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April 07, 2016

Book: Straight Men Are Awful And Should Probably Just Crawl Into Ditches and Bury Themselves Alive to Make Room For the New Woman/Gay Man Dominance

Do go on.

Bruce Fleming reviews Jack Myers' "The Future of Men: Masculinity in the Twenty-First Century" for the Free Beacon.

According to Jack Myers, the future of men in the twenty-first century is bleak. And he thinks men know it. He quotes men to whom he explained his book project asking, wryly, "You mean we have a future?" Women are on the ascendant, and men are being eclipsed: the male dominance that has been the norm for millennia is a thing of the past. Hooray?

That’s the part that's never clear. It’s hard to figure out in this book, a sweeping jog through advertisements, TV shows, statistics about college students, and Mars/Venus generalizations, how Myers feels about the changes he insists have occurred. At first glance it would seem that he’s all for the change. There isn't much to recommend men in his version of them, after all: Men have a "destructive instinct to lie" (about extra-marital affairs and everything else)--a whole chapter on that. Men suffer from “Personal Intimacy Disorder” (another chapter). They don't communicate well (much of yet another chapter).

Or at least there isn't much to recommend straight men. Gay men fare better in Myers’s telling: they are the ideal partner for women in what he calls "The New Relationship," empathetic and non-destructive partners for women. Still, the overwhelming majority of men are straight, which is apparently a problem. Or not? Myers suggests that men are simply outmoded... [H]ere he draws heavily on and quotes from the recent book by Hannah Rosin, The End of Men--women are better adapted in all ways to a post-industrial service economy than the heavy lifter males who were necessary for the Industrial Revolution. So good riddance to bad rubbish.

Most of the time, the book seems a contribution to what is called "men's studies," where men explain to men how dysfunctional they are. Yet there were moments when suddenly I was convinced this whole book was an elaborate post-Modernist joke, like the famous "Sokol hoax" of decades ago when an NYU scientist wrote a purposely left-wing jargon-filled article about how science was completely subjective, got it published in a trendy humanities journal, and then exposed the hoax to show how gullible the journal’s editors were.

I'll leave that as the teaser. Fleming the reviewer, who is himself writing a book called "Channeling Testosterone," seems to himself to think testosterone is a good thing, but -- in our no-longer-hunter-dominated, strength-crucial world -- needs to be usefully directed.

I've noticed myself that there's a problem with testosterone and masculinity. In our increasingly feminized world, men seek outlets for their testosterone-fueled impulse to compete and dominate -- fine and good, so far. That's how civilizations get made.

But there seems to be in some corners what I call a decayed masculinity, a decadent masculinity, a sort of pantomime masculinity, where "men" kind of get goofy saying "mannish things" and have "man caves" and such.*

I don't have anything against man caves -- I just question whether masculinity should be turned into a self-aware, theatrical parody of itself, as drag-queens are self-aware, theatrical parodies of femininity.

I don't know if masculinity requires its own form of virtue signalling -- look how tough I am, that kind of crap. Men don't boast and preen -- or at least men older than 25 shouldn't. That sort of thing is very common in juveniles.

I suppose that's what I object to -- maybe because all the "man" has been stamped out of men by the time they're 25, men increasingly look to the juvenile model of manhood as the only extant example of manhood on display, and thus take that to be manhood.

And of course for many, boyhood/teenagehood was the last time they were allowed to be truly male and not have to apologize for it every five minutes.

But juvenile masculinity isn't real masculinity, of course. Juvenile men are kind of, well, girlish in many ways. A lot of eyebrow-tweezering and musking up goes on at those ages, for example. Maybe a man should swagger, but he should not strut.

The Ron Swanson thing -- where everyone thinks it's great he won't eat vegetables, and treats this not as a parody, but as some kind of model of manhood to be emulated. So he doesn't eat vegetables -- so what? That's manly? Manhood has been reduced, like feminine fashion and style, to some trivial personal choices and tastes?

Swinging an axe and chopping your own firewood is manly. Minor consumer choices, and the unreasonable pride that sometimes attends to them, is being kind of girly.

Eh. Interesting. Check out the review. I'm more interested to read Fleming's upcoming book than the one he reviews, which I'm sure was his intent.

* People are defending mancaves. Honestly, I didn't really mean to attack them.

I have nothing against mancaves, really. A private space -- a personal territory, a sanctuary -- is important to anyone. But maybe particularly to a man. Men tend to be more asocial then women. Both sexes like alone time. I think men like a bit more of it.

Not sure why we don't just call it the "den" -- an old and good word, and suggestive of a lion's cave.

My only objection to it -- and it's not a strong objection -- is when it turns into a sort of childlike-man decor project.

And even then I don't mind it or anything. (I've seen some sweet mancaves.)

I guess I'm saying this is just a symptom of a deeper thing, the general urge, in this feminized age, to sort of SIGNAL "I'm a man."

Why is that, what does that need stem from?

Part of it is the rebellion against the domesticizing effect of being in a marriage. Men do not wish to be fully domesticated, and I really do get that.

Again, this is just more of a minor personal thing, but I just kind of don't get filling the space with things designed to announce "A man lives here."

To be honest, I kind of regret even having mentioned the mancave. I was just reaching for some other example (you always need three examples, it's a rule), and came up with that one.

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posted by Ace at 04:50 PM

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