- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Traumatic myth

“Soon after the collapse of the World Trade Center, experts predicted that one out of five New Yorkers — some 1.5 million people — would be traumatized by the tragedy and require psychological care. Within weeks, several thousand grief and crisis counselors arrived in the city. …

“Scientific studies suggest that, after a catastrophic event, most people are resilient and will recover spontaneously over time. A small percentage of individuals do not rebound, however, and require extended psychological care. …

“Despite the influx of counselors into Manhattan, most New Yorkers received no therapy following the attacks. Furthermore, data from surveys taken after September 11 contradicted the early predictions that there would be widespread psychological damage.”

Jerome Groopman, writing on “The Grief Industry,” in Monday’s issue of the New Yorker

A boy’s life

“In elementary school, over 90 percent of the teachers are women. Having no decent curriculum to guide them, as is the case in most schools, these female teachers will quite innocently and unimaginatively choose books and assignments that do not appeal to boys in the least. The boy student will have to suffer through ‘Charlotte’s Web’ three or four times but never hear of ‘Captains Courageous’ or ‘Treasure Island’ or Sherlock Holmes. …

“Beyond these decayed institutions, the broader cultural landscape inhibits the transformation of boys into good men. …

“What feminism has done, in conjunction with political correctness, is deprive overly non-offensive, modern parents of the language traditionally used to bring up young boys: ‘Be a man.’ ‘Stick up for your sister.’ ‘Quit throwing the ball like a sissy.’ ‘Quit crying like a girl.’ Instead, we have a lot of lukewarm, androgynous talk about ‘being a good person’ and ‘showing respect to people.’ A naturally rambunctious and irascible boy, though, is not too interested in being a good person. For if he achieves that status, what will distinguish him from his prim and proper sister? The parents have no language to answer their son’s deepest and most natural needs.”

Terrence O. Moore, writing on “Wimps and Barbarians: The Sons of Murphy Brown,” in the winter issue of the Claremont Review of Books

Teen ‘zine scene

“Teen magazines have been around since the dark ages predating my teen years. …

“[T]he real reason parents should crack the covers of these pop journals is because they provide a very clear insight into what products and philosophies are being marketed and targeted to your teens. …

“It didn’t take long before I could see the obvious things each magazine had in common: Makeup, clothes, articles about guys, and celebrities — namely Amanda Bynes and Hillary Duff. …

“Teen People and J-14 seem to play to the youngest readers, while YM, and especially Seventeen, dole out advice and ads geared to older teens. …

“I made a crude statistical summary of the subjects covered using the categories of beauty products (makeup, acne formulas, perfume), fashion (clothes, shoes, watches, jewelry), celebrities and entertainment, and ‘other,’ where I listed articles covering college life, racial prejudice, horoscopes, and even nudism.”

Rod Gustafson, writing on “Reading Up on Teen Culture,” Jan. 15 for the Parents Television Council at www.parentstv.org

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