Come the holidays, I feed a lot of people. I have five sisters, they went out and got five husbands, the begatting began, those kiddos grew up and brought home new people, and soon we needed a valet to park the cars for a family dinner. I order two birds and a breast, set up a turkey roaster on the mudroom bench, and buy so many pounds of potatoes that the grocery bagger helps me schlep them to the car. I move the buffet out of the dining room, tie up the chandelier so it doesn’t bonk people on the head, and scour the house for every available chair. My grandmother’s table takes five leaves and seats 12 if I … Read More
The end of the year is here, and with it comes Star Tribune’s list of most read Opinions. 19 for ’19: The most-read opinions 4. “We are asking the wrong questions about domestic violence,” by Pamela Hill Nettleton, Ph.D., who studies gender in media and teaches media studies and communication at the University of St. Thomas. When it comes to domestic violence, we ask the wrong question: “Why does she stay?” We ought to ask: “Why does he hit?” You can read the full article via the Star Tribune, and the article is also available here on this site.
Listen to Pamela’s at the link. Dangerous Discourses: Media Coverage of Violence Against Women, Dr. Pamela Hill Nettleton “We’ve been asking the wrong questions. We ask ‘why does she stay’ instead of ‘why is he hitting her…’” This is just one of the points you’ll hear in my conversation with Dr. Pamela Nettleton. We discuss how the media’s coverage of violence against women perpetuates a culture of violence. We also discuss how our social systems are set up to burden women who are victims of violence.
There’s a difference between going green and going Grinch. n an online custom that has become biliously trendy, local agencies blame holidaying folk for creating the bump in extra trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Food, wrapping paper and tossed decorations are the culprits, according to the websites of Hennepin County, Do It Green Minnesota, Minnesota Pollution Agency and Rethink Recycling. Back off, dudes. Don’t guilt me about using two feet of curling ribbon on my mother’s slipper sox until you outlaw coal plants, build mass transit systems that go where people want to travel and tax private jets enough to pay for more legroom in coach. I’m all for recycling, reusing and reducing, but the advice from our governmental … Read More
Focus needs to shift from the victim to the abuser. When it comes to domestic violence, we ask the wrong question: “Why does she stay?” We ought to ask: “Why does he hit?” In media coverage of domestic violence, in social media conversations about intimate partner violence, and when we as individuals try to think through why tragedies like the Nov. 24 Schladetzky familicide in Minneapolis occur, the focus too frequently turns to what part the victim played in attracting violence. Our conversations rarely ask why men abuse women. In an attempt to be helpful, we offer information about how women can leave abusive men or where the local shelters are located. But there are no messages for men about … Read More
This miniseries will change how you see the world. When you turn on the television, the people you see may look like you. But if they don’t, you may feel invisible to the very culture in which you live. The most powerful tasks media perform are to show us ourselves, show us one another, and show us how others see us. For example, most Christian Americans were taught what the Crusades were about—which side was honorable, which side was godless. I recently edited a military history novel, Brotherhood of the Mamluks (The Sager Group) by former Marine Brad Graft, about a disillusioned crusader who switched sides to fight with Muslims. That uncommon perspective changes how you see the world working—just … Read More
Foods like fruitcake, pig’s jowls and lutefisk are all but unpalatable, but we keep making them, year after year. Sometimes food is not really good at being food but we still love it. Why, for Pete’s sake? Many a culture, religion, ethnic group, and extended family has some traditional thingy on its holiday menu that takes a day-and-a-half and six people to prepare, looks odd, smells disgusting, tastes terrible, and is sensibly avoided by the most logical people at the table — the 5-year-olds. We do not require these foods for nutrition or enjoy these foods as edible stuffs, but by golly, we keep reproducing them, and forcing beloved family members to eat them. Take, for example, the brick of … Read More
An older newlywed shares what it’s like to walk down the aisle when you’re in your 50s, 60s or beyond. Saying “I do” is gutsy at any age, but when that age also qualifies you for an AARP card, it’s downright heroic. Senior newlyweds understand what those vows really mean, having lived through the better and worse bits a time or two already. When a 25-year-old promises to hang in there in sickness and in health, he’s probably imagining heading to Costco for Nyquil when his partner gets a cold. But when a 55-year-old speaks those same words, he knows whereof he speaks. He’s hauled kiddos to the ER in the middle of the night, done laundry for 24 hours … Read More
Romances validate what women bring to the table. Often, the acting is awkward, the plots shopworn, the wardrobes odd, and the holiday decorations tacky. The scripts are hardly witty and what passes for humor amuses only the characters on the screen. And for some reason everyone’s hair always looks a little goofy. The stories are so formulaic that apps have been built to generate fake Hallmark plots if you just plug in a few nouns. A successful New York/Chicago/Atlanta/Boston career woman wearing edgy clothes and stiletto heels is forced to travel to a small town because she inherited a bed and breakfast/gift shop/newspaper. She is played by a B-list actress who is pretty, but not so thin or sexy she … Read More