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December 14, 2012 6:00am
Spoiling for a fight
Why are so many boys and men so violent? And why do we tolerate this culture of violence?
These, as well as how to raise boys in a world of masculinist violence and macho posturing, are the subjects of Boys Will Be Boys
. Philosopher and social theorist Miriam Miedzian argues that war toys, endless competition, tacitly approved bullying, violent films and music, brutal sports, and bigotry all systematically teach boys how to be aggressive. She offers strategies to break the mystique of aggression and restore young men's rightful inheritance to their true masculine dignity.
For many young people, contemporary society is alienating and full of pressures and unrealistic expectations. To be bullied, excluded or labeled as different can leave a child full of rage and fear, isolated and potentially suicidal. The results, as Brooks Brown and Rob Merritt explain in gripping and terrible detail in No Easy Answers
, can be deadly. Brooks was friends with Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine High School murderers, and an acquaintance of the other shooter, Eric Harris. Brown and journalist Rob Merritt describe the warning signs that were missed or ignored, what life was like at Columbine High School before the shootings, and the evidence that was kept hidden from the public after the murders. Shocking as well as inspirational, No Easy Answers
is an authentic wake-up call for all psychologists, authorities, parents, and anyone wanting to learn the unvarnished facts about growing up as an alienated teenager in America today.
How might we create a safe passage for boys from youth through adolescence to adulthood? This is the question that animates Brad Fern and Tom Lutz's Ashes to Gold
. Using the Grimm Brothers' story known as "The Devil's Sooty Brother" as a template, Fern and Lutz explore the processes whereby a boy becomes a man, and show how they have used these processes in their work with delinquent youth.
December 7, 2012 6:00am
In 1986, Jens Soering, a naive and arrogant undergraduate, made a terrible decision.
Under the spell of a disturbed young woman, he became implicated in the horrendous murders of her parents. Infatuated and poorly advised, Soering assumed that as a German citizen he could take the blame for the murders, be extradited, and serve a limited sentence in his home country. He was wrong. He was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder and placed in a maximum-security prison in Virginia. Twenty years later, and with little hope of parole or extradition, he continues to serve out a sentence for crimes he insists he did not commit.
Such a punishment might have destroyed him. However, a chance encounter with the work of Fr. Thomas Keating
enabled Soering to leave the cycles of despair, anger, and emotional turmoil he was going through and discover the transformative power and practice of Centering Prayer. In The Way of the Prisoner
, Soering explains just how he came to experience God's grace in the direst of circumstances and how that grace forced him to confront the past and recognize the beauty and redemptive hope possible in his current situation. A moving, true story that shocks and inspires, The Way of the Prisoner
illustrates how we can all transform our crosses and our prisons (literal or metaphorical) into hard earned wisdom.
August 16, 2012 6:00am
Students are getting on with living and learning at VA Tech
Lantern has published one books that does well when things in the world go badly: No Easy Answers
, a well-told, thoughtful, and insightful discussion of the Columbine High School killings of 1999.
Every time there's a school shooting
, people turn to No Easy Answers
. In the office we talk about this response, and cringe a little. But the reality is that people need this book. They need to understand what can turn angst into murder. When unfathomable events happen, it's natural to want to dissect them, to study them, and to take steps to avoid the disaster happening again. The book doesn't let anyone off easy, instead calling for people to examine their own behavior, and the behavior that they endorse or excuse.
One Political Science professor at Virginia Tech took preventative measures, and 300 students read No Easy Answers
in their introductory course. When this sort of non-violence education
is made formal (especially in wounded atmospheres like VA Tech
), we feel quite good about it. No cringing this time.
The American Mental Health Foundation Press
has made part of its mission to examine the issue of violence through publishing the work of Dr. Raymond B. Flannery
. Dr. Flannery has spent his career examining the issue of violence, among youth and others, and attempting to explore why it occurs and how it might be prevented.
One question that needs to be answered is why the school shooters are invariably male. In recent years, Lantern has found itself turning to this question of the adolescent male and the problems that affect them. Boys Will Be Boys
is a book about what factors influence aggression and violence in American males. It also provides descriptions and proposals for interventions, social action, and solutions to stop the violence. Working at the intersection of the men's movement and adolescent detention centers, Brad Fern and Tom Lutz explore in Ashes to Gold
the rites of passage (or lack thereof) that troubled male teens must pass through in order to understand themselves. Filled with extraordinarily moving stories of boys who have experienced enormous trauma, Ashes to Gold
is essential reading for those who would understand the great pressure that boys are under in today's society, and how vulnerable they are.
Finally, another book that's a kind of antidote. Violence can take other forms—the kind that's meted out upon you when you resist violence and the kind you see every day on television and on dinner plates. That's why Aftershock
is an excellent, even necessary, book for those contemplating direct action to stop violence.
May 15, 2012 6:00am
Sid Heal: On the case
Lantern has made a commitment to pursuing the central issues of non-violence in its publications from a variety of perspectives.
From the perspective of law enforcement, Lawrence Blum, in Force Under Pressure
and Stoning the Keepers at the Gate
, makes an impassioned plea for the peace officer community and society to understand the tremendous pressures that cops on the beat face on a day-to-day basis. He argues that extraordinary stress is often ignored by the police and civil establishment and that officers don't know how important relaxation, proper emotional and physical conditioning, and access to therapy and other forms of mental processing are in making sure that they do not overreact to situations and cause them and others harm, if they are placed in a life-threatening situation again.
Charles "Sid" Heal takes a more tactical approach. His concern is to stop violence happening before it starts. In Sound Doctrine
, the more specialized Illustrated Guide to Tactical Diagramming, and Field Command Sid, a former SWAT team member and police and military tactician, shows how officers and others involved in policing can monitor and control a situation (whether a rioting crowd or a hostage-taker) in such a way that as few people get hurt as possible.
Violence permeates our society: in Boys Will Be Boys, Myriam Miedzian looks at the cult of masculinist violence that forces boys into roles where they deny their own and others' vulnerability and need for connection. That lack of connection may, indeed, have played a role in the murderous rampage that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris went on at Columbine High School in 1999. Brooks Brown knew them both, and in No Easy Answers, written with journalist Rob Merritt, he explains how a culture of bullying and factionalism in high school (in some ways mirroring the society outside) led these alienated kids to commit the unthinkable.
How does one cope when one has been violated? In Aftershock, psychologist pattrice jones reveals how activists who have been subject to trauma, whether being arrested by the authorities or seeing those whom you are advocating for beaten up or killed, or even simply living in a violent world. And what of the violent person themselves: how might those who care for them (in both senses) deal with them? Dr. Raymond B. Flannery, Jr. has made a career out of studying those who are violent. His books are published by the American Mental Health Foundation Press, whose titles Lantern distributes.
Finally, it would be remiss not to point out that violence against animals takes place every day, in a systematized and almost entirely ignored way on factory farms and in slaughterhouses around the world. We encourage you to look at other titles on our website to find out more about this "acceptable" form of violence.
For more on Peace Officer Memorial Day, click here.
January 19, 2012 11:48am
Growthbuster Dave Gardner in action against growth profiteers.
A Practical Peacemaker Ponders . . .
For those of us concerned about poverty, environmental degradation, and climate change, the idea that economic growth underlies these problems will probably not come as a surprise. Growth-- higher production of consumer goods, stepped-up extraction of resources, more and bigger houses, freeways and shopping malls--has been accepted almost unconditionally as the best way to run governments and assure prosperity. It is seen as the most potent answer to lifting people out of poverty and assuring full employment. Go out and shop more, we are told. Few people dare to publicly challenge the American religion of growth, and those who do should be read, supported, and discussed.
Or in the case of one new documentary, watched. I'm referring to Growthbusters: Hooked on Growth
?), in which Dave Gardner, a courageous citizen of Colorado Springs, Colorado, becomes sufficiently fed up with the development, congestion, and depletion of resources he sees around him to run for his city council.
November 16, 2011 6:00am
Mahatma Gandhi: He knew a thing about tolerance
The Bhagavad Gita (the "Song of the Lord") is considered the most important work of ancient Sanskrit literature.
Part of the great epic poem the Mahabharata, the Gita tells the story of Arjuna, a great warrior prince, who on the eve of battle experiences doubt and fear at the fighting to come. His charioteer, however, is none other than Lord Krishna, who strengthens his heart to face his destiny.The Bhagavad Gita as a Living Experience
offers the unique combination of an expert Indologist, Wilfried Huchzermeyer, who examines the literary and mythic meaning of the text, and a yoga instructor, Jutta Zimmermann, who reveals the Gita's deep wisdom about yoga in all its four major forms (karma [action], jnana [knowledge], bhakti [devotion], dyana [meditation]), and shows how its wisdom can provide universal guidance for all humanity.
The Upanishads include some of the most beloved and illuminating stories from the vast literature of India’s Vedic tradition. Adapted from the original text, the twelve tales contained in All Love Flows to the Self
tell the story of enlightenment in simple, poetic language that will appeal to both adults and children. These tales express the full glory of the inner Self. When one has realized the Self, everyone and everything become more near and dear, and one flows in universal love.
Hinduism scholar Steven Rosen explores the world of the Hare Krishna movement in Holy Cow
and reveals how it has been instrumental in raising awareness of vegetarianism in the United States through its restaurants and food distribution programs. Rosen explains the Vedic texts specifically supporting animal rights and vegetarianism, with their call for ahimsa, or nonviolence, toward all living beings. The book includes tasty recipes.
Another book with its roots in the Indian tradition of non-violence, is Peace to All Beings
by Judy Carman. The book explores the meaning of ahimsa
today as it applies to stopping environmental destruction and the cruelties of factory farming. Drawing upon all the world's religions and contemporary spiritual teachers, Peace
is a wonderful manual for spiritual seekers and activists looking to sustain their souls as they bring about difficult and hard-fought change.
The yoga of tolerance finds a perfect expression in Ruth Lauer-Manenti's thoughtful and sympathetic An Offering of Leaves
, in which she offers dharma
talks on yoga's principles of compassion, attention, and generosity in daily life.
For more on the International Day for Tolerance, click here
April 7, 2011 8:28am
Former governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine, is running for senate
. One question he will be asked is, "Why did you want to release Jens Soering?" The case was a high profile one, and it seems that Virginia thinks of Jens as "their prisoner."
Jens Soering has been in prison in Virginia for more than twenty years, convicted of killing his girlfriend's parents
. Jens is a German citizen, and Tim Kaine, when governor of Virginia, wanted to release Jens to the German authorities. He says his decision was a fiscal one. (Jens is still imprisoned in VA, since the transfer didn't happen during Kaine's term.)
The NYT is suggesting this issue will be a big one for this Democrat's senate bid.
February 16, 2011 8:39am
This Friday, when Barack Obama visits Intel
in Oregon, he'll be eating a vegan lunch prepared by Brian McCarthy, author of The Lantern Vegan Family Cookbook
. Obama's eats will include a red quinoa salad, a focaccia sandwich with pesto, local chocolate, and a coconut granola bar.
Let's hope Chef Brian can start a trend lots hotter and healthier than Five Guys
December 20, 2010 5:59pm
Today is the 150th anniversary of South Carolina's secession from the Union, the action which precipitated the Civil War. Edward Ball has written an opinion piece
in the New York Times clearly blaming slavery as the root cause of the civil war. It was not
about "small government, limited federal powers and states' rights." He quotes South Carolina's statement at the time: "The non-slaveholding states . . . have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery" and "have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes."
So did slavery cause the Civil War? This is close, but not quite right on two essential points. First, slavery was a necessary, but not a sufficient condition of the civil war. Second, the civil war delayed the end of slavery.
November 29, 2010 8:52am
The Blessing Next to the Wound
is featured and reviewed on the wonderful La Bloga
. It discussing Blessing
as a challenging book, but one you're grateful for having read.
That’s ayahuasca. You go to a dark place and see things; that’s where the light is. You go to the jungle to go into your own jungle. It is a paradox, but it is a beautiful one.
August 30, 2010 10:19am
Diane Lefer, co-author of The Blessing Next to the Wound
, writes about Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project
, Hector Aristizábal
performing in Colombia, and why nonviolent mass movements pose a threat in LA Progressive
Hector Aristizábal lay on a table in Medellín, Colombia, his head covered with a black cloth. Twenty-eight years had passed since he was taken from his home by the US-trained military, secretly detained and tortured. Now he had returned to his birthplace after years in exile in the US to spend a month working with peace and justice groups and this night he was not in custody but onstage.
May 24, 2010 5:03pm
Lantern books is involved with prisoners in various ways: we have an author behind bars
, have published books about prison
, we have friends and fellow activists behind bars
, and we try to send books and support to political prisoners. Because of this, we have gotten on some lists provided to people in prison of companies and organizations that are interested in their rights, and supporting them.
We often get letters asking for things we can't provide: zombie novels, comic books, publishing services for murder mysteries. Sometimes people even ask for financial or legal help, as if we have any money or legal expertise! But today I got a letter from someone in prison in Pennsylvania who has written a book, had it published, and would like our help getting the word out about it.
So, with the disclaimer that I haven't read this book and know pretty much nothing about it
, you may be interested in:
A Compilation of over 380 Jokes from Inmates in the State Department of Corrections
by Walter Allen [who my letter is from]
Released just this month and available from Amazon.
I'm here to tell you that book promotion is hard on a good day, so I can only imagine the challenges presented when one lives in captivity. If the book is awful, forgive me—just doing my part!
April 29, 2010 10:11pm
I went to the Denver Earth Day fair in Civic Center park on Earth Day, mostly out of a sense of curiosity but also just to be a witness to whatever it is that the environmental movement can put forward. For anyone who understands the urgency of our situation, the event was obviously disappointing. The fair was rather small (I counted 27 different tables) though tolerably well attended.
Greenpeace, probably the most radical group, was there. They had a "photo petition" of people willing to say that they want to ban the slaughter of whales and have their picture taken holding one of several signs which they provide. Save the whales? Isn't this where the environmental movement came in decades ago?