I have not written in a while. I have wanted to, but have not been so motivated, overtaken, perhaps, with a general torpor of laziness….too lazy to get out my laptop and put my fingers to the keyboard; too lazy to think enough to be able to write something. Then, I find inspiration in what someone else has written, or said, and the wheels begin turning. They soon stop, though, and the inspiration that overtook me passes in the similar flash to the one that illuminated it.
The New York Times published an editorial on September 29, 2015 called 27 Ways to Be a Modern Man. Here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/02/fashion/mens-style/27-ways-to-be-a-modern-man.html?_r=0
A significant number of rebuttals to this have been published all over the internet. Some of them very well written, better written, perhaps, than the editorial that inspired them — others, not so much. I suppose one might say that any editorial that prompts people to rebut them is good one in that it made people think. What I am doing here is not so much about thinking as it is reaction to a stimulus, which is something amoebas do just as well as thinking human beings.
I abhor the word modern. Even more, I abhor the term post-modern, which became necessary only because of our over-use of the word modern. What do these words mean? What is their value, if they have any, since they are descriptive of nothing? Well, I suppose they do mean something, but the something is so subjective it turns out that they mean anything to everyone for no reason at all. Based on that, the NYT article might be better suited to have used the term post-modern, as in 27 ways to Be a Post-modern Man.
I am neither, I’m afraid, neither modern nor post-modern. I am archaic. I am an archaic man. I am an anachronism in a modern/post-modern world. If you are a regular reader, you will know that this is not the first time this paradox has caught my attention. I suspect it will not be the last, though this may be the last time you stop to read my ideas about it. I could become tedious. If so, you are free to hit the back button.
It seems to me that modern men are not manly enough. Men are sensitive nowadays, according to the NYT…they buy shoes for their women…they cry but not often enough, and they don’t own a gun and never will, though they choose the side of the bed closest to the door so they can protect their women by giving them enough time to escape in the event that insensitive, male pre-modern midnight marauders invade their bedroom.
I don’t know about that. As a species, we are likely failing to reproduce what we say we admire in modern men. If you give a woman a choice between a cocky, slightly unwashed outlaw, or a self-absorbed jock with chiseled-greek-god-esque features, both of them as insensitive as an old pair of farm boots, a woman will pick them nearly every time over the sensitive, bookish, effeminate man who is only effeminate because he allowed modernity to make a eunuch of him, thus rendering him incapable of breeding because women will not want to breed with him, eternally fending off his ardor and placing him in the “good-friend” camp.
I suppose being friends is what a modern man is all about, though he eternally hopes his platonic relationship takes a romantic turn. Buck up, modern man, and face it: They never do, and if they do in the course of a foggy wine-sodden evening, the cat deciding to torment the mouse for its own pleasure (the cat’s not the mouse’s), they last about two days before the woman tells you she just can’t bring herself ever think of you in terms of anything beyond a really good friend. Find a new friend, modern man. Your single best chance of salvaging any romance from the “friend” category is to ignore her to the point that she gets angry because she can’t have you. We all want what we can’t have. If you are looking for a mate, male or female, let me assure you that you should not reel in the first fish that nibbles at your bait, nor should you be too easy to catch, for that which is too easily obtained is invariably undervalued…there being no demand because of an over-abundant supply.
Modern men don’t own guns, we are told, and will never have a use for one. Hmmmm!! I am out on this one. I am solidly in the archaic camp. I own guns (lots of them) and have many uses for them which consist almost entirely of shooting at things I want to shoot at. I do have a couple of guns that are beyond safe usage, and they are kept just to look at. I suppose I am archaic because I am glad there is a Second Amendment that guarantees me the right to keep and bear arms, it being put there because tyrants of old, or even modern tyrants, prefer tyrannizing the unarmed, modern man to the dangerous archaic man. Archaic men suffered tyranny, too…mostly when they were unarmed and unable to fight back.
Hillary Clinton said just this week, in response to the terrible events in Oregon, “We have got to get the political will to do everything we can to keep people safe. I know there is a way to have sensible gun-control measures that help prevent violence, prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands, and save lives. And I am committed to doing everything I can to achieve that.” She will surely achieve that one day if all men become modern enough, because it is the modern man who relies on the government to keep him safe, never appreciating anything designed to keep him safe from the government. It is the modern man who yields his rights until he looks up one day and has no rights at all, having traded them for “peace” and “safety.” A thoroughly unmodern man, Patrick Henry once asked, “What is it that men may wish? Is life so dear, or is peace so sweet as to be purchased with the price of chains and slavery?” I expect old Pat would not make it in the modern world of modern men. I expect me and ol’ Pat would get along just fine, archaic as we both are.
Our President was already having a really bad week, the Russian reset not going very well with the thoroughly unmodern, even brutish, Putin, who seemed to be having his way with the President’s post-2012 election flexibility. He (the President) had some choice things to say about the Oregon events, almost saying out loud what was really on his mind, but not quite. Mr. President (who gives us all indications of being a thoroughly modern man), if you want the total outlawing and confiscation of firearms in this country, why not just go ahead and say so? Please stop with the common sense thing, as none of the common sense things anyone proposes would have done anything to prevent any of the school shootings, certainly not taking away the firearms of those who did not commit the crime.
Modern men are careful where they get their facts. Archaic men are less so, inventing their own facts when convenient ones aren’t available. Modern men’s facts tend to come from academic studies, usually paid for with government grants. Archaic men’s facts come from Guns and Ammo magazine, or Field and Stream, and if they are really archaic, beyond redemption, reprobates, their facts come from Fox News. The academicians want the government grants to continue just as surely as the magazines and broadcast news entities above want to increase their ad revenue. The modern man understands that not-for-profit is more noble and therefore more accurate than anything done in the for-profit setting. Oddly, this archaic man thought the truth was the truth. Apparently there is a higher truth, a more excellent truth, and a more noble truth, and its beauty is in the eye of the beholder, just like the facts, which have never been captive to the truth. You show me your facts and I’ll show you mine. You cite your studies and I’ll cite you mine since for every study that says “A”, another study says “Not-A”, and then we must have the discussion of the methodology of the studies, and who has the better study. Many of the best studies, it turns out, are conducted over tepid cans of American mass-produced beer and chili-cheese dipped bacon hamburgers in smoky pool halls if you’re archaic, and brightly lit microbreweries featuring highly acclaimed wheat ales that taste a lot like the essence of skunk but have been reviewed well in college newspapers, followed by spartan plates of micro-pita bread-guacamole-spinich dip, if you’re modern. The facts may vary considerably from each other while staying significantly away from the truth. Since I am archaic, I am unable to understand the nuances required for a proper comprehension of modern sensitivities. My bad.
So here I am, just me and my archaic self. Being an archaic man, let me assure you that I am guilty of all the things archaic men are guilty of. I am insensitive, but you telling me so will not bother me much, or provoke me to change precisely because of my insensitivity. I make typical men noises: I grunt, fart, belch, sneeze, wheeze, snort, sigh, smack, gulp, gasp, sniff, and spit. I own firearms and have uses for them. I do not think about buying shoes for my wife, though I did see some nice camouflaged, insulated rubber boots I thought she needed but had enough sense to know that she would not wear.
I admit that I do not understand modern men very much. Some of them seem willing to emasculate themselves, without any provocation, and most seem completely unaware that some women would emasculate us to the point where they couldn’t stand to be around us. It is odd that some women would turn us into the very thing they seem to despise.
Having said that, I suppose I understand modern women even less that I understand modern men.
Having said that, I suppose it is modernity this archaic is failing to understand.
Is anyone out there offended? I sure hope so.
How archaic of me.
©10/4/15 Mississippi Chris Sharp