Edward Keenan writes a new blog called "Act Like A Man." He is one of those guys who feels superior to all the meatheads and misogynists and Maxim and insouciant unemployed selfish stoner types and psychotic hyperassholes modern masculinity comprises these days but he doesn't really derive much satisfaction from feeling superior so he's chosen to attack the problem with a blog aimed at deconstructing the various symptoms of this societal cancer and redefining manhood. (Pick-up artists, the bros before hoesism, etc.) It all started sarcastically, before he sort of swore off sarcasm, with Don Corleone-inspired column he wrote called Ask An Angry Man to a fictional emo depressive dude:
My advice to you, Deep Funk, is the same as The Don's — you could act like a man! I'm gonna write a self-help book for all the people like you who are always coming crying to me — "Oh, Angry Man, my parents were mean to me and now I'm screwed up." "Oh, Angry Man, I'm depressed and I can't leave the house." "Oh, Angry Man, I'm addicted to heroin and I can't stop taking it." "Oh, Angry Man, I started a war in Iraq and now everyone knows I'm evil."
Here's my three-step recovery program: 1). Act. 2). Like. 3). A man. Stand up, leave your house and get a job you hate. Go there every morning and spend eight or ten hours doing meaningless, mind-numbing work. Come home at night and stare blankly at the television and have mundane arguments about money and toilet seats with your wife. Then make love to her while you imagine she's Anna Kournikova. Sleep fitfully. Repeat every day for thirty-five years. Work up a powder keg of resentment and stew in quiet desperation. That's what your father did. That's what your grandfather did.
Until his job was outsourced to Indonesia!
The state of guys feeling they have no clear role in society may be analagous to the worker who's lost his job in the corset factory because women are no longer expected to cinch in their mid-sections before leaving the house. He can definitely point to the closing of the factory as the source of his woes, but it will ultimately be unproductive to dwell on that. The industry he built his life on ain't coming back. And if he can separate himself from the personal consequences (his inability to pay his rent, his feelings of no longer having anything to contribute), he might acknowledge that it is a positive social good that restrictive, swoon-inducing garments are no longer normal underwear. But he does need to find a new role for himself, and that may involve looking at the old skill set and seeing what will be transferable. Maybe there's some other job in which he can find himself once again contributing to the economies of his household and his society.
Hmmm. An interesting thought, indeed; not glib enough for great blog posting though, which reminds me of something: the problem with manhood is that it's not so much as a lost art as a lost trade, sort of like writing for a website that needs to hits to sustain itself, and hits require getting to the point and letting the commenters handle the Talmudic shit, even if you're not quite sure what the point is because just pondering the point is a luxury afforded by the absence of necessity, which as Ed reminds us is the mother of invention, and what's left to invent? Nothing, Ed, there's nothing left for you and me to invent, and sure that can get depressing but pretty soon you'll have to post eight times a day and you'll no longer have the luxury to reflect on all that; you'll just churn it out like you're laying bricks like granddad, and your stoner friends will eventually come too, because it's a dying industry in the jaws of recession, and eventually there will be a host of new necessity-borne things to hate about life. And I'm not sure if this is related, but last night a guy I know told me last night some girl thought he was a misogynist, and I asked if he was a misogynist, and he said, "Only inasmuch as I'm a misanthrope." I don't know if you got what you needed from that, Ed, but I'm off to the bar now, because it's Friday and none of us are really as misanthropic as we think we are when there's alcohol around.
Act Like A Man [The Walrus]