Five Things for Thursday

Five Things for Thursday February 6, 2014

What I’ve been reading.

Why Young Sexual Assault Victims Tell Incoherent Stories.”

When my alarmed parents sat me down to draw out every detail of what had happened, trying to construct a timeline and zeroing in on specific actions and body parts, I was terrified by their seriousness. The conversation was such an important one that we had it sitting right where we were when my sister brought up the subject: on the stairs. It’s hard to give an accurate account of something when you’re under that kind of strange pressure—when the facts are suddenly so palpably urgent that you can’t even move to a chair. The seeds of “narrative inconsistency” are planted right then, before you even know why the story matters.


Divorce rate cut in half for newlyweds who discussed five relationship movies. Small sample size, insert usual impatience with instrumentalizing art, etc etc, but I like the idea of drawing out the stories we tell ourselves about marriage, and seeing whether and how our own behavior responds to those stories. Also I love that Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? really was one of the movie options! This also sounds right: “‘You might not be able to get your husband into a couples group, especially when you are happy,’ said Rogge. ‘But watching a movie together and having a discussion, that’s not so scary. It’s less pathologizing, less stigmatizing.'”

Police officers getting it right.”

“What Journalists Can Do to Fight Opiate Addiction.” Ignore the speculation about the specifics of another person’s addiction, treatment and death–and a certain level of let’s-run-empirical-studies-on-the-soul scientism*–because the overall points here are important. The stuff about selection effect is also a lesson in how journalism requires imagination and an ability to tease out cause-and-effect narratives from the mass of experiential data. Best book I know of on that is The Art and Craft of Feature Writing.

*by which I mean that this piece implies, I think, that science and health are the only discourses within which addiction can be discussed insightfully. I have no problem with s & h as discourses, & we need more of them in the area of addiction & treatment, but religious and philosophical discourses also have a lot to say about the huge range of experiences we’ve decided to group under the leaky umbrellas “addiction” and “treatment.” I basically don’t think all the best addiction reporting is science-and-health reporting. See this post, this post and maybe this one for a bit more.

What’s it like being gay and celibate in the C of E? Well, you can be sure that lots of straight people will share their shiny opinions! “Why don’t you just….” But no, ignore my bitterness, that link is very much worth your time.

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