Father's Day Features Stir Online Buzz

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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, hear reaction to a recent commentary about the anxieties of choosing a name for a baby. Also, one listener disagrees with a guest who recent implied that the culture of Hip-Hop music is anti-intellectual.


And now it's time for Backtalk, where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere. Lee Hill, our digital media guy is here with us as usual. Hey, Lee.

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Well, Sunday is Father's Day and a couple of our dad-themed features this week got folks buzzing online. One of our conversations was with Thomas Chatterton Williams. He's the author of the book "Losing My Cool: How a Father's Love and 15,000 Books Beat Hip-Hop Culture."

Now, in it he describes this early fascination with hip-hop music and street culture and how his father steered him away from all of that to become, as he describes, more intellectually curious. Here's a clip from our conversation with Williams.

Mr. THOMAS CHATTERTON WILLIAMS (Author, " Losing My Cool: How a Father's Love and 15,000 Books Beat Hip-Hop Culture"): My father was disturbed by the extent to which I was interested in both hip-hop and sports. I read a lot about how sports, especially basketball, really went hand in hand with the hip-hop culture that I was immersed in. So, your physical prowess mattered whether it was your swagger in the street or your game on the basketball court. But your mind didn't necessarily matter.

HILL: Well, we heard from some folks who took issue with Williams' description of hip-hop culture. Here's a post we received from blogger Leslie(ph). She writes: As an African-American, avid fan of hip-hop, a voracious reader and a science groupie, I am quite offended by the implication that hip-hop is anti-intellectual. I only listen to intellectual hip-hop and that's all I've ever really listened to.

She goes on to write that Williams is judging the art in the way that he has been judged and through a narrow lens. And then he had to write a book about it.

MARTIN: All right, Leslie, thank you for weighing in. I have the feeling that we're going to have more conversations along these lines.

HILL: I think so.

MARTIN: This is a rich topic.

HILL: Yeah, I think so.

MARTIN: Lee, this week we also heard from TELL ME MORE director, producer and author Rob Sachs. He and his wife are expecting their second child. And Rob penned a commentary about the anxiety that comes with picking a name.

ROB SACHS: Choosing the name for Rachel for our first child was an agonizing process that involved list upon list and lots of late-night bargaining. But we're very happy with our choice. And that's a good thing. It turns out that three percent of parents regret the name they gave their child, according to a 2007 survey by the website babycenter.com.

MARTIN: Lee, in response to that commentary, Adam posted this note to our website. He says: While naming your child is a big event, the fact that three percent of parents regret the name they gave their child is really underwhelming. And if you name your child something you regret, I can assure you that will be the smallest thing you regret as a parent and really not as a huge a deal as you're making it out to be.

But, Adam writes, congratulations on becoming a father. It's a great experience. Enjoy every moment. Thank you, Adam.

And I will say that there is research that shows that certain ethnic names do have an impact in the marketplace and I do think that that's something that is worth thinking about. In fact, Rob will even be doing some more reporting on. So, thank you, Adam, and thank you, Lee.

HILL: Thanks, Michel.

MARTIN: And remember, with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more, whether it's about our conversation with Thabo Mbeki, Melissa Etheridge or our Gulf oil spill coverage, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. Please remember to leave your name. You can also log onto our website. Go to NPR.org, click on Programs, then on TELL ME MORE and blog it out.

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