Monday ReadsPosted: May 14, 2012 | |
Okay. Get ready to drag out your smallest possible violins for this UK Guardian article:Lagging at school, the butt of cruel jokes: are males the new Second Sex? Here’s the teaser subtitle: “They work longer hours, face economic insecurity and suffer worse health. Now their feckless ways are lampooned in the media. A controversial new book argues that men increasingly face a prejudice that dare not speak its name.” Poor babies!
You might not have realised it, but men are being oppressed. In many walks of life, they are routinely discriminated against in ways women are not. So unrecognised is this phenomenon that the mere mention of it will appear laughable to some.
That, at least, is the premise of a book by a South African philosophy professor which claims that sexism against men is a widespread yet unspoken malaise. In The Second Sexism, shortly to be published in the UK, David Benatar, head of the philosophy department at Cape Town University, argues that “more boys drop out of school, fewer men earn degrees, more men die younger, more are incarcerated” and that the issue is so under-researched it has become the prejudice that dare not speak its name.
“It’s a neglected form of sexism,” Benatar says in a telephone interview. “It’s true that in the developed world the majority of economic and political roles are occupied by males. But if you look at the bottom – for example, the prison population, the homeless population, or the number of people dropping out of school – that is overwhelmingly male. You tend to find more men at the very top but also at the very bottom.”
The American men’s rights author Warren Farrell calls it “the glass cellar”. There might be a glass ceiling for women, Farrell once told the Observer, but “of the 25 professions ranked lowest [in the US], 24 of them are 85-100% male. That’s things like roofer, welder, garbage collector, sewer maintenance – jobs with very little security, little pay and few people want them.”
Okay, I hope you haven’t lost your meal and coffee!
In 2007, before the Great Recession, people who were looking for work for more than six months — the definition of long-term unemployment — accounted for just 0.8 percent of the labor force. The recession has radically changed this picture. In 2010, the long-term unemployed accounted for 4.2 percent of the work force. That figure would be 50 percent higher if we added the people who gave up looking for work.
Long-term unemployment is experienced disproportionately by the young, the old, the less educated, and African-American and Latino workers.
While older workers are less likely to be laid off than younger workers, they are about half as likely to be rehired. One result is that older workers have seen the largest proportionate increase in unemployment in this downturn. The number of unemployed people between ages 50 and 65 has more than doubled.
The prospects for the re-employment of older workers deteriorate sharply the longer they are unemployed. A worker between ages 50 and 61 who has been unemployed for 17 months has only about a 9 percent chance of finding a new job in the next three months. A worker who is 62 or older and in the same situation has only about a 6 percent chance. As unemployment increases in duration, these slim chances drop steadily.
The result is nothing short of a national emergency. Millions of workers have been disconnected from the work force, and possibly even from society. If they are not reconnected, the costs to them and to society will be grim.
Unemployment is almost always a traumatic event, especially for older workers. A paper by the economists Daniel Sullivan and Till von Wachter estimates a 50 to 100 percent increase in death rates for older male workers in the years immediately following a job loss, if they previously had been consistently employed. This higher mortality rate implies that a male worker displaced in midcareer can expect to live about one and a half years less than a worker who keeps his job.
Here’s a great lesson on bullying from Michael Cohen at Alternet on “What we Learn from Mitt Romney’s Disgusting Teenage Bullying”.
There is a disturbing inference in Romney’s words – namely, that the blame should be placed as much on the sensitive shoulders of those who were hurt and offended, rather than the person who might have been responsible for inflicting pain upon them. What is missing from Romney’s non-apology is the recognition that pranks, hijinks, assaults or whatever you want to call them, can leave psychic scars that stay with the victim for years to come.
Indeed, one of the most heartbreaking elements of the Post story is that 30 years after it took place, one of the perpetrators, David Seed accidentally ran into Lauber at O’Hare International Airport and tried to apologize for not doing more to help his classmate. “It was horrible,” Lauber recounted. He went on to explain how frightened he was during the incident, and acknowledged to Seed, “It’s something I have thought about a lot since then.”
Here’s a follow-up to the Big Pharma drug pushers that try to market their miracle cures to us via their Snake Oil TV ads. It seems it really isn’t good for whatever ails ya!
The pharmaceutical company will pay $1.5 billion to settle criminal and civil liability charges for promoting the drug Depakote for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
The drug is a neurological medicine labeled to treat mania, epilepsy and migraines, and can lead to life-threatening and deadly pancreatitis in children and adults.
The money will be distributed among 49 states and will go toward consumer protection, health care and other services.
Well, first it was MS touting Obama’s feminist bona fides. Now it’s Newsweek calling Obama the ‘first gay president’. Okee dokee then.
The cover of Newsweek magazine this week proclaims President Obama “the first gay president.”
The cover pictures Obama with a rainbow-colored halo over his head. The New Yorker’s cover for this week, likewise, is an image of the White House, with the iconic columns on its South portico arranged in the colors of the rainbow — a prominent symbol for gay rights.
The Newsweek cover goes a step further by adding the religious symbol of a halo above Obama’s head.
Obama said this week that he is personally comfortable with same-sex marriage — the first time a sitting president has taken that position.
Newsweek’s “first gay president” cover story is written by Andrew Sullivan, a blogger at Newsweek and the Daily Beast, who is openly gay.
The moniker evokes Toni Morrison’s description of former President Bill Clinton as “the first black president.”
Well, I think I’ve done enough damage this morning. What’s on your reading and blogging list today?