I should probably say a little more:
Persiflage, on 17 May 2010 - 10:55 AM, said:
Film, Sports, Technology, Manners, Politics, History, Economics, Schools, Religion, Christianity, Church, College, The Military, News Media, Television, Bookstores, Relationships, Marriage, Family, and the American Identity
A few of these examples -
Film - for example, try to find replacements for the "man’s man" actors of just a couple decades ago (Clint Eastwood, Robert De Niro, Bruce Willis, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford) among the next generation of Hollywood male leads in their 20s who all seem to be "in touch with their feminine side" these days. - In fact, just start listing every male actor in his 20s and decide how many of them could even be called masculine at all. Do the same for every Hollywood actor in his 30s, and you finally might find a couple exceptions that prove the new rule. Then look at the roles that guys like De Niro and Gibson were playing in their 20s.
I don't understand your point at all. I don't think these were "man's man" actors.
And I don't think the counterexamples you're holding up manifest that they're "in touch with their feminine side" so much as they demonstrate that they're more mature than the immature picture of the "tough guy" presented by the early-Eastwood, Gibson, and Willis characters.
It seems you're equating "masculine" with "vioent," "brash," and maybe even "egomaniacal." When I think about the dangerous examples set by characters that Eastwood, Willis, and sometimes even Ford set with their archetypal gunslinger roles, I'm drawn more to the words "immature," "adolescent," or even "childish" ... and yes, "egomaniacal"... more than "masculine."
These are wish-fulfillment characters for their fans. They're like Greek Gods, celebrating characteristics of force and toughness and attitude.
Such characters speak of a deep insecurity in the men who imagine them and personify them. They want to assert a cool sense of *control* that we cannot claim and do not possess. Thus the smug, cocky personality of so many action heroes. That attitude, which does fuel a lot of attitude in the arenas of sports and the military, is corrosive and dangerous.
When I think of characters who are strong "masculine" role models, I think of the character played by Christian Bale in The New World
, who is offered up as an answer to, and a sort of rebuke to, Colin Farrel's character, whose ambition and ego led him to pursue fame and fortune and greatness, only to lose his connection to something far greater ... love, which calls us to sacrifice, which calls us to make ourselves less
. I think of Samwise in The Lord of the Rings
, whose greatness is in his steadfastness and faithfulness more than his skill with a weapon.
Sports - over the last six months or so, what happened when you tried to turn on ESPN (or your local sports radio station) to find out the score or to find out the latest news on your sports team? - "Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods, Tiger Wood, Tiger Woods - who slept with whom? How many women did he sleep with? Is his wife going to leave or stay with him? Is he going to apologize to her? Is he going to apologize to us? Blah. Blah. Blah." - wait, I didn’t mean to turn on a soap opera or gossip channel, I want actual sports news - too bad, ESPN and other sportscasters have been obsessed over this sort of thing and these sorts of stories for years now.
I'm not sure how this relates to your premise. I think that the distorted view of masculinity in American culture contributes directly to the egomania and the errors that men like Tiger Woods make.
I don't think "femininity" has anything to do with your troubles getting good sports news.
Technology - I’m mostly speaking from experience among all my friends who are all mostly 20-somethings. MySpace and Facebook were bad enough - how many of my friends constantly check their myspace or facebook to see what everyone’s minute-by-minute updates are? "John had Cinnamon-Toast-Crunch this morning. It made him feel good inside." "Mary just saw a cute guy in the grocery store. She’s disappointed he didn’t talk to her." "Bill just changed his relationship status to single." "Sue just changed her relationship status to being in one." "Omg, Omg, Omg, I can’t believe how lovely Main street is at night people!" I have friends who spend hours a day on these sites. While it may be normal (if still unhealthy) activity for a high school girl, it shouldn’t be activity for a man.
I think you're being tremendously unfair and even insulting to women here. So, it's fine if women waste time sending each other trivial, inconsequential talk, but not men?
I think the culture is so busy connecting on trivial matters that human beings are finding it increasingly difficult to concentrate on real conversations. Men and women alike.
Having said that, I enjoy meaningful conversations through online social networking all the time. It's all in how you use it. I've found some wonderful friendships through Facebook.
Based on the actors you mentioned at the beginning, it seems to me you favor images of men who are over-confident, moving in a manner of cool independence... which is damaging to them and to those around them. Intimacy is made to seem uncool... and the addiction of so many to Facebook and other social networking sites speaks of a desperate need for intimacy of one kind or another. It's not the answer, and rarely addresses that need. But men need more humility and intimacy to be healthy, not less.
I agree that church shouldn't be a bunch of programs and clubs based on emotional "sharing." But church is meant to be a place of worship, prayer, bowing down and confessing, participating in the intimacy of communion.
That's the scandal of God's love for us. His love is not merely agape love - a sort of platonic "caring." It is intimate and personal. And this is why the erotic poetry of scripture is a very, very important part of the whole picture.
Why do you think God speaks of the church as his bride?
Consider the parables of Jesus. How do the men who behaved honorably in those stories measure up to your idea of a "man's man"?
If I understand Christ correctly, a "man's man" will serve his wife as Christ served the church. That is: Humble yourself, and take on the form of a servant.
Hardly glamorous, by the world's standard. But it looks a lot more like St. Francis than Mad Max.
Edited by Overstreet, 17 May 2010 - 02:09 PM.