Monthly Archives: June 2012

Stop Studying Undergrads and Generalizing!

I can’t be the only one who realizes how misleading it is to do entire sociological studies on a pool of solely undergraduates and then publish headlines like “Facebook makes us feel good about ourselves.” Right? There is very little reason to believe that claims about the  narcissism and self-esteem of 18- to 22-year-olds also hold for the general population.

Do your part for society and think about research study bias when you read headlines like this. Be skeptical! Encourage critical thinking! 😉


Give Your Brain Credit: Comment More Online

A great way to make your learning concrete is to respond to it. In creating a more thoughtful web presence, a good experiment is to comment more on the blog posts or articles you read. You already have an opinion on them (otherwise, why would you have read them through?), so become part of the community, or at least give your brain credit by putting those opinions into words.

Here are some places I’ve commented lately:

The Number of PhDs on food stamps triples (Sociological Images)
New CSTA K-8 Teaching Resource (Computer Science Teachers Association)
32 New Things: Put A Significant Amount of Money Into A Roth IRA (Yes and Yes)
13 Rules for Being Alone and Being Happy About It (Advanced Riskology)
Adulting Step 225: Get married for the right reasons (Adulting)

Bonus that I didn’t comment on but which brought on my comment at Sociological Images:
“Why Smart People Are Stupid” by Jonah Lehrer on The New Yorker
The ridiculous oversight inherent in using ONLY undergraduates in academic research about the human condition is blatant. Why do the media continue to believe this kind of limiting research? Perhaps Lehrer is attempting an altogether too-adept stroke of irony by proclaiming, through a fairly “smart” publication, that its readers are shortsighted, while being itself quite shortsighted.

Book Report: Dear John, I Love Jane

Dear John, I Love Jane: Women Write About Leaving Men for WomenDear John, I Love Jane: Women Write About Leaving Men for Women by Candace Walsh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dear John, I Love Jane was eye-opening but left quite a bit of pain to be desired. Forgive the possibly sadomasochistic oxymoron, as pain rarely falls under the category of desirable. Nevertheless, the book lacks the naturally suggested heartache — even destruction — in the stories of women leaving behind devoted partners and choosing lovers of a completely different orientation, often in addition to leaving children and established families.

Despite the assumed tragedy in such stories, most of the anthology seemed to repeat the same one-sided anecdote of the sexually unsatisfied, arguably inexperienced women who married too young before finding new love — not necessarily just novel love — with a cast of interesting female characters. It would have been a more thorough picture of their experiences though, to include the men’s stories, the husbands’ stories. The dissolution of a family, especially one with young children or adult children, is not a thing to ignore. Yet I found it sorely untouched in this selection. Some of the pain of lost love, the inconvenience of dissolving a heavily financial and codependent arrangement like marriage, certainly dusts the pages. But not enough.

Certainly, the coming-of-age inherent in coming out as an older adult, rather than as an adolescent, rings with personal discovery, the beauty of being born again and finding identity. That’s really what this book was about. It does a fantastic job of painting striking, even erotic images of female bi- and homosexuality. But the deeper significance of finding that self-actualization amid family crisis was completely left out. It would be great to someday see a version of this anthology from male writers whose partners left their married families for a different sexuality.

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