Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Defining Macho Down

Never mind men in outer space or those slogging in Middle East mud, media attention is on a horny old Frenchman in Manhattan detention, a former body builder with no procreative self-control and a preening pack of politicians playing Chicken with the national debt limit.

In the Age of Viagra, masculinity is being downgraded everywhere. Even 60 Minutes is obsessed with strength cheating by Lance Armstrong and other cycling idols.

The Bogart-Eastwood days of strong, silent men are long gone, replaced by caricatures on the national stage, flexing fake muscles and abandoning all the responsibilities that used to be associated with responsible manhood.

A nation still composed more of families headed by breadwinners and Little League fathers than cases of arrested development watches survivor and “reality” shows featuring selfishness and low cunning as well as “news” about creatures with no sense of what’s involved in taking care of dependent people at home or in the public arena.

When moments of old-fashioned heroism, such as Seal Team Six’s takeout of Osama bin Laden, jolt us into awareness of reality, Disney is right there to trademark the name in order to convert it into toys, games and other distractions.

All this is happening against an almost complete takeover of the mental health profession by women, who comprise 90 percent of counselors now as compared to 70 in 1982.

A study finds that a man’s willingness to seek therapy is directly related to how strongly he agreed with traditionally male assumptions, like “I can usually handle whatever comes my way” and that men undecided about treatment may be discouraged by the prospect of talking to a woman.

The coming election year will only inflate male bluster about leadership and strength in the effort to unseat a President more prone to professorial lecturing about national problems than playing dressup to land on an airplane carrier bedecked with “Mission Accomplished” signs.

But then again, Bogie is long gone and Eastwood is a very senior citizen in an era of noisy blowhards and sexual sneaks.


Jerome Doolittle said...

Swiped (and linked) this for my own blog,

I figured that I'm entitled, at 77, to the ageist crack in my lede. Many thanks for the item, and for providing me with a daily read.


David said...

When I grow up Robert, I want to be just like you.