New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Reinventing Valentine’s Day

February 19, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Rob Okun

Recognizing Men’s Roles in Working to Prevent Violence

by Rob Okun

For me, Valentine’s Day is a teachable moment more than a holiday. It’s a perfect time to promote healthy relationships more than romantic gifts and candlelight dinners. Don’t get me wrong. I like a sweet evening out with my honey as much as anybody. I just have a hard time being dreamy-eyed if I’m simultaneously turning a blind eye to the outbreak of domestic and sexual violence still plaguing us. It’s a disorder very difficult to treat.

Domestic and sexual abuse strains have long been resistant to vaccines of chocolate, champagne, diamond brooches, and bouquets of flowers. This year, though, there’s a potent new injection available — One Billion Rising! It carries no live yeast, and was not developed in a pharmaceutical laboratory. It came out of the cauldron of change playwright-activist Eve Ensler (“The Vagina Monologues”) and her cohort at Vday.org devised as a prescription for peace and vitality. It’s one the World Health Organization would be wise to consider including in its protocols. (more…)

Not in Vain

December 23, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Family, Jennifer Browdy

American Mothers Must Unite Against the Culture of Violence

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

A couple of weeks ago, when I heard that my 14-year-old son and his friend had been playing with the other boy’s air-soft pistols by shooting each other at close range, I saw red.

“But it just stings like a bee-sting, Mom,” my son protested.  “It just leaves a welt.  Why are you getting so upset?”

At the time, I wasn’t sure why I was getting so upset — after all, these were only toy guns.

My answer to my son was that a “bullet” could ricochet and end up hitting him in the eye, which is true and a rational explanation for why I flatly forbid him to engage in that kind of behavior any more with those guns. (more…)

What Are We Waiting For?

December 23, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Family, Rob Okun

Moving Beyond Men’s Killing Fields

by Rob Okun

In the wake of Adam Lanza’s murderous rampage, men in particular, must not stay silent. There’s an epidemic in our “man culture” we can ill afford to locate on the periphery, ceding center stage to the narrow gun control debate.

It’s encouraging that there’s momentum in Congress to reinstate the ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004. Let’s not miss the opportunity, though, to enlarge the national conversation about guns to centrally include how we raise boys and how we address the mental health crisis among many men. We must, in order to pull back the curtain of denial about mainstream culture’s “patriarchal masculine obsession with control,” as sociologist Allan Johnson puts it, control “that defines ‘real’ manhood in this culture, with violence being merely its most extreme instrument. It is that control that links all men with the violence that only some men do.” (more…)

The Space Between

June 18, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Family, Rob Okun

Choreographing the Father-Son Dance

by Rob Okun

Rain was gently falling overhead; clouds obscured the stars. I was safe and dry in my son Jonah’s tent. I turned off the flashlight and dozed. I was sleeping a parent’s weekend sleep — one ear open waiting for his safe return. Old habits die hard; I needn’t have been so vigilant. He had only gone in search of cell service to call his girlfriend to say goodnight; he was years past high school curfews.

Jonah is our youngest and had recently finished college. As a graduation present we were spending the weekend at a writing workshop at a conference center and camp we both have a long history with and deeply love. We hadn’t done something like this for some time — just the two of us going away for a few days — so the gift was as much for me as for him. (more…)