Monday, July 7, 2008

American Eunuch

This one is going to be a bit off-track here, as it’s more a musing about modern man (not woman, or human-kind, but men specifically) and our state of existence. So if this sort of rambling is of no interest, well, off you go!

I’ve been struck of late how many modern American males, especially those of the under-30 set (specifically those who indulge in the fashion of shaving their heads) look to me like enormous babies. I don’t mean that in a derogatory fashion, they don’t ACT like babies, they just look like them. Round, bald, and chubby. Then today I was having a conversation with my wife about two cats of ours, one a tomcat (a new arrival and soon to be altered), the other long since neutered. And of course the tomcat is buff, hard, and skinny while the neutered cat is, while not rotund, certainly not skinny by any manner or means. I’ve of course also noticed how stallions are hard muscled no matter how large, and have attitude pouring out of their sweat glands, while geldings are soft muscled (even if enormously strong) and much easier to deal with (thus their popularity, stallions being a pain and moreover dangerous.) At any rate, the conversation about the tomcat struck a chord, and I had an epiphany: American Males are Eunuchs.

If you think about it, and compare any modern American male today to a photograph of his grandfather in WWII without shirt on, you’ll probably notice a great and grave difference. Men of two generations ago were hard, wiry and fit. Men of today are anything but. Even men who work out regularly and are buff aren’t skinny like their ancestors were. We are descended of hard men, we have become soft, and I mean that physically, not in other ways (that would be a rant for another day, but I suspect it’s already been done to death). Besides having a very sedentary lifestyle, what has happened?

I guess I could blame TV for one, since most men find it much easier to flop in front of a TV with a six-pack of horrid swill called “beer” (Joke: “Why is American beer like sex in a canoe? It’s $%^ing close to water!”), with all of the alcohol and calories, but none of the taste and substance of real beer and ale. They watch professional athletes do outrageous feats of prowess that can only be dreamed of by the watcher, since by now he’s 50-100 pounds over weight and totally out of shape. He can pretend, though, and claim that the team is his own, and that his opinions (rather than his money) matter. In the end, TV and professional sports are only a part of the issue, and are probably more a symptom rather than the disease.

Another thing I could (and will) blame is High Fructose Corn Sweetener. Nasty stuff, that; you’re far better off with sugar as it will only rot your teeth. HFCS is worse in so many ways, but one of the big evils is that it REALLY seems to be responsible for the fattening up of Americans. Drink a 32oz. soda, and you get enough calories to sink a battleship. I know some fellows who do that every day, several of them, and they wonder why they’re fat. Ugh

I could also rant about milk and all of the hormone additives that the Dairy Industry puts into them. Gee, it’s been pretty well established that the placenta isn’t a barrier, it’s a pathway for drugs, and so are the milk glands. Want to increase your intake of estrogen? Drink lots of milk, boys! That will get your “moobs” growing, and your muscles slackening! Gads…

On top of that, when was the last time you heard of a fight in school (that wasn’t an assault by members of one ethnic group against another, that is.)? Seems as though the old-time “boyhood rights of passage” like getting into a one-on-one after-school fight are strongly suppressed these days, too. Interesting how men seem to be neutered from one side by food and activities, and neutered on the other side by the Powers That Be.

So what is it? Was the result of World Wars I and II so horrific that the Illuminati decided to “do something” to reduce the combativeness of young Western men? (and that presents the next question, being “How the hell would they do that?”) Is it just a result of affluence and decadence? It certainly seems as though Suburban Males are the chief victims of this trend, since inner-city “youths” seem to have sufficient testosterone to merrily engage in plenty of warfare of their own, and rural lads seem to be still working hard enough on the farm (though that of course is an ever-shrinking minority) to stay pretty fit and engage in bar fights on their night off, while Suburban men and boys are stuck in front of the TV or computer screen pretending that they’re doing wild and wooly things.

I’m not suggesting that getting into fights is necessarily a good thing, but it does seem to be something that was engaged in a LOT in the past, and now it’s restricted pretty much to Gangsta’s killing one another over turf or being “dissed”, or the occasional bar-room brawl in a Cowboy bar in the sticks over some girl. It used to happen A LOT, be it gentlemen having a very formal duel or neighbors duking it out over the fence-line, but now any of that sort of thing in polite society gets you arrested. It’s weird how effeminate we’ve become. I suppose it’s all a part and parcel of the trend towards “metro-sexual”, where one is neither male nor female, but rather a “sexual being”. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t see how that works, myself. In any case, so be it. I’m not ranting on the politics of that presently, just on why Men are no longer Men in our society. Then again, neither are women “women” any more, which is the odd part. Women are more masculine than they were, men are more feminine than they were, and the West thinks that’s just fine. Other cultures (read “Islam”) don’t think that way at all, and is full of hard men full of fight. I hope that this quest to keep us from killing one another doesn’t result in our becoming the sheep for the Barbarian Hordes to come in and rule.

Gordon

3 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Thank goodness my husband doesn't drink crap beer (only the great local craft brews or his own homebrew), doesn't watch sports (I had to explain the rules of baseball to him), and he is very fit. However, he would never get into a physical fight and is extremely emotionally sensitive. I'm not sure that repressing your emotions to be "man" is especially healthy for men, and probably causes more psychological and health problems than otherwise. And as an aspiring attorney, I'm very glad that gender roles have loosened up and I can actually pursue such a career!

Seriously Dad, I think you raised all three of us girls to believe in ourselves and know that we could do anything a boy could (including taking on the neighborhood bullies!). Nothing wrong with that!

Do you think having only daughters has changed your perception of traditional gender roles? A common argument about why men today are more sensitive can be due to the lack of male role models in their upbringing. If you're raised by your mother, you're likely to model your behavior after hers.

Gordon said...

I do think that raising three daughters to be "boys" was good for me and my outlook on what the "proper" role for women is, but my own mother had a lot to do with that too. Being a professional, and pretty darned fearless herself (I don't think I ever saw her afraid of ANYTHING, even when there were bears trying to rummage through the car we were in: she was more annoyed than anything), she had a very positive and confident attitude towards everything she did. Well, most of the time, that is. But I've never in my life thought that "a woman could never do THIS!" or anything of the sort. Some of the people I admire most are women, and have been. What strikes me as bizarre is that in this day and age, some of the most capable, and toughest (both mentally and physically) people out there are women, rather than men. Strange juxtaposition from the gender roles of a few generations ago!

This attitude of mine also flows into my attitudes in reenacting of course. If a person can fulfill the role, they should be able to do it. So what if a woman is portraying a man in some historical role, if she looks right and acts right for it? Since I have yet to meet a man (doing reenacting of some sort, that is) who is armigerous at all, let alone to all four grandparents, I don't think that it's a problem for a woman to joust if she's able to. Some of the fellows who rail at the idea of "women in the ranks" for reenactment need to get their own act together first.

BTW, I have every confidence that your kind, sweet and sensitive husband would turn into an absolute salamander in a fight if there was any threat towards you. He's a good lad.

darkmuse said...

But what about the "before"? If families have not - how to create it, as to avoid more mistakes, and what they are, how to recover and improve relations

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