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Men (141 posts)
Men! What are they thinking? We can't always answer that, but we'll be posting our favorite glimpses into their world in this space every Thursday.
* "Bank shots took the form of therapy. I was angry about my dad dying—even if I didn't show it—and I needed to hurl the ball against the backboard. But I was in a tender enough emotional state that I needed to be good at something too. The fiberglass backboard came through on both counts." — Bryan Curtis, from his moving essay "The Fiberglass Backboard" for Grantland
* Del Monte turned former Baywatch star David Hasselhoff into a Hoffsicle to celebrate National Ice Cream Week. Watch a ridiculous (and hilarious) video of him posing with the summer treat—which, naturally, is sporting a Knight Rider jacket. (Via Foodiggity)
* As H&H, the beloved Manhattan bagel institution, closed its doors, Thomas Beller looked back on his time working there: "I could feel myself falling, gleefully falling in H&H bagels, into its reality, the beautiful, sensuous, arduous world of bagel making." ("Portrait of the Bagel as a Young Man," from How to Be a Man)
* If Bad Teacher stars Justin Timberlake and Jason Segel could be real teachers, what class would they choose? Whatever it would be, we know we'd take it. (Via MTV)
It's often said that names can forge our destiny. Harry, the hairdresser, for example. Or Carol Moeller, the dental hygienist. Or Zoe Hamburger, the McDonald's account handler. (Check out this fun, silly list of names and professions.)
The Phil Campbells of the world had no such pretensions to glory. Their name linked them to small town in Alabama, also called Phil Campbell, which, in 2011, is celebrating its centennial. This spring, the plan was to welcome as many Phils to down south as possible, from as far away as possible, for the town's annual hoedown.
Then, on April 27, a tornado hit, killing 26 and decimating homes and businesses.
Instead of reveling in the streets, Phil Campbells (and one Phyllis) from all over the globe headed to Alabama last weekend to help rebuild those same streets, clearing debris, raising international attention, even organizing a movie-screening fundraiser. "I just thought we would be raking," Phil from Brooklyn told us. "But Big Phil from Wisconsin broke out the power tools and disassembled an entire wooden structure that had fallen over."
The website ImwithPhil.com, shows that Phils from Bowral, Australia, to Juneau, Alaska, have raised $35,000 to build a Habitat for Humanity home for one lucky family. "It was a profound experience," says Phil from Brooklyn. "But I don't want our names to overshadow the people of the town. They still need help."
To learn more, read The New York Times article or donate to the cause.
Every Monday, we're rounding up things—small and big—that made us stop and think. Today, we were captivated by a witty acceptance speech, a persuasive op-ed, a rockstar author/behavioral economist and more...
* David Kobia, director of technology development at the crowd-sourcing nonprofit Ushahidi, which connected people at crucial moments during crises in Kenya, Haiti, India, Gaza, India, Chile and Japan, accepting (in just five words) the (RED) Webby Award for Special Achievement in social innovation:
"Our voices revolutionize the world."
* Tim Kreider, cartoonist and essayist, in his New York Times op-ed, "In Praise of Not Knowing":
"I hope kids are still finding some way, despite Google and Wikipedia, of not knowing things. Learning how to transform mere ignorance into mystery, simple not knowing into wonder, is a useful skill. Because it turns out that the most important things in this life—why the universe is here instead of not, what happens to us when we die, how the people we love really feel about us—are things we're never going to know."
*Joy Bryant, actress, writing in the July issue of Elle about the grandmother who helped her (eventually) develop an ecological conscience:
"She scrimped and saved to give me experiences that I'll never forget ... That mindfulness—call it frugality or environmental consciousness, whichever you choose, whether you're affluent or of humble means—is what's important."
* Luke Russert, an NBC News correspondent, on what he learned from his dad:
"I learned that night it's okay for a man to show fear and vulnerability. My dad could have said, "Suck it up. It's only an hour-and-a-half flight." Instead he went out of his way to support my weakness. To this day, I don't believe in a "no fear" attitude. All of us have fears, and they're real. But if you can acknowledge them and understand them—you might need help, like I did—you can overcome them."
* Dan Ariely, author of The Upside of Irrationality and a behavioral economist at Duke University, writes in the July issue of Wired about becoming enslaved by calendar apps: "Think how differently we'd interact with our calendars if the default was for time slots not to be empty—if, instead, they were prepopulated with tasks like thinking, writing and planning. We'd be far less likely to neglect the opportunity costs: Every time we accept an obligation, it would be clear that we are giving something up."
I was thinking of giving my husband the day off for Father's Day. He could laze in bed reading, and I would take care of the kids. But maybe I should let him take care of the kids...and I'll go catch a movie instead.
As we found out this morning on LifeInc.Today.com, women aren't the only ones struggling to find a balance between spending time with their family and advancing their careers. A study by the Boston College Center for Work & Family called The New Dad surveyed nearly 1,000 fathers, most of whom had wives who also worked. The men reported that they spent an average of 2.65 hours interacting with their children, and, when asked if they would like to spend more time with their children during the week, "77 percent of the fathers reported that they would."
Most importantly, 65 percent of the papas believed that care for the kids should be split 50-50 between both parents (though 65 percent of them admitted that the mamas actually gave more care).
I'm beginning to think the whole country should move Father's Day from Sunday to Monday, close all the post offices and businesses, and let dads stay at home to pick up the children from school, buy them an ice cream and, screaming in terror, chase after the kids as they pedal like speed-drunk bicycling maniacs toward the intersection, only to stop at the curb and ask innocently, "Pop? Why are you so upset?"
So let's stop showering Dad with cards and gifts. Let's make Father's Day about being a father—from carpooling to making spaghetti for supper to laughing over who exactly floated the bath toys in the toilet bowl (true story).
Men! What are they thinking? We can't always answer that, but we'll be posting our favorite glimpses into their world in this space every Thursday.
* Public Service Announcement: Father's Day is this Sunday. Whether he's a sucker for gadgets or a lover of jazz, we've got 27 unique ways (in every price range) to say, "Thanks, Dad."
* "If you're a man who abhors sexism, take up the spatula.... The only way to erase [stereotypes] from our unconscious minds is to provide our minds, and the minds of our children, with images that counter the stereotypes."—Washington Post reporter Shankar Vedantam in Man with a Pan: Culinary Adventures of Fathers Who Cook for Their Families (Algonquin Books, $15.95)
* Meet Craig Dietz, who was born without limbs, and yet swam in a 4.4 mile race earlier this week. (The Stir)
* Adorable dads pose with their equally adorable children for The Sartorialist. (Racked)
* Last we checked, thoughtful relationship advice wasn't a qualification to become People's Sexiest Man Alive, but it turns out it doesn't hurt. "Relationships ending move you from who you were to who you are at a much more accelerated rate than almost anything else on earth."—Ryan Reynolds (Details)
Every Monday, we'll be sharing the quotes that make us snap to attention. Reading these recent revelations feels as bracing as a second cup of coffee.
* Ellen Barkin's Best Actress Tony acceptance speech for her role as a wheelchair-bound doctor trying to combat AIDS: "Performing in 'The Normal Heart' has transformed me, not just as an actor, but as a human being. Because it taught me something that I never believed in: It taught me that one person can make a difference, that one person can change the world. So thank you to the great, great Larry Kramer..."
* Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, in her 2011 commencement speech at Barnard College: "... do not leave before you leave. Do not lean back; lean in. Put your foot on that gas pedal and keep it there until the day you have to make a decision, and then make a decision. That's the only way, when that day comes, you'll even have a decision to make."
* Timothy Brown, the subject of the New York magazine profile, "The Man Who Had HIV and Now Does Not," on why he submits to being poked, prodded, tested and analyzed as a medical miracle:
"I can help."
When it comes to listening to the issues of the people we care about, we so often try to say the right thing and end up saying the wrong thing. Or we worry that we're going to say the wrong thing, and say nothing (my specialty). But those days are now at an end. I'm just going to slap a magnet on everybody in the world, regardless of whether I know what his or her problems are:
A friend of mine recently handed me one of these. I hugged him so hard his head went wobbly. Then I said, "Can you give me nine more?"
"It's a magnet," he said. "How many refrigerators do you have?"
I said, "I'm at a point where I need to stick these puppies up even places they don't actually stick."
Back at home, with the help of Scotch tape, I posted them in every place in my house where I need the Invisible God of Encouragement to tell me that I wasn't alone and that I could, if I reached deep, keep going. Yes, I could make some kind of gluey pasta dinner (forgot to defrost the chicken) while hard-boiling eggs for tomorrow's lunch (husband ate the lunch meat) while sitting on hold with computer support (screen went black) while watching my 5-year-old try to dry his sopping wet sneakers (failed to buy a backup pair even though his school has a tennis-shoes-only policy) with a tiny plastic fan that is supposed to blow bubbles out of his bubble-making water gun.
Twenty years ago this month, Thelma & Louise entered the public imagination—two ladies on the run in a beat-up, now-iconic Thunderbird. Looking back, Thelma & Louise, in that it redefined who women were supposed to be. Gee, the film showed us, women can drink and smoke and drive fast and end up in the predicament usually reserved for heroic, handsome cowboys—boxed in a canyon with no way out.
In 1991, there was much debate over whether or not the film was sexist, if the male characters were cookie-cutter, if the film was trying to say that all men messed up all women, all the time. Even then, as a teenager, I thought that seemed a little dopey. Nobody thought that male outlaw movies were anti-police.
Then again, I was growing up with single mother who worked 10 hours a day. We needed Thelma and Louise. We needed to be Thelma and Louisa—peeling out of our driveway in order to make it to school on time (for once), sloshing a mug of Mom's instant coffee all over our legs.
With the advent of DVDs, the director Ridley Scott was able to showcase another ending for the movie. Instead of Thelma and Louise holding hands, soaring gloriously off into the thin, blue air of the unknown, a helicopter descends, and Harvey Keitel rushes to the edge of the canyon to look down at the destroyed car—and women—below. He then picks up a Polaroid that fell out of the Thunderbird, a picture of the two outlaws at the beginning of their trip, made up and dressed up and smiling.
This brings up so many icky questions. For example, how did the photograph happen to flutter back so conveniently? Why are "happier times" in the movies signified by women wearing a fresh, glossy coating of lipstick? More to the point, Dana Steven's insightful essay in Slate concludes that "ending with the horrified Keitel at the cliff's edge would have made Thelma & Louise into a head-shaking reflection on the terrible fate society visits on women." Further she adds, "choosing to end instead with the heroines' shining-eyed farewell, followed by the freeze-frame of that eternally buoyant car, allows Thelma & Louise to dwell forever at that odd moment in movie history when women won the right to be just as crazy as men."
Meandering around on YouTube, I found several alternate alternate endings to Scott's choice that users had created. After the jump, see what one adds onto the newly released Keitel-helicopter finale...
Last night, Anthony Weiner admitted to and apologized for sending lewd pictures of himself to women over the Internet. He asked forgiveness from his wife, his family and the reporters he had originally "misled."
Standing in front of news cameras in a packed ballroom of reporters is one way to say sorry. But considering the magnitude of the situation, Weiner might consider visiting ShameBeGone.com—a site that asks "Are you in shame spiral?" and promises to dig you out by writing humble-pie emails to those you've hurt, let down or embarrassed.
"We handle end-of-relationship fall-out," claims the site. "Missed connections ... best friend's ex-boyfriends, family members, low-grade stalkers, people who owe you money, people to whom you owe money—almost anything and anyone." All you have to do is tell them about "a situation that you just can't deal with;" then you suggest what you think is a fair payment to them for fixing it and await the response. If the site accepts, its editor will provide you with a reconciliatory email to forward to the parties you offended.
Clearly, for Weiner this would be an expensive proposition. He'd have to pay for an email to every person in New York State whom he represents, not to mention the young high-school kids of America who aspired to, one day, be like him. Also women. Everywhere.
Here's the rub: Let's say ShameBeGone.com were magically engineered to achieve what it promises—even in big, ugly, impossible situations like this. Would I really want to Weiner's shame to be gone? There's a small, ungenerous, even unkind part of me that wants him to stew in his shame.
And, sigh, another part of me that knows that shame is too ugly to heap on anyone, that shame only causes more shame due to the cycle of guilt that inevitably occurs.
So what I really want is a magical site that will not take anything away from Weiner, but instead instill him with something else: remorse, responsibility and a way to find the real man inside.
Because infidelity is excruciating. Ask any real woman, including one our favorites, Wynonna Judd.