Weekend Reads: The Harm in Gendered Toys, Bad Grading, and Frog and Toad are Friends With Benefits… Kinda

Not what you think…

Happy first weekend of June Readers! I hope everyone has had an awesome start of Summer vacation in the Northern Hemisphere. If you are from the other side of the axial tilt, chime in in the comments and tell us what the beginning of Autumn is like down there!

Trent Franks, an actual live US Congresscritter, has flat out lied about the “dangers” of same sex parenting, via Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars.

Read about how everyone got it wrong about this viral image and the death of civilization via technology…

Gendered toys my be harming childhood development? A lot of smart folks are starting to think that’s the case.

Female students are likely to get lower grades on tests despite giving the exact same answers… answers to a fucking PHYSICS test! 

The ladies behind the immensely valuable and entertaining Stuff You Missed In History Class podcast have issued their final answer to the question of whether they feature “too many women” on their show. The answer is no… with graphs!

Tony Thompson adds another great post to the canon about why Guys Need Feminism Too. 

The Families That Can’t Afford Summer... and how we are failing them.

In a baffling decision, an appeals court has ruled that prisons can forbid inmates from playing Dungeons and Dragons.   I can only assume this is in the interest of public safety, I mean what if one of those prisoners learned the Teleport spell?

Like a lot of parents, I enjoyed reading the adventures of Frog and Toad to my children. Both The New Yorker and Slate  have pieces this week discussing how the knowledge that their creator, Arnold Lobel, was a gay man in an age when the closet was much deeper and darker than it is today changes how we can look at his legacy.  From the New Yorker…

In a 1977 interview with the children’s-book journal The Lion and the Unicorn, he said:

You know, if an adult has an unhappy love affair, he writes about it. He exorcises it out of himself, perhaps, by writing a novel about it. Well, if I have an unhappy love affair, I have to somehow use all that pain and suffering but turn it into a work for children.

Lobel died in 1987, an early victim of the aids crisis. “He was only fifty-four,” Adrianne told me. “Think of all the stories we missed.”

And Bryan Lowder at Slate

Like so many queer artists of his generation, Lobel’s output was cut short by the plague; but the Frog and Toad tales (which are only a portion of his oeuvre) are themselves a kind of masterpiece, offering a moving vision of same-sex intimacy that’s no less powerful for its softly coded presentation. Frog and Toad’s companionship is a portrait of gay love that’s reserved and slightly melancholy, but fiercely protective and devoted. It’s a style you often find in descriptions of gay relationships as they existed before liberation made visibility a community value, and one you can still sometimes observe in older same-sex couples of the “long-time companion” bent. That Lobel was able to transpose his experience of the closet and gay desire into charming animal characters, to gesture toward this adult dynamic in the simple vocabulary of a children’s book, only underlines his already apparent skill as a writer and illustrator.

Emma had her leg amputated when she was 9 months old… watch her reaction when she receives a doll with a prosthetic leg just like hers…

Featured Image Credit Arnold Lobel


Louis Doench

Lou Doench is a 52 year old father of three. Twelve years ago he married the coolest woman in the world and gave up the lucrative career of being a photography student to become a stay at home husband and Dad, or SAHD. An atheist geek, or a geeky atheist if you prefer, Lou likes reading, photography, video gaming, disc golf, baseball and Dr. Who. He has been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 1976. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an excellent home cook, not that his children would know because they only eat Mac & Cheese. Follow Lou on Twitter @blotzphoto or check out his photography at

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