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Showing posts from February, 2015

The rewards of a little self-denial in Lent are extraordinary

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A Stanford academic, Walter Mischel devised the ground-breaking 'marshmallow test’.  It was a very simple test. They put a young child alone in a room with a marshmallow. The child was given a choice; they could eat the marshmallow straight-away, or wait 15 minutes and be given a second marshmallow in reward for waiting. They were filmed and those kids who succeeded in waiting were given a second marshmallow.
In the decades that followed, they kept tabs on the kids.  In 2013, Walter Mischel was interviewed by Charlie Rose on his findings, notably that the kids who resisted eating the marshmallow got better marks in school, were less likely to take drugs and predictably were less likely to be obese.
Now that we are entering the season of Lent, many of us are a little bit like the kids in the experiment, willing ourselves to ‘give up’ something sweet and pleasurable for a set time.
If we’re giving up chocolate, paying for our groceries in shops that place keyboard sized bars of Cadbury…

Don’t denounce the people who go to see Fifty Shades of Grey – just tell them about this book

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The film is a deceitful fantasy.  A book about a girl's murder tells the real story Many years ago, a Traddie friend of mine was round at my place when they let out a squeak of shock, “Mary, what is this book?!”  It was Judith Rossner’s Looking for Mr Goodbar.  It had a book-cover of a dead girl in a bed. After all, it is a novel based on the real-life murder of Roseanne Quinn, a school-teacher who was a lonely singleton in New York City.
In 1973 Roseanne was a 28 year-old Catholic girl who haunted single bars to pick up men for one-night-stands. It is said that Roseanne became addicted to the ‘high’ that she got from having increasingly abusive sex with violent men.
‘Why are you reading it?’ asked my friend.  They began to understand when I explained that it was an honest portrayal of an insecure woman who sought out sadomasochistic sex, until she was slain. Putting it into today’s disgusting language, she wanted to be ‘sexually dominated’.
Looking for Mr Goodbar has themes in common …