so that boys do not receive the interventions they need."

Although I am not a big proponent of focusing on self-esteem (it is not neccessarily linked with socially valuable behavior), I agree that boys in our society are overlooked--they are going to college less frequently than girls, are in prison more often, and are committing violent acts that may be a direct result of our lack of interest in their emotional lives. We need more adults who are interested in improving the lives of boys rather than pathologizing their masculinity.

This article from USA Today has more: "Currently, 135 women receive bachelor's degrees for every 100 men. That gender imbalance will widen in the coming years, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Education. This is ominous for every parent with a male child. The decline in college attendance means many will needlessly miss out on success in life. The loss of educated workers also means the country will be less able to compete economically. The social implications — women having a hard time finding equally educated mates — are already beginning to play out. But the inequity has yet to provoke the kind of response that finally opened opportunities for women a generation ago. In fact, virtually no one is exploring the obvious questions: What has gone wrong? And what happens to all the boys who aren't in college?"