Christina Hoff Somers on the Boys in the Back.

In fact, Dr. Somers is the step-mother of a colleague of mine, and so I won’t dwell on the possible motives for her friendly voice for feminism in today’s NY Times. It would be very mean to suggest she has her eye on sales of the book she is about to reissue. (That book is called The War Against boys.) So let me just note that she relays some interesting ideas about why boys do less well in school than girls, as it seems. She does seem to think its due to universally shared male characteristics, like being feckless and lazy.

As our schools have become more feelings-centered, risk-averse, collaboration-oriented and sedentary, they have moved further and further from boys’ characteristic sensibilities. Concerns about boys arose during a time of tech bubble prosperity; now, more than a decade later, there are major policy reasons — besides the stale “culture wars” of the 1990s — to focus on boys’ schooling.

We addressed the research behind the idea that boys and girls have brains fundamentally different in the way Somers described. Cordelia Fine, who will be speaking at the Central APA in a few weeks, has recently made the idea even more implausible.

Still, we can probably all get behind her closing sentence: The rise of women, however long overdue, does not require the fall of men.

The Sunday Cat on the recent attacks on cats

To hear people talk and see what they write, one would think that cats are nature’s most serious threat. But does it seem likely that cats really do engage in the horrible rounds of killing they are aleged to participate in? For example,

We estimate that free-ranging domestic cats kill 1.4–3.7 billion birds and 6.9–20.7 billion mammals annually. … Our findings suggest that free-ranging cats… are likely the single greatest source of anthropogenic mortality for US birds and mammals. Scientifically sound conservation and policy intervention is needed to reduce this impact.

One person is even urging New Zealand to get rid of all its cats.
But these feral cats do not look so dangerous (the accent, btw, is Austin, Texas):

and still less does this dear one:

For a sensible response to this irresponsible character assination, do go here. Thanks, KT.