Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Reading List For Today

I don't really have a unified theory of what's wrong with masculinity today. I will say that the answer seems to me to be clearly something - last week I saw a stag do in King's Cross in the matching T-shirts with nicknames on the back and those nicknames included "Kiddiefiddler Ken" and "Rohypnol Rob". However I do worry we have reached some sort of turning point when the supposedly science and nature channel Discovery is showing men cutting down old growth forrest while suspended from a helicopter. Witness: Extreme Loggers. Presumably they have to keep it away from the climate change documentaries in the schedules...

There was a very very moving show on the BBC today (yes, one I wasn't in ... I know!). Women, Weddings, War and Me follows a young woman who arrived in the UK at the age of five returning to Afghanistan to see how her extended family and other Afghanis are now living. It's available on iPlayer for seven days.

The BBC One show Can You Train Your Brain? before it comes, for me, under the heading of I Can't Believe It's Not Science. The news that expensive "train your brain" computer packages don't work is hardly news. If there were any evidence to support them the manufacturers would probably by now have convinced the government to hand them out in schools with lunch vouchers. The problem for me though came when it was announced that [insert name of generic messy haired white male presenter here] was to attempt to drive a London Taxi using "only the power of his brain". Now this I would watch, in fact I would happily devote years of my life to studying the art of moving vehicles using psychic power only so that watching Top Gear would become a weekly pleasure. [Me drifts off into blissful dream of Clarkson frantically running round the test track pursued by an array of vehicles...]. But of course in fact the vehicle was moved not using "only" the power of his brain but also the power of petrol and a complicated mechanical and electronic system that caused the vehicle to react to changes in brain activity.

On to more serious matters. For the benefit of anyone who follows the hardline anti-choice position on abortion - take a moment to read about the Mexican ten-year-old who is being forced to carry to term and give birth to the foetus created when she was raped. And Mexico isn't actually one of the countries where abortion is totally outlawed. It's just illegal in some regions and after 14 weeks.

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