Listener Declares War On Fashion

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In this week's "BackTalk" segment, host Michel Martin and Tell Me More's "digital media guy", producer Lee Hill, discuss listeners responses to a conversation about how unrest in Libya was affecting US gas prices and American entrepreneurs. More than a thousand people weighed in with their views, on the program's website. Martin and Hill also tackle listeners' comments on a recent discussion about zero tolerance rules in high schools.

MICHEL MARTIN, Host:

And now it's time for Backtalk, where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere and get to hear from you, our listeners. Lee Hill, our digital media guy, is here with me, as he is most Fridays. Hi, Lee, what's up?

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Well, another hot commentary for you this week. And as we know, March is Women's History Month and as part of your preview of the stories listeners can expect to hear, you shared a note you received from a male listener who took issue with a recent story we did on fashion. And here you are describing your exchange with him.

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MARTIN: Another thought occurred to me that I also tossed into the email, which is that we actually talk about sports quite often on this program, and I've never once had a woman write to me to complain about that. Wonder why that is, I wrote. You know what he wrote back to me? Sports is interesting, fashion isn't.

HILL: And of course your description of that exchange prompted listeners to weigh in with their views on whether we should be covering fashion. And listener Matthew, who writes to us pretty often, posted this. He writes: I'm a guy and straight. I like sports. I also like fashion. My clothes in my closet are more expensive than my wife's. If anything, I probably care more about fashion than she does.

MARTIN: I'd like to see that closet. Thank you, Matthew.

And Lee, our weekly parenting roundtable explored so-called zero tolerance disciplinary policies that have adopted by many schools across the country. We talked about whether expulsions, these kinds of expulsions or suspensions, are too quickly handed out. Here's one of our moms, Dani Tucker. She was talking about a conversation with her son, DeVaughn, after he was suspended for five days after he was implicated in a cafeteria food fight.

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DANI TUCKER: He said, mom, it's OK. You know what? You were right. I was wrong. I'm going to do my punishment. It will never happen again. I will never be suspended again. That's what I want to hear.

MARTIN: After hearing this conversation, a number of listeners wanted to weigh in online. Here's a post from Monty: My son was suspended from Fairfax County public schools with just two months until graduation. This was his first and only offense. You would have more rights going through the court system. My son ended up being schooled at home for his last two months and not being able to graduate with his class. You would think these school officials were ayatollahs from Iran.

Thank you, Monty. Lee, what else?

HILL: Well, Michel, back in January we brought listeners the story of Allen Haywood. He's a Washington, D.C. man who was violently attacked while at an underground subway station. The incident was captured on amateur video and uploaded to YouTube, where it went viral, in part because no one stopped to offer assistance. Well, believe it or not, it happened again late last week here in D.C.

ROBERT JOY: I got stitches in my upper lip, inside and out. They knocked two of my front teeth out.

HILL: That was Robert Joy. He was attacked at an area subway station while trying to assist a young man who was also being attacked by youngsters. When those youngsters saw Mr. Joy trying to call the police, they then turned and started beating on him. Sadly, no one came to Mr. Joy's aid, and as he tells it, not even the subway attendant on duty. His case is being investigated.

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MARTIN: That is a terrible story. Thank you, Lee.

HILL: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: And, remember, with TELL ME MORE the conversation never ends. To tell us more, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. You can also find us on Twitter. Just look for TELL ME MORE, NPR.

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