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April 28, 2006 - 10:02 am

Today, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mike Lasalle, the editor of a href=”http://www.mensnewsdaily.com/”Mens News Daily/a, a news and commentary site on men’s issues. I figured that the editor of a large men’s news site would have his pulse on what makes (some) men tick. Here are my questions and Mr. Lasalle’s responses:br /br /1) What made you decide to start MND–was it personal, political or do you just have an interest in men’s issues?br /br /When I first encountered the divorce “system” in 1995, I observed that while women were well represented and supported as a special class within the system, men were rarely acknowledged except in their capacity as income earners.br /br /I also discovered a network of judges, lawyers, social workers, a href=”http://www.svnetwork.net/”non-governmental organizations,/a and court-appointed evaluators. All were called to serve the needs of Judges and their protocols, and all were dependent on the State (and each other) for referrals and new business. Virtually all of these players operated under the pre-conceived notion that the State had already assumed the role of “father” under a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parens_patriae”Parens Patriae/a. My role – the role I was given but did not want – was to be that of a quiet surf, too proud or too shamed to raise a voice in protest.br /br /In my experience, family court was really Trial by Ordeal – and, instead of helping my family through a difficult circumstance, the system instead seemed bent on making it much worse. Not surprisingly, I also found that support for fathers within the system was virtually absent. Using the web, I learned of many other men and fathers around the globe whose experience with family court – and other branches of the legal system – was as Kafka-esque as my own. br /br /While my experience has acquainted me with so-called “men’s rights issues”, a href=”http://www.mensnewsdaily.com/”MND/a itself is not affiliated with any men’s organizations and is solely the product of my own imagination. The site is the manifestation of my conclusion that the rules-of-engagement between the sexes is so murky and in such flux right now, you need a daily news source just to keep up with it. br /br /2) What are the demographics of men on your site–are they married, single, divorced? What are their age ranges? What issues are the men interested in–child custody, marriage, men’s rights?br /br /It’s about an 80%-20 distribution between men and women. br /br /Our users span a range of demographic particulars – but I expect that most support what I support: liberty of expression in an free marketplace of ideas. br /br /3) Men are marrying less and less. Do you have any insight from your readers as to why they do not want to marry? Fewer men are going to college; any insight into why not? More men between the ages of 22 and 34 are living at home–what is the general concensus from your readers as to why?br /br /I think many men learn about the state of marriage the hard way – through painful experience. It’s difficult to convey basic facts about the average man’s prospects, since young men often believe they are the exceptions. But the raw facts are simple enough: the average American man is likely to be divorced at least once in his lifetime. And there’s the rub: men and women across our society think marriage vows are situational. So, in place of a sacred union, marriage has become an expensive-to-dissolve legal contract whose disposition effects the children, the estate, and the future earning power of the disenfranchised party. (At least the wedding party was a blast…)br /br /Fewer men are going to college because the fast track to education is reserved for the ‘disadvantaged’ sex – women. Men are thus squeezed to fit the new agenda, thereby themselves becoming a disadvantaged underclass: college a href=”http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=assignment_7id=4036900″graduation rates for men/a are fast approaching a lopsided 40% compared to women. br /br /Title IX is a clear example of a href=”http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/03082006/news/91419.htm”gender-conscious social engineering/a. The furor caused by Larry Summers’ comments last year regarding women in science – and the a href=”http://www.president.harvard.edu/speeches/2005/womensci.html”dull apologies /athat followed – is another fair testament. On the other hand ” a href=”http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/opinion/14250812.htm”slacker men/a” hits a nerve as a caricature because American men really do seem to be throwing-in the towel on starting a family or planning beyond their own needs in life.br /br /Some say the evils of a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_feminism”radical feminism /aare responsible for men’s troubles nowadays. That may be true, but in my opinion “radical feminism” is a symptom of men’s malaise, not its cause.br /br /4) How do men on your site feel about women, feminists in particular? What would a psychologist or others working with men really need to know about their psychology to make a difference in their lives?br /br /I think the vast majority of the men visiting a href=”http://www.mensnewsdaily.com/”MND/a have healthy relationships with women. I don’t think American men are ‘angry’ at women. They’re angry at the social and legal customs that sometimes place women above the rules that men must follow. (Part of my job is to highlight those disparities in the stories I cover.) br /br /I think men’s psychology is fundamental: most of us are purposeful. Most of us are idealistic. Most of us are loyal. Most of us want the best for all concerned. br /br /I think that about covers it.br /br /5) What is the best way to advocate for men’s rights and issues? Grassroots organizations, writing to politicians, protesting in the streets?br /br /There are many organizations out there, and a quick search of the web will put you in contact with local groups. br /br /National organizations like a href=”http://www.acfc.org/site/PageServer”ACFC/a are a good place to start – they can put you in touch with local chapters everywhere across the country. There are many others, of course – at both the local and international level. Most are great. Caveat Emptor, of course!

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