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 NettletonEssays1 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

When Writers Write about Writers

Pamela Hill NettletonEssaysLeave a Comment

When the voice of a superb writer is stilled, a community of people who make their living by putting feelings into wise and nuanced words does what it does best. Writers write about writers we have lost. The colleagues and friends of New York Times media columnist David Carr have remembered and mourned him since his untimely death in the newsroom on February 12. Before he was published in The Atlantic Monthly and the Times, Carr wrote for and then edited an alternative weekly newspaper in Minneapolis/St. Paul called the Twin Cities Reader. The Reader took on civic issues of urban policy and social justice, running long form stories that annoyed and delighted people, depending on whether or not you … Read More

Why Do Men Hit?

Pamela Hill NettletonEssaysLeave a Comment

THINGS TO CONSIDER while dating: Do we both like Szechuan? Does he get along with my cat? Will he kill me? For women, the chief relationship issue isn’t how to find one. It’s how to survive one. If a woman is abused, beaten, or killed, it will most likely be by her husband or her boyfriend. Being hit—eventually—is a very real risk a woman runs when she agrees to go to dinner and a movie. It’s a risk she can no longer afford to minimize or ignore, because all of us, from the news media to the courtroom, hold her responsible for his behavior. Over and over again, when domestic violence is discussed, victims, shelter staff, divorce lawyers, domestic court judges, … Read More

The (Belated) Graduate

Pamela Hill NettletonEssaysLeave a Comment

I GRADUATED FROM college last month, at the ripe old age of never-you-mind. Mine might’ve been the last cohort of young people who could earn a good living without initials stuck to the end of our names. While the boys older than us stayed on in grad school to avoid Vietnam, we Nixon-era kids dropped out as often as we graduated. Back in the 1970s, I, along with half the teenage population of the country, was in journalism school trying to be Bernstein and Woodward. With two or three reporting courses under my belt, I left school behind and set up for the real world to be a writer. Tolstoy, Twain, Thackeray and people whose names begin with other consonants, as … Read More