Letters and Feedback

In response to Jonathan Gilmore’s column “No, your father isn’t always right” (Nov. 2-8):

I read with much dismay another example of seemingly simplistic and opinionated male-bashing. Disturbing to me is the fact that this diatribe came from a male perspective and under the banner “Critical Conversations.”

While my own father had certain strengths, overall he was less than a stellar man; in fact, he was a very flawed person, as we all can be. I can honestly say that I have never used the phrase, in preface, “My father said …” Nor has anyone I have ever known uttered those words. I cannot be unusual or unique in this regard.

While the author does correctly point out the perplexing statistic that many more woman than men are being college-educated, not mentioned is the unrelated fact that many more boys lack good role models in the form of a father or father figure than woman lack good role models. This is especially true in impoverished communities in urban and rural areas.  And therein lies the greater societal issue; the greater problem.

More importantly to make note of, though, is the author’s faulty claim that going to college equals being wise. To equate being wise with being college-educated is nonsense. Wisdom comes from being sensible, from being an observant person, a good listener and from varied real-life experiences. College, via book learning, instills critical-thinking skills and domain-specific knowledge bases. These are not the same as wisdom.

In the U.S., there are many examples of well-educated people who engage in socially derided behaviors, just as there are those with little formal education who do the same. Therefore, college is not the gateway to being a “wise” individual.

Also not mentioned in the article is the great impact that media has had on people’s beliefs, attitudes and behavior. Historically, television and film have mostly portrayed men as “strong and silent,” as shrewd competitors, while woman were deemed to be everything else but. Notions of masculinity are jammed into people’s brains via daily barrages of advertising and entertainment, in the intense competition to earn more money than anyone else does. More to the subtleties of the author’s claims, though, I wonder when all this belittling and demonizing of straight men will end? I think it is beyond time we all stepped back and looked more fully at the entirety of culture, history and psychology, both at the individual and societal levels. This step back is a dire need and only then can sweeping generalizations be offered as part of our public conversations.

— Stephen J. Campellone

Solebury, Pa.