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Bly's "sibling society," formed by "junk culture . . . early and shallow sexuality, destruction of courtesy . . . economic uncertainty," sacrifices mythic symbols for literal information, with children the first victims of this denatured environment. "Adults," Bly writes, "regress toward adolescence; and adolescents—seeing that—have no desire to become adults." This tattered society is, he suggests, the puerile heir to the overthrown, emotionally bankrupt patriarchy. Bly, playing at punditry, predicts a catastrophic downward shift in values unless we identify the proper way to rear children and unless we "half- adults" become truly mature. He salts his call to action with citations from New York Times articles and sundry statistics on education, crime, and the economy. In fact, The Sibling Society often sounds more like Bob Dole, Anna Quindlen, or even Ross Perot than Iron John. As in that earlier work Bly turns to myths and poetry both to illustrate our predicament (an elaborate reading of Jack and the Beanstalk focusing on the Giant's ungoverned appetite) and to suggest an alternative model for father-son relations (the Hindu myth of Ganesha's creation). Bly also liberally borrows from feminists, such as Jean Baker Miller and Mary Pipher, to fashion his vision of a healthy environment for maturation and intimacy, for fathers and mothers, daughters and sons alike. There are stops along the way to settle scores with radical feminists and the cowboy cult of inarticulately stoic masculinity, among others. Bly, having identified what children need—"Stability . . . advice, good psychic food, unpolluted stories," as well as clear rites of passage and access to the great outdoors—offers some specifics on how we should go about providing these necessities.
Urgent, impassioned, with (potentially) wide appeal, but Bly's myth-patterns jar with his newly adopted news-magazine style of statistics and commentary.
Posted June 8, 2007
10 years ago in May 1997 this book came out, and you can see the Sibling Society all around us to day. With no one to look up to (just stop and look at who is in charge) We look for Mature Males and Females and all we get are brothers and sisters competing with each other, trying to out do one another. This book is a look into the American soul, take a peek if you dare.
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Posted March 11, 2001
If you want to know what Britney Spears, Columbine, and Jerry Springer have in common, BUY THIS BOOK. I have had so many questions about how our culture has changed so quickly and violently, and I was never satisfied by the books I have read. They may give a piece of the puzzle to me, but not a whole, comprehensive picture. But then I came across this masterpiece, and Bly, amazingly, is able to answer every question I have ever had as to why, at this time of peace and prosperity, our nation seems more impoverished (emotionally, mentally, spiritually) than ever. Bly is a prophet whose words need to be heard and heeded. It's a quick read but will keep you up at night for a long time afterwardWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 18, 2010
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