Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Men Increasingly Defying Nonexistent Stereotypes

For too long, men have been denied a seat at the table at which serious questions of philosophy, morality, theology and wise government are discussed. It's high time they emerged from their man-caves and began engaging with the world of ideas.

Recently, we heard from Don Aucoin of the Boston Globe that area men are forming book clubs. They don't actually read any books, as this would take precious time away from traditional male pursuits such as drinking, gossiping and making simian noises about NASCAR. However, this is a great start. If the men keep their minds sharp with these little sallies into intellectualism, why, in a few hundred years they might even hold most of the positions of power in American society.

"Traditionally, it's difficult to get men together unless it has something to do with poker or NASCAR or Hooters clubs," says Douglas Lord, who writes the "Books for Dudes" column for a newsletter published by the Library Journal.

How true that is, Douglas Lord. Where in America do you see a bunch of men getting together to tackle the important issues of society? What we really need is more male safe space, so men can feel comfortable talking about big ideas without their wives and mothers and sisters there to tell them how to think. Men are natural networkers, and when you get them together, exciting things happen.
"We used to just sit around and drink beer and read Charles Bukowski, nothing great," says Pride, 51, of Quincy. "But the other night we were talking about evil. Drinking our red wine and talking about evil. We're moving into a deeper dimension. We don't want to read junk."

See? Brotherhood is powerful!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ethical Dilemma: Solved

New York Times columnist Randy Cohen, also known as The Ethicist, has produced some whoppers in his day. But this is the living end. I'm sure his proposal--to require all women to carry unconcealed weapons--is satirizing something. I'm just not sure what. Sexism? The ridiculousness of the pro-gun lobby? The ridiculousness of the anti-gun lobby? Hisself?

The best part is the little Gedankenexperiment where he imagines himself on the subway surrounded by Glock-toting females, and feels a snug, comforting sensation. (Clearly the subway around Lincoln Center does not have much in common with the Red Line.)

And then there's this:

Given women’s splendid record of seldom shooting at, for example, me, they’ve earned a provisional chance to serve the public good in this way. Even if some women prove imprudent with firearms — that is, act like men — feminizing gun ownership could ultimately reduce its appeal to men, making gun-toting as unmasculine as carrying a purse. There are occupations whose status (and pay) declined once they were taken up by women: secretaries, telephone operators, teachers. We already endure the mischief of such sexism; why not harness it for good?

Jonathan Swift you are not, sir.