The Breakfast Table

Excitable Boys

Mmmm. I may side a little more with the schoolmarms than you do: When half the boys arriving in a classroom are the products of fatherless homes, a little dose of Ritalin may be the only thing that keeps the place from exploding out the sides. This is a point you’re always making about the public schools: While once upon a time it was reasonable to worry over their permissiveness, the real horror of them now is how repressive they have had to become in order to cope with children who have never been subjected to discipline at home. But we’re agreed about Christina Sommers’ book. Can I throw a bouquet here too to Stephanie Gutmann’s book, The Kinder, Gentler Military, on what the pursuit of sex equality has done to America’s fighting forces? It’s splendidly researched and an indispensable corrective to a press that all too often seems to think that fighting is the very last thing that armed forces exist to do.

Yes, this has been fun–but it’s not true that I ignore your messages. Remember, ducky, You have the DSL line; here at the Manhattan Institute (which is paradoxically home to one of the world’s leading experts on telecoms and the Internet, my colleague Peter Huber), I have to dial up to get my e-mail. Worse, there seems to be some bug in the program that deletes all messages whose subject lines include the phrase “And don’t forget to …”

But I’m late getting to the best part of your last dispatch. Martini and slippers? Is that a promise? In that case–Thank you, Slate!