‘Spinning Out’ unmasks the lived experience of mental illness

Pamela Hill NettletonArticles, Essays, U.S. CatholicLeave a Comment

This Netflix drama sparks meaningful conversations about family life. Behind the scenes in competitive ice skating, all is not sequins and sweetness in Netflix’s one-season wonder, Spinning Out. The series is compelling for unexpected reasons, and it takes uncommon risks in tackling a verboten topic. Spinning Out sidesteps the glamour of the Winter Olympics fan-favorite competitions and fixes its gaze on the fact that these girls and young women are accomplished, elite athletes—and they didn’t get there by humming “Swan Lake” and wearing cute leotards. There are sweaty workouts and demanding drills from coaches, crack-of-dawn ice times in chilly arenas, and backstabbing mothers gossiping in the bleachers. Skaters fret about injuring tendons, bruising bones, and recovering from terrifying falls. The … Read More

A new PBS documentary gives us a rare look inside the Vatican

Pamela Hill NettletonArticles, Essays, U.S. CatholicLeave a Comment

‘Inside the Vatican’ premieres Tuesday, April 28 on PBS Next week, PBS releases a new documentary of the Vatican offering tantalizing peeks into spaces no tourist can access and revealing the everyday work life for some of the 2,600 people working in the independent city-state. Filmed during Pope Francis’s fifth year, “Inside the Vatican” is loosely structured around the church calendar and important events: Easter, a papal visit to Ireland, installing new cardinals, preparing for Christmas. It feels a bit like three documentaries: one of workers and who make the Vatican run, one of the clerical leadership, and a closing—and hopeful— section on the sex scandals inside the church. It’s an espresso-tinged steep in Italian culture (The sculptures! The paintings! … Read More

Perspective: Engaged, at Your Age?

Pamela Hill NettletonArticles, Essays, Milwaukee WeddingsLeave a Comment

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

We are asking the wrong questions about Domestic Violence

Pamela Hill NettletonEssays, Star TribuneLeave a Comment

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

In ‘Tales of the City,’ A Netflix Reboot that Celebrates our Differences

Pamela Hill NettletonEssays, U.S. CatholicLeave a Comment

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

The Kids Are All Right

Pamela Hill NettletonEssaysLeave a Comment

The first thing I mothered was a turtle the size of a silver dollar pancake that I bought for 88 cents at Woolworth’s. The store clerk handed over Herman (I believe there was some legal requirement then that all turtles be named Herman) in a tiny Chinese takeout box, and his little claws scrabbled against the waxy interior all the way home in the family Dodge. In a display of largesse, my mother financed a home for Herman, a clear, plastic, oval dish with a miniature staircase leading up to an island with a jaunty green-leaved plastic palm tree stuck in it. A little water in the bottom, Herman plopped atop the atoll, and my 7-year-old maternal instincts kicked right … Read More

Milwaukee County Supervisor Notices Hillary is A Girl

Pamela Hill NettletonEssaysLeave a Comment

Milwaukee County Supervisor Deana Alexander has taken to referring to Hillary Clinton as “Ovary.” Alexander hopes her Twitter hashtags #OvaryClinton and #OperationOvary will be mistaken for insightful political commentary. They are anything but. Alexander’s rhetorical move to name-calling based on body parts is not only gender bullying, but reveals a self-loathing and desperate desire to gain the approval of misogynists. Alexander’s attempt to act like one of the boys by insulting women actually insults the boys. Not all men fear women (or ovaries). Not all men think of women who trash other women for being women as being particularly shrewd and nuanced. If Alexander wants to play with the big guns (or at least bigger guns) of political leadership of … Read More

County Supervisor Notices Hillary Is A Girl

Pamela Hill NettletonEssaysLeave a Comment

Milwaukee County Supervisor Deanna Alexander has taken to referring to Hillary Clinton as “Ovary.” Alexander hopes her Twitter hashtags #OvaryClinton and #OperationOvary will be mistaken for insightful political commentary. They are anything but. Alexander’s rhetorical move to name-calling based on body parts is not only gender bullying, but reveals a self-loathing and desperate desire to gain the approval of misogynists. Her attempt to act like “one of the boys” by insulting women actually insults the boys. Not all men fear women (or ovaries). Not all men think of women who trash other women for being women as being particularly shrewd and nuanced. If Alexander wants to play with the big guns (or at least bigger guns) of political leadership of … Read More

Alone, But Not Lonesome

Pamela Hill NettletonEssaysLeave a Comment

Not to get all tragic, but when I go out, I go out alone. It happens to be the way I roll these days. I dine alone. I go to movies alone. I attend the theater alone. Table for one. A single ticket. Just one ice cream cone. I am fine with this. It’s Milwaukee that seems to have a problem. I have practiced my aberrant lifestyle in New York, in London, in Lugano, Switzerland, and along the decidedly uncosmopolitan north shore of Minnesota. Never have I been as challenged and pitied as I have been since I moved to Milwaukee. When I and my latest Nora Roberts novel crave lobster, the maître d’ looks past my shoulder at the … Read More