“The Boy Is the Father of Whatever”: I Review Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood”

at AmCon: About an hour and a half into Richard Linklater’s memorable new film, my notes say, “This is RIVETING.” Exactly one hour later, as the movie finally ceased (“ended” is too strong, too decisive), I breathed a sigh of relief. What went wrong to turn the movie from startling, luminous journey into boring, platitudinous slog?Linklater’s movie has gained a lot of press for one of those gimmicks which hide deep meaning under their showy surface, like the delays in Hamlet. Linklater shot … [Read more...]

“The Criminalization of Parenthood”: Radley Balko

again some more: A couple of themes we explore here at The Watch are the increasing criminalization of just about everything and the use of the criminal justice system to address problems that were once (and better) handled by families, friends, communities and other institutions. A few examples from recent headlines show those themes intersecting with parenthood.The first story comes from South Carolina, where a mother was jailed and charged with “unlawful conduct toward a child” for . . . … [Read more...]

From Frederick Exley, “A Fan’s Notes”

Man, this book is hard to excerpt: Yet my father had more refined dreams. Like most athletes he lived amidst the large deeds and ephemeral glories of the past, recalling a time when it must have seemed to him he had been more Elevated, and this continual and melancholy look into the past had drawn his brows together into a knot, giving him a look of unmistakable hostility. Moreover, in an attempt to more vividly re-create that past, my father drank--I was about to say too much, which would not … [Read more...]

From “How to Read the Air”

I could never have asked him what exactly Abrahim had done for him, or what their relationship had been like, but I had never asked him anything to begin with, not about his past, his current intentions, or his plans for the future. By the time I was old enough to be genuinely curious about what type of man my father had been before I knew him, I had made up my mind already. He had been a bastard from birth and would remain one until he died. Anything beyond that was irrelevant. Often, however, … [Read more...]

“Parenting from Prison: The Collateral Damage of Harsh Mandatory Sentences”

from the Deseret News: ...Stephanie and her kids were on the edge of an incarceration wave that pulled in thousands of parents and hundreds of thousands of children at the end of the last century. In 1991 there were 936,500 minor children with a parent in state or federal prison. By the end of 1999, there were 1,498,800, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics — more than a 50 percent leap in less than a decade. ...But even if Stephanie was guilty as charged, her sentence would by a … [Read more...]

Kathryn Edin has a new book coming out!

about unwed fathers. This is my opportunity to tell you guys that 2008's Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage, by Edin and Maria Kefalas, is probably the best book I've read on contemporary marriage and family life. It's been incredibly illuminating for my work at the pregnancy center. It's also very moving, and you can really tell that Edin and Kefalas lived with the women they write about, shared the same neighborhoods and built relationships there. … [Read more...]


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