As an eighth grader, I had accepted (through a kind of osmosis) the idea that good kids get A’s on report cards, live at home with two parents, attend church regularly, and probably star on the local sports team. That’s who I was trying to be. I’d never been in a fight before, unless you count scraps in the yard with my older brother.
To the contrary, bad kids lived with single parents, struggled to read out loud in school, and didn’t play sports because they were too busy doing drugs. That description fit Steve, or at least that’s the way I saw him. He was one grade ahead of me in school.
I am grateful that Front Porch Republic (“Place. Limits. Liberty.”) has published an essay of mine. This particular meditation shares an experience I had in graduate school with a class called “Men and Masculinity.” As you can imagine, I then do my best to broach relationships between men and women, essentially arguing that men are too often not taken seriously enough. I also dive into Men’s Rights Activists a little bit. Have you heard of that movement?
I’m grateful to Punchnel’s for publishing an essay I recently wrote about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger Boston Marathon bomber. It is my position that he should not receive the death penalty. Here is a teaser from the essay:
“In a world with as much evil and violence as this one, I can certainly understand the appeal of the death penalty and can’t really fault someone for supporting it, particularly if they are closely connected to a murdered victim. Those family members and friends of victims from the marathon that day are important stakeholders in this trial, and they deserve our ongoing support.
In the acclaimed 1986 film, Hoosiers, Myra Fleener observes that “a basketball hero around here is treated like a god.” Speaking about the town’s star, Jimmy Chitwood, she says, “I don’t want this to be the high point of his life. I’ve seen them, the real sad ones. They sit around the rest of their lives talking about the glory days when they were seventeen years old.” John Updike, the late American novelist and cultural critic, has shown a willingness to take on the godship of the male athlete and the loneliness that comes with it after the stardom dies, as it inevitably does.