Published on: October 2, 2009
It has been well documented, here and elsewhere, that men seem to suffering from the recession to a greater extent than women – in part because they earn more and companies can save more money by laying them off, in part because there are more of them to lay off, and in part because women tend to have different priorities are more willing to be flexible in their work hours.
But the Chicago Tribune
reports that men now have another problem: “For years now, women have been earning the most college degrees. That trend is accelerating, leaving experts to wonder if men are somehow missing the latest economic wake-up call … The biggest difference isn't so much who starts college, but who finishes. Men drop out at much higher rates.”
Now, I’m not entirely surprised by this, since it always has been my contention that women are smarter than men and better able to adapt. If we’re talking survival of the fittest, I’m generally willing to bet on women.
I do find it amusing that the Tribune
quotes Christina Hoff Sommers, described as an “anti-feminist scholar,” as saying that this trend could lead to “a lot of strong women and a lot of disaffected men," prone to crime and unable to form stable families. Because while men may not be as smart as women, that doesn’t mean that we will descend into depravity and chaos if we live in a female-dominated society.
I also find it amusing that some people think that we are close to actually becoming a female-dominated society. There may be more women in the workplace and more women completed college, but that doesn’t mean that there is a sudden and profound power shift taking place. Far from it. And suggesting that one is taking place is probably a way for men to convince themselves that they are victims. Which is utter nonsense.
And by the way…I have one daughter. I hope she’s a feminist. We’ve raised her that way. (It seems to be working. She even gets annoyed when I refer to something as a “chick flick.”)
And I hope my two sons are feminists, too. Because that will only mean that they respect strong women, enjoy relationships with strong women, and don’t engage in old-world beliefs about the superiority of one gender over another.
What’s amazing to me is that there is anyone out there who is defending Roman Polanski. It all seems pretty clear to me – he pleaded guilty to a charge of statutory rape, and then fled the country to avoid jail.
Sure it was more than 30 years ago. Sure, the victim apparently doesn’t want him prosecuted any further. And sure, he is an Oscar-winning director and an artist of undeniable talent.
But none of that matters. We live in a nation of laws. We’re supposed to respect those laws. All of us, no matter your artistic temperament or achievement.
Just on principle, he has to be brought back here and forced to face the music. Actions have consequences.
I’m reminded of two lines from “Chinatown” (1974), the classic Polanski-directed thriller. At one point, private eye Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) says about John Huston’s Noah Cross, “He’s rich … he thinks he can get away with anything.”
And at another point in the movie, Cross says, “Most people never have to face the fact that at the right time and the right place, they’re capable of anything.”
He should think about both lines when he is extradited back to the US and is ushered into a Los Angeles courtroom.
So apparently Imus is coming back to television next week, with his radio show being simulcast on the Fox Business Network (FBN). This is something of a television relocation for Imus, who until recently was being seen on a network called RFD, which apparently is seen by more cows than people. (Little joke here. It isn’t necessary to deluge me with email saying that I shouldn’t diss farmers and ranchers. Or cows, for that matter.)
Some of the media columnists are speculating that this will place Imus into more direct competition with “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, the show that replaced Imus a few years ago when he was fired for making racist remarks on the air.
While I never was one of those who thought that Imus deserved to be permanently kept off the air, I have found when listening to his show on the radio that he’s actually committed another sin. He’s boring. The interviews aren’t as long or as interesting as they used to be, and it seems like he’s lost a step or two. (Maybe that’s because he has cancer, or maybe it is just because he’s old.)
“Morning Joe,” on the other hand, is a terrific morning talk show – much better than “Today” or “Good Morning, America” or any of their brethren, in my opinion. The conversation is pretty balanced, with all sides heard from, and people are able to disagree without being disagreeable. And Joe Scarborough, the former conservative Congressman from Florida who hosts the show, is smart and provocative.
No competition in my office. At 6 am, it’s always ‘Morning Joe,” a bowl of oatmeal, and a big cup of home-brewed black Starbucks Café Verona. And, of course, thou.
It isn’t a movie that will appeal to everyone, but I really liked Steven Soderbergh’s new film, “The Informant!”, starring Matt Damon as a whistleblower at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) in the early nineties.
Some will find the style of “The Informant!” off-putting…it is shot in what I can only describe as a kind of seventies movie-of-the-week style, and it takes a while for the movie to kick into gear. But once it does…and we find out that Damon’s character is, shall we say, a little more complicated than first presented…”The Informant!” starts to get really interesting.
Damon is terrific – and nothing like Jason Bourne – as the voluble and impulsive Mark Whitacre, who has dreams of glory and delusions of grandeur. Scott Bakula is great as the FBI agent who is working with and frustrated by Whitacre. And I can’t say enough good things about a movie that finds roles for both Tom Smothers and Dick Smothers.
HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is back in its groove this season, laugh-out-loud funny in the two episodes aired so far. And this week, they bring back the cast of “Seinfeld” for a pseudo-reunion that will play out – no doubt with uncomfortable and funny results – over the rest of the season.
And, by the way, if you haven't been watching “Fringe” this season, make sure you catch up. Because it is terrific television…like a combination of “The X Files,” “The Twilight Zone,” and “The Night Stalker” (the original 1972 movie with Darren McGavin).
I hesitate to mention this wine because you probably won’t be able to get it, but the 2007 Velvet Sledgehammer Shiraz from the Winner’s Tank winery in Australia is an absolute knockout – it is described as “entering the palate like velvet and finishing like a sledgehammer.” Which is a better description than I could have offered. It is a limited release and very hard to get…but if you see some, grab it.
That’s it for this week. This weekend will, for Mets fans like me, be the merciful end of an awful baseball regular season. I’m going to avoid watching any games and maybe go to a movie.
See you Monday.