in: Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends: July 14, 2023

“Developing Self-Reliance.” During the 1950s, studios like Coronet Films (created by the founder of GQ and Esquire, David Smart) produced “social guidance films,” instructional movies designed to be shown in schools and help young people become happy, well-rounded citizens. While many of these instructional films are cheesy and outdated, there are some real gems among them. Our favorite is Developing Self-Reliance, which teaches young Alan how to take greater personal responsibility for his life. We showed it to our kids who seemed to get something out of it. If you’re looking for more vintage instructional films to watch, we put together a collection of the 12 best here.

“‘Toxic Masculinity’ Is Toxic Terminology.” Dr. John Barry, who heads the UK’s Centre of Male Psychology, came on the AoM podcast a few months ago to talk about what the world of psychology gets wrong about men. Some of the research he mentioned in the show has now been published in a new paper. In surveying 4,000 men, Dr. Barry found that “thinking masculinity is bad for your behavior is linked to having worse mental well-being.” Conversely, “positive views of masculinity are linked to better mental well-being.” The study suggests that how we talk about masculinity in schools, the media, and culture matters, and that “if we want men to have good mental health, a useful strategy might be to help them to appreciate the ways in which their masculinity can have a positive impact on their behavior and the people around them.”

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. I first read this historical fiction novel back in college in a class called “The Novel as American History.” It was my favorite book that we read in the course. The Killer Angels is a historical novel about the four days of the Battle of Gettysburg. It recounts the bloody affair from the various perspectives of the men who played a key role in it. Shaara attempts to get in the minds of General Lee and Colonel Longstreet to decipher their thoughts and motivations leading up to and during the fateful battle. Love, fear, pride — you get a sense of all the emotions a soldier and leader might experience. 

Motor City Pizza Co. frozen pizza. Which frozen pizza is the best is always a matter of vigorous debate. But our personal favorite is made by the Motor City Pizza Co. (we like the regular pepperoni kind best). It’s a Detroit-style deep-dish pizza; unlike Chicago deep dish, it’s got cheese rather than sauce on top (I’ve never been able to get behind the idea of having sauce atop my pizza). The crust is nice and caramelized with bits of crispy cheese (the best kind of cheese). It’s definitely filling and sits real heavy in your stomach; it’s not a good pick when you want something light, fresh, and healthy, but yeah, it’s good. 

Quote of the Week

It is our individual performances, no matter how humble our place in life may be, that will in the long run determine how well ordered the world may become.

—Paul C. Packer

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