Monogamy, Volunteer Fatigue Get Listeners Blogging

Tell Me More host Michel Martin and Lee Hill, the program's "digital media guy," comb through listener feedback and offer important news updates to recent conversations heard on the program. This week, the audience weighs in on whether monogamy is truly possible in romantic relationships and whether the push for parents to volunteer at their kids' schools has reached a point of overkill. Also, hear an update on the man accused of going on a shooting spree last summer at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

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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 a chance to hear from you our listeners. Lee Hill, our digital media guy, is here with me as always.

Hi Lee, what's up?

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Well, we know 2009 had a fair share of marriages to hit a sour note: those of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and golf superstar Tiger Woods come to mind. But earlier this week, we talked about whether expectations of fidelity are realistic. Here's a clip from that conversation with author and multimedia journalist Farai Chideya.

Ms. FARAI CHIDEYA (Journalist): Is there something other than cheating and monogamy? Is there a third way, which is ethical multiple-partner relationships, safe sex in the context of multiple-partner relationships? And that's something that I think gets talked about a lot less.

HILL: Well Michel, following that conversation, we received this post from Joshua, who takes issue with that approach. He writes: I wish there was a way to say in our culture, you know what, I am having problems, but I am working on it. It seems that there are only two choices: to lie and cover up your problems, or to say there is nothing wrong with your behavior.

And Michel, Joshua goes on to write: I think the myth that we have no control over our actions has got to be one of the most damning myths out there. It might be harder for some people, but ultimately the choice is ours.

MARTIN: Thanks, Joshua. And actually Joshua's entire post is interesting so I urge people to go back and look at it. He has some interesting details about his own life that he wanted to share.

Lee, there was also this item from our parenting conversation about how many parents have long been expected to spend their free time volunteering at their children's schools and how some moms just don't think that's right and they certainly don't think that they should be judged by it. Our listeners had a lot to say. Here's blogger Caroline(ph) who has a hard time saying no.

CAROLINE(ph): I have no trouble with parents who want to volunteer, but I do not enjoy the feeling that it is part of what I am supposed to do as an involved parent. I live in a community with a lot of stay-at-home moms but I don't care to volunteer unless I can actually be helpful. And too often I don't have the time or energy to invest in learning how to help, so I end up being just an extra. And yet, I feel like I can't just say no.

MARTIN: And here's another perspective from blogger Sophie(ph).

SOPHIE: When I was an at-home-mom, I absolutely loved volunteering in the classroom. I now work full-time as a second grade teacher. I work in a rural, low income community. I very much value parent volunteers. I have tasks that can be done from home for those who work full-time. I do everything I can to stay away from having a parent do something as brainless as quote, "pass out cupcakes at the class party," unquote.

MARTIN: Too bad Sophie and Caroline don't live in the same town.

HILL: Too bad.

MARTIN: It's a match made in heaven.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Anyway Lee, any updates?

HILL: Just one. This week we learned that James Von Brunn has died. You'll remember that Brunn is the 89-year-old man accused in the fatal shooting of Stephen Johns, a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum last summer that happened here in Washington, D.C. Brunn died in a North Carolina hospital where he was undergoing a court ordered mental evaluation.

MARTIN: 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. Please remember to leave your name. You can also log on to our Web site where you can read more from fellow listeners and enjoy a simpler social networking experience. Go to NPR.org, click on programs, then on TELL ME MORE and blog it out.

(Soundbite of music)

MARTIN: And that's our program for today. I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Let's talk more on Monday.

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