The male sex


Disney Expert Uses Science to Draw Boy Viewers
New York Times, 2009-04-14

LOS ANGELES — Kelly Peña, or “the kid whisperer,” as some Hollywood producers call her, was digging through a 12-year-old boy’s dresser drawer here on a recent afternoon. Her undercover mission: to unearth what makes him tick and use the findings to help the Walt Disney Company reassert itself as a cultural force among boys.

Ms. Peña, a Disney researcher with a background in the casino industry, zeroed in on a ratty rock ’n’ roll T-shirt. Black Sabbath?

“Wearing it makes me feel like I’m going to an R-rated movie,” said Dean, a shy redhead whose parents asked that he be identified only by first name.


Ms. Peña and her team of anthropologists have spent 18 months peering inside the heads of incommunicative boys in search of just that kind of psychological nugget. Disney is relying on her insights to create new entertainment for boys 6 to 14, a group that Disney used to own way back in the days of “Davy Crockett” but that has wandered in the age of more girl-friendly Disney fare like “Hannah Montana.”



A Father's Day reminder: They're still essential
By Kathleen Parker
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2010-06-20


One of my most passionate interview subjects
was a British doctoral student, Tom Ellis,
who learned at 21 that he and his brother had been donor-conceived.
Though raised by two loving parents, Ellis was devastated
and embarked on a crusade for identity.

“It’s absolutely necessary that I find out who he is
[in order] to have a normal existence as a human being,” he told me.
“That’s not negotiable in any way.”
As this recent study indicates,
not all children suffer from being donor offspring.
But enough do that
we should seriously reconsider the notion, now popularly embraced,
that children can adapt to any old family configuration.

The zeitgeist already is richly endowed with myths and fantasies
that support this essentially pro-feminist, anti-male posture.
Three movies this year --
“The Switch,” “The Kids Are All Right” and “The Back-Up Plan” --
advance the moral that donor kids turn out just fine.

Except not all do.

It isn’t necessary to blame mothers
for their decision to seek impregnation through sperm donation
to now wonder if we may have been mistaken in some of our assumptions.
We are naturally sympathetic
toward the woman, who,
having reached 40 and despaired of finding Mr. Right,
turns to a sperm bank as a last resort.
Forfeiting motherhood is a high price to pay for unlucky timing.

But whether a woman has a right to seek self-fulfillment
may not be the most important question.
More compelling is whether children have a right to two parents --
a mother and a father.

Again, the zeitgeist is the enemy of due diligence.
We’ve long ago given up the idea that
marriage should be a prerequisite to pregnancy
or that
single motherhood is anything short of virtuous.
Social scientists, meanwhile,
have devoted considerable energy toward proving that
fathers aren’t necessary,
despite voluminous research demonstrating that
fatherless children suffer a host of pathologies.
Though some children do splendidly
with just a mother or just a father or some other variation,
the overwhelming evidence confirms what we know in our hearts.



Do College Grads Earn Less Now Than 40 Years Ago?
New York Times Economix, 2012-01-12

Honor Code
New York Times, 2012-07-06


By 12th grade, male reading test scores are far below female test scores.
The eminent psychologist Michael Thompson
mentioned at the Aspen Ideas Festival a few days ago that
11th-grade boys are now writing at the same level as 8th-grade girls.
Boys used to have an advantage in math and science,
but that gap is nearly gone.

[That is the conventional "wisdom" that is repeated over and over in the media.
Evidently that is true of classroom work and tests.
But in the SAT, even as late as 2011,
boys still reign supreme, by 30 points in math, and marginally in reading.
What does it say that boys are better than girls in the SAT but not in the classroom?
To the thick-headed women, that means something is wrong with the SAT.
To me, it suggests that teachers are giving girls an unfair advantage,
often deliberately but sometimes subconsciously.]


The basic problem is that
schools praise diversity
but have become culturally homogeneous.
The education world has become a distinct subculture,
with a distinct ethos and attracting a distinct sort of employee.
Students [and potential instructors] who don’t fit the ethos get left out.


He’s not
the unfeeling, uncommunicative, testosterone-driven cretin
of common boy stereotype.

[I want to point something out.
That “unfeeling, uncommunicative, testosterone-driven ‘cretin’ ”
may be far better at conceptual thinking and understanding
than any of the
“nurturing, collaborative, disciplined, neat, studious, industrious and ambitious” types
who are now the darlings of the educational system.]