Chapter 34
Heard at the Boston Book Festival 2011

Just the few sessions that I got to

At the Boston Book Festival 2011

20111015.1230 Girls and Boys (panel)

At playgrounds, there are toys where the adults can adjust the slope of some ramps for babies. Moms set them lower for girls than for boys; they vastly underestimate the girls' daring.

Sex bias in toys? How about purple rhinestone guns versus camouflage guns? There was a recent incident of tea sets being 100% misidentified as being for boys instead of girls because of a packaging error.

After age five, kids behave to please adults rather than simply to explore.

Boys need someone to talk to about stuff, things that they can't talk to parents about, which includes lots of ideas. If they don't have someone to talk to, they go wacko in early teens. By late teens, boys have lost many of those relationships. Note that boys' late-teen suicide rate is five times that for girls.

T-shirt in J.C.Penney: "My algebra homework is so hard I have my brother do it." Remember the Barbie "Math is hard!" debacle?

20111015.1430 True Story

Forty percent (!) of American parents refuse one or more government-mandated vaccinations for their children. Diseases that were almost extinct in the US in 2000 are making comebacks, especially measles and pertussis (whooping cough). [Here in early 2015, precisely those two diseases are in the headlines every week for just this reason.]

Americans are the least vaccinated society in the civilized world, since the battles over smallpox vaccination in the early 1900s.

20111015.1630 What's Up With Men? (panel)

The panel for 'What's Up With Men?'

Marriage has had a pernicious effect on heterosexual love.

Observed (and reported by a woman) in a Panera sandwich shop: three young women discussing how to have their babies, specifically how to get pregnant. None of them was concentrating on the normal biological method. One of them says, "Semen? . . . Ick!"

Q: Father to son, "How did you ever pass Shop?"
A: Son's reply, "Dad, I didn't take Shop. I took typing."
It was the first time I saw tears in his eye.

Men are the new women.

Guys don't want to talk about emotion; they want to tell stories.

On domestic violence: Men are so afraid of being close to other men that they put all their emotional needs onto two women: mother and wife. And when the bitch lets us down, the violence is way over the top.

"What, Me Marry?" recent cover of the new Atlantic magazine.

Questions discussed about

  • laws that disadvantage fathers in households;
  • the number of children in fatherless houses;
  • confusion with unwed births;
  • deadbeat dads cannot get drivers licenses in Massachusetts?

If you learned as a kid to "walk off the pain of that skinned nose," you learned to close doors on all feelings that are not acceptable for boys to show. What's left is aggression, aggression, and aggression. And there are societal rewards for expressing that.

Across the street from the BBF