2017-11-08 -Signs, Portents, and the Weather-||The Forgotten Great American Male: Who’s Your Daddy?
By Theodore Roosevelt Malloch|
[AMGREATNESS] Women, minorities, and other so-called marginalized groups have multiple champions. All well and good, even inevitable, I suppose.
We are all marginalized in some way. Reductio ad absurdum, we're all individual one-person groups.
Picture right now in your mind’s eye: Hillary Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres, Elton John, Black Lives Matter. Hey, even the redone Caitlyn Jenner.
See what I mean?
Yet no one has spoken for the average American male in a very long time, it seems. These are the John Wayne or even Jimmy Stewart kind of guys—men who made America great, who are now long gone, left on the roadside, passed over, or passed away.
Hopelessly politically incorrect, especially John Wayne. How many times did he whack Maureen O'Hara's butt?
It’s taboo even to mention them. If you did, you’d be called misogynistic, sexist, racist, homophobic, “toxic,” whatever. That’s part of why Donald Trump’s campaign took off like a rocket—he crossed over the forbidden lines of corrosive political correctness.
Trump harks back to a more testicular time...
Can we at least raise the issue? Well in a closet, perhaps.
We may well be living in the last years it can be discussed at all...
What we need, finally, is a champion who will not back down in the face of progressive opposition—or any other kind of hate speech or disrespect and begin to—speak up for men. Did I just say that? It was very ballsy of me.
The writer can now be dismissed as a rightwing loon. Come the revolution he might get a cigarette and a blindfold, except that smoking is now deemed bad for him and one to the back of the head doesn't require as many people.
This is what lies underneath the populist phenomenon. The so-called “smart people” (global elitists) are telling themselves that we are going through a post-industrial revolution. Yes, yes . . . men had to come from the farms, into the mines and factories. Now they have to come out of the factories and head into the cubicles and become part of globalized supply chains. But that’s far from the whole story.
Might we point out that supply chains have to supply something?
Industry remains alive and well around the world—there’s just less and less of it in the “old” places these days, such as America’s rust belt states. We have chosen to extend privileges to capital that maintains a small, and getting smaller, strata of managers (call them big bosses) at extraordinary income levels, while outsourcing our manufacturing to poorer nations.
Which then become rich and outsource them to even poorer nations. The connection between manufacturing and riches somehow escapes the Brilliant™.
And what happened to our manhood in the process? That got outsourced, too.
I'm not sure of that at all.
Statistically, American males are doing less well in school these days. Boys are seen as intrinsically bad and warned constantly about their potential as bullies. Men live shorter and more unhealthy lives compared to women. They are more prone to die early and even to shoot and stab each other. Lower middle-class communities have been decimated by the combined forces of the never-ending sexual revolution and by enduring economic stagnation. Charles Murray documented all this in his frightening sociological tome, Coming Apart.
We've glamorized being a rebel, with or without a cause. Tough guys don't read books -- probably aren't even literate. Were the characters played by James Dean literate?
Do you remember James Dean’s line in the 1955 classic film, “Rebel Without a Cause?”
I was just thinking about him...
He asked his father this telling question, “What do you do when you have to be a man?”
It took twenty three years for my father to answer that question,and then not in all of its particulars. He died before he got to them.
His father didn’t know the answer.
Fathers used to. They just couldn't express it in a single conversation, not even in a two-hour movie.
Worse still, he had no sense of the question. There were no guidelines to follow; no rules to master; no script to read. Hell, there were no profound answers to that question.
That is the dilemma our whole culture faces today. We don’t know or have forgotten about manliness.
It's still there. I'll agree it's becoming more rare.
Now, I am not some crazy, deep backwoodsman, drum beating warrior type, who wants us to go native or primitive. I don’t wear a loincloth or kill my own dinner (though I do shoot ducks and pheasant, on occasion). I just think we need to get back to basics about manhood if we want to make America great again.
I'll also agree that manhood as a concept has been taking a beating. Then something happens that calls for it and the peddlers of "toxic manhood" shut up, sometimes for as long as sixty seconds.
We need to figure this out or we will be (are already being) replaced. A woman can go to the doctor and get fertilized by donor sperm and never see a man, have a husband, or have sex. God forbid they have sons—as they would have no examples to emulate. Is that the future?
Welcome to the Brave New World. As in Aldous Huxley.
So using a technique that is utilized in the intelligence world (yes, spy-dom), in the military, and in corporate life, I want to suggest—if only for heuristic purposes—four scenarios about “The Future of Manhood.”
I used to have a girlfriend who would holler at me for generalizing from incomplete data. She was right.
So let’s do an exercise in futures thinking. Think of it as strategic planning to consider the longer term. On one side (axis) of your paper, write down strong; and, along the other axis insert, weak. Got it: strong versus weak. See? It’s easy… you’re a born futurist. I get paid a lot of money for this kind of heady stuff, so don’t laugh.
If you don't believe in strategic planning, Tinkerbelle will die.
There are four boxes on your paper, right? The header is Manhood. Lower left box, let’s call that strong/weak, or “Father Knows Best.” It was a great TV series that I grew up on and it is the standard, old-fashioned view of manhood.
Was that the one with Fred McMurray? Or was that My Three Sons?
This middle class, probably non-urban and traditional values/family man is good, humble, but all-knowing. And he is the head of the house, which is after all his castle. He is firm but fair, decisive and modestly aggressive. As a man, he knows both his own place and is responsible for his kinship band—the nuclear/extended family. The man is pragmatic but principled and self-aware. He is faithfully monogamous and unambiguous about his manliness. He is comfortable in his own skin and believes in power and tradition both.
That's the idealized version of Man in the 1950s. Most of the fathers I knew at that time aspired to be like that -- at least I thought they did. I was more the Beaver Cleaver type.
Second Box upper right, is super strong or better, “Superman.”
Pure mythology, which is another word for bullshit, despite the number of them you see on movie screens today. Probably, like the rest of us, you don't go to movies anymore but you read the comic books when you were The Beav, maybe even if you were Princess.
As a superhero, rooted in comic book fame, there is a fictional side to this man. Since he was born on the planet Krypton and raised in America as Clark Kent, there is something quite unreal about him. With super born-human abilities, he not only wears a red cape with the letter ‘S’ emblazoned on it, but he is capable of larger-than-life deeds. Hyper-able and super athletic, this man is influenced by Nietzsche’s concept of the Ubermensch. Typically, he dominates women. (Latter-day portrayals of the Man of Steel, alas, are as gelded as most everyone else in popular culture.) Super rough and overly aggressive, supermen attack and terrorize wrongdoers and all gangsters, as only a ruthless vigilante would do. Superman actually comes in two flavors: good and bad; moral and immoral.
In practice, this box is left blank. There is no Superman, no Batman, no Mighty Thor, not even Hancock, not even a Tooth Fairy.
The lower-right quadrant is weak. Let’s call it “Girlie-Man.” What are his characteristics?
Or Pajama Boy.
Although used by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger pejoratively, taking after a 1990s-era “Saturday Night Live” sketch featuring the bodybuilders Hans and Franz, these men commit the modern-day politically correct horror of insulting gay men. This ironic mockery has become ensconced as more than a comic façade. Easily offended and overly emotional, a girlie-man is effeminate in that he is primped up and weak even when showing an outward appearance of strength. There is a fake understanding about sexuality and a weakness that becomes an overriding feature both physically and emotionally. They are like girls in many ways.
We used to call them "thumb-sucking wimps."
In the last box on the upper far right we have super strong and super weak, a combination best described as "Metrosexual.”
I think they're called Hipsters now, but they may have moved on to yet another name.
What are his characteristics?
... if any?
This is the perfectly androgynous male who is neither from Venus nor from Mars. He is very urban (and urbane), enjoys shopping (oh so much!), is into fashion and possesses traits normally associated with women or homosexual men. He can’t walk past a Banana Republic store without making a purchase. He uses moisturizer. His ringtone comes from “Kim Possible.” In their fitted jeans, with “manscaped” eyebrows and perfectly groomed hair (replete with product), these men are the ultimate consumers and exhibit narcissistic qualities. Neither straight nor gay, they have all of the characteristics of gays and the dress. For them, it is “all about breaking gender roles” primarily because they have no concern for the opinions of any but those who are similarly self-absorbed.
Lately they affect lumberjack beards, facial hair looking so much like a masculine trait.
Now, looking at these four archetypes in the year 2025 of manhood, where would you place yourself?
I'm retired now. I spent my younger years trying to stay in the lower left-hand corner, but I'd point out that the lines between the categories are fluid. There have been times when I've wimped out like a girly boy and times when I've given in to fashion even though I looked stoopid or, worse, phony.
Here’s the takeaway: Manliness or traditional masculinity, i.e., being courageous and direct, or—as the true authority on the subject, the Harvard political philosopher Harvey Mansfield, Jr., suggested in his controversial book, Manliness—being assertive, is just plain dying off.
Being denigrated isn't the same as dying off.
The synonym, virility, has all but disappeared from general usage. The notion that an etiquette exists wherein a man respects himself and earns the respect of others has surely dissipated, except perhaps in the fictional “Game of Thrones.”
I've never watched Game of Thrones. Virility has come to have a sexual connotation, but it still exists. The concepts of duty and heroism are still around.
Come on, name me a definitive act of valor you have witnessed in real life recently?
The Cajun Navy. Any firehouse, volunteer or professional or mixed. Any team of EMTs. Policemen in most places. Infantry platoons.
Is there such a thing as self-sacrifice any longer in the “Me Generation” or its descendants? Certainly, we’ve seen some examples in the late wars. Yet the old-fashioned idea that we are here to serve others (men, women, the elderly or children) seems to have flown away.
I'd venture to say that chivalry, even the romanticized notion it became, is still around.
Selfishness is the norm and the expectation nowadays. But these other, older values, used to be the themes of true manhood.
But that's always been so. Read a history of the Papacy if you want to see some greed and duplicity. Heroism, even simple bravery, is unusual. That's why people notice it.
In fact, U.S. Army General George S. Patton, who was no wuss, wrote a little booklet just after World War I explaining what it meant to be an officer and a gentleman. He distributed it to his men in the 3rd Army during World War II. Patton wanted real men on the front line. He wanted to beat those fascists. He knew that to be victorious in war, men needed to be taught the basics of manhood.
In that particular period men rose in their literal millions to Do Their Part. Omaha Beach -- for that matter Utah Beach -- wasn't a place for wimps. The guys who hit the beach at Tarawa had been hangin' around the malt shop or making Fords not long before signing up. Patton's 3rd Army wasn't all that much different from other armies.
He could have said since the time of Homer the ideas of manhood and manliness have been the eternal inspiration, the very image, and inspiration of the human race. He could have recounted the creation story or the legacy of the entire history of mankind across all cultures.
Yet the Iliad opens with Achilles and Agamemnon arguing over which one gets to keep the pretty girl as a slave.
We still have some remote but fading remembrance of the days of chivalry, where men showed courtesy to women and children, where they were gentle benefactors to their communities. Hence the word “gentleman.” These knights of yore saw the responsibility of manhood as a noble calling—it had a theological bearing as well as a long-standing and honorable tradition.
"Gentlemen" were a distinct class, however. Serfs, peasants, even merchants could be as spineless as they pleased. The Threepenny Opera's been around since the mid-1700s. MacHeath could maybe be considered the original antihero, but I'm sure he had predecessors. Shakespeare had lots if villains, even (
Oh, my daughter! Oh, my ducats!) sympathetic ones.
All of that is gone. The history of manhood, if it were to be written, would likely start with some distant, unrecognizable stories about a caste of men who won prestige and honor in battle and at war. “War” is part of “warrior,” sorry. But where would that history end?
It will end when there aren't any more real villains.
By the time of the early 19th century, this tale evolved into one about yeoman farmers and then artisans. The Industrial Revolution changed all that. Men moved off the farm and into the factories. There they still made things (well, until recent decades) but they no longer had economic independence. They worked for someone else. The notion of being a “breadwinner” prevailed but manhood was slowly emasculated.
The yeoman farmers won Crecy and Agincourt, but they were still organized and led by others.
The definition of that word is, to deprive a man of his male identity. Privilege was stripped away and attacked; even their very manhood was questioned or abbreviated, should we add, neutered?
Emasculation involves depriving a man of his genitalia -- turning him into a eunuch.
Today, which of the four scenarios best describes reality? And where is it honestly headed by 2025?
Probably to about where we are now. That's not to say that there's not a class of dipshits gnawing on the national testicles, but humanity's always been divided into a top ten percent, a bottom ten percent, and a mostly undistinguished middle eighty percent. What's odd is that the dividing lines are so fluid.
Now ponder once more those four scenarios we just created about the future, and ask James Dean’s profound question all over again.
Three words: Flight Ninety Three.
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