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The Old Magic is Still There.

Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews Monk's Dream (Verve records), the new record from soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy and trombonist Roswell Rudd.


Other segments from the episode on April 10, 2000

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, April 10, 2000: Interview with Barbara Ehrenreich; Interview with Michael Miletic; Review of Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd's album "Monk's Dream."


Date: APRIL 10, 2000
Time: 12:00
Tran: 041001np.217
Head: Barbara Ehrenreich Talks About the Politics of Cleaning
Sect: Entertainment
Time: 12:06

This is a rush transcript. This copy may not
be in its final form and may be updated.

BARBARA BOGAEV, HOST: From WHYY in Philadelphia, this is FRESH AIR.

I'm Barbara Bogaev, in for Terry Gross.

On today's FRESH AIR we talk about the politics of cleaning with feminist, journalist and author Barbara Ehrenreich. For a short time last year, Ehrenreich worked for a housecleaning service cleaning the homes of affluent families. Her article about her housecleaning experience appears in this month's issue of "Harper's" magazine.

Also, we talk about the mindset of athletes with sports psychiatrist Michael Miletic. As a psychiatric consultant to the Detroit Pistons and several pro hockey teams, he works one on one with pro athletes. Miletic says he's trying to develop a psychological map of the jock mind.

And jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews "Monk's Dream," the new CD from saxophonist Steve Lacy and trombonist Roswell Rudd.

That's all coming up on FRESH AIR.

First the news.


BOGAEV: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Barbara Bogaev, in for Terry Gross.

Have you noticed how many people hire housecleaners these days? According to Mediamark Research, the number of households employing outside cleaning help has more than doubled in the last five years. The majority of these households use freelance housekeepers, but each year more people are turning to cleaning services such as Merry Maids, Molly Maids, Maid Brigade and The Maids International.

This boom in the international housecleaning industry caught the attention of social historian and journalist Barbara Ehrenreich. As part of her research for a book about low-wage workers, she got a job last year on a cleaning crew for The Maids International in Portland, Maine.

Ehrenreich's books include "Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class" and "Complaints and Disorders: The Sexual Politics of Sickness." Her articles and essays have appeared in such publications as "Time," "Mother Jones" and "The New York Times Magazine." She's also a contributing editor to "Harper's" magazine.

Her article about her experience as a maid and her thoughts about the social ramifications of the burgeoning service industry is the cover story in this month's issue of "Harper's." In it she describes her typical work day. Starting at 7:00, she was assigned to a four-person crew. They cleaned five houses a day, with barely time for a convenience store pit-stop lunch.

I asked her whether she thought going into this that she knew how to clean.

BARBARA EHRENREICH, JOURNALIST: See, I thought, "Well, this'll be easy," you know. I'm, you know, actually, in real life, a writer and a journalist, but you know, I'm -- I clean my own house, always have. "This is going to be easy. I know how to do it," right?

Well, surprise! You know, you had to watch these training tapes to find out "the system," and the system was incredibly precise, you know, that you -- I'll never forget it. In fact, I think I'll have a hard time shaking it in my own house.

You enter a room, you start -- you move from left to right. Well, first you divide the room mentally into these sections, and within each section, you also go from left to right and top to bottom. And you never vary from that. Also, the way you move between rooms is described quite precisely.

So there -- you don't -- you don't have to do a lot of thinking beyond which cleaning fluid you might be using or, you know, something like that.

BOGAEV: And is the point of all that efficiency? To keep you from thinking...

EHRENREICH: That's what the...

BOGAEV: ... wasting time?

EHRENREICH: That's what I was told by the boss. He said, you know, this was all done on the basis of time-motion studies. I actually -- once I got over my resentment of this -- was glad to have it because, you know, you -- when you're under a lot of time pressure, you might make a mistake. You might leave a spot out, or you might redo something, which would be even more tragic, I think.

BOGAEV: So how sanitary is it? How clean is a house after one of these -- your teams was done with it?

EHRENREICH: Well, when we were done, it looked beautiful. I mean, every surface was shiny. You know, we really -- it looked very nice. Now, I have my criticisms, though, of how actually sanitary any of these methods are. Very little water is used in the entire process, and I think this applies to the other large cleaning services, too. Most everything is cleaned with a damp rag.

Now, that's -- that's really not going to do it. You know, when I got out of this situation and was full of curiosity about what I'd just experienced, I called some housecleaning experts, and they were fairly appalled, you know, because the goal with these cleaning services is really to make things look good. It's not to kill germs, you know, bacteria, viruses, anything like that. It's just to make things look good.

So for example, if you really want to get your kitchen counter clean -- do you want to hear this, Barbara?


BOGAEV: I think I've been through this before.

EHRENREICH: I don't know.

BOGAEV: You spray with a disinfectant, and you wait three or four minutes, and then you wipe it with a clean cloth.


BOGAEV: Right?

EHRENREICH: But you don't -- or you use a lot of hot, soapy water or something. But you don't just wipe with a rag -- a damp rag.

BOGAEV: Well, you make the case in the article in "Harper's" that this isn't a good thing, it's not a good trend. And regardless of whether you have a cleaning service or you hire a freelancer to clean your home, it's maybe not such a great thing. Why is that? I'm thinking, as women return to the workplace, their time is worth more. Why do housework if it doesn't make financial sense, especially in a boom time, when -- when we're not thinking of saving the way our post-war parents thought about it? Why not spend the money paying someone to do something you don't want to do yourself?

EHRENREICH: Well, you know, it's -- there's a sort of a slippery slope on both sides of this argument. I mean, you can -- you know, on the one hand, you know, you could say to me, "Well" -- and of course, we're used to -- you know, we're used to all kinds of low-paid people, you know, involved in food processing, stitching our clothes somewhere in the world. Why not this?

But you know, it's a slippery slope on the other side, too. As you start moving toward being a servant economy, which certainly the upper middle class and the upper class in this country have done, there are -- there are costs, I think, and not only to the relatively low-wage people who do the work. I think there are effects on the family that is waited on.

The thing that would go through my mind so often when I was cleaning is what about the children in this setting? You know, you'd walk into some teenager's room and maybe have to take 15 minutes to pick up the clothes and other debris on the floor before you could vacuum. And of course, fold each one of those items very nicely. And you think, "What's going on with this?"

Well, first you're producing a kid who is not going to be able to take care of themselves, you know, clearly, but who also has a pretty funny attitude toward the world, you know, who assumes that things that they mess up or dirty up will be taken care of by someone else. And I would not have been happy if my children had been raised or turned out to have that kind of contempt for other people's work.

So that's one of the things.

BOGAEV: So you see this as a moral issue. There's a moral dimension...

EHRENREICH: Well, that...


EHRENREICH: Right, clean your own mess. That's my -- that's something I try to teach my kids. But another part of my reaction to this comes from having been involved in the feminist movement for 25 years or so. And our -- our radical vision in the 1970s was not that some women were going to go out to work and have brilliant careers while some other women came in and did that tedious work for them, but that men and women were going to share the work of the home. You know, the man you were living with, boyfriend or husband, were going to share the work of the home, and that no woman -- you know, no woman was going to get ahead in her career by depending on, you know, the relatively ignominious work of some other woman in the home.

BOGAEV: I think it's interesting, though, that you point out that feminists such as Betty Friedan hailed hiring housekeepers as a big step in women's liberation, that it was demystifying the myth that housework is the woman's lot. So did she get it wrong?

EHRENREICH: Well, no. Wait. How is she demystifying the idea that it's a woman's lot? Those house cleaners are not men, by and large. I mean, they're overwhelmingly female. What that says to me, though, about Betty Friedan's brand of feminism is something -- well, it's been said many times before -- is that she was really directing herself to the upper middle class, college-educated woman, and that her notion of the constituency for feminism or -- would -- did not include the potential cleaning person in that, the cleaning woman.

You know, it was all, "Hey, we can get ahead if we," you know, "get these cleaning women, and don't even bother having the arguments with our husbands." And it doesn't say, "Well, what about her?"

BOGAEV: Where did the momentum go in that bonding of politics and housework? And you point out that in the '60s and the '70s, there was the movement Wages for Housework, and being a feminist practically meant that you fought with a male partner or your housemates about -- about sharing the housework. And that's all faded out.

EHRENREICH: I don't know. This is a very vexing question. There's some interesting data from a big University of Maryland study which was reported, I think, last fall. And they really examined the division of housework between men and women in the home. And they found, yes, indeed, men have taken up more work than they used to do. You know, between 1965 and the mid-'90s, there is some -- you know, some more equality between the sexes in the home.

But that trend toward men doing more just seems to stop in the mid-'80s, you know, as if it -- you know, men suddenly said, "That's it. That's all I'm doing" or the woman decided "I just -- I'm not going to have this fight anymore." You know, "I'm going to" -- and there was, by the mid-'80s, much less of an on-the-ground, grass-roots feminist movement that was going to provide you psychological support in that fight at home.

BOGAEV: I just want to get back to this idea that, you know, it's impossible to remain pure in -- in all areas of your life. I mean, I don't make my own soap or my own cheese. I don't -- not only do I not sew my own clothes, I sometimes buy clothes at The Gap, say. I buy my clothes there. Why draw the line at housework?

EHRENREICH: I really -- I'm not -- you know, the point of this article of mine in "Harper's" was not to say, "Hey, fire your maid and do it yourself." It was to say something about the conditions of this kind of work, especially in the cleaning services that are taking over.

Just as -- just as we have sought to understand what -- who's making our jeans -- and I confess to buying from The Gap, too -- and how can we pressure that company to do better, to stop with the -- you know, getting the sweatshop closed -- I think we need to know more about the people who do all kinds of work around us, even when the information is painful.

And you know, some people, I think, probably do treat their independent freelance cleaning person very well. At least, many people I talk to say -- claim they -- they just pay extravagantly and are, you know, friends with this person.

But I think people who -- you know, who use these cleaning services should -- should know what kind of conditions, should know that, in effect -- let me put it very baldly -- that in some sense, their -- their home doubles as a sweatshop during the day.

BOGAEV: My guest is Barbara Ehrenreich. She's the author of a number of books of social history and intellectual analysis. She is also a contributing editor to "Harper's" magazine, and we're talking about her article, her cover story in this month's issue of "Harper's." It's called "Maid to Order: The Politics of Other Women's Work."

Barbara, we're going to take a break, and then we'll talk some more.

This is FRESH AIR.


BOGAEV: If you're just joining us, my guest is social historian Barbara Ehrenreich. She has an article in this month's "Harper's" magazine about the politics of housework. It's called "Maid to Order."

OK, in the spirit of full disclosure, after my second child was born, I hired a young couple to clean my house every two weeks. And I find that I make all of these really arbitrary distinctions about what I think is OK for them to do for me. For instance, I and the kids straighten up the house like crazy before they come. Some part of my brain just thinks it's not OK for people to pick up after me, but it is all right for them to do heavy cleaning, as if that's a professional skill they have.

Now, do you find these kinds of conflicted feelings come up when you talk to people about their hiring cleaning help?

EHRENREICH: Yes. Well, I haven't -- I didn't make a point of systematically interviewing employers of cleaning people, but when I have informally talked to friends who do, I think there's a lot of -- there's a lot of anxiety and guilt around this issue, and unfortunately, more in the women than the men, when they talk about it. I think it -- if there's any anxiety and guilt, it should be both men and women who share it.

And yeah, so I think that -- it lingers from the huge debates we had about housework in the '70s and the idea then that housework was this -- this form of labor that united all women, right, except for the very, very richest, because we all did it. You know, there's some -- there is some tension.

BOGAEV: I do keep reading about women -- women, I guess, and some men -- screaming at the help during dinner parties in front of guests. That seems to be a favorite -- a favorite lead in "The New York Times."

EHRENREICH: Yes, I read the same story!

BOGAEV: Yeah, that the nouveau riche doesn't know how to treat the help.

EHRENREICH: Yeah! No, that's -- that's really appalling. Now, I never ran into anything like that in my short life as a maid, although there were -- there were cases of rudeness, what I could only call great rudeness and indifference.

For example, we -- for some reason that beats me, management did not allow us to ever drink anything while we were working. Now, this was an extreme hardship. Part of the time I was working, it was still very hot, end of August. And you -- I said, "What, can't I bring my bottled water," you know? Hey, we yuppies always have our bottled water. You can't take that from me in 90-degree heat.

BOGAEV: Why, is this because on the -- on the surveillance camera, the hidden surveillance camera, it might look like you're swilling gin?

EHRENREICH: I don't -- I really can't imagine the rationale. It's some demented idea of professionalism, you know, that if you're a profession, you have no physical needs of your own?

So you know, I kept hoping someone would offer me a glass of water, and my co-workers, too, if I was feeling generous about it, on these very hot days because, you know, I -- I would be just pouring sweat. This is much worse than gym sweat. This was -- you know, I could wring out my ponytail. I could wring out my braid, I was sweating that much.

Only one time did anybody offer me a glass of water, and I was just, like, absurdly grateful to this woman. You know, but they'd walk by with their iced tea or whatever and, you know, they'd never think about this person or people in front of them who were just drenched in sweat, on their hands and knees on the floor, to say, "Would you like some water or" -- and forget about -- you know, forget about coffee or anything in this story.

BOGAEV: I guess that's part of the allure of these cleaning services, that you don't actually deal with the people who are cleaning your home. I mean, you see them in your home, but your relationship is with the manager of the service, right? If you...

EHRENREICH: Yeah, and the manager is...

BOGAEV: ... have any complaints, you go to them.

EHRENREICH: ... likely to be a middle-class white person, so you don't feel -- you know, you don't feel that you have to deal across any gap of class and race. I mean, it sort of bothers me how uncurious the employers -- the people who use these services are.

For example, the one I worked with charged its customers, the home owners, $25 a person -- per person-hour. That means the company was paid $25 for every hour I worked for $6 an hour and change.

Now, you'd think, you know, somebody would ask, "Hey, by the way, for the money I'm paying you, the boss, what are you paying the women who work for you?" Or "How come they -- they don't get a break, maybe in as long as three hours? How come I've never seen any of them even run out to the car to get a drink of water?" No questions.

BOGAEV: Cleaning really is just one example of outsourcing in the home. There are all sorts of services people are using right now -- personal on-line assistants, personal dressers, dinner delivery, landscapers. These are all kind of the high-end personal assistance service contractors. But I'm curious what you think the side effects are from -- from this trend of people not really taking care of the daily tasks of life and not really learning how to take pleasure from the daily tasks of life, like walking your own dog or, you know, cooking your meals or gardening.

EHRENREICH: It's part of what looks to me like a kind of frenzy the upper middle class or maybe upper 15, 20 percent of the population is involved in. They work very hard. They work too hard. It's more than that, though. It's not just that they have a lot of work to do, but it's important if you're in that class to look busy.

You know, this is kind of sick, that busy-ness becomes a mark of social status. You know, historically, if you go back, you know, through the centuries, leisure was the status insignia of the very powerful and rich. We've strangely inverted that.

And I mean, one of the things I think that's sort of nice about doing housework -- and I'm not going to romanticize it. Some critic called me the Martha Stewart of the left, so I'm pretty careful about this.



EHRENREICH: Yeah. He -- this critic never saw my house, obviously. But is -- you know, I'm -- it's not that it's a great psychological thing to clean a bathroom floor, but I think that what we lose is, for example, is ways of interacting with family members that are sort of natural, that are around doing something else.

Now, I know, as a mother, you're not going to have a very interesting conversation with a child by putting her down in -- you know, sitting her down in a kitchen with some cookies after school and saying, "Well, how was school today?" You know, nothing comes of that.

But -- but what I found worked for me much better, as a mother -- and I had to do it anyway -- was, "Hey, look, you want to put these clothes away?" You know, "Why don't we -- why don't we do this together." And then you're not, like, focusing on that child as if he or she were some kind of -- you know, was what you were working on. She's not the object of your work.

The two of you are working on something else, and that's when there's a kind of a calm and ordinary conversation with maybe some very interesting revelations about what's going on with the child.

BOGAEV: Well, that's exactly right. There's such an interesting shift in parenting going on. It used to be that you -- your kids were around while you did your work at home. And they joined in, and they learned things. And if parents aren't doing that anymore with their kids, the time ends up becoming all about -- exactly -- the child or about academics, at best, about reading, or at worst TV, that time is just something that you fill, that you don't share together in some meaningful way.

EHRENREICH: Right. And I think this -- this helps transmit that kind of frenzy, that kind of high-pressure approach to life down to the kids because they don't see anybody of their social class, you know, actually doing some physical labor or anything like that. They feel that there's all this pressure on them to achieve, to you know, do terrifically on the SATs or soccer or whatever else.

BOGAEV: Right, not to enjoy things just for their own sake.

EHRENREICH: Yeah. Or even when it's not enjoying it, an enjoyable thing, even when it's a matter of this is something that has to get done. It's sort of -- you know, it can be slow, it can be tedious, but we're doing it together. And that makes all the defense in the world.

BOGAEV: Well, Barbara Ehrenreich, I want to thank you very much for talking today. That was fun.

EHRENREICH: I enjoyed it.

BOGAEV: Barbara Ehrenreich is an author, essayist and a contributing editor to "Harper's" magazine. Her article about the politics of housecleaning appears in the current issue of the magazine.

This is FRESH AIR.


Dateline: Barbara Bogaev, Philadelphia, PA
Guest: Barbara Ehrenreich
High: For three weeks last year, essayist and feminist journalist Barbara Ehrenreich worked for a cleaning service in Portland, Maine. Shewrites about her experience and the politics of house cleaning in this month's issue of "Harper's" magazine. The article is called "Maid to Order: The politics of other women's work." She is a contributing editor of "Harper's." Her articles, reviews, essays and humor have appeared in "Time," "The New York Times Magazine," "The Nation," "The Atlantic Monthly," "The New Republic," and "The Wall Street Journal." Ehrenreich shared the National Magazine Award for Excellence in Reporting in 1980, and she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for 1987-88. Her books include "The Worst Years of Our Lives: Irreverent Notes From a Decade of Greed," "Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class," which was nominated for a National Book Critics Award in 1989, and "The Hearts of Men: American Dreams and the Flight from Commitment."
Spec: Barbara Ehrenreich; Entertainment; Media

Please note, this is not the final feed of record
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2000 WHYY, Inc. All rights reserved. Transcribed by FDCH, Inc. under license from WHYY, Inc. Formatting copyright 2000 FDCH, Inc. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to WHYY, Inc. This transcript may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission.
End-Story: Barbara Ehrenreich Talks About the Politics of Cleaning

Date: APRIL 10, 2000
Time: 12:00
Tran: 041002NP.217
Head: Dr. Michael Miletic Discusses Sports Psychology
Sect: News; Domestic
Time: 12:30

This is a rush transcript. This copy may not
be in its final form and may be updated.

BARBARA BOGAEV, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Barbara Bogaev.

There is perhaps no other profession in which the mind-body connection is as crucial as it is in sports. Many professional teams have a psychologist on staff, but the field of sports psychology is mostly geared for quick-fix behavioral therapy and performance enhancement.

Dr. Michael Miletic takes a different approach. He's a former athlete who's now a psychiatrist, and he's one of the few mental health workers in sports who practices psychoanalysis. Dr. Miletic may spend years with a patient, slowly exploring their past, identifying the traumas that may have led to their current distress.

Miletic has been a psychiatric consultant to the parents' group of the National Football League Players Association, to several National Hockey League teams, and to the Detroit Pistons. He says he's developing a psychological map of the jock's mind.

When we talked last week, Miletic told me about the first professional athlete he worked with.

DR. MICHAEL MILETIC, SPORTS PSYCHIATRIST: It happened shortly after my residency in psychiatry in Detroit, where I was called to the bedside in an intensive care unit of a National Hockey League player who had attempted suicide by swallowing a combination of antidepressants and sedatives and other barbiturates in a very serious suicide attempt.

And I was called in by the family to consult with this very unfortunate and, in fact, life-threatening situation at the time, with the story and history that this was a man that had been spinning out of control for some time and had unexpectedly, to everyone, attempted to take his life as a way to get out of something that felt inescapable to him in his life.

BOGAEV: Now, one of his biggest problems was that he had a signature slap shot, and he suddenly wasn't able to hit it, right?

MILETIC: That's true. And that, in fact, was an early part of what he felt to be his decline on the ice, and he felt that this was a -- "signature" is a good word, because he was known throughout the league as having one of the most powerful shots and able to deliver it virtually on target each time.

Symptomatic of some of his problems was the fact that he was unable to hit the net with the same degree of accuracy or any accuracy at all earlier on in the course of his decline.

BOGAEV: Now, in your treatment of him, did you work on regaining this key to his game, his slap shot?

MILETIC: There was not a focusing on particular symptoms with this man that I began with, at least. In fact, I began by trying to open up any potential and any possibility of talking about anything with him, rather than focusing on particular symptoms. Instead of focus on symptoms, which I was concerned might narrow the field of his mind, instead we approached it from a point of view of, let's open up the field and see just what we can find as much as possible.

BOGAEV: After two years, you did have a breakthrough in therapy with this hockey player. How did the breakthrough come about?

MILETIC: Yes, well, breakthrough, I think, was happening more in my mind than in what was going on between us, because things had moved quite slowly. I just sort of continued the same approach of non-symptom-oriented self-reflection and discussion and interaction between the two of us.

And what we stumbled upon in -- probably a year and a half later was a very traumatic history that this young man had endured, a traumatic history consisting of his being ritually beaten, either with a belt or with some other instrument, by both an uncle and a father when he was seen as being bad around the house.

These memories emerged without much emotion, without much affect attached to them, or given very little significance by him at the beginning, were seen as something both familial and cultural. And so what's the big deal, what's there to think about or talk about?

But what I did was to begin to gradually explore the meaning of these beatings to him. And what was very clear to me was that as he would begin to discuss how he was beaten and taken through the different moments of these terrible times to him, he would link them in his mind to his hockey. And particularly what he began to do was to link them temporally to thinking about his slap shot and thinking about collisions and thinking about shooting the puck from the blue line.

And what I began to think about was the possibility that this man was experiencing something of a -- I'll use a jargon term which doesn't exactly capture the experience, but something of a subliminal emotional flashback, that as he was shooting, he was connecting somehow the act of shooting a puck with being beaten.

BOGAEV: What does that mean, to link, link an emotion, a long-past trauma to something happening now, to his hockey game? He would link them in the same sentence, or he'd switch ideas at -- what do you mean, link?

MILETIC: Link takes -- the word "link" takes a lot of different forms. And in this case, with this patient, he would begin to suddenly and abruptly change topic and begin to speak about some of these abusive practices after he was talking about the symptom of shooting the puck and of what it felt like to be on the ice shooting the puck.

I would focus him in at times on the emotion that he might be feeling as he was winding up to shoot the puck, and he would blank out, or stop, or stop abruptly in the middle of talking about this. I would ask him, you know, What's happening? What's coming into your head right now? And then he would begin to talk about some of the beatings that would have -- that had occurred.

And what I began to realize was that when he began to feel in my room with me the anxiety connected with shooting a puck, it reminded him of the same anxieties that he would feel when being approached by his father, about to be hit.

BOGAEV: So once you established this association, or you started digging, digging, digging up this association, did his game improve?

MILETIC: His game began to improve, slowly and gradually at first, but in something of fits and starts. Now, what was happening by this time was that he would return to the ice, return to the game, and begin to shoot, and become more aware that he would beginning -- would be beginning to face these kinds of anxieties that, instead of talking to him about suppressing or pushing away at the moment of the game, I was inviting him to allow himself to feel the anxiety that would be coming up, to get more comfortable with the anxiety, in a sense, that would naturally be coming up for him.

And then he would come -- he would either be successful or unsuccessful, somewhat sporadically. And then he would come back in to sessions or telephone me afterwards and talk to me more about what his experience was like.

And so in deepening ways, we began to uncover and understand more and more deeply about what was happening with him emotionally as he was in the middle of playing hockey, and how much of this would -- of the exper -- of the particular experience connected with and correlated with earlier past experiences.

So that once enough work was done, his -- he didn't have to think any more. He went back to being able to feel just in the flow of the game itself, and things became automatic for him again. And he once again developed -- redeveloped, reacquainted himself, reacquired the shot that had been missing from him.

BOGAEV: I'm thinking that what's so different about what you do is that it's psychoanalysis. I mean, in general cliche, a sports psychology analysis equals paralysis, just do it, you know, don't think too much, right? You're supposed to be helping athletes sustain the flow of their game.

MILETIC: (inaudible)...

BOGAEV: Do you have to fight that?

MILETIC: Actually, that's one of the larger misconceptions about modern psychoanalysis, that it involves overthinking. What I'm essentially trying to do is to remove the obstacles, the emotional obstacles from an athlete patient that are getting in the way of him being able to be in the flow of the game without thinking.

So in fact, I would think that what I'm doing differently is, instead of saying to the athlete, Just consciously suppress any kind of negative emotion, I'm saying, Let's open it up, let's learn, understand, and think about, in as much depth as we can, what the impeding emotions are, so that you can return and be even freer.

Because this way has a more likely way of being able to really help you deal automatically with those impediments without worrying about consciously suppressing something that you might not be able to.

BOGAEV: Have you treated many athletes who can no longer do their signature shot or move, as was the case with this athlete, make the slap shot or dunk the basketball or throw a strike?

MILETIC: That's one of the major symptoms that people will come to me with, right. Part of what I'm thinking -- or of how I'm thinking about these kinds of things is that an athlete has particularly enhanced capacities to what I call dissociate himself or herself from his or her life in general.

An athlete goes out into the court or onto the playing field and is not immersed, emotionally or cognitively, in the thinking about day-to-day life events, family, kids, investments, in today's world, endorsements, and so on. An athlete that's performing successfully can block all of that out almost automatically, but if not can be helped to be trained to block things out automatically, to feel in the flow of the game.

And my experience has been that what's happening with these -- with certain higher-skilled athletes and professional athletes, that they for some reason lose the capacity and the ability to do that, to do something that helps them dissociate from the rest of their life in a way that helps them be in the flow.

And this isn't only, I'm finding, limited to athletes, but it's also certain other people that are in high-pressure jobs, business CEOs, entrepreneurial types, surgeons, people that require that sort of intense focus and almost being lost in what they're doing.

And when people feel like they're losing their edge, my experience has been that something is happening unconsciously that they're not fully aware of that's coming up in what I call bad dissociative ways, so that they can't concentrate, can't be in the flow, feel fogged out, feel blank -- like they're blanking out, feel that they've lost their aggressive edge. Something's happening in their mind to interfere with the ability to dissociate well.

BOGAEV: I'm curious how much your patients talk with you about superstitiousness, or admit to it, or find it a problem.

MILETIC: It's a large part of a player's repertoire. I think that prior to and leading up to a game can be a very potentially frightening emotional experience, that a player will experience as excitement or experience as jitters or butterflies or something of that sort. But what they're feeling is a sense of vulnerability. They're feeling a sense of fear. And they're feeling a sense of an out-of-controlness, that they need to somehow reestablish control over.

And superstitions are often obsessive rituals or functions designed to help them feel more in control of the things that they're most -- feeling most out of control of at that moment. The place where that gets to be a problem is when the defense itself, when the superstition or when the obsessive ritual itself, begins to interfere with the preparation or the playing of the game.

BOGAEV: So can you give us an example from your recent practice?

MILETIC: A hockey goalie will come in at a very specific and particular time. He has to be the first one in. He feels a mounting sense of tension, nausea, anxiety, and excitement as he gets closer to the rink. He spreads out his equipment in a particular way, puts on his left sock before his right sock, puts on his right pad before his left pad. Everything is done in a particular sequence and in a particular order.

And he pats himself and checks his equipment in exactly the precise order that he needs to do before each -- he can go out comfortably before each game begins. That's one of the milder ones that is probably pretty much known and well known commonly.

Once he's out on the ice, there's a team ritual after the warmup, then, of certain and specific individuals just before the puck drops having to be in a particular order in front of him to pat him on the pads before they return back to the bench or to the face-off circle, so that it's not only a ritual that involves the goalie, but the goalie involves the other teammates in the same ritual.

BOGAEV: Is everyone OK with this? (laughs)

MILETIC: Very cool with it. (laughs)

BOGAEV: My guest is Michael Miletic. He's a psychoanalyst who specializes in treating professional and elite amateur athletes. He's been a psychiatric consultant to several NHL teams and the Detroit Pistons. We'll talk more after a break.

This is FRESH AIR.


BOGAEV: We're back with psychoanalyst Michael Miletic. He specializes in treating professional and amateur athletes.

Let's talk about a specific case in hockey, and I'm thinking of the recent example of Marty McSorley. He's the Boston Bruins defenseman who's accused of assault for slashing a Vancouver player in the head with his stick during a game. This is a McSorley player whose specialty really was his, or is his aggressiveness. He's used strategically by his coach, by his team, in that way.

McSorley claims that what he did this night in question in February was no different than what he does almost every game. And it's raised questions about excessive aggressiveness, specifically in hockey but throughout professional sports, and raises the question where you draw the line. Once you're in the zone, in the game, are there different rules that apply than would off the ice?

MILETIC: Well, your question covers a lot of different areas, from a legal to an ethical to a psychological one, so it's difficult to know where to begin with that one. (laughs)

BOGAEV: What are your impressions? What are your impressions of the case?

MILETIC: Well, my sense that I didn't hear the quote that you just mentioned, that this is something he does no different from anything else he does in any game, because from my reading, at least, of a number of quotes, he had been deeply apologetic and felt that this had been out of character for him in some way, as far as his explanation went, that a premeditated attack such as this was something that he felt out of control of. And what he thought was not part of his usual aggressive game.

Now, I have not spoken with him, nor have I spoken with people close to him, so I can't know for sure. But my sense of putting things together and putting the events together, as I understood them and followed them, had to do with his feeling earlier on, both beaten up physically in the fight, but I think even more importantly, in terms of what might have provoked this kind of egregious act, was that he was taunted by the player that had beaten him up.

BOGAEV: Are you often in the position, then, of -- and I would imagine it's a difficult balancing act -- of treating athletes like McSorley in a sport, hockey, which -- in which the norm of aggressiveness really is not normal, the norm is not the norm of the streets but of the rink? How do you help them then channel the aggressiveness or find boundaries on the rink to help them control themselves, to find a line that they're comfortable with?

MILETIC: Well, I think that's an important question, because the entire game depends on that. The players were outraged that McSorley had broken the rules of the game. The -- his act diminished the game in the public's eyes. It wasn't seen as an isolated, out-of-control act by somebody who was momentarily troubled, it was seen as an indictment of the game.

So first of all, the need to establish these kind of boundaries is essential for the players, for the sport, and for all of us watching the sport.

BOGAEV: Well, what do the hockey players that you treat, how do they talk about their moments on the rink? Because they're let loose to follow their instincts, to be in the game, not to constantly be monitoring their aggressiveness.

MILETIC: They're let loose to do that, and they in fact have to be able to channel that aggressiveness in order to perform and function well, which makes it an even trickier question and a trickier problem. But at the same time, a part of them has to be able to have some sense of boundary or control about themselves in the same way that the playing field has lines drawn around the border of it, and in the same way that there are boards around the rink.

They have to be fully in the flow of the game and in the moment of the game, but part of them has to also be functioning as ready to take signals from themselves when they feel like they're crossing those lines.

And for players that I treat, I by necessity -- who have difficulty in maintaining those boundaries, we have to get to the reasons why, what happens at those moments that they lose that capacity, that mental capacity to stay within the limits of the game.

BOGAEV: Michael Miletic, I'd like to thank you very much for talking with me today.

MILETIC: It's been a pleasure.

BOGAEV: Dr. Michael Miletic is a psychiatrist in private practice specializing in treating athletes. He's the psychiatric consultant to the Detroit Pistons and other pro teams as well.

Coming up, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews the new CD from Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd.

This is FRESH AIR.


Dateline: Barbara Bogaev, Philadelphia, PA
High: Doctor Michael Miletic talks about the psychology of sports and athletes. He is one of the few psychoanalysts currently treating active professional athletes. Miletic serves as a psychiatric consultant to the Detroit Pistons, several professional hockey teams and the parent group of the National Football League Players Association. Miletic himself was an athlete. He was even a member of the Canadian Olympic weight lifting team, until an injury cut his career short. Now as a psychiatrist, he counsels individual athletes and is trying to develop a psychological map of the jock mind.
Spec: Dr. Michael Miletic; Sports; Health and Medicine

Please note, this is not the final feed of record
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2000 WHYY, Inc. All rights reserved. Transcribed by FDCH, Inc. under license from WHYY, Inc. Formatting copyright 2000 FDCH, Inc. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to WHYY, Inc. This transcript may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission.
End-Story: Dr. Michael Miletic Discusses Sports Psychology

Date: APRIL 10, 2000
Time: 12:00
Tran: 041003NP.217
Head: Kevine Whitehead Reviews 'Monk's Dream'
Sect: Entertainment
Time: 12:52

This is a rush transcript. This copy may not
be in its final form and may be updated.

BARBARA BOGAEV, HOST: Steve Lacy is a pioneer of the soprano saxophone in modern jazz who tours the world from Paris and makes a lot of records. Roswell Rudd is a trombonist living in Woodstock, who had hardly toured or recorded at all since the Carter administration, until he returned to active duty in the mid-'90s.

Jazz critic Kevine Whitehead says Lacy and Rudd have one of the greatest partnerships in jazz, even though they hardly ever play together. Their new album is only their fourth in the 40 years since they first teamed up. Kevine says the old magic is still there.


KEVINE WHITEHEAD, JAZZ CRITIC: Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd on Thelonius Monk's "Panonica."

Lacy and Rudd had abandoned the early '60s that only played (ph) Monk tunes. His music is piano-oriented, but their quartet had no piano. To compensate, they got in the habit of filling in behind each other's solos, to sketch the form or suggest a background or offer encouragement or support.

Lucky for us, they slide back into the habit whenever they find themselves without a pianist. That's the case on their new CD, "Monk's Dream," with Lacy's excellent rhythm section, bassist Jeanja Gavanel (ph) and drummer John Betch (ph).

Listen to how Lacy sneaks in behind Rudd on a blues at a perfect moment.


WHITEHEAD: There's something beautiful about that Odd Couple combination, trombonist Rudd's blasts and bluster versus saxophonist Lacy's cool elegance.

In the '60s, some modernists stressed the connection between free jazz and early jazz, because both featured collective improvising by the horns. Unlike most modernists, Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd had played a lot of Dixieland gigs and knew that collective improvising there is no free-for-all but observes a hierarchy of lead and supporting voices.

When Rudd and Lacy play together, they may shift discreetly between foreground and background roles. Call it New Orleans counterpoint.


WHITEHEAD: I wish more horn players showed the gumption of these fellows, stepping in each other's way like that. Many musicians consider it bad form to comment while another soloist has the floor, including some musicians bored by endless strings of isolated solos.

Rudd excels at such kibitzing, and as usual, he brings out Lacy's earthy side. But Lacy set the mood by bringing along some nice tunes by Lacy, Monk, and Ellington.


WHITEHEAD: Roswell Rudd doesn't sound bad here by a long shot, but he's not in absolute top form. And some Steve Lacy fans will not cheer the presence of his long-time singer, Irene Abey (ph), on two cuts.

The CD "Monk's Dream" isn't the equal of Lacy and Rudd's classics, "School Days" and "Trickles."

Yeah? So? Are they obliged to top themselves? No. Is this music plenty good as it stands? You already know the answer is yes.

BOGAEV: Kevine Whitehead is the author of "New Dutch Swing."

FRESH AIR's executive producer is Danny Miller. Our engineer today was Chris Fraley (ph). Dorothy Ferebee is our administrative assistant. Ann Marie Baldonado directed the show.

For Terry Gross, I'm Barbara Bogaev.


Dateline: Barbara Bogaev, Philadelphia, PA
Guest: Kevine Whitehead
High: Jazz critic Kevinee Whitehead reviews "Monk's Dream," the new record from soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy and trombonist Roswell Rudd.
Spec: Music Industry; Entertainment; "Monk's Dream"; Steve Lacy; Roswell Rudd

Please note, this is not the final feed of record
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2000 WHYY, Inc. All rights reserved. Transcribed by FDCH, Inc. under license from WHYY, Inc. Formatting copyright 2000 FDCH, Inc. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to WHYY, Inc. This transcript may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission.
End-Story: Roswell Rudd doesn't sound bad here by a long shot, but he's not in absolute top form. And some Steve Lacy fans will not cheer the presence of his long-time singer, Irene Abey (ph), on two cuts.

The CD "Monk's Dream" isn't the equal of Lacy and Rudd's classics, "School Days" and "Trickles."

Yeah? So? Are they obliged to top themselves? No. Is this music plenty good as it stands? You already know the answer is yes.

BOGAEV: Kevine Whitehead is the author of "New Dutch Swing."

FRESH AIR's executive producer is Danny Miller. Our engineer today was Chris Fraley (ph). Dorothy Ferebee is our administrative assistant. Ann Marie Baldonado directed the show.

For Terry Gross, I'm Barbara Bogaev.


Dateline: Barbara Bogaev, Philadelphia, PA
Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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