Dr. Michael Kaplan is an esteemed child psychiatrist at Yale University, and, in full disclosure, a lifelong friend of this writer. About a month ago, Dr. Kaplan was interviewed for a fairly lightweight Associated Press article dealing with the increasing popularity of kitchen toys for little boys.
Dr. Kaplan’s comment was that "Men are reshaping and rethinking their roles," he said, "They are doing much more (cooking and housework) than they ever have." Consequently, boys are observing this in the home, adding that when children are discouraged from playing with certain toys, it can lead to self-esteem problems, “It makes them doubt themselves,"
Enter the radio know-it-all, who decided to weigh in on this issue (with his considerable non-brain-matter weight), “But this scares me for America's future.” Really, Rush: The very future of the nation? The EZ-Bake?
Limbaugh continued, trying to mock this brilliant and accomplished man of science, "No, men have nothing to do with it (Rush-speak for those not manly enough to suit his archetype) and for the guy here, the assistant clinical professor at the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven, to say, "Men are reshaping and rethinking their roles. They are doing much more (cooking and housework) than they ever have," you've gotta be careful here. .. . I'll tell you what I hope is happening. I hope what these guys, these little kids, these six- and five-year-olds that are in the play kitchen out there are doing, I hope they're having food fights. I hope they're baking these pretend cookies and throwing them at each other and so forth. I hope they're doing that. Some enterprising young, what you ought to do is get a pretend McDonald's so he can start making pretend money. (laughing) (Limbaugh transcript, 11/07/07)
So the gasbag of the airwaves is advocating that, while he agrees with boys learning cooking skills, because, naturally, men make better chefs than the “feminazis” – yes, that word of his snuck into his rant – they shouldn’t be started on toy kitchens, they should go straight for the stove – then start food fights with the results! This rant of his was clearly, and odorously, excreted entirely of Rush’s used food.
As it happens, of course, Dr. Kaplan is right. In spite of regressives like Limbaugh, the role of men and women has changed and continues to change. The rational voice of the highly educated and studied clinician can be shouted over by the imbecilic radio blowhard, but that doesn’t change the progress being made in the real world. Besides, for all we know, Ozzie may have been a better cook than Harriet. And who cares? Evidently any creative pursuit, such as cooking, must be female to the dangerously phobic male; because he really wants boys’ only playtime activities to be violent. How manly.
Perhaps Limbaugh likes this result of the American obsession with stereotypical masculine behavior: On November 19, three suburban Atlanta boys were arrested for luring an 11 year-old girl into the woods, where they sexually abused and raped her.
These tragically misdirected boys would be fortunate in the extreme to end up in the care of someone like Dr. Michael Kaplan, and to never be subject to the broadcasts of Limbaugh – or any of his ilk. And maybe, at the juvenile detention center they end up in, they’ll be taught culinary skills. Real men do make quiche, after all. Real men reject senseless violence – especially against women. These lessons begin in childhood, and we would be a better nation if we heard more from highly educated, disciplined academics like Dr. Kaplan.
Just maybe, Mr. Limbaugh could learn a thing or two from such a man as well. Naaaaaah - Never happen.