Saturday, April 12, 2008

Debbie's Hammer

The weirdest thing you will see today:

Debbie Reynolds, in full '60s cool, singing "If I Had a Hammer."

This was made by Debbie Reynolds' own production company for the Scopitone video jukeboxes, a '60s craze that didn't survive the decade. I can't find an exact year.

Update: In response to a query, Scopitone expert Bob Orlowsky wrote:

I don't have an exact date, but it was made sometime between the end of 1964 and the first half of 1965. It's great, isn't it?


Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Church Doesn't Help Divorcing Kids

Elizabeth Marquardt told the Centre College audience yesterday one sad finding from her study of children of divorce: among those who were active in a church at the time that their parents were divorcing, only a quarter reported that anyone from the church talked to them or tried to help them deal with the divorce.

Divorced kids report that rarely do people try to talk to them or hear about their loss and pain when their parents divorce. This is sad when most people in general do it, but tragic in the church.

Some church people at the lecture went away with a conviction to do better.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The New Divorce Stigma

Elizabeth Marquardt, author of Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce, has been lecturing at Centre College this week. This morning in my family class she offered an idea that I had not heard before.

In the old days, children of divorce were stigmatized. This sentiment is pretty much gone -- she says she never experienced it personally, and the students likewise do not tell me of any stigma they express or experience. The standard view is that it is not the child's fault. This is very sensible.

However, it is becoming widely known among people who study and talk about marriage that children of divorce are more likely to divorce themselves. This is so despite the fact that divorced kids usually hate divorce, and vow not to inflict it on their own children.

Hence the new divorce stigma: children of divorce are sometimes treated as damaged goods on the marriage market.

It is important to say that most divorced kids who marry do stay together. Divorced kids are more likely to divorce, but are not destined to. And any individual can be the exception to the trend, even much stronger trends than this one.

The answer to the new divorce stigma is not to deny the risk. It is true: divorced kids are more likely to divorce. Rather, the answer is to turn that passion to make marriage work into the foundation of constant communication about the marriage.

Fight divorce with good marriage.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sex-Starved Wives

Michelle Weiner Davis is interviewed in Time on her new book of this title. The empirical core of the study is a survey of 1000 married women, 60% of whom reported that they wanted sex at least as much, if not more, than their husbands. I would be curious to know if men differed in this by age, or by how long they had been married. This is not as helpful a statistic as it should be. In fact, I would guess that a survey of husbands would report the same result - 60% of men would report that they wanted sex at least as much or more than their wives. What we need is the spread -- more, the same, less. I would be curious to know if men differed in this by age, or by how long they had been married.

Nonetheless, Davis' main point is that men are not always filled with sexual desire. Their desire for their wives is affected by how they feel about their marriage, how they feel in general, and, sometimes, for physical reasons. And women often want sex for reassurance about the relationship, so they may well want it more than their husbands precisely when their emotional bond is most strained.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Sex on the Brain Makes Men Take Bigger Risks

A nifty study by Brian Knutsen and Camelia Kuhnen found that men bet higher when shown images of sexy women.

I don't know whether this means they were trying to get more resources to improve their odds of winning the desirable woman, or whether, on the contrary, the very thought of immediate sex made them throw prudence to the winds.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Honey-Colored Nation

I heard two great phrases this week that mark the generational change America is undergoing as the Race Question turns into the thousand ways of living our national ethnicity.

Jon Henke, of the libertarian QandO Blog, reprinted his post of 2006: "Martin Luther King: The Last Founding Father."

And in some other blog, which I can not now find, someone described today's America, Obama's America, Gen-X America: we are a "honey-colored nation."