It’s a Man’s World

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Monday, March 20, 2006

Margaret Thatcher has it, as does Humphrey Bogart. On the next Brian Lehrer Show: A look at the importance of manliness, as one author sees it. How it differs from masculinity and why he thinks manly qualities are dismissed in society. Plus: Monday morning politics, self help and your calls.

The Three Year Mark

Caroline Daniel, White House correspondent for the Financial Times
-discusses Iraq, the White House and the Democrats

» The Financial Times


Help Yourself

Micki McGee, sociologist, cultural critic and author, Self-Help, Inc: Makeover Culture in American Life (Oxford Press, 2005)

» Self Help, Inc. (Oxford Press)


A Man's World

Harvey Mansfield, professor of Government at Harvard University and author, Manliness (Yale University Press, 2006)
- on the philosophy, literature and science of manliness

» Manliness (Yale Press)


Open Phones

Your calls on Orthodox Judaism and abortion, and the political status of Curaçao.


Manly Men and the Emails that object to them

Anger from our airwaves

Well, I must be a very manly woman since I'm feeling kind of aggressive right now.

I enjoy your show very much, and this is only the second time in many years that I have taken issue with one of your segments. The first was in the winter of 2001-2002 when you had guests on explaining what precautions New Yorkers should take to protect their families against terrorism, a topic that I felt added to the problem of irrational fear in this city rather than helping to abate it.

Today I am asserting myself, however, on the topic of your interview with Mr. Mansfield. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I am assuming that Mr. Mansfield is an older gentleman, and I find it very sad to listen to this dinosaur of the academic world spout 1950's era nonsense as if it were scientific fact. I agree with the first caller that you had on (and I wish she had stated her case with more manly aggression) that this all sounds a little too much like the "science-based" justifications for race discrimination that, unfortunately, we are still battling to this day. What really topped it all off for me was the conclusion that he came to at the end of the segment that women aren't as good at science as men and "you see this in the lack of great scientists who are women." It saddens me that a professor at Harvard could be so naive and out of touch with the complex workings of oppression that are woven into the very fabric of our society.

I am now going to assume also that your guest is white. While it does not surprise me too much that an older, white Ivy League professor would hold on so desperately to opinions that amount to an unexamined parroting of the the past one hundred years of patriarchal nonsense, it saddens me that you did not do more to challenge him on these ideas. Or perhaps you could have found another writer to debate with Mr. Mansfield on these issues, as you did with the excellent segment on the current economic state of twenty-somethings recently. As with the earlier mentioned show on preparing for terrorism, you allowed an excellent opportunity for debate to pass you by.

I feel bad for Mr. Mansfield that in fifty years his book will read like an archaic example of just how much individuals allow society to dictate their opinions, and how one man was unable to allow his mind to develop past 1950.

In the future, I hope that you will be more sensitive to the fact that such a controversial issue deserves a lively debate. This is what I have come to expect from your show, and I suppose that this is why I find myself so disappointed this afternoon. Maybe it was just a little too polite and womanly for me.



Jon Stewart to host the Peabodys!

The two-time Peabody winner fills the shoes last worn by Morley Safer.


Sunday Protest - Photos

BL associate producer Jim Colgan was at the three-year anniversary of the Iraq war protest to report on it for the newsroom. Here are some photos and impressions he gathered:

Protesters carrying fake coffins representing Iraqi civilian casualties ...


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