This week on Need To Know, Jay and Mona talk to author, columnist, and AEI scholar Christina Hoff Sommers, who discusses her latest piece The Boys At The Back. It’s a provocative and important conversation for anyone that has children or cares about them (that pretty much covers everyone, right?). 

Thanks to Ricochet member Franco for choosing this week’s closing song, Soliloquy (from Carousel) by Frank Sinatra. 

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Members have made 27 comments.

  1. Inactive

    You need to be more explicit. 1. War is always bad.2. War is caused by men. 3. Men cause war because they learn it in their youth. 4. Therefore we must eradicate it at its root.Oh, btw, let’s let women serve in combat too.

    • #1
    • February 9, 2013 at 2:19 am
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  2. Inactive

    I work for a collection agency that services student loans. Fixing the schools is exactly what got us into this problem in the first place. I wrote a rebuttal to the end of men at

    https://ricochet.com/member-feed/Rebuttal-To-The-End-of-Men

    As long as disparate impact, the income tax and equal pay for equal work are in place fixing the schools is irrelevant. From the above link

     How a group of people determine achievement says nearly everything about how their lives are going to be lived – this is why feminist Kay Hymowitz noted that these degrees “take years” in “preadulthood” but mistakenly blamed the “knowledge economy” instead of noting the shift away from material resourcefulness and towards credentialing as the source of social standing. Those are the “special ingredients” that “The End of Men” author Hanna Rosin never mentions.

    • #2
    • February 9, 2013 at 2:42 am
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  3. Inactive

    Apropos of Mona’s account of Power Ranges and the salutary impact this sort of play has on directing/channelling male impulses in the right way, I wanted to briefly add something to the notion of rough and tumble play (and, in fairness, I agree with Jay here. That description is somewhat feminine–can you imagine two linebackers describing what they do as “having a tumble”? Me neither).

    It is not only that the play must be rough and tumble (I’ll defer to the convention of naming here), it is that is must also be somewhat unstructured.

    It is unstructured play, play that demands boys to call into being a game (and they will, because boys can’t just do nothing), and set down its rules, that further develops these natural traits–and others, like leadership.

    Now, even in the course of games whose rules are well known, a dispute will arise. There will be a debate about how the rules operated in a particular instance. I dare you, watch a group of boys play tag (or anything) on the playground—at some point, someone will say “that’s not fair” or “you cheated” when something happens.

    • #3
    • February 9, 2013 at 2:52 am
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  4. Inactive

    (cont)

    In embryo, these disputes show the coming into being of the manly qualities of imposing justice, creating order, and standing up for yourself in the face of rules or risk (yes, yes, I know, I hear you: I might also be over-thinking it and overstating it here just a bit. Nevertheless, I do think there is something to this).

    If no adult intervenes, how do they resolve the dispute? Who defers to whom and why and when? Did it end in a fist fight? Did it end in an argument? Why or why not? What do the other boys do aside from the two having the dispute? Was play resumed? How was it resumed (was a rule change made, an additional rule added, did someone quit)? 

    Strangely, women, who generally possess greater emotional intelligence, seem tone deaf when it comes to the organizing principles of these male-male relationships on the playground and, quite frankly, unobservant of the details. In their misinterpretation of what happens (the adult monitors in schools are overwhelmingly female), they have unwittingly created/exacerbated the “zero-tolerance” disciplinary approach which is overly harsh to young men, but also deprives them of a necessary activity.

    • #4
    • February 9, 2013 at 2:56 am
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  5. Member

    The war against boys isn’t new:

    “In the view of the National Peace Council,” ran the extract, “there are grave objections to presenting our boys with regiments of fighting men, batteries of guns, and squadrons of ‘Dreadnoughts.’ Boys, the Council admits, naturally love fighting and all the panoply of war . . . but that is no reason for encouraging, and perhaps giving permanent form to, their primitive instincts…”

    From the “Toys of Peace” by Saki.

    N.B.- the British Empire dissolved within a generation.

    • #5
    • February 9, 2013 at 3:35 am
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  6. Member

    Perhaps we could stem the tide of nuisance lawsuits (and put a rein on the ACLU) by instituting “loser pays” rules as they have in Great Britain.

    • #6
    • February 9, 2013 at 3:38 am
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  7. Member

    Very interesting.

    This podcast only strengthens my opinion that intellect is the greatest gap-bridger between the genders.

    I have trouble relating to the first portion, though. I never really cared about superheros or narrative role play; LEGOs and non-fiction books were always more satisfying. I’m an oddball, I guess.

    • #7
    • February 9, 2013 at 4:18 am
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  8. Inactive

    Loved this.

    • #8
    • February 9, 2013 at 4:27 am
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  9. Inactive

    Men who let women tell them how to be men are women.

    • #9
    • February 9, 2013 at 4:38 am
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  10. Inactive

    Excellent choice of closing song.

    I looked it up. Soliliquay from Carousel, one of the best and most moving of the Rogers & Mammerstein Musicals.

    There’s a lot of bite in the lyrics. It is a long song, that foreshadows tragedy (and redemption):

    I-I got to get ready before she comes!I got to make certain that sheWon’t be dragged up in slumsWith a lot o’ bums like meShe’s got to be shelteredIn a fair hand dressed In the best that money can buy!I never knew how to get money,But, I’ll try, I’ll try! I’ll try!I’ll go out and make it or steal itOr take it or die!
    • #10
    • February 9, 2013 at 4:57 am
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  11. Inactive

    The public schools are irremediable. The answer is vouchers, so that parents can choose where they want their children, boys and girls, to go.

    Faced with the potential loss of 1/2 their student base (and correspondingly 1/2 their revenue) a public school would very quickly figure out ways to help their boys succeed. Needless to say the same would apply to boys.

    • #11
    • February 9, 2013 at 5:05 am
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  12. Post updated to credit who came up with the idea for the closing song. Thanks again, Franco.

    By the way, Edward — that’s Rogers and Hammerstein. 

    Edward Smith: Excellent choice of closing song.

    I looked it up. SoliliquayfromCarousel, one of the best and most moving of the Rogers & Mammerstein Musicals.

    There’s a lot of bite in the lyrics. It is a long song, that foreshadows tragedy (and redemption):

    I-I got to get ready before she comes! I got to make certain that she Won’t be dragged up in slums With a lot o’ bums like me She’s got to be sheltered In a fair hand dressed  In the best that money can buy! I never knew how to get money, But, I’ll try, I’ll try! I’ll try! I’ll go out and make it or steal itOr take it or die! · 1 hour ago
    • #12
    • February 9, 2013 at 6:30 am
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  13. Inactive

    My Mistake.

    Mammerstein helped write dialogue for Hummenschanz.

    Blue Yeti: Post updated to credit who came up with the idea for the closing song. Thanks again, Franco.

    By the way, Edward — that’s Rogers andHammerstein. 

    Edward Smith: Excellent choice of closing song.

    I looked it up. SoliliquayfromCarousel, one of the best and most moving of the Rogers & Mammerstein Musicals.

    There’s a lot of bite in the lyrics. It is a long song, that foreshadows tragedy (and redemption):

    I-I got to get ready before she comes! I got to make certain that she Won’t be dragged up in slums With a lot o’ bums like me She’s got to be sheltered In a fair hand dressed In the best that money can buy! I never knew how to get money, But, I’ll try, I’ll try! I’ll try! I’ll go out and make it or steal itOr take it or die! · 1 hour ago
    Edited 22 minutes ago25 minutes ago
    • #13
    • February 9, 2013 at 6:58 am
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  14. Member
    Nick Stuart: The public schools are irremediable.

    I totally agree that government monopoly schools are no longer working. There are any number of metrics to prove this versus other countries and also our own performance from years gone by. Vouchers are a good first step. My own preferred solution would be to give us back all the money from our taxes that is blown on public schools and let us send our kids wherever we want. Let a thousand flowers bloom.

    • #14
    • February 9, 2013 at 9:51 am
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  15. Inactive

    I suggest that it is necessary to grab this thing by the root. We have to face the fact that it is not a question of women being “tone deaf” or some misunderstanding by the opponents in the war against boys (really men).

    There was a conscious decision to bring down the society that existed in America. The decisive moves came in the 1960s with the Johnson -Nixon administrations. In the administrative agencies there were the radicals. They interpreted and stretched the civil rights laws, the Title IX law and the pay equity laws, to be tools to undercut the world that they saw as “oppressive” in a fevered & juvenile perception. This motivation went hand and glove with the sociological trend, the mathematizing of every aspect of knowledge and the tyranny of expertise (foolishly applied to everything) without any judgment. There was a concomitant abdication by the cadre of educators who were exhausted and inadequate to fight the battle.

    • #15
    • February 9, 2013 at 10:40 am
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  16. Inactive

    These elements of the 1960’s led to the 1970’s, the implosion of the Nixon administration and the grabbing of societal power by the worst leftist radicals of the “Democrat” party. From 1972 to 1980 all the seeds were sown wildly and the bureaucracies & courts set the direction. The Reagan revolution tried to battle back to some extent–the last real attempt to do so, by the way. However, once Bush 41 ‘won” the Clarence Thomas appointment, that weak sister (41) made a fateful gesture (inexcusable) and gave so much hard fought gains back in a single stroke when he agreed to sign the Civil Rights Restoration Act of Ted Kennedy. That act of 41 sealed our fate in terms of fighting back in the courts.

    • #16
    • February 9, 2013 at 10:54 am
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  17. Inactive

    Now, what? Of course, the goal has to be to take away the ability of the ACLU or Women’s Law Projects to fight separate sex education or sensible acts to recover masculinity in the education of boys (eg. Aviation HS). But this can only be done when the right to make gender distinctions and discriminations is won back. So, again, it is RINOs who have “compromised” and acted “civilly” to give away this right & lead us to our doom. There are steps to be taken, but they have to be radical now, and presuppose a cultural and educational sea change BECAUSE of the two generations of schooling in the wrong direction that has taken place thanks to the weakness of Americans who should have fought back in the most important part of the culture war. The 60’s weak-kneed RINOs have retreated and caused the demise of boys (and thereby girls), red-blooded American youth, men, small business, free enterprise and the work ethic.

    • #17
    • February 9, 2013 at 10:58 am
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  18. Inactive

    There has to be a grasp that we have come to this fate [not haphazzardly] but only due to a deliberate and self-conscious war that has been waged vs. America, Masculinity, Free-Enterprise etc. {of course, not every cog was ]or need be] aware of the larger project}

    The key tool has been the corrupt insistence on the idea of Non-Discrimination which in its unbridled deliberate “confusion”, is really a war against Judgment and the making of fine discriminations–the essence of thinking. This is so insidious because when you take away the capacity to make judgments, you really take away freedom of speech and thought. Many products of today’s “educational system” cannot think, judge or act in any significant way. They follow cultural trends in a lyrical wave that has been set in motion by the cultural tinkerers. The death of Judgment has been truly devastating to America. This “confusion” was diabolically set in the 1960s when there was a legitimate revulsion against government racial discrimination. But the insistent extension of this revulsion to the entirely different realm of voluntary association and private acts, was the step which carried within it the suicide of America. 

    • #18
    • February 9, 2013 at 11:12 am
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  19. Inactive

    In bringing up the recent story of the young boy in Colorado being “dispended” I was surprised no one mentioned how it was that anyone was aware of what the young man said or did. Are they being monitored that closely at recess or was he ratted out by a budding young leftist,

    • #19
    • February 10, 2013 at 1:11 am
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  20. Inactive
    Edward Smith: My Mistake.

    Mammerstein helped write dialogue for Hummenschanz.

    Blue Yeti: Post updated to credit who came up with the idea for the closing song. Thanks again, Franco.

    By the way, Edward — that’s Rogers andHammerstein. 

    Edited 22 minutes ago

    25 minutes ago

    19 hours ago

    Or, it could be the working title for a remake of The Bride of Frankenstein starring Dolly Parton.
    • #20
    • February 10, 2013 at 3:32 am
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  21. Inactive

    Feminists like to say that women were denied a position it is not as simple as that. Someone on the other end has to offer it. Before the women’s movement private property, freedom of association and liberty of contract were sacrosanct. The United States of Disparate Impact. Before the feminism the traditional source of meaning was the family. Now I am glad to discover that a life of meaning can be had by identity politics, Aids awareness and advocating that the government issue bad loans to historically disadvantaged groups.

    Ontos: There has to be a grasp that we have come to this fate [not haphazzardly] but only due to a deliberate and self-conscious war that has been waged vs. America, Masculinity, Free-Enterprise.

    The key tool has been the corrupt insistence on the idea of Non-Discrimination which in its unbridled deliberate “confusion”, is really a war against Judgment and the making of fine discriminations–the essence of thinking. This is so insidious because when you take away the capacity to make judgments, you really take away freedom of speech and thought. Many products of today’s “educational system” cannot think, judge or act in any significant way.

    • #21
    • February 10, 2013 at 12:28 pm
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  22. Inactive

    Another lie perpetuated by feminists such as Hanna Rosin is that the changes in the family occurred due to do the loss of manufacturing. It does not matter one whit whether one is manufacturing identity politics or automobiles the issue is whether or not private property and liberty of contract are sacrosanct. It would be closer to the truth that manufacturing jobs were sent elsewhere because it is easier to locate actual production where the government doesnt enforce nonsensical laws such as equal pay for equal work. There seems to be no perception here that an individual’s wages have to be paid by their productivity or they will not be employed and that in an era of globalization it would be easier to avoid such burdensome regulations and locate business elsewhere. Another deliberate omission on the part of the feminists is that by making it costly to employ people it makes it less likely for employers to train its workers thus pushing the costs back onto the state for training

    • #22
    • February 10, 2013 at 12:30 pm
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  23. Inactive

    Depressing episode, I hope Jay drew combat pay, at least…

    • #23
    • February 11, 2013 at 1:40 am
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  24. Inactive

    Did she have sons? I laughed when Mona said that would change a feminist. That was what changed me from trying to believe women and men were the same.

    The Canadians are trying to figure out how to get boys engaged and I must say the the Canadian universities do a great job with young men.

    • #24
    • February 11, 2013 at 6:48 am
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  25. Member

    More men teachers would be great for boys. But, the risks of being wrongly charged with sexual misconduct make teaching too risky as a career choice.

    • #25
    • February 13, 2013 at 2:24 am
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  26. Inactive

    I very much enjoyed this podcast, thanks!

    • #26
    • February 22, 2013 at 8:43 am
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