Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘learning’

Males, but not men

Posted by Richard on July 12, 2013

In the last few years, a lot of people have been expressing concern and/or making urgent recommendations about the rearing of children in general and boys in particular. See, for example, this, this, thisthis, this, this, and this. The statistics regarding boys and young men that some of these sources cite are disturbing. And the problem is more wide-ranging and fundamental than the growing educational achievement gap (boys receive three-quarters of all Ds and Fs and are barely over 40% of college graduates).

For real human examples of the consequences of not properly rearing boys, Daniel J. Flynn says to look no further than the Zimmerman trial. As everyone awaits the jury’s verdict, Flynn has already reached his (emphasis added):

They don’t make men like they used to. One can consult a Danish study that shows plummeting testosterone levels for scientific confirmation of this. Or, one could more easily turn on any cable news network’s wall-to-wall coverage of the Zimmerman-Martin case, a tragedy involving two males fumbling in the dark on how to be men.

Whatever the protagonists may be guilty of they are surely innocent of being men.

Zimmerman’s screams and Trayvon slamming Zimmerman’s head into the concrete weren’t the acts of men. A man is neither a woman nor an animal. The proper response to an assault by a 158-pound teenager isn’t to scream for help or grab for a gun. It is to punch back or better yet subdue and issue a spanking. And a sucker punch, the repeated hitting of a downed opponent, and the bashing of a skull against the concrete doesn’t pass muster with the Marquess of Queensberry. Perhaps the “No Holds Barred Fighting” dojo that Zimmerman had signed up for would approve.

Their households lacked strong male role models; their society, even more so. Four in ten American kids enter the world without their father married to their mother. When schoolboys begin to exhibit traits natural to their sex, the energetic fellows earn the wrath of detention and Ritalin. Any game that highlights contact — from dodgeball to football — comes under attack. Primetime television celebrates the fop and makes a buffoon out of fathers (see Simpson, Homer; Everybody Loves, Raymond). Jobs relying on the physical characteristics favored in males have been outsourced to robots and foreigners. When a pundit asked “Are Men Necessary?” a few years back it reflected the scarcity rather than the superfluity of the genuine article.

Civilizing men out of existence has come at great cost to civilization. Instead of men, we get feminine imitations lacking beauty. We get lost boys compensating by becoming barbarians. We get Sanford, Florida, February 26, 2012.

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The Cartel premiering in multiple cities

Posted by Richard on April 28, 2010

The Cartel, a feature-length documentary about the failures of the public school system and attempts to reform it, is premiering in Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and St. Louis on Friday, April 30, and in Denver on Tuesday, May 4. Special events and speakers are planned in many locations on opening night; go here for city-by-city information.

In Denver, the film will play at the Chez Artiste, 2800 S. Colorado Blvd. The 7 PM May 4 showing will be co-hosted by the Independence Institute and Liberty on the Rocks. Institute President John Caldera will speak briefly before the film, so arrive early. Afterward, Pam Benigno and Ben DeGrow of the Institute's Education Policy Center will take questions and lead discussion. 

The film, which focuses on New Jersey schools, has won numerous awards and lots of critical praise. It sold out its New York premier and screenings across New Jersey. Watch the trailer below, and some clips from the film here


[YouTube link]

The Cartel was made possible by the support of the Moving Picture Institute, which also brought us 2081, among others. Their motto is "Promoting Freedom Through Film." Please join me in supporting their efforts.

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Van der Leun on America, childhood, and cookies

Posted by Richard on April 13, 2006

I’m in awe — simply in awe — of Gerard Van der Leun. I strongly recommended his Watcher’s Council winner, On the Return of History, the other day. Today, I urge you to go and savor a very different, but equally worthy, post of his entitled Higher Education and the Holy Cookie. It’s an elegiac, evocative, and charming essay about childhood and growing up, sibling rivalry, parental love, and the development of character.

It ends with an important lesson and a cookie recipe. It begins thus:

SO ISOLATIONIST IS AMERICA that when confronted with questions of great pith and moment, we immediately turn to questions of great and persistent triviality. In some ways this underscores the bedrock of the country’s greatness. No other country in history, nor any other country you can imagine, has the capacity to win a pocket war on the other side of the globe, play patty-cake with global terrorism, launch a fierce and bitter cultural and political argument at home, pull the global economy upward like The Little Engine That Could chanting "I think I can, I think I can," all while driving a couple radio-controlled web cams across the surface of Mars just to get some snapshots of rocks. Then we all go out to the Food Court, select from any one of the world’s six leading cuisines and try to remember both where we parked and in which one of the family’s seven vehicles we came in.

After that we turn our attention, not to whether or not we shall bomb Iran (We had an election and chose a President based on who we thought would do what needs to be done, remember? ), but on … the much more important and utterly American question: "Just what is the finest chocolate chip cookie in the known universe?"

From that marvelous beginning (damn, I wish I could write like that), it just gets better and better. Go. Read. Treasure. If you have the time, browse around the place. The man can write. And think.

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