Men Are The Casualties of the Gender War

If you’ve never heard of Marty Nemko, I suggest you head over to his site and browse through his articles.  He has written some great stuff that ranges from career advice to current events.  I particularly liked this featured article titled “Men Don’t Have It Easy Either. Excerpts and my commentary are below…

True or false

The majority of medical research and outreach has been done on men.

False. Despite the death gap between men and women having grown from one year in 1920 to 5.2 years now, with four widows for every widower(!,) a U.S. General Accounting Office study found that most gender-specific health care research has been done on women. When I searched PubMed, which indexes 3,000 medical journals over the past 60 years, there have been 43 articles on “women’s health” for every one on “men’s health.” Where women have been excluded from studies, it usually was because of one or more of the following: studies were done on prisoners (which are mainly men), men were more willing to volunteer for risky treatments,, or because researchers did not want women of childbearing age to be subjected to experimental drugs meant for adults that could damage a fetus.

Also, the overwhelming majority of gender-specific health outreach has been to women. Although sudden heart attack kills more men and kills them younger, most of the heart-disease public relations campaigns have been aimed at women. And although almost as many men die of prostate cancer, we see a sea of pink ribbons for breast cancer in our supermarkets and advertising campaigns but rarely the ribbon of prostate cancer. (Do you even know what color that is?) There are seven federal agencies for women’s health, none for men.

I would really like to see a study on how much money the plethora of combined breast cancer foundations have acquired in the last few years since the pink blitzkrieg has strafed every avenue of our culture.  You can’t buy olive oil without donating to breast cancer.  Not that this is necessarily bad on its face, but when we are being bombarded with cries for more attention and funding to women’s health issues it makes you wonder where these resources are going.  And he is right about men’s health.  When was the last time the HHS has come out with a report on the lack of men’s health programs and statistics on how many men die because of the lack of them.

The vast majority of severe domestic violence is initiated by men.

False. The media mainly reports the misleading police reports, which grossly underestimate the amount of female-initiated domestic violence because men are far less likely to report abuse. One reason: men are embarrassed to say their wife abused them. In contrast, women are considered heroes for reporting their abusing men. In broader population surveys, including a recent definitive one from Harvard, the evidence is unambiguous that women initiate roughly 1/3 of severe domestic violence. A California State University metaanaylsis of 200 studies with an aggregate sample size exceeding 200,000 “demonstrates that women are as or more physically aggressive than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners.” Yet much female-initiated abuse is ignored by the police and shelters overwhelmingly serve only women.

This is an especially eye-opening fact when you consider all of the literature and ad campaigns about the suffering of women everywhere from domestic abuse.  I think this point can be proven by personal experience as well as facts.  How many times has a wife or girlfriend, at some time in your life, “abused” you either physically or emotionally in a way that would horrify a Lifetime Movie audience if the same thing was done to a woman?

Girls do far better than boys in school.

True. Male school achievement used to exceed female. Today, however, by high school graduation, girls are reading 1.5 grade levels higher than boys, a far greater gap than the tiny edge boys have in math. Boys are eight times as likely to be put on a chemical leash such as Ritalin, nine times as likely to be disciplined, twice as likely to drop out. The situation is grim for minority boys but not good for white boys. The American Council on Education reports that the fastest growing gender gap of any group since 1995 has been in white working-class students, with males particularly hard hit. At the end of high school, 23% of the white sons but only 7% of the daughters of college educated parents scored “below basic.” This means that one in four sons of college-educated parents cannot read a newspaper with understanding.

Fifty years ago, when the achievement gap favored boys, massive pro-girl programs were implemented: replace boy-friendly competition with girl-friendly “cooperative learning,” self-esteem programs, science programs, math programs, more female role models in curriculum, special science recruitment programs, and pressure for teachers to call on girls more, boys less. Today, the response to boys’ falling far behind girls is too often for boys to be told to sit still for ever more seatwork, as recess and other physical activities, which used to allow boys to drain energy, are cut. Otherwise, it’s a trip to the principal, a suspension, and/or placement in special education and/or that Ritalin leash.

This one hits me personally.  I am an avid reader.  Love all kinds of books, from classics to modern thrillers.  But up until I was about fourteen, I hated reading.  It was boring and tedious.  Years later, after I acquainted myself with wonderful stories of Stephen King, Mario Puzo and Dostoevsky did I realize why; my first experiences with deep, meaningful reading (via public school) was Laura Ingalls Wilder, Black Beauty, and Heidi.  What eight, nine, or ten-year old boy wants to read about a girl and her horse, a girl out on the plains, or…a girl?  None.  And I firmly believe that this seed of disdain for reading that was planted so many years ago continues to keep men back from learning the beauty and insight in some of our greatest pieces of literature because nobody has told them that it existed throughout their tenure at public girls-school.  My generation has seen the girls get the institutional edge while the boys were being harangued about doing perfectly healthy and normal activities like being hyper and aggressive.

Men comprise 80 percent of completed suicides.

True, yet there are many programs aimed to prevent women from committing suicide, almost none for men.

Another personal fact that can be proven by personal experience: how many suicide and crisis hot-line advertisements feature men?  How many women?

Women earn less for the same work than men.

False: For the same work, women earn, on average, the same. According to the book, Why Men Earn More, based on a decade of analysis of government and other statistics, reasons for the “women earn 80 cents on the dollar” figure include that men more often choose careers that are more dangerous (e.g., police and firefighter), uncomfortable (from sewer repairer to crop duster), isolating and difficult (e.g., engineer and programmer) and work longer hours. The average man who says he works full-time works more than six hours a week longer than the average woman who says she works full-time. In addition, men are more likely to work evenings and weekends. For a promotion, more men are willing to move to places that fewer people desire. An offshore oil rig in Montgomery, Alabama, anyone?

Even comparing salaries in the same career tends to be biased against men. For example the Bureau of Labor Statistics lumps together all medical doctors but men are more likely to pursue higher-stress specializations with unpredictable hours such as surgeon whereas women are more likely to be a lower-stress pediatrician, and thus women physician salaries are lower.

Too, women are more likely to prioritize work-life balance and to work fewer hours. Many such women claim that’s necessary because their husbands are unwilling to do 50 percent of the childcare and housework. But even Arlie Hochschild, the feminist researcher who has studied “the second shift” for decades, found that in families in which the woman earns more than the man, men do more than 50% of the housework.

The “women only make $.70 to a man’s dollar” is a lie that needs to die a horrible death.  I’m sick of hearing this idiotic falsity parroted around while I watch young, urban women get into their brand new SUV’s to leave their beautiful homes and go to their $40K/year office desk job while the maintenance man at where I work uses his last dollar to ride the bus so he can pick up his heart medication that was prescribed after his most recent heart attack.

And I’m willing to bet that even in households where the man earns more than the woman that the housework is split fairly evenly.  Leave It To Beaver was a television show, people.

While women’s employment rates remain steady, one in five men ages 25-54 are now unemployed, the highest percentage since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started collecting data in 1948.

True. Between December. 2007 and June, 2009, 78 percent of jobs lost in the United States were held by men. The current recession has been dubbed a hecession.

According to the Dept. of Defense, 99% of U.S. soldier deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been men.True: You might ask, “How could that be? The media and government constantly say, ‘Our men and women fighting in Iraq.’ Media interviews with soldiers are roughly 50/50.” Fact is, only men are allowed to serve in direct combat and only men must register for the draft.

I lumped these two together because I feel that the “Women’s Liberation” movement was about equal rights without equal plights.  I can’t believe that society was suckered into believing that we  should give women all the same opportunities, but then become responsible for protecting them from the ugly side of it all.  Wanna fight?  Sign up for the draft.  Wanna earn the same pay as the man who works for the same company?  Then you have to climb the high tension wires to fix the power lines instead of answering the phone call from the customer.  Wanna become part of the working class?  Be prepared to have it all taken from you when the economy goes to hell.

If a Martian read the above information, he’d reasonably infer that to be treated this poorly, men must be the inferior sex. And some hard-line feminists indeed believe that, making such assertions as, “Testosterone-poisoned men create all the wars.” Of course, men have also done remarkable good: invented everything from the printing press to Google, the birth control pill to Herceptin, the most effective drug against breast cancer. More average men sweat in foundries to create our steel. They build our buildings, fix our toilets, and make our cars, planes, computers, even the seat you’re sitting in as you read this. The list is endless. Where are the women in such unpleasant jobs? For example, flush your toilet. Do you think more men or more women process the waste? Feel the heat in winter, the air-conditioning in summer, the roof over your head. Who invests, builds, and maintains them to keep you warm and secure? Yet rather than praise men for doing these tasks, we begrudge them any extra dollars (often trivial after taxes) they may earn and cover our front pages for decades with such grossly misleading statistics as “women earn 80 cents on the dollar.”

Imagine you were the mother of a boy. Knowing all the above, how would you feel?

So basically, when the shit hits the fan, remember who will be cleaning it up before you believe the crap about an oppressive patriarchy.

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Myths And Truths About The Movie Industry

Over at The Escapist, Bob “MovieBob” Chipman wrote an article to try to dispute some “commonly cited reasons” for the decline of the movie industry.  He does o.k on some points, but overall he comes off as making excuses for Hollywood.  Read the full article here.

Myth #1: It’s About Politics

You hear this one a lot lately. There’s whole organizations like Big Hollywood, Movieguide, or the Parents Television Council, dedicated to evangelizing it, though of course it’s been around for a long time before that.

See, in case you hadn’t heard, the political leanings of the U.S. entertainment industry are overwhelmingly Liberal – a word which, here in America, is used as a slur to describe anyone slightly to the left of Yosemite Sam.

Confirmation bias in 3…2…1…

So goes the theory espoused by delightful folks like this, Hollywood’s liberalism puts it out of touch with the (at least) half of the American audience that identifies as Conservative – and thus unable to make movies that appeal to “the folks.”

Sounds vaguely plausible, right? Well, let’s crunch some numbers.

The United States’ most recent presidential election (as a good a barometer of these things as any) came down pretty close to 50/50, with about a three point margin favoring Barack Obama. Just going by that, one could extrapolate that the political makeup of the nation – and thus its moviegoers – would break the same way.

This would be true if we were to assume that 50% of the people who voted, voted for Obama because they were liberal and 50% voted for McCain because they were horrible, awful, racist, homophobic, retarded conservatives.  However, one has to remember that, although both parties drift towards the middle during elections, liberals run from the left like there’s a locust fire.  Democratic candidates always espouse basic tenets of conservatism (limited government, lower taxes, common sense laws) to get elected and Obama was no exception.  Therefore, using the election as a barometer to judge the population’s political leanings doesn’t take into account that the old saying is true: “50% of people may vote and talk like liberals, but 97% live their lives like conservatives.

And if politics can’t motivate you to vote, how likely is it that they can motivate your movie choices?

Being actively engaged in American politics and having the initiative to vote is completely different from paying to be entertained only to have your core beliefs and values become ego fodder for a basement dwelling screenwriter.

In other words, even if it is true that Hollywood’s largely left-wing worldview alienates dedicated right-wing audiences, that’s only about 1/4th of the population to begin with – a big loss, but hardly decisive.

And that’s ignoring how nebulous the concepts of “left” and “right” are in the U.S.. Not just as a split between big and small government philosophies but also among a litanty of social issues tossed arbitrarily to one side or the other – which makes pinning down the actual outlook of all but the most ham-fistedly political film fairly difficult. In the fourth Rambo, the hero saves a group of Chrisitian missionaries from Burmese guerillas. In the process, said missionaries’ smugly pacifist leader – who’d earlier excoriated John Rambo on the sinfulness of violence – learns that action trumps prayer and good intentions. Pro-war, yet irreligious? Where does that belong? V (as in For Vendetta) hates Government so much he makes Glenn Beck look like FDR, but his enemies are thinly-veiled analogs for the Bush Administration. Which one’s the liberal, again?

I can’t tell if Move Bob is being genuinely naïve or duplicitous.  Very rarely are conservative and liberal ideas matched head to head with any sort of ambiguity between the two.  There are an endless number of films where wonderful, enlightened, good-hearted “progressive” ideas are struggling to correct injustices created by destructive, oppressive, and tyrannical thoughts and actions that mimic mock what the most Americans regard as traditionally held values.

Another point that Mr. Chipman doesn’t mention is the simple fact that the majority of people don’t want to pay $17 to escape reality for 2 hours only to be preached to.  Being told what to think and believe by having their values portrayed in a supervillian style is not the average American’s idea of entertainment.

Myth #2: Blame It On Teenage Boys

“Hollywood used to make movies for everyone. Now they only care about teenage boys. And since teenage boys have awful taste, movies are awful.”

You’ve heard that one, right? Another one that sounds sensible, but is built on a foundation of half-truths and misunderstandings.

So, yes, from that point on Hollywood has been laser-focused on teenaged boys, but that’s not the same thing as bad movies being their fault, as it relies on the erroneous assumption that the types of films teenage boys prefer cannot be good or even great in their own right – Dark Knight and Iron Man can certainly attest to that. It also ignores recent developments like The Twilight Saga, easily the biggest blight on the cinema right now and most definitely not made for teenage boys.

This will be covered in greater specificity next week, but it seems like the bigger problem is that the massive movie industry refuses to deal with more than one audience at a time. So instead of accepting that not every movie can be for every moviegoer, they continue to make teen boy movies and then awkwardly cram them with ill-fitting extras that they expect to satisfy everyone else. Why does Spider-Man 3 re-hash a love triangle that was put to bed two movie ago? Because someone thought it’d make the film more attractive to women. And let’s not even get into the embarrassing, borderline-racist knots studios tie themselves into trying to appeal to what they see as the strange and mysterious “black audience.”

This I actually agree with. It’s impossible to find a quality comedy nowadays without a half-assed chick flick thrown in so the pussy whipped beta men can get the permission slip to bring his harpy.

However, I do not think that the movie industry is focusing on teenage boys, rather teenage girls is what rakes in the green.  Blaming the industry’s focus on teenage boys ignores the fact that girls have become very androgynous in their tastes.  Many girls go see the superhero, scary/gory, and Sci-Fi fare that didn’t in earlier generations.  Go ask your mom what she thought of Star Wars when it first came out.  Then go ask your sister her thoughts on Lord of the Rings or The Dark Knight. I predict quite a contrast.

Myth #3: Hollywood Is Out Of Ideas

Too many remakes, too many sequels, too many adaptations of books, comics, TV shows … hell, now they’re even using board games and theme-park rides! Makes sense, right? Sure, except it doesn’t. You know that point at the 30-minute mark of every episode of House where the totally-sensible diagnosis turns out to be totally incorrect, the ambient noise and hospital sounds get suddenly louder and they cut to commercial on a sardonic quip from Hugh Laurie? This is one of those.

It doesn’t make sense that moviegoers are becoming listless when it comes to seeing Saw VI or Shrek 4?  Gimme a break.

Hollywood has always made movies from pre-existing material. Go run down any list of “the classics,” then hit up the IMDB and marvel at how many of them were based on plays, books, history, legends and – yes – even other movies. The Maltese Falcon, regarded as the greatest of all detective films, had been filmed twice before, and all three were based on a book by Dashiell Hammett. Jaws? Godfather? Exorcist? Psycho? All adaptations. And while we’re at it, what’s the precise difference between a movie about Robin Hood and a movie about G.I. Joe, apart from the age of the material?

There is a huge difference between adapting a movie from The Iliad or bringing Death of a Salesman to the big screen than making a movie based on House of the Dead for Sega Saturn.

Now, to be fair, yes, there do seem to be exponentially more of them now, and from increasingly dubious source material, but that’s not a disease, it’s a symptom. The disease is expense: Movies cost too much to make, and take too long to turn a profit, so no one in charge of the money wants to take a risk on anything without proof-of-profitability already behind it. Transformers didn’t get made because someone at the studio loved a pitch about giant robots, or because Michael Bay was a fan of the franchise (in fact, he thought it was “stupid”), it got made because someone was able to point to a Mattel earnings report showing how much money these characters had already made.

Audiences get to pay high admission to see shitty movies because :cue violin: movies in general have become so expensive to make?   Let me move the lump in my throat before I continue.

Does anyone remember how Tarantino got famous?

None of this is especially encouraging, but keep in mind that it’s the movie you make – not what you make it out of – that matters in the end. Knight & Day was an original pitch, Iron Man was an adaptation. Which was better, again?

Quality is king, baby. If a movie is made well and entertains the audience (see: non-Oscar winners for the latter), then people will go see them. Lord of the Rings was fantastically successful.  So was The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  Avatar was a mile long desert buffet for the eyes.  These movies pleased a wide audience.   However, the new Bad News Bears made you want to resurrect Walter Mathau to perform a hit on Billy Bob Thorton.   And the world didn’t want another Shaggy Dog.

It’s undeniable that studios are churning out turds left and right while bemoaning the lower ticket sales.  It’s true that some of the fault can be blamed on the market crash and people need money for…food and gas, but any disposable income that a person or a family may have would spend it at the cineplex if they had a reason to go there.  The fact that they don’t can be laid directly at the feet of Big Hollywood.

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Making History…Suck

As my first signal flare to the blogosphere to announce my existence, I feel it is my duty to spread the word about this horrible broad so we may point a finger of blame:

This is the woman who ruined The History Channel.  Now she will be taking over Lifetime according to a recent Yahoo article:

“Until Nancy Dubuc arrived and made History improbably hot, the TV network was little more than a place for old men to watch war movies. Now Dubuc is trying to freshen Lifetime, another outlet with a moldy reputation.”

Right out of the gate, us History Channel loving folk are portrayed as farty old men who rapped the television with a cane instead of getting a digital converter box when our cabinet style Zenith suddenly stopped working.

“Dubuc takes over a strong brand that’s not exactly destination viewing — just as History was when she assumed control three years ago.

This summer, the tandem of “American Pickers” and “Pawn Stars” is making Mondays on History one of the hottest nights on cable TV. The treasure-trawling shows are barely a year old, have inspired at least one imitator and just led History to its most-watched three months ever.”

If this claim of increased viewership is true, it reflects negatively on those who still watch television rather than the excellence of the network.

“The shows are a long way from documentaries on the War of 1812.”

No shit.

“History appears to have pulled off the delicate job of adding new fans without alienating the old ones. The network’s audience is still about two-thirds male, but the median age has dropped four years since 2006, the Nielsen Co. said.”

This I do not believe.  It’s hard to imagine any male watching a show on The Battle of the Bulge would think to himself, “I would really watch this channel more if it had reality shows.  How about hillbilly lumberjacks?  Hell yeah!”.

“Anything that attracts people to historical subjects, unless they contain truly distorting and disturbing messages, is good in my opinion,” said Joyce Appleby, co-director of the History News Service.”

Joyce Appleby should be fucking fired.  How in the hell is focusing on the “prophesies” of Nostradamus or the plethora of end-time scenarios NOT distorting and disturbing to any history loving person?  She should head to Lifetime along with Dubuc and they can concoct a witches brew of programming consisting of feminist empowerment and rape fantasies.

This woman has overwhelmingly alienated longtime fans of The History Channel.  If further proof than their atrocious “new direction” is required, take a gander at the reader comments.  Personally, I feel vindicated reading them.  I’ve been lamenting the programming on the History Channel for…well…three years now.  The History Channel used to be so interesting and informative.  Sure, I will admit that there was an overemphasis on WWII, but that does not justify ravaging the network.  Now we get mind-rot like MonsterQuest– the history of Rhinelander Hodag?, UFO Files– the history of loony conspiracy theorists, and the continued over-saturation of reality T.V.

The article makes no mention of the network’s obsession with pseudoscience and conspiracy theories.  These shows are featured predominately throughout the day and it is absolutely amazing how anyone could watch them after Robert Stack covered it all back in 1991.  Those nightmares have just finally gone away.  This sad, modern abomination only requires two episodes to realize that the crackpot “investigation teams” will never come up with any evidence of the Sasquatch other than footprints forged by beered-up hunters and clumps of hair consisting of deer pubes.  Regardless of how many Indian guides they bring with them.

It used to be a “man thing” to get sucked into an obscure History Channel show on a random afternoon.  I’m genuinely saddened by the fact that that has become a thing of the past.  I guess you could say “it’s history”.  Oh, isn’t irony ironic?

A commenter going by the handle “Ohhim” summed it up the best:

“History Channel once had legitimacy and authenticity giving students and fans of history a wellspring of information. Now it is a dumping ground of pseudo science junk and time wasting drivel. This woman and her kind have helped to dumb down the American viewer in order to claim success at selling more advertising rather than make a minor cable network into a success. It is not a success and is one of the reasons so many people that want shows with depth and insight are leaving television for some of the small but infinitely more substantial offering on the internet.”

Indeed.

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