Underneath the Violence: America’s Love Affair with Manhood

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Hyper-masculinity. Don’t we just love it? Must I count the ways?

[Note re the following excerpt: I do not see the problem as strictly "angry, white," or even "male," as the following excerpt claims. It's the ideology— hyper-masculinity, and reverence for, and valuing of it, that is the problem, which the author does manage to imply.]

[excerpt from: http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/13642401-adam-lanza-the-ultima... ]

...Jackson Katz is an author and social critic. He asks us to “(i)magine if 61 out of 62 mass killings were done by women [or black men]? Would that [their gender or race] be seen as merely incidental and relegated to the margins of discourse? No. It would be the first thing people talked about.”

But because we are dealing with white, middle class men, the most powerful and privileged group in this society, no one dares to ask the question. Not, as Katz suggests, the knee-jerk questions: “Where did he get the gun?” or “Why wasn’t he on medication?” But: “What is happening with white men?” (Emphasis added).

“This is about masculinity and it’s about manhood,” Katz added.

In America, unlike almost anywhere else on earth, the gun, more so than any other icon you can name, symbolizes manhood and masculinity. It is the ultimate phallic symbol.

Katz goes on: “So much of gun culture in the U.S. is about masculinity but it’s unspoken. Femininity simply isn’t constructed in a way that teaches women to use violence as a means to an end. One of the ways we can understand violence is as an external manifestation of internal pain.”

Men are only allowed to experience certain emotions, principally anger. Violence and anger go hand-in-hand as “acceptable” forms of male expression. “Men are rewarded for achieving certain goals and for establishing of dominance through the use of violence,” Katz says.
...
As men, particularly as white men, “we” are socialized to objectify the world and all its contents. That’s why capitalism is so popular, a virtual article of faith, among most “Western” men. Capitalism requires no concern for anyone or anything beyond achieving strictly individualized, personal “profit.” They are socialized to not just believe but to know that they are entitled by God or by their very essence to financial success, access to women, power. When, for whatever reason, they are denied these “things,” they feel betrayed of their birthright. Many seethe in a lifelong funk of quiet desperation and longing. Others, far too many, turn to the most convenient, reliable and time-tested form of masculine validation available: violence, gun violence.

“As a white man, the assumption is that you are the center of the world. Your needs should be met. You should be successful,” Katz says. They themselves become “victims,” in other words, when they don’t get what they are “supposed” to have. For them, every aspect of life is always a zero-sum proposition. Anybody else’s success is always viewed by them as having been obtained at their expense, as their “loss.”

“This explains the cultural energy on the right in this past generation – so many of these men see themselves as victims of multiculturalism and of feminism,” he adds. “It’s undermining the cultural centrality of male authority.” Katz points out that we can see this worldview manifesting itself in the Men’s Rights Movement. “They are at the front line making the argument that men are the true victims.”

Perhaps we’re just dealing with a form of sociopathy? Perhaps. A sociopath is nothing more than someone who lacks empathy. “Well,” says Katz, “we socialize empathy out of boys all the time. Sociopathy is the extreme manifestation of the way we socialize boys in our society.” ...

But there’s hope:

The End of Violent, Simplistic, Macho Masculinity

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Comments

Well I just don't understand men at all. To me a zucchini or a cucumber is phallic, or certain cosmetic containers, but guns are a symbol of death, force, and mutilation- gutshot men laying for hours on the ground dying of peritonitis, father against son, brother against brother. Shootin' up the forest, destroying the peace of the valley- what is their problem?

What about men and cars? Does the need for speed come into play, the need for a certain engine with a certain thrust?

It would be interesting to know if gun toters have a higher propensity for traffic violations.

leighmf's picture
leighmf
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

meditations-on-13-bits-of-graffiti-in-the-ladies-room-

4.) A Woman's Rule of Thumb: If it has tires or testicles, you're going to have trouble with it. ---Women's restroom, Dick's Last Resort, Dallas,Texas

The rule has changed, it used to be testicles or transmission.

-florida-man-assaults-girlfriend-kills-her-hamsters-police-say?

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

If it helps any, I do not understand men and I am one. I find patriarchy and 'wearing the pants in the family' to be stupid and even silly. Having to be stronger and smarter than women, for example, is a seriously flawed self-image to begin with. Domination is a lousy way to bear power and severely limits the options of the dominator who must keep the domination up or lose everything.

The gun thing is complicated. I know it can be a symbol of passing from childhood to young adulthood for, usually the boy, to be given his first gun and invited to join the men for the hunt. Where a gun is a tool of ranching and provisioning, it makes sense that those doing ranch work and hunting for food will need to know how to use these less than military grade guns. It is a lot like getting the keys to drive in terms of rite of passage.

Chris Hedges also gives us some insight into the sense of power killing in war can provoke and what that ecstasy of adrenaline/testosterone can do. What it takes to train a warrior and how they are deprogramed to be able to rejoin civil life is highly ritualised in traditional cultures. We just train them to kill and bring them back home to try and find a job. Frustration to rage and back to the drug of choice.

For the Panthers it was a macho in your face to the Oakland Police Klan, the symbol of slaves with guns shivers the White man's timbers still. Had Huey used his brains to go into high finance, he could have really brought it to the Man.

I think the larger culture issue the replacement of basic civil trust with suspicion, particularly of the visibly different. White Fright is about losing the franchise and the rights and privileges of owners v. those proving themselves, or not, in a series of immigrant recruiting classes. The problem is compounded by the coming crash of the American Empire and the entropic depression of investing oneself in the dying age. That depression gets acted out in denial and desperation as the end draws near.

The narrative that has supported White Christian America as the Manifest Destiny agent of Providence/History/Evolution has only recently admitted others to the status of White. It has not changed the requirements for office to integrate anything cultural from the 'racial inclusion.' All that cultural transformation stuff has happened outside the lines of power and process. It has happened, and that is good proof that politics cannot prevent history from going ahead. It can only make the adjustment better or worse. The White Christian narrative is going over Niagara Falls, not some equivalent of a fiscal cliff. It is going to get busted up very seriously.

While I deal a lot with White reactionary stuff, other ethnic communities have their own problems with masculinism in our larger American diversity. Slavery has left its mark on what it means to be a man, and stripped of community and context, slaves integrated a lot of White culture into their own lives. But let us just admit that masculinism goes way back and has not gone away.

St. Paul really asks men to be like women in the "be submissive to one another" advice on marriage. He may flatter the guys into thinking that they are acting out the role of Christ to the Church in being the sacrificial servant, but unless they get caught up in the pride of piety, what they are supposed to be is "mutually submissive." What this tells me is that St. Paul had to pull out all the tricks to get past the masculinism of his time to get these guys to "get it."

I can understand women who find no use for us and who wish to avoid boys games and so forth. I wish them well. I love women who are looking for men who love women as women and not as girls or bimbos. Women who are not afraid of being powerful but who are not playing the macho insecurity game in reverse. Women who are comfortable being competent and skilled and who appreciate being heard when they say something.

Why such wonderful humans have any time at all for guys is cause for thanksgiving. Sometimes they even find us useful and fun to have around. Men who get it can be very lucky indeed.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

My sister just bought me a shirt in Vegas that says, "I'd Do Me" and she said she couldn't pass it up because it reminded her of me. LOL Does that make me a pig?

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Bush_Wacker
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Jun. 25, 2011 7:53 am

Zenzoe,

I recognize that I never will and never should have all the power or "brawn" as I would like, because when people have everything they want it has the tendency to corrupt them in a sense. I think that it stands also for some men, but not all men, in their perspectives of women and life in general.

micahjr34
Joined:
Feb. 7, 2011 4:57 pm

Only if you wear a gun with it.

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leighmf
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Men are genetically physically stronger, but no point trying to be smarter than the woman, according to Harry Belafonte.

However I think the smarter a woman is, the less "Power" she is interested in.

Paul is something of a pill. He could have just said, "avoid arguing with your spouse." My idea of submitting is not arguing if my husband won't take my advice, then waiting to see what happens.

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leighmf
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Zenzoe,

In the spirit of honesty and my belief that the path to sanity begins with acknowledging the truth, 21 years ago when I was in "junior high school" I pinched a young woman on the buttocks in an attempt to look "cool" to my male friends. It failed...

Zenzoe, I would like to apologize not only to this anonymous woman, but to all women, for doing that, because if I did it, another young man might have seen it and had done it too. Nowadays, if I had done that I would have been slapped in the face and perhaps even gotten into trouble with the police...rightly so!

micahjr34
Joined:
Feb. 7, 2011 4:57 pm

Folks: Leigh, yes, and see my comment to you, below. Thanks for the chuckle and the link, Douglaslee— horrible story. It sounds like my next door neighbors. I call them "Lucy and Ricky.". And no, Bush__Wacker, that doesn't make you a pig; if I were younger, I'd probably do you myself. Micah, you're a real man in my book, as is Drc2. If only there were more men like you guys.

Drc2, I'm glad you brought up Chris Hedges. He's the only one of the greatest of the great writers of today who has mentioned hypermasculinity as a problem, as far as I know.

Ad for Bushmaster Rifle: "Consider Your Man Card Reissued." (btw, the video discussion under the text sums the issue up nicely.) From the article about the ad: "...And in a press release for his 2008 book on the subject of hypermasculinity and violence, UCLA professor of education Douglas Kellner said: 'The school shooters and domestic terrorists examined in this book all exhibit male rage, attempt to resolve a crisis of masculinity through violent behavior, demonstrate a fetish for guns or weapons, and represent, in general, a situation of guys and guns amok.'"

School Shootings The Result Of Crisis Of Masculinity, Gun Culture, Professor Argues. "...Kellner places these apparently isolated killing sprees in the broader context of American culture and society and finds that in each case, the male perpetrators suffered from problems of socialization, alienation and the search for identity in a culture that holds up guns and militarism as potent symbols of masculinity."

Leigh, I would say the gun symbolizes masculinity, not penises, per se. And it's a cruel masculinity that has been nurtured in American culture, not the kind of masculinity that you and I might cherish. Instead, it's the kind that relishes force, dominance, control, power and a bold, pitiless toughness. It's that "make my day" kind of masculinity that shoots now and asks questions later.

I have to wonder about Adam Lanza and his reality. So far, we know he was unable to communicate to others, a solitary computer geek no doubt fully cognizant about the culture's expectations for males, and fully aware of his own lack of the wherewithal to fulfill those expectations. What better way to prove his manhood to the world, than to gather up an arsenal and go on a killing rampage? "What balls!" A sad, sad thing, if true.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

There have been women serial killers - I think they prefer axes and poison for their gentleman callers.

It is as you say, men have been the traditional gun bearers, but handbag-size derringers and small Smith & Wessons were developed for ladies. Do you think maybe it's the damned gun manufacturers who have the problem with masculinity and dominance? I bet all our Defense Contractor executives are big flabby wusses.

Plus, it was the Mother who bought the guns her son used. As Micahjr34 pointed out, this kid was not recognized as disturbed when he was in school yet all the signs were there. Looking for "the signs" was discussed quite a lot after the VA Tech massacre, and since Columbine even.

The school failed to identify a troubled disturbed child when intervention could have happened much earlier in his life. I always thought this is what teachers talked about in the teachers lounge- who the weird kids in class were. When I was growing up, we had a couple, and I know one ended up a murderer and a rapist. However it was widely known that he and his mother were constantly beaten by the father. In those days there wasn't "domestic violence." If you were unlucky enough to live next door to people who fought, there was nothing to do but hear it and dread the outcome.

Plus, we have no idea if this mother was crazy- maybe she pushed him into it-that we'll never know.That is why the school has to keep vigilance since things at home may be the problem. He was a very sick person who should have been in a hospital- he could have been hallucinating, in another personality, we have no way of knowing what goes on in an individual mind before a mental breakdown. Plus he was at the onset age of schizophrenia. It may have had nothing to do with Macho-ism or proving manhood. He might have been hearing Voices telling him to pick up guns and shoot.

Guns have been marketed to give a sense of power over others, which we are led to believe, is as desirable as a Porsche SUV. Like, take at look at beautiful, blond Emily Proctor as Callie Duquesne in Miami CSI. What is sexier than seeing her stolid thighs in skin tight white jeans, split in a wide V-stance while she holds her firearm in both hands and squints meanly, aiming directly at a perp. I'm afraid a lot of guys think that's actually erotic. That's what sells the show and that's what sells guns, power over others. This applies to the individual as well as to world governments.

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leighmf
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I've only watched bits and pieces of Joseph Campbell, but I recall him talking about men (either Americans or generally Western culture) lacked a cultural event defining childhood and manhood (the ladies' biology takes cares of them.) And this leads to lots of problems.

Perhaps we need ceremonial circumcision at puberty, like Kunta Kinte and the Mandinka warriors in "Roots." Or apparently some Muslims.

chilidog
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote micahjr34:

Zenzoe,

In the spirit of honesty and my belief that the path to sanity begins with acknowledging the truth, 21 years ago when I was in "junior high school" I pinched a young woman on the buttocks in an attempt to look "cool" to my male friends. It failed...

Zenzoe, I would like to apologize not only to this anonymous woman, but to all women, for doing that, because if I did it, another young man might have seen it and had done it too. Nowadays, if I had done that I would have been slapped in the face and perhaps even gotten into trouble with the police...rightly so!

I got pinched on the butt a few years ago on an airplane. I turned around and a few asian girls maybe 17 or so, about the age Micah was proving himself, too. Anyhow, I was thrilled and flattered, I still got it..[about the time of the right said fred song, I'm too sexy for my shirt]video is too recent

Original

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douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Micahjr34:

Zenzoe,

In the spirit of honesty and my belief that the path to sanity begins with acknowledging the truth, 21 years ago when I was in "junior high school" I pinched a young woman on the buttocks in an attempt to look "cool" to my male friends. It failed...

Zenzoe, I would like to apologize not only to this anonymous woman, but to all women, for doing that, because if I did it, another young man might have seen it and had done it too. Nowadays, if I had done that I would have been slapped in the face and perhaps even gotten into trouble with the police...rightly so!

Micah, I missed your second comment last time I was here.

Gosh, we all do silly things, things we end up wanting to apologize for. And, if that's the worst thing you've ever done to a woman, you can breathe easy. She probably forgot about it by nightfall.

I've been lucky. I've never been raped or beaten by a man. (However, I was brutalized by my gynecologist once, during the birth of my second child.) But one time I was walking to class in high school down an empty corridor (I was late for class), when a boy appeared, walking toward me. As he passed by, he suddenly grabbed my right breast. I don't think he even looked at me; he just grabbed and kept walking. I guess you could call it a drive-by boob grab. Anyway, it shocked me, but for some reason it didn't register as something I should report. And I don't think I ever told anyone about it.

Quote drc2:

The gun thing is complicated. I know it can be a symbol of passing from childhood to young adulthood for, usually the boy, to be given his first gun and invited to join the men for the hunt. Where a gun is a tool of ranching and provisioning, it makes sense that those doing ranch work and hunting for food will need to know how to use these less than military grade guns. It is a lot like getting the keys to drive in terms of rite of passage.

This coincides with Chilidog's suggestion that perhaps American males lack "a cultural event defining childhood and manhood," or, as you put it, a "rite of passage." So, I'm not sure that would make a difference. The Bar Mitzvah seems not to have rendered Israeli soldiers any less militaristic, so I'm not convinced such a rite would make American men any less insecure about their masculinity. (Machismo does appear to be about insecurity.)

Oh, and yeah— questions: Is testosterone addictive? When men do "manly" or risky things, is there a rush that becomes addicting? Does watching violent movies or playing violent videos produce a testosterone high? Or, is the insecurity surrounding one's masculinity so uncomfortable that it's all just a matter of soothing reassurance? Not being a man, I'm very curious about these things.

Leigh, you make some excellent, nuanced points, and I don't disagree. I especially liked this paragraph: "Guns have been marketed to give a sense of power over others, which we are led to believe, is as desirable as a Porsche SUV. Like, take at look at beautiful, blond Emily Proctor as Callie Duquesne in Miami CSI. What is sexier than seeing her stolid thighs in skin tight white jeans, split in a wide V-stance while she holds her firearm in both hands and squints meanly, aiming directly at a perp. I'm afraid a lot of guys think that's actually erotic. That's what sells the show and that's what sells guns, power over others. This applies to the individual as well as to world governments." This works perfectly with my overall message, or opinion, which is that the subject is hyper-masculinity as an ideology, not the macho nature of males. This isn't about bashing men; it's about bashing the values that hyper-masculinity instills in the population, the entire population. Whether it manifests in men, or women, or corporations, or religions, or governments, it does damage, and we all pay for it. It's in operation in politics, for example, when the Democrats think they have to out-do the Repugnants in war, because otherwise they'll be accused of being "soft."

So, yes, the mother bought the guns, but she was a "gun enthusiast." She loved guns, or so it has been reported, and all the meaning surrounding them, I'm guessing. But, when he supposedly wanted to join the marines, "...Nancy Lanza 'squashed' the possibility of serving his country when she reminded her son that he 'didn’t like to be touched' — something that he couldn’t avoid if he were injured." Why was he so invested in being in the military? Where did he get that idea? Well, we can only imagine what went on in that head, but instinct tells me he had severe insecurities surrounding his masculinity. I guess we'll never know, though.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:So far, we know he was unable to communicate to others, a solitary computer geek no doubt fully cognizant about the culture's expectations for males, and fully aware of his own lack of the wherewithal to fulfill those expectations. What better way to prove his manhood to the world, than to gather up an arsenal and go on a killing rampage?

Another thing is with deindustrialization, guys like this have less places to go to make a living. I've worked in factories over the years, and there were always 1 or 2 guys like this, solitary....quiet...awkward.....but they worked out fine operating a machine or piece of equipment, where they could work solitarily at a tedious repetitive job, with little human interaction or decision making...many times on the graveyard shift. They would sit alone in the lunchroom and eat, or go out to their car....or for a smoke....always alone.......I don't know how their personal lives were, but they worked out pretty well as machine operators, beause they usually were pretty damn smart and reliable as clockwork.......for cheap.

I'm not sure today's hyper interactive, fast paced, team oriented, dynamic job descriptions offer the same opportunity for employment for these types. Therefore, especially for males, they come up short in an important defining area for men....the ability to earn a living. Just my 2c.

al3's picture
al3
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote al3:
Quote Zenzoe:So far, we know he was unable to communicate to others, a solitary computer geek no doubt fully cognizant about the culture's expectations for males, and fully aware of his own lack of the wherewithal to fulfill those expectations. What better way to prove his manhood to the world, than to gather up an arsenal and go on a killing rampage?

Another thing is with deindustrialization, guys like this have less places to go to make a living. I've worked in factories over the years, and there were always 1 or 2 guys like this, solitary....quiet...awkward.....but they worked out fine operating a machine or piece of equipment, where they could work solitarily at a tedious repetitive job, with little human interaction or decision making...many times on the graveyard shift. They would sit alone in the lunchroom and eat, or go out to their car....or for a smoke....always alone.......I don't know how their personal lives were, but they worked out pretty well as machine operators, beause they usually were pretty damn smart and reliable as clockwork.......for cheap.

I'm not sure today's hyper interactive, fast paced, team oriented, dynamic job descriptions offer the same opportunity for employment for these types. Therefore, especially for males, they come up short in an important defining area for men....the ability to earn a living. Just my 2c.

You make an excellent point, Al. Thanks for that. I believe I have known individuals like the ones you mentioned. Also, there’s a class of super-bright and talented who also tend to be “solitary...quiet...awkward,” but often they’re tolerated for their difference, just because of their contributions. But, like you say, the opportunities dwindle.

Making a living and being functional in the world apparently does much to bolster a man’s sense of his own manhood (It helps women too, to bolster their self-esteem as women). But for men, work has special significance, and when a man cannot find work, or has no realistic work prospects, the damage can go deep. I’m sure, more than a threat to survival, the damage also has to do with the humiliation of the contrast between the ideal of breadwinner and the reality of one’s personal failure as such, among other things. We wish men could separate their self-identity as men from their work, but in this culture, well, good luck.

Yesterday I had a landscaping crew, all men, in my yard, tending to two huge pine trees. One pine had to be removed entirely, and the other trimmed, or “laced,” as they call it. Let me tell you, the job demanded a huge amount of strength and energy, but they, 5 of them, went about it with humor and determination; and, at the end of the day, their pride in the work they’d done was fully apparent. The main tree “lacer,” the one who did most of the work up in the trees, even wanted me to go into the street to look at his “balanced” work. When I told him what a beautiful job he’d done, I could see the satisfaction there, big time.

I suppose that’s the blessing of manual labor—there’s no doubting of “manhood” there. Yes, women can do those jobs too, and they should if they’re able, but the values of strength, persistence, and action still apply, and men, especially, enjoy them.

My father used to say that all work was honorable. You do the best you can, under the circumstances. But, if you’re a spindly, awkward, autistic youth absent a father’s counsel, and your society feels alien and cold, what can you do? What future, as a man, promises to unfold?

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

In the case of Newton, the mother was the gun nut.

DynoDon
Joined:
Jun. 29, 2012 10:24 am
Quote DynoDon:

In the case of Newton, the mother was the gun nut.

Are you trying to miss the point, Don?

It's all about a culture of hyper-masculinity and the values of such. That mother did not exist on an island unto herself. And she managed to pass along those values to her son, who couldn't live up to them, except in a hyper-masculine way.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Katz is full of it. The first commentor to your article has it more correct.

Asurbanopala month ago

Masculinity and "manhood" is not the problem. Not only are these qualities useful to society but they are essential - always have been, always will be - as well an ingrained in our biological makeup. Men and boys can't help acting like men and boys, nor should they. As much as the Atlantic and other media sources have described the so-called end of men (based almost entirely on bad information or a misreading of data and the obvious anti-male biases of feminist authors like Hillary Rosen) there is NOT a decline in the need for or use of physical labor or the military, both of which would cease to function properly without the very macho attitudes on trial in this article. Men are, at their core, expected by others and expect of themselves to perform tasks that biologically they are best equipped to fulfill. Women are not attracted to emasculated ken dolls anymore than men can respond to the powerful force that is testosterone and be that stupid ken doll. We are who we were born to be, men and women both.

If you want to talk about Machismo, that's a separate issue. Machismo is the outward projecting facade of brutal toughness to mask deep insecurities. Men who treat their wives or girlfriends poorly, abandoning women after sex or in general acting like uncaring douches typically do so because they're terrified of being abandoned by those same women. They're afraid because inside they know they can't compete in terms of wealth and prestige in relation to other men; so they fall back on the one quality - physical toughness - that they can compete with or at least pretend to. Machismo is not manhood. It's a facade.

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darlinedarline1...
Joined:
Aug. 29, 2012 9:27 am
Quote darlinedarline1@aol.com:

Katz is full of it. The first commentor to your article has it more correct.

Asurbanopala month ago

Masculinity and "manhood" is not the problem. Not only are these qualities useful to society but they are essential - always have been, always will be - as well an ingrained in our biological makeup. Men and boys can't help acting like men and boys, nor should they. As much as the Atlantic and other media sources have described the so-called end of men (based almost entirely on bad information or a misreading of data and the obvious anti-male biases of feminist authors like Hillary Rosen) there is NOT a decline in the need for or use of physical labor or the military, both of which would cease to function properly without the very macho attitudes on trial in this article. Men are, at their core, expected by others and expect of themselves to perform tasks that biologically they are best equipped to fulfill. Women are not attracted to emasculated ken dolls anymore than men can respond to the powerful force that is testosterone and be that stupid ken doll. We are who we were born to be, men and women both.

If you want to talk about Machismo, that's a separate issue. Machismo is the outward projecting facade of brutal toughness to mask deep insecurities. Men who treat their wives or girlfriends poorly, abandoning women after sex or in general acting like uncaring douches typically do so because they're terrified of being abandoned by those same women. They're afraid because inside they know they can't compete in terms of wealth and prestige in relation to other men; so they fall back on the one quality - physical toughness - that they can compete with or at least pretend to. Machismo is not manhood. It's a facade.

Katz is not full of it. He's talking about hyper-masculinity, the kind I brought up immediately with this thread and you referred to with the term "machismo." And, if you aren't aware of the machismo that drives this culture to war and other political atrocities, and drives the violence, then perhaps you might stop to consider it. Start noticing the signs. They're everywhere.

Quote Chris Hedges:

The failure of the liberal class to articulate an alternative in a time of financial and environmental collapse clears the way for the military values of hypermasculinity, blind obedience, and violence. A confused culture disdains the empathy and compassion espoused by traditional liberalism. This cruelty runs like an electric current through reality television and trash-talk programs, where contestants endure pain and humiliation while they betray and manipulate those around them in a ruthless world of competition. These are the values championed by an increasingly militarized society and the manipulation and dishonesty on Wall Street. Friendship, trust, solidarity, honesty, and compassion are banished for the unadulterated world of competition.

This hypermasculinity, the core of pornography, fuses violence and eroticism, as well as the physical and emotional degradation of women. It is the language employed by the corporate state. Human beings are reduced to commodities. Corporations, which are despotic, authoritarian enclaves devoted to maximizing profit and ensuring that all employees speak from the same prompt cards, have infected the wider society with their values. Hypermasculinity crushes the capacity for moral autonomy, difference, and diversity. It isolates us from one another. It has its logical fruition in Abu Ghraib prison, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with our lack of compassion for our homeless, our poor, our mentally ill, our unemployed, our sick, and our gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual citizens. It is the antithesis of liberalism.

“In his two-volume 1987 study entitled Male Fantasies, which draws on the bitter alienation of demobilized veterans in Germany following the end of World War 1,Klaus Theweleit argues that a militarized culture attacks all that is culturally defined as feminine, including love, gentleness, compassion and acceptance of difference. It sees any sexual ambiguity as a threat to male “hardness” and the clearly defined roles required by a militarized state. The elevation of military values as the highest good sustains the perverted ethic, rigid social roles, and emotional numbness that Theweleit explored. It is a moral cancer that the liberal class once struggled against. The collapse of liberalism permits the hypermasculinity of a militarized society to redefine the nation. Sexual metaphors of abuse and rape are used to justify imperial and military power. And once remnants of the liberal class adopt the heartless language of sexual violence, they assent, consciously or not, to the rule of corporate greed and violence.

I will perhaps agree that the title of this post should have used the word "hypermasculinity," rather than "manhood." I too appreciate manhood for all its positive qualities. But, you're very much missing the point, if you think I'm anti-men. And, quite honestly, I'm sick and tired of the inability of some people to grasp the distinction between the ideology of hyper-masculinity and healthy masculinity, and insist on implying that I am about bashing men.

Did you read my comment here in its entirety (landscapers)? Hey, I love manhood. I have two grown sons, and they exhibit the best features of a mature manhood. It's the immature, foolish kind that I abhor, the kind that drives this immature culture and the violence it loves.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

You ladies may like this comment and I've used it a number of times through the years......

A woman has many faults but a man only has two, everything he says and everything he does.

My late grandfather told me that one back in the sixties while we were out fishing. He also told me this one around the same time and while we were out fishing.

The seven P's

1...Prior

2...Proper

3...Planning

4...Prevents

5...Piss

6...Poor

7...Performance

The last one is true time after time. The first one I ain't to sure about.....Ha Ha

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays to everyone!

Sprinklerfitter's picture
Sprinklerfitter
Joined:
Sep. 1, 2011 6:49 am
Quote Sprinklerfitter:

You ladies may like this comment and I've used it a number of times through the years......

A woman has many faults but a man only has two, everything he says and everything he does.

Thanks, Sprinklerfitter, but apparently you didn't get the memo: This thread isn't about bashing men. But, what the heck— they deserve it sometimes, and who can resist the temptation? My personal favorite:

"God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time." —Robin Williams

Enough. "Peace on Earth and goodwill toward men..." ;-)

Quote Sprinklerfitter:

My late grandfather told me that one back in the sixties while we were out fishing. He also told me this one around the same time and while we were out fishing.

The seven P's

1...Prior

2...Proper

3...Planning

4...Prevents

5...Piss

6...Poor

7...Performance

The last one is true time after time. The first one I ain't to sure about.....Ha Ha

Your grandfather sounds like a charming character. Grandfathers and grandmothers give us so much, don't they?

Quote Sprinklerfitter:

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays to everyone!

And Happy Christmas and Merry New Year to you! Now, off to ...wherever... we go, for a little break from the madness...

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Zenzoe,

Happy Holidays! May whatever tradition you follow give you some measure of peace in your life!

I just would like to let you know that I am reading your posts and I like them!

:-)Note: If you reply with an extremely small post, I won't mind! :-)

micahjr34
Joined:
Feb. 7, 2011 4:57 pm

Just in case there is any confusion, I am also a self-affirming male whose masculinity is offended by machismo and militarism as if dominators were real men. My comments about our current images of masculinity is deeply feminist in the sense that I see male liberation from machismo and a death culture of dominators--with all the reactive issues for the geeks and nerds or just plain folks--as part of the feminist liberation from the other side of this pathology.

I love women and love being loved by them. If I am not sure why women, in this culture, take a chance on us, I am also certain that those who do have very solid reasons that I ought to believe in as a man. There is hope for us.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm
Quote micahjr34:

Zenzoe,

Happy Holidays! May whatever tradition you follow give you some measure of peace in your life!

I just would like to let you know that I am reading your posts and I like them!

:-)Note: If you reply with an extremely small post, I won't mind! :-)

Thanks so much, Micah.

I'm afraid I don't follow much of a tradition surrounding religious holidays, other than decorating Christmas trees and the like. However, lucky for me peace appears not to be tied to religious tradition but, rather, available to all hearts open to it. ;-)

And thanks for reading my posts and liking them. I like what you write too, y'know. Here's to meeting here again, for more fun and inspiration in 2013!

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote drc2:

Just in case there is any confusion, I am also a self-affirming male whose masculinity is offended by machismo and militarism as if dominators were real men. My comments about our current images of masculinity is deeply feminist in the sense that I see male liberation from machismo and a death culture of dominators--with all the reactive issues for the geeks and nerds or just plain folks--as part of the feminist liberation from the other side of this pathology.

I love women and love being loved by them. If I am not sure why women, in this culture, take a chance on us, I am also certain that those who do have very solid reasons that I ought to believe in as a man. There is hope for us.

Late Christmas eve, after the children were put to bed, we sat down and watched part of the TV series Homeland. I hadn't seen it before but learned right off that the Damian Lewis character, a former MIA Marine, had turned traitor/terrorist after experiencing the loss of a surrogate son, collateral damage after an American drone attack in the war against al-Qaeda. The episode I watched part of had this character planning a suicide bombing, while carrying on with his American family in the normal way. Weird. So I'm thinking, "what BS." The guy might just as easily decide to become a pacifist, after such a loss, after such an experience. Why do the writers need to create a rationale for the knee jerk, militaristic response to military madness? Yes, I know— where would be the drama and the thrill of a Marine-turned-pacifist scenario? So, instead, we get this idiocy, where this father decides to blow himself up, forgetting his wife and children, imagining himself to be more of a man for killing others, than simply remaining present to nurture and love in a fatherly way.

Well, that's just one of our current images of hyper-masculinity brought to us by a profit-driven media. Thousands more exist out there, teaching machismo day and night. It's a miracle that good sons, fathers, and husbands still manage to retain the kind of values you, Drc, represent to us here, with all the influences to the contrary in the wind.

Also this: While I agree with Code Pink and others' condemnation of the NRA's position on gun control, I can't help agreeing in part with the NRA chief's comments that suggested a media complicity in the violence. I don't think the problem is one-dimensional. It's complex. I don't think it helps to avoid looking at a culpable culture of violence and the back-and-forth cycle between hypermasculinity and violence.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

Making a living and being functional in the world apparently does much to bolster a man’s sense of his own manhood (It helps women too, to bolster their self-esteem as women). But for men, work has special significance, and when a man cannot find work, or has no realistic work prospects, the damage can go deep. I’m sure, more than a threat to survival, the damage also has to do with the humiliation of the contrast between the ideal of breadwinner and the reality of one’s personal failure as such, among other things. We wish men could separate their self-identity as men from their work, but in this culture, well, good luck.

Yesterday I had a landscaping crew, all men, in my yard, tending to two huge pine trees. One pine had to be removed entirely, and the other trimmed, or “laced,” as they call it. Let me tell you, the job demanded a huge amount of strength and energy, but they, 5 of them, went about it with humor and determination; and, at the end of the day, their pride in the work they’d done was fully apparent. The main tree “lacer,” the one who did most of the work up in the trees, even wanted me to go into the street to look at his “balanced” work. When I told him what a beautiful job he’d done, I could see the satisfaction there, big time.

You're on to something here, that this "hypermasculinity" is a product of class expectations or at least highly involved with it. Life outside the middle class is presented through the media as some kind of living hell, a form of death. People raised in a middle class household often don't have the knowledge, social connections, or acculturation to make it as a member of the laboring class. Not that violence and hypermasculinity aren't problems unique to the middle class of course.

It seems that there are contradictory messages or signals conveyed through the media. On the one hand, the capitalist order is known to be founded on injustice and therefore it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the current social and economic system is unfair. But the idea is that capitalism is the best of all possible worlds, so to complain is a sign of individual weakness or failure. Those who enjoy the privelege of being a member of the middle class are part of a society and culture which reinforces the notion that its members have produced something of value. Moreover, if someone has something of value then they have the means to enter this world. It is these people who are entitled to enjoy a lifestyle of peaceful creativity. But it cannot be simultaneously true that "life is unfair" (in the broad fundamental sense) and that life is fair (in the aforementioned sense of capitalism as a meritocracy). At any rate, if the story as it has been portrayed in the media is true, Lanza is someone who was unaware of the opportunities he had; opportunities others would kill for. How was that possible?

I don't know, I can only surmise that he found the expectations placed upon him to be impossible and therefore blamed others for the unfairness shown to him. Lanza's killing spree is unique in that it combines the murder of one of his family members with that of the killing of strangers, and suicide. Was his mother simply in the way? Even if so, he came to the point where he could do that. In cases of murder-suicide, the killing of strangers is a final act which in the mind of the killer "evens the score" in some sense. That proves that there is a message to society at large, a message which is a response to the unfairness endured by the killer. When a person kills his family and then himself, its probably also true that the act is a response to some injustice, actual or otherwise, but its less obvious how the act vindicates the killer in his own mind unless the blame is placed on the family. I don't think that in those cases that's what's happening. I think the correct way to interpret it is that the act of killing his family is a reaction against the society which has charged him with a duty he cannot fulfill.

I guess its possible that its possible that these types of things can be prevented but I don't know. There was a spate of murder suicides a ways back, and this was previous to the 2008 financial crisis but during the period where people were losing jobs, going back to work for less, etc. I think its important to point out that these cases are the exception and not to draw to direct a connection between them and the state of the economy. Theres a temptation to reach for easy answers and people did the same thing with terrorism, embracing the meme that global poverty creates terrorists. I'm not being facetious at all when I say that if there is a connection between political ideology and the likelihood a person will commit such an act - and I emphasize the word "if" - it most likely will point to a correllation with being a Republican or raised in a Republican household.

Well, so much for "Dad went to go buy a pack of cigarrettes and never came back."

nimblecivet's picture
nimblecivet
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote nimblecivet:
Quote Zenzoe:

Making a living and being functional in the world apparently does much to bolster a man’s sense of his own manhood (It helps women too, to bolster their self-esteem as women). But for men, work has special significance, and when a man cannot find work, or has no realistic work prospects, the damage can go deep. I’m sure, more than a threat to survival, the damage also has to do with the humiliation of the contrast between the ideal of breadwinner and the reality of one’s personal failure as such, among other things. We wish men could separate their self-identity as men from their work, but in this culture, well, good luck.

Yesterday I had a landscaping crew, all men, in my yard, tending to two huge pine trees. One pine had to be removed entirely, and the other trimmed, or “laced,” as they call it. Let me tell you, the job demanded a huge amount of strength and energy, but they, 5 of them, went about it with humor and determination; and, at the end of the day, their pride in the work they’d done was fully apparent. The main tree “lacer,” the one who did most of the work up in the trees, even wanted me to go into the street to look at his “balanced” work. When I told him what a beautiful job he’d done, I could see the satisfaction there, big time.

You're on to something here, that this "hypermasculinity" is a product of class expectations or at least highly involved with it. Life outside the middle class is presented through the media as some kind of living hell, a form of death. People raised in a middle class household often don't have the knowledge, social connections, or acculturation to make it as a member of the laboring class. Not that violence and hypermasculinity aren't problems unique to the middle class of course.

It seems that there are contradictory messages or signals conveyed through the media. On the one hand, the capitalist order is known to be founded on injustice and therefore it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the current social and economic system is unfair. But the idea is that capitalism is the best of all possible worlds, so to complain is a sign of individual weakness or failure. Those who enjoy the privelege of being a member of the middle class are part of a society and culture which reinforces the notion that its members have produced something of value. Moreover, if someone has something of value then they have the means to enter this world. It is these people who are entitled to enjoy a lifestyle of peaceful creativity. But it cannot be simultaneously true that "life is unfair" (in the broad fundamental sense) and that life is fair (in the aforementioned sense of capitalism as a meritocracy). At any rate, if the story as it has been portrayed in the media is true, Lanza is someone who was unaware of the opportunities he had; opportunities others would kill for. How was that possible?

I don't know, I can only surmise that he found the expectations placed upon him to be impossible and therefore blamed others for the unfairness shown to him. Lanza's killing spree is unique in that it combines the murder of one of his family members with that of the killing of strangers, and suicide. Was his mother simply in the way? Even if so, he came to the point where he could do that. In cases of murder-suicide, the killing of strangers is a final act which in the mind of the killer "evens the score" in some sense. That proves that there is a message to society at large, a message which is a response to the unfairness endured by the killer. When a person kills his family and then himself, its probably also true that the act is a response to some injustice, actual or otherwise, but its less obvious how the act vindicates the killer in his own mind unless the blame is placed on the family. I don't think that in those cases that's what's happening. I think the correct way to interpret it is that the act of killing his family is a reaction against the society which has charged him with a duty he cannot fulfill.

I guess its possible that its possible that these types of things can be prevented but I don't know. There was a spate of murder suicides a ways back, and this was previous to the 2008 financial crisis but during the period where people were losing jobs, going back to work for less, etc. I think its important to point out that these cases are the exception and not to draw to direct a connection between them and the state of the economy. Theres a temptation to reach for easy answers and people did the same thing with terrorism, embracing the meme that global poverty creates terrorists. I'm not being facetious at all when I say that if there is a connection between political ideology and the likelihood a person will commit such an act - and I emphasize the word "if" - it most likely will point to a correllation with being a Republican or raised in a Republican household.

Well, so much for "Dad went to go buy a pack of cigarrettes and never came back."

Thanks for those observations, NC. I appreciate them so much for their willingness to consider the possible psychosocial aspects that foster violence. I have focused on the apparent spirit of hypermasculinity within the culture as a primary cause, but others on the forum, including you, probably could expand or add substance to the subject beyond whatever I have to offer here.

As it is, I’m going to have to fly by the seat of my pants, since I’m not an expert on the relationship, if any, between class (or race) and hypermasculinity. I can only make guesses, but that’s okay: I’m not here to teach; I’m here to explore.

Speaking of class and masculinity itself, I came across this ad for Ford trucks, an ad placed in a magazine called Entrepreneur: It shows a picture of a welder welding, and the caption says, “Somebody please pass a law prohibiting guys with desk jobs using the phrase ‘Tough day at work.’” Then it has the Ford logo surrounded by the slogan “Built Tough.” http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2007/10/30/masculinity-and-class-fo...

So what does that mean? If you’re a middle or upper class male working at a desk job, you’re less authentically masculine than a working class male?

That puts us back to whether white, middle class males are more vulnerable to feelings of inadequacy as men, and, therefore, vulnerable to acting out violently. You seem to imply as much here, where you write, “Not that violence and hypermasculinity aren't problems unique to the middle class of course.” But I do believe we make a mistake in thinking that the sickness of violent hypermasculinity is limited to white, middle class males. Here’s a Salon author with some important info:

“I’m not suggesting this is good news, but the stereotype that these kinds of shooters are invariably white men is less true than it used to be. In the last decade or so, almost every possible demographic has been represented: There have been two infamous campus shootings by Asian graduate students, one by a Native American teenager living on a Minnesota reservation, and a couple by African-Americans and Latinos. Overall, 43 of the 61 shooters in mass killings since 1982 have been white, which is only a little higher than the proportion of whites in the general population.”

http://www.salon.com/2012/12/15/how_americas_toxic_culture_breeds_mass_m...

And also, here’s a very fine piece on the subject, explaining the link between violence and hypermasculinity in the African-American community:

In HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, author Kevin Powell says, “We live in a society where manhood is all about conquering and violence…. And what we don’t realize is that ultimately that kind of manhood ultimately kills you.” But this preoccupation with violence is not unique to hip-hop culture. As author, teacher and radio host Michael Dyson says, “When you think about American society, the notion of violent masculinity is at the heart of American identity.” From the outlaw cowboy in American history to the hypermasculine thug of gangster rap, violent masculinity is an enduring symbol of American manhood itself. http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/hiphop/masculinity.htm

Thus, I think we can disabuse ourselves of the notion that it’s all about angry white males—the illness contaminates the entire culture, top to bottom, up one side and down the other.

Feminists have been ridiculed and stigmatized for “feminizing” men, as if being whole —being in touch with feelings, using words to express emotion, being tender or caring— offends masculinity by “weakening” it. All of this, of course, refers back to misogynistic fear of being like a female.

Somehow we’ve got to incorporate qualities of tenderness, care, empathy and feeling into the definition of manhood. If nothing else, manhood needs to grow up. As long as men are not allowed to be whole, what else can we expect but violence?

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Hey guys, you don't have to give up football and beer to incorporate tenderness, care, empathy and feeling into your "mancard." You might want to change the culture to get away from the BudLite consumption derby and the bimbo "self-image" consultants. But, growing up does not mean that you never get to visit your inner adolescent. It just means that you cannot stay there. It does not become you. Chicks do not dig it.

I suppose among my malish shortcomings is a serious dislike for the "Chickflic" and some other things that gain a certain female popularity. But, I don't like the idiot macho movies at all either. I keep being offended at the way men are pictured. If that's what it's all about, no wonder 'real men' are itching to fight and die to get it over with.

I was lucky to experience women who did not conform to the weaker sex or shrinking violet image of post-WWII America. They were not early feminist theoreticians, they just lived and did what needed doing without waiting for the men to do it. The men were either not there or not very good at what needed to be done. (I also had one example of an utterly pathetic 'weaker sex' grandmother who made being needy ugly in her self victimhood). It screwed up the men in her life.

Anyway, I suspect there are a good number of men who are ready to give up macho to be happy males and very sexy at that!

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

Oops. Meant to say "Not that violence and hypermasculinity are problems unique to the middle class of course."

Thanks for the statistical reference, it looks solid.

Is "hypermasculinity" new? Seems like its been around for a while... Seems like its tied to the development of an ego that is accustomed to instant gratification and the maintainance of privelege. Looking at it through the lens of class probably is not the only way it should be examined, but it seems like while the range and degree of violence is there at the lower levels the context is different. There it often seems that violence by the group is often intended to disillusion the individual that they are better than the group. In other words, the interest in violence often becomes reinforcing the class conditions within the class, and thereby reinforces the class structure of society. But people among the 1% no doubt reinforce each others' egos and reinforce the recognition of each other as "individuals".

nimblecivet's picture
nimblecivet
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

"Shrinking violet image of post WWII"? What about the "modern woman": Sharp. Classy. Intellegent. Capable. Witty. And she still is, but the media won't tell you that.

nimblecivet's picture
nimblecivet
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The militarized version of hypermasculinity only needs the privilege of the gun and looting. The pirate analogy was more democratic or 'coop' than the national militaries, but the idea of unit solidarity and brotherhood goes all the way back. How this intense love grounded in mutual survival feeds the power rush of combat and the swagger of the occupier may be privilege, but not as we see in greed and wealth.

The more serious civil expression of the pathology surrounds the end of domestic patriarchy where men "feel threatened" and even "emasculated" by powerful women. Men who are supposed to be the "head of the household" and " breadwinners" can have a hard time with vulnerability and the exchange of need in mutuality. What has made them proud convicts them and shames them, keeping them from healing. Violence ensues, one way or the other.

Our comedies have been the best humanizing vehicles of culture as they allow the oddity and geek to be people without judging them. Almost all our war and political films have been distractiing and too distorted to provide any learning. We have supported the troops no matter how wrong we have thought their mission to be. At some point the only way to support the troops is by not having human beings be troops.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

It will be no surprise to anyone that my father (actually, step-father, but the only father I knew growing up) dominated our household in ways that probably account, in part, for my feminism.

George married my mother when I was eight years old (I'm the third daughter), after he had been home for awhile after serving in the army as a Lieutenant during WWII. He was not a big man, but he was bright, big-hearted, ambitious and handsome, and I'm sure at the time he had all the intentions in the world of being a good father. However, he'd grown up during the depression and hadn't been able to finish college (war), and, by the time he entered our lives, he had survived some serious hardships and heartbreaks, as well as his own successful father's vicious beatings even into his teens. He had also worked at all sorts of jobs— lumberjack, miner, combat engineer, etc., and so came to us with a "no ifs ands or buts" brand of manhood.

Well, I didn't like him from the start. After all, my family had been all female— mother, grandmother and three girls. So, the word patriarch was not part of the lexicon in my little girl's head. I'm sure he was at a loss as well, though, as to how to survive as a male in a household with four females. (he and my grandmother clashed, and she eventually had to leave). He was used to being obeyed, and to be told by this little brat, me, that "I don't have to mind you; you're not my father" had to be quite a challenge. Well, he tried. Like I said, he had a big heart, and when I was ten he bought me a colt that grew up to be a beauty of a horse and my solace throughout my teen years. And, though George could be surly and verbally bullying, he never once hit any of us, nor abused us physically in any way. His attitude was this: Any man that hits a woman is a coward.

I don't mean to tell the entire story, so to get to the point, I'll just say this: I'm quite sure that his temper and his dominating ways would not have existed had he been able to develop as an artist (he was a natural draughtsman and artist) and had he not been under so much pressure to fulfill his own definition of manhood, a constant project of huge importance to him, apparently. Where that came from exactly, I can't say.

He used to keep a gun under the mattress, but only for protection. He never used it, nor brought it out for show. Once, though, when I was still in high school, a boy, my date, drove up and parked in front of our house, then honked the horn for me to come out. Oops! George told me to stay put, and he went out there and gave the jerk a "man-to-man" talking to, then sent him away with an order to never show his face again on our street.

He would also let the tears flow during the sad parts of movies. That's one of the ways he demonstrated that real men are emotional too, and perhaps he's the reason I'm so big on the idea of men as human beings first, and "macho" men last.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

It was Edward Abbey who said that the definition of a man was to be ready to play any game any time. Including tennis.

The latter thoughts about class are pretty much derived from rubbish in the media rather than personal experience. I don't remember specifics as much as general trends of thought. I think like many people I was caught in a flux that I did not understand, but despite what at least appeared to me to be serious turmoil my neuroconfiguration matrices didn't suffer some sort of binary relay misfire problem.

nimblecivet's picture
nimblecivet
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote nimblecivet:

It was Edward Abbey who said that the definition of a man was to be ready to play any game any time. Including tennis.

The latter thoughts about class are pretty much derived from rubbish in the media rather than personal experience. I don't remember specifics as much as general trends of thought. I think like many people I was caught in a flux that I did not understand, but despite what at least appeared to me to be serious turmoil my neuroconfiguration matrices didn't suffer some sort of binary relay misfire problem.

I'm not getting your point, NC. What is an example of a "binary relay misfire problem?"

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Actually I see my masculinity as a liability. My masculinity has never been as real or strong as my wife's maternal instincts. My masculinity has caused me more harm over the years than anything outside of self absortion. I think if we let go of masculinity and grasp paternity instead we would have a much better world to live in now. If we could accept brotherhood amongst all living creatures we could live amongst one another for milinia.

Bush_Wacker's picture
Bush_Wacker
Joined:
Jun. 25, 2011 7:53 am
Quote Bush_Wacker:

Actually I see my masculinity as a liability. My masculinity has never been as real or strong as my wife's maternal instincts. My masculinity has caused me more harm over the years than anything outside of self absortion. I think if we let go of masculinity and grasp paternity instead we would have a much better world to live in now. If we could accept brotherhood amongst all living creatures we could live amongst one another for milinia.

Thanks, Bush_Wacker. I find men’s personal take on their own masculinity and manhood to be highly interesting and important. And I agree— fatherhood and brotherhood should rank at the top of any list of attributes belonging to a positive masculinity.

I would be interested to know how masculinity in a man could be felt as a liability. From a woman’s perspective in a “man’s world,” it would seem to be more of an advantage and a benefit than anything else. However, if masculinity means what it means for many men, that is, if it confines men’s humanity within a narrow range, where only certain behaviors and emotions find social acceptance, then, yes, that would be a liability. How healthy can a person be, if society forces him to conform to a false self?

I am reminded of psychologist Paula Kaplan’s Delusional Dominating Personality Disorder (or, "Macho Personality Disorder"), the category she and an associate invented and proposed for inclusion in the DSM. It was a reaction to the many misogynistic categories within the DSM, such as, “Self-defeating Personality Disorder and late Luteal Phase Dysphoric Disorder.” Not only did the DSM stigmatize women for conforming to “societal norms” for feminine behavior, it lacked “a parallel diagnosis which would pathologize the men who had conformed to societal norms for a ‘real man.'” Thus, their DDPD proposal included the following highlights:

• Inability to identify and express a range of feelings in oneself (typically accompanied by an inability to identify accurately the feelings of other people).

• Inability to respond appropriately and empathically to the feelings and needs of close associates and intimates (often leading to the misinterpretation of signals from others).

• Tends to use power, silence, withdrawal, and/or avoidance rather than negotiation in the face of interpersonal conflict or difficulty

• An excessive need to inflate the importance and achievements of oneself, males in general, or both. This is often associated with a need to deflate the importance of one's intimate female partner, females in general, or both.

• The presence of any one of the following delusions: (a)the delusion of personal entitlement to the services of 1) any woman with whom one is personally associated, 2) females in general for males in general; b) the delusion that women like to suffer and to be ordered around-(c) the delusion that physical force is the best method of solving interpersonal problems; (d) the delusion that sexual and aggressive impulses are uncontrollable in 1) oneself, 2) males in general, 3) both of the above; (e) the delusion that pornography and erotica are identical; (f) the delusion that women control most of the world's wealth and/or power but do little of the world's work; (g) the delusion that existing inequalities in the distribution of power and wealth are a product of the survival of the fittest and that, therefore, allocation of greater social and economic rewards to the already privileged are merited. (Note: the simultaneous presence of several of these delusions in one individual is very common and frequently constitutes a profoundly distorted belief system).

• A pronounced tendency to categorize spheres of functioning and sets of behavior rigidly according to sex, e.g., belief that housework is women's work.

• A pronounced tendency to use a gender-based double standard in interpreting or evaluating situations or behavior (e.g., a man who makes breakfast sometimes is considered to be extraordinarily good, but a women who sometimes neglects to make breakfast is considered deficient).

•A pathological need to affirm one's social importance by displaying oneself in the company of females who meet any three of the following criteria: (a) are conventionally physically attractive: (b) are younger than oneself (c) are shorter in stature than oneself; (d) weigh less than oneself; (e) appear to be lower on socioeconomic criteria than oneself; (f) are more submissive than oneself.

• A distorted approach to sexuality, displaying itself in one or both of these ways: (a) a pathological need for flattery about one's sexual performance and/or the size of one's genitalia; (b) an infantile tendency to equate large breasts on women with their sexual attractiveness.

• A tendency to feel inordinately threatened by women who fail to disguise their intelligence.

(I thought the phrase I put in bold typeface most closely related to this thread.)

Naturally, the category did not find its way into the DSM. They treated it as a joke. Of course, it IS funny, but didn't not taking it seriously satisfy the delusional need to deflate the achievements of women? Or, also, let’s not pathologize hypermasculinity, right? Let's not mess with the power structure!

I think we could write a list of attributes based on the opposite of those listed above, a list for a positive masculinity. For example, a "real" man "uses communication and negotion in the face of interpersonal conflict or difficulty, rather than power, silence and withdrawal." Or, a "real" man "never uses physical force to solve interpersonal problems."

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/87272

Interesting interview with Mark Ames who wrote a book called "Going Postal". He links many mass shootings(not necessarily the latest one though as it may have been an issue of mental health) - with Economic Inequality and lack of power within the workplace.

Economic Inequality and the powerlessness of Labor began rising in the 1970's with the opening of China and the gas embargo etc only to become an avalanch after Reagan killed be Air Traffic Controllers union. Overnight labor was ripped of most of the power they had.

Ames may be on to something considering most mass shootings have occured since the 1970s.

I've also heard Thom say that feelings of powerlessness can lead to anger issues and are often present in acts of rage and violence.

Some could say "But there was lots of inequality and worker powerlessness throughout American History" - and we can find slave uprisings where there were mass killings of whites. After Industrialization unions became more powerful and made up a large part of the workforce. The unions has power and thru the unions the workers etc had power - at that point the owners probably felt powerless in ways and hence the multiple times the private police forces and the Nat Guard engaged in mass murder.

Anyway not trying to offer a definitive answer to an issue with multiple reasons including those above, mental illness, bullying, rise of high capacity weapons, an acting out of the early western mentality of shooting yourself out of a problem etc. And of course it almost exclusively a White MALE issue -

Mark Ames has an interesting theory.

Scappoose's picture
Scappoose
Joined:
Mar. 30, 2012 7:49 am

DDPD-what a crock! It is so delusional I'll just make a few points. Males who have an atraction to large breasts are reacting to natural stimuli. What do you think the reason that the human female is the only mammal who has engorged breasts even when she is not nursing? Maybe it is a method of attracting males. Women-stop suffering from breast envy-if you have small breasts-find a man who prefers small breasts. There's someone for everyone-that's what makes the world go round. Now, if some women weren't naturally larger breasted-then I would agree that those who feel the need for implants to reach that size were going too far. But some women do have large breasts naturally-it is not a concoction of male fantasies.

Inflating the importance of one's importance and achievements-have you ever worked for a female manager? Welcome to the world of ego-male or female.

A pronounced tendency to categorize spheres of functioning and sets of behavior rigidly according to sex- gee nobody raises an eyebrow at a male nurse of preschool teacher?

"•A pathological need to affirm one's social importance by displaying oneself in the company of females who meet any three of the following criteria: (a) are conventionally physically attractive: (b) are younger than oneself (c) are shorter in stature than oneself; (d) weigh less than oneself; (e) appear to be lower on socioeconomic criteria than oneself; (f) are more submissive than oneself." Gee-how many woman have dated a man shorter than them or poorer?

"• A distorted approach to sexuality, displaying itself in one or both of these ways: (a) a pathological need for flattery about one's sexual performance and/or the size of one's genitalia; (b) an infantile tendency to equate large breasts on women with their sexual attractiveness." How many women use small male genital size as a putdown to cut to the heart of the male ego?

DynoDon
Joined:
Jun. 29, 2012 10:24 am
Quote Scappoose:

http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/87272

Interesting interview with Mark Ames who wrote a book called "Going Postal". He links many mass shootings(not necessarily the latest one though as it may have been an issue of mental health) - with Economic Inequality and lack of power within the workplace.

Economic Inequality and the powerlessness of Labor began rising in the 1970's with the opening of China and the gas embargo etc only to become an avalanch after Reagan killed be Air Traffic Controllers union. Overnight labor was ripped of most of the power they had.

Ames may be on to something considering most mass shootings have occured since the 1970s.

I've also heard Thom say that feelings of powerlessness can lead to anger issues and are often present in acts of rage and violence.

Some could say "But there was lots of inequality and worker powerlessness throughout American History" - and we can find slave uprisings where there were mass killings of whites. After Industrialization unions became more powerful and made up a large part of the workforce. The unions has power and thru the unions the workers etc had power - at that point the owners probably felt powerless in ways and hence the multiple times the private police forces and the Nat Guard engaged in mass murder.

Anyway not trying to offer a definitive answer to an issue with multiple reasons including those above, mental illness, bullying, rise of high capacity weapons, an acting out of the early western mentality of shooting yourself out of a problem etc. And of course it almost exclusively a White MALE issue -

Mark Ames has an interesting theory.

Yes, Scappoose, that was an interesting interview, and I don’t disagree with Ames’ theory. However, while inequality and the sense of powerless most assuredly do play a role in the mass-killing trend, I have to ask what’s underneath that underneath cause. That is, what exactly drives governments and economic systems toward policies that create inequality and powerlessness among ordinary people? What is the spirit behind and underneath— the spirit, or philosophy, or value system compelling greed, predatory politics and economics, ruthlessness in government and finance, and, ultimately, the acting out of frustration and rage by our canaries-in-the-mineshaft, the mentally ill?

When I think of Ronald Reagan, the image that comes to mind is of the rugged cowboy, an image he cultivated with a vengeance, even though it was a lie, just as Dubya’s cultivation of such was a lie. I remember his slogan, “peace through strength,” and I remember his stupid invasion of Grenada, then his ruthless politics on unions, and then the Iran-Contra atrocity. So, what’s all that code for? I think it’s code for a masculine politics that fears the prospect of appearing weak. I think it’s code for a politics of manhood, or bully-on-the block governing.

This article, The cowboy in crisis, or male anxiety in American politics, refers to “spooked machismo,” as the underlying spirit of today’s politics. I don’t think that’s too far off the mark.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote DynoDon:

DDPD-what a crock! It is so delusional I'll just make a few points. Males who have an atraction to large breasts are reacting to natural stimuli. What do you think the reason that the human female is the only mammal who has engorged breasts even when she is not nursing? Maybe it is a method of attracting males. Women-stop suffering from breast envy-if you have small breasts-find a man who prefers small breasts. There's someone for everyone-that's what makes the world go round. Now, if some women weren't naturally larger breasted-then I would agree that those who feel the need for implants to reach that size were going too far. But some women do have large breasts naturally-it is not a concoction of male fantasies.

Why am I not surprised that Donald would hate the whole notion of Delusional Dominating Personality Disorder. But methinks the fellow doth protest too much... possibly...

I discovered the nice thing about having average-sized breasts, during the time when I was breast-feeding my first son and my breasts grew to melon-sized. It was this: With average-sized breasts, you attract decent guys; with huge breasts, you get the jerks. Just a little anecdotal commentary, but I'll bet I'm not alone in this experience.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

In other words, by some set of circumstances I did not wind up one of the abberations that went "off keel" or "went postal." The mind is a delicately balanced machine; the only explanation science has to offer of why there might be abberations such as the charismatic Ted Bundy, the Columbine shooters, Lambert, Lee Harvey Oswald, etc. is that there are "evolutionary forces" constraining the number of such incidents. Otherwise, looking at the brain as a physical organ and the basic manner in which it functions one has to assume, at least inasmuch as I understand the basic concepts of evolution and neuroscience properly in relation to the problem, that when abberations such as the aforementioned examples occur they do so as a result of some set of circumstances in which the normal "balance" acheived by competing imperatives is overridden by an egocentric quest for self-validation through acts which confer a sense of power through victimization of another. Probably it is quite common for many people to feel as though it would be justified or appropriate to do things which are illegal, but the cost of becoming a felon is too high. For example, there's a case where some parents killed the "pimp" (per the newspaper article) of their teenage daughter which is the exception rather than the rule in such cases though one might feel some sympathy for the parents. But the question relevant here is (do you agree?): At what point does the fetishization of the excercise of power drive individuals within a society to commit atrocities?

nimblecivet's picture
nimblecivet
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote nimblecivet:

In other words, by some set of circumstances I did not wind up one of the abberations that went "off keel" or "went postal." The mind is a delicately balanced machine; the only explanation science has to offer of why there might be abberations such as the charismatic Ted Bundy, the Columbine shooters, Lambert, Lee Harvey Oswald, etc. is that there are "evolutionary forces" constraining the number of such incidents. Otherwise, looking at the brain as a physical organ and the basic manner in which it functions one has to assume, at least inasmuch as I understand the basic concepts of evolution and neuroscience properly in relation to the problem, that when abberations such as the aforementioned examples occur they do so as a result of some set of circumstances in which the normal "balance" acheived by competing imperatives is overridden by an egocentric quest for self-validation through acts which confer a sense of power through victimization of another. Probably it is quite common for many people to feel as though it would be justified or appropriate to do things which are illegal, but the cost of becoming a felon is too high. For example, there's a case where some parents killed the "pimp" (per the newspaper article) of their teenage daughter which is the exception rather than the rule in such cases though one might feel some sympathy for the parents. But the question relevant here is (do you agree?): At what point does the fetishization of the excercise of power drive individuals within a society to commit atrocities?

Oh. Okay. I see now what you meant originally.

My father didn’t go off keel either, despite the beatings, hardships and war, despite the contrast between his affluent childhood (before the Wall Street crash) and economic status as an adult, and despite the fact that he struggled to raise our family’s standard of living as a small business owner, sometimes failing badly. He was highly intelligent and never felt inferior to anyone, but I think back then most people were struggling to reach middle class, and so the expectations perhaps were lower. And anyway, he always felt confident in his abilities.

Incidentally, or perhaps not, I came across a letter to my father recently, one sent to him by a very famous actor with the initials R.R., whose father had been best friends with my father. I’m thinking it relates here to the importance of role models for males, and the need boys seem to have for mentors in forging their own identities as men. (Don't forget, the Newtown shooter’s father was absent) Anyway, he wrote, in part, “To my dad you were always a wonderful character, the kind good stories are born of, stories of adventure and independence....you were always something of an idol to him as well as a friend...For me, a young lad itching to get out and feeling much of the time bad and misunderstood, you embodied the possible. To travel in independence, resisting society’s hardness and at any time being willing to erase the bond clean and start anew... I had tremendous interest and envy in your episodes; you were my Jack London before I knew there was one. ...In a small world that scrupulously avoided certain truths as undignified or too scary, I longed for that cut-through-to-the-quick-of-it I inherently feel important to my life. So I settled for tales and anecdotes from my father...And having so many urges that seemed similar, I thought, 'He is up to living.'"

So, I have to wonder what happens to boys who have no loving father figure, nor decent male mentor to guide them as they figure out who they are. I do think fathers and "big brothers" of whatever kind are important in that way.

I tend to think that something has to be wrong with the wiring in the brains of guys who slaughter. Something went wrong somewhere, so that the inhibition against acting out is overwhelmed by the urge. I do know that abuse and exposure to real violence injures the brain in such a way that, sometimes, impulse control is lost. That old frontal lobe function goes, if you know what I mean. PTSD, etc.

But who knows what the recipe was with the Newtown shooter. I'm sure we'll learn more, as time goes on. I, for one, wonder what kind of messages he received about the world from the media as well as from his mother. Not to blame anyone other than himself, but what if he thought he was doing those children a favor? Horrible thought, I know. But such strange thoughts do occur to people like that, before they kill.

As for your question, “At what point does the fetishization of the exercise of power drive individuals within a society to commit atrocities?” I don’t know. But it sounds like a pretty good description of the American military. Interesting how we think nothing (well, some do) of training young people in the military to commit atrocities, but when the same behaviors happen here in our public places, we’re shocked and amazed, wondering how individuals can arrive at such decisions.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

It seems to have gotten to the point where people have accepted that the U.S. military is always engaged somewhere in some type of struggle. The constancy of the U.S.'s military and covert activities over the decades has been brought to the point where it seems like an assumption that the various foreign policy needs of the U.S. are assumed to require such constant excercise of military might. This can only reinforce within society overall the problem of individuals developing emotional complexes which lead to various types of neuroses and disorders. I haven't known a lot of people who have been in the military. From what I know I think there is a strong class component at work in the heirarchy there, although I don't know that its not possible to start from the bottom and get to the top.

As far as mentorship goes I think that's important to members of both sexes. I haven't done much of any reading on parent-child relationships or relationships in the workplace for that matter. But it does raise the question of whether it is within family relationships that an individual learns or starts to learn about relationships in the business world. It seems silly to ask a question like "If a woman has a strong father figure will she be better off with a male mentor who has a strong relationship with his daughter at home?" Somehow it seems too formulaic although the importance of these types of factors in understanding social dynamics is indisputable.

nimblecivet's picture
nimblecivet
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

I discovered the nice thing about having average-sized breasts, during the time when I was breast-feeding my first son and my breasts grew to melon-sized.

Boy am I glad I took pictures in my bikini when I was breast-feeding. No one would ever believe it. In my case I dress pretty much buttoned up- I hate having a conversation when the man's eyes keep slipping downward. They can't help it. So, I found the best solution is, remove the temptation.

The trouble my large breasted friends have is that it makes their armpits look really fat when they raise their arms.

I was raised by a monarchal serial philanderer who would have preferred I'd been born male. That explains me.

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leighmf
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote nimblecivet:

It seems to have gotten to the point where people have accepted that the U.S. military is always engaged somewhere in some type of struggle. The constancy of the U.S.'s military and covert activities over the decades has been brought to the point where it seems like an assumption that the various foreign policy needs of the U.S. are assumed to require such constant excercise of military might. This can only reinforce within society overall the problem of individuals developing emotional complexes which lead to various types of neuroses and disorders.

I agree. Since neurosis and mental disorder drives an empire based on inequality, corporatism and militarism, naturally neurosis and mental disorders will appear in the general population. That is, crazy government means crazy citizens, at least a certain percentage of citizens will be infected by the disease of the power structure.

Remember the movie The Hurt Locker? Rather than making a critical comment about war as madness and an intoxicating evil, as the initial Chris Hedges quote at the beginning of the movie implied it would do, the movie instead made the case for soldiers as “real” men, with the most Rambo among the American characters being the most admirable of them all, and the least Rambo of them all, the psychologist, being the one who dies, or, gets his just deserts for representing the anti-macho persona. The movie did nothing to enlighten the audience about the idiocy of the war, the injustice of it, and the powers that drove it. Instead, it became a celebration of manhood. IMHO.

Quote nimblecivet:

I haven't known a lot of people who have been in the military. From what I know I think there is a strong class component at work in the heirarchy there, although I don't know that its not possible to start from the bottom and get to the top.

I suppose any hierarchy has a class component to it, right? Seems like a natural consequence. But I do think that it’s possible to move upward through the ranks. I believe Westmoreland did that.

Quote nimblecivet:

As far as mentorship goes I think that's important to members of both sexes. I haven't done much of any reading on parent-child relationships or relationships in the workplace for that matter. But it does raise the question of whether it is within family relationships that an individual learns or starts to learn about relationships in the business world. It seems silly to ask a question like "If a woman has a strong father figure will she be better off with a male mentor who has a strong relationship with his daughter at home?" Somehow it seems too formulaic although the importance of these types of factors in understanding social dynamics is indisputable.

Absolutely. Then the question becomes, can one transcend one’s experience with role models, or lack thereof, to make choices freely in one’s own best interest?

My son and his best friend from childhood both played in rock bands all the while they were growing up, and then into adulthood too. While music, playing guitar in a band and being a rocker, became E.’s sole ambition in life (he’s brilliant at it), my son took a different path and pursued a career with a more practical aim in mind, even though he continued to play the guitar on the side. E’s father has made mega bucks as a genetics researcher, and always had a strong interest in education for his sons, sending them to the same Montessori school that my sons attended, which is how they met. I remember how the father expressed his disdain for our decision to send our boys to public school after Montessori, while his were enrolled in an expensive private school. Ironically, both my sons and his ended up attending the same university in California though, and now E. struggles with unemployment and alcoholism as he approaches middle age. We love E. so much and admire his passion for music, but now I can’t help wondering if his ambitions were inspired by rebellion against the father, an out-of-balance response to the smug superiority and arrogance of his father. One never knows for sure about these things. But the path to forging one’s own identity, to be true to oneself, has to be all the more difficult when a strong-willed parent, or mentor, imposes goals or standards that distort one’s objectivity and perception. But then, it could be said that the fault lies with a culture that doesn’t support the creative life, but, instead, gives unbearable alternatives— either be a starving artist, or sell your soul for a profit-making existence. It's a cruel choice, especially for the hugely talented. I wish it weren't the reality, but there it is.

On that ridiculously depressing note, let's make 2013 the best ever, and I hope it doesn't pass by as fast as 2012 did. Man, it whizzed right past me!

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote leighmf:
Quote Zenzoe:

I discovered the nice thing about having average-sized breasts, during the time when I was breast-feeding my first son and my breasts grew to melon-sized.

Boy am I glad I took pictures in my bikini when I was breast-feeding. No one would ever believe it. In my case I dress pretty much buttoned up- I hate having a conversation when the man's eyes keep slipping downward. They can't help it. So, I found the best solution is, remove the temptation.

The trouble my large breasted friends have is that it makes their armpits look really fat when they raise their arms.

Only if they have extra breasts growing out of their armpits. But, oh yeah, that reminds me— I saw the comedian Jeff Foxworthy on TV recently, on the subject of Redneck Fashion Tips, and here's what he said on subject of old ladies showing their cleavage:

Quote Jeff Foxworthy:

There has to be an age limit to certain articles of clothing...and this age limit applies to low cut tops on women...These women who insist on showin' their cleavage thirty years after anybody wants to see it. And they're always well-endowed...but, like, that cleavage line is three feet long, and it's got these little wrinkles comin' off of it— looks like you're lookin' at the Grand Canyon out of an airplane window.

I totally agree with that. I honestly don't understand why some women think everybody wants to be looking at their cleavage. Sometimes it's just plain disgusting.

Quote leighmf:

I was raised by a monarchal serial philanderer who would have preferred I'd been born male. That explains me.

My father didn't worry that I was a girl. He went ahead and taught me how NOT to throw a ball like a "waddly-butt girl," (his words), but, instead, to lead with the hips and follow through with the whole arm. Then he took me fishing and camping (whole family, of course). Then he said that in battle, he'd want me, more than anyone, in the front lines with him. That was because, of course, I tended to disagree with him on so many things. He called me "the great dissenter." So I said, "Well, if you were right, I'd agree with you." I was a brat. He was a Republican.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Music has been on my mind lately in relation to some philosophical questions I have been exploring, specifically so-called "Western" philosophy (of the modern German variety). For example, I was reading a record of lectures about the philosopher Hegel who spoke extensively about his concept of the Master-Slave relationship. I don't see this as too different from the mythologizing forms of historicization which philosophers of the emerging modern states lent to their champions. But I thought I would mention it in relation to the question of militancy. Today, there's an association between athleticism and militancy to an extent. The system makes it as difficult on transient labor as possible, where this is the soil so to speak that allows greater flexibility in the economy. Maybe we'll see how quickly people in general can or have to adapt, and which way things go. I don't generally consider myself a "leader" although I think some of those skills can be learned and have to be in order to assume positions of greater responsibility. It bears mentioning here, don't you think, that there is a difference between a natural leader and a "bully." I'm using the term "bully" broadly to include anyone who benefits from even just annoying other people; that is, to any extent getting one's way by gaining an unwilling concession from another party. Natural leaders have a sort of charisma, but if a shift in the right direction is to occur then everybody will have to be in tune with their natural proclivities and what is the type of path which will yield the most happiness for them.

Music plays an important role in culture, and it can be a deadly industry. Its a heavy topic to delve into in relation to the aforementioned philosophical questions. To apply the inquiry in relation to your observation of the prevalence of "kitsch", its worth noting I think that behind the cipher codes to the learned discourse (symbols, insignia, tattoos, etc.) often lies a sophisticated understanding. That is, the "kitsch" object has lost for the observer whatever meaningful relation it once had to its original owner; nonetheless, it represents a vocabulary of active discourse where these symbols and codes are enmeshed in the behavior of their bearers. The idea that reality is not fully present at any given moment until it is revealed in fate, in a set of deciding consequences which may never be fully understood by its participants, but that this reality can be either created actively or in active engagement with the forces and conditions one has knowledge and understanding of.

To fully appreciate the potential of the mind means that no type of experience or thought is of itself a summation or culmination of ones being. The fundamental basis of knowledge in direct experience can never be indispensable in the formation of desire. This is the basis of the necessity of chaos, of heightening order within chaos. The potential for a cultural movement where society ingrains the knowledge of recreating its festivals, and thereby in living within the creation and death of these worlds, could be based on the notion of "Temporary Autonomous Zones" but include much more sophisticated aspects of production.

nimblecivet's picture
nimblecivet
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I almost died the day I heard my father say on a radio interview, "Champagne is like women- some are better than others."

leighmf's picture
leighmf
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I believe music is the first intercultural bridge we cross when we encounter 'strangers.' The sound of the drums with a different beat. The horns and the singing, and with amplification, the guitars can be heard from a distance. There is a lure to draw us together in music while also defining an ethnicity or culture.

As a jazz player, I am involved in the most integrative music ever. Jazz goes everywhere and takes on the local color plus, but it always retains its roots and is not just 'going native.' It is in the nature of this wonderful musical form, and going where jazz is the only common language is a trip.

What makes music good, in the Duke Ellington binary theory, is hard to define. My theory is that any music that has retained its roots in the real world is likely to be good and almost everything that is produced for commercial ends is less and likely not to be good. But, music goes a lot of places in our lives and context makes what is appropriate and therefor, good in that human utility. We don't need a symphony at the ball park.

Without getting too deep, let's just say that playing improvized music is a mystery I do while I do not understand it. I learned jazz by ear after learning to play classically reading. I know next to no music theory, but I can play what I hear in my head and what comes through my ears. What a mind trip that is.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

Here in SoCal-it's all tits and tats. Let me share an illuminating story about women and their body image.

There's a woman I've been acquainted with at the local gym for about 7 years. She is an educated businesswoman in her 50's. She is small framed and thin and has been an avid gym hound. She got divorced about 4 years ago. Suddenly she shows up at the gym 2 years ago and her AA's turned into B's. She got implants. I found it enlightening that a woman like this would still be so concerned with her breast size. I guess that old saying may be right-woman-thy name is vanity. We could be grateful she didn't go with the D's like others who wear low cut, spaghetti strapped form fitting tops at the gym. It's usually the one's in their 40's that try hardest to show off the 'girls'.

I know what you are thinking-but I actually prefer natural C's to implanted D's anyday.

DynoDon
Joined:
Jun. 29, 2012 10:24 am

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The Real Carbon “Monster” Revealed

Another day, another stupid assault on the truth by the fossil fuel industry and its paid lackeys. In a recent op-ed for the New York Post, Tom Harris, the executive director of the so-called International Climate Science Coalition -- an organization that’s funded, in part, by the fossil fuel industry -- blasted Leonardo DiCaprio for his work on “Carbon,” a new documentary on climate change that I helped write and present.

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