Sobering, eye-opening article. Also, of course, true of the UK. Here is an edited summary of the data:

” • EDUCATION: This is the first generation of boys in U.S. history who will have less education than their dads.

Yet male teachers are scarce. Recess and vocational education are being curtailed.

Boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, drop out of school or be expelled than girls.///

• FATHERLESSNESS: A third of boys are raised in fatherless homes. This lack of a dad leads to poorer academic and behavioral results for them than it does for girls. A recent study of boys revealed that by the third grade, boys with absent fathers scored lower on every achievement test.

Most gang members come from homes without dads.

• EMOTIONAL HEALTH: Depression remains hidden in boys because of the male taboo against the showing of feelings.

Boys’ risky, anti-social or violent behavior often serve as a mask for depression. Usually that behavior is punished but the underlying depression not treated.

Between the ages of 13 and 20, BOYS’ SUICIDE RATES SOAR TO FOUR TIMES THAT of girls of the same age.”

CRESS OR YEW? Absolutist Visionary Fatwas & the Temporality Of Doom

If a blog isn’t an opportunity for the odd wee self-indulgence then what is?

I just said this—the thing I’m going to say in a bit, down below—in a comment on an interesting blog about play and playwork, and being pleased with myself I decided to showcase my aperçu here.

This, happenstancially, took place shortly after reading another—let’s call it a ‘corporate charitable blog’—which I find either slightly irritating or quite irritating, which seemed to cross another line into ego-bloggery.Of course my bloggery is also ego-bloggery — I have two weapons of excuse: self-awareness and irony being my main weapons, and deprecation, I have three main weapons…

google < Python Spanish Inquisition> 

So, anyway: the context is ‘activism’, the domain of effort is ‘children’s play’.

And I continue to be dismayed by the socialmedia-fication of campaigning – clicktivism, some call it. I continue to be worried by the incursions of Persil, Ribena and the like into the area – it’s a drip-drip change that is so incrementally slight that it is easy to be seen as a Cassandra by those immersed in the excited now of their activities on behalf of whatever. I liked it on Facebook, why hasn’t  the world changed?

We don’t have a long-term view.

If Beth Chatto didn’t have her staggeringly effective patient, humble, steady, incrementally slight and multitudinously fiddly approach, then the only plants she would be able to cultivate would be cress on the windowsill.

use the ‘search’ field top right and search for  < Chatto > to find other mentions)

Now, and I mean now, and for the foreseeable future (as I have said before: “that which is loved, persists”), I can take you now to see a yew tree that is older than Christianity. It stands by the River Wye near Matlock –  it was a shady place to rest long before the nearby settlements arrived, long before a church was erected alongside it, long before it took pride of place in its own protective enclosure in the churchyard.

There’s a continuum: cress at one end, yew at the other: where will you stand? Where should you stand? What is the appropriate time-frame, the term-time, the ambit, the purview? It’s up to you…

cress or yew
cress or yew

Here’s that aperçu:

“It is too easy to issue what I’m going to call ‘absolutist visionary fatwas’ that float disconnectedly, like sakura blossom on a gentle spring breeze: their fate is to be swept away with a flick of the gardener’s bezom.”

Source: me. about an hour ago, Wednesday, January 16, 2013  

We are striving…

We remain committed…

Unless we are all committed…

We should all take responsibility, argues a new report*

Something should be done.

If it saves just one child’s life…

*Like the washing up in a student flat?

Good luck with that.


Absolutist visionary fatwas – you can call them AVFs if you like, Absolutist visionary fatwas, floating like cherry blossom on the soft breeze of a spring morning.

They float, and amaze, and in seven days they are gone; you can take a photo of them if you wish like this sarariman with his mobile phone.

a sarariman takes a photo of the cherry blossom

a sarariman takes a photo of the sakura


We should take photos, to document them, before they are gone! We must, we should we must we should we must…

Absolutist visionary fatwas. 

Cress or yew? 

It’s up to you.



1. One reason I like footnotes is that they led to one of my writings being rejected by a little e-mag – that provided the nudge I needed to start a proper blog. I don’t write for that little e-mag anymore.

2. What is an aperçu? I wasn’t sure, though I love the word, so I looked it up:

A`per`cu´    (å`pâr`s) n.

1. A first view or glance, or the perception or estimation so obtained; an immediate apprehension or insight, appreciative rather than analytic.

The main object being to develop the several aperçus or insights which furnish the method of such psychology.

– W. T. Harris.

A series of partial and more or less disparate aperçus or outlooks; each for itself a center of experience.

– James Ward.

2. Hence, a brief or detached view; conspectus; sketch.


From the Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by C. & G. Merriam Co. A more up-to-date, and lesser definition is here:


3. that yew:



Right point: …”took them under their wing at just the right point in their early adolescence.”

‎”…even kids who came from really fu++ed-up backgrounds actually turned our pretty good if some older person took them under their wing at just the right point in their early adolescence.”

Neal Stephenson, ‘Reamde’.


Here are two questions often asked by politicians and managers:

‘How can we target early interventions for troubled youth effectively?’

‘How can we ensure that young people get the right sort of targeted support when they need it?’

This might be the most important thing I have said for a few years. I would appreciate any comments you would like to make.

Posted from WordPress for Android