Today’s Top Three: Separate is never equal

1. The Anti-Proposition 8 Ad Campaign: I know. You’re sick of political commercials. We all are. But the ads against California’s anti-gay-marriage Proposition 8 are somehow managing to transcend the genre: They’re actually poetic and moving on a deep human level. Unfortunately, WordPress isn’t allowing me to post movies to this blog, but you can view two of the ads here and here. You won’t regret watching them; you might even feel happier after you do. Seriously.

2. Beacon Press: OK, this is the publisher for my forthcoming book The Daddy Shift, and so I guess it’s lame for me to put them in my top three. But Beacon isn’t an ordinary publisher–they’re a mission-driven nonprofit, and, let me tell you as an author and editor, working with them is way different than working with certain other publishing houses. No, they don’t pay as well as big commercial houses, and, yes, the chances of me getting on Oprah to talk about The Daddy Shift are approximately zero. And yet it’s such a pleasure to work with people who care so passionately about books and ideas. In today’s global, hyper-competitive, sped-up, multimedia marketplace, Beacon is one of a dying breed. And they have a nifty little blog, too.

3. Spider Man: My son loves Spider Man, and so do I. I find myself spending quite a lot of time these days explaining Peter Parker’s personal history and the origins of supervillains like Doc Oc, the Sandman, and Electro. Like all right-thinking parents, I’m vaguely uncomfortable with describing scenes of mayhem, which is practically inevitable–what’s the point of having superstrength if you aren’t using it to punch out bank robbers or having spider sense if not to detect danger? But one thing I’ve realized in telling and retelling these stories is that they are as much about the virtues of self-restraint and responsible behavior as they are about action and adventure–much more so than other superhero stories. “With great power comes great responsibility,” said Uncle Ben to Peter Parker. It’s good advice for my son to hear, and for all of us.

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