Say, it’s Guy Fawkes Day, isn’t it? What better occasion on which to blow something up?
I am of the opinion that just about any insult, slander, or epithet can be detoxified by a simple technique: embracing it. Thus, it troubles me not at all to be called a racist, sexist, lookist, ableist, homophobic, Islamophobic, et cetera ad nauseam infinitam. I smile and say, “So what? Does that hurt your bank balance any?”
Of course, you must have a certain confidence in yourself to do this. You must believe yourself to be a worthy individual who can’t be harmed by verbal assaults on your dignity. You must also be willing to stand against such a tide no matter how loud or raucous it becomes. And of course, you must discriminate carefully between accusations about your opinions and imputations about your actions. The former may be withstood with sangfroid; the latter must be counterattacked immediately and with all your forces.
Needless to say – though, in time-honored Fran Porretto fashion, I’ll say it anyway – this is not the conduct that prevails in our time. Decent men quail from every sort of accusation, largely because they fear that others will believe it. Should some of those others be employers, customers, or otherwise important to one’s well-being, and should they be similarly lily-livered, unpleasant consequences could ensue. Thus, the willingness to accuse others of all sorts of naughty attitudes has become the coin of the realm. This has been particularly important – and especially irritating to me – in the matter of relations between the sexes and the associated social pathologies of our era.
Gavin McInnes has addressed an aspect of this in an interesting video:
I’ll refrain from commenting on whether babysitters earn enough to rule our economy. What’s absolutely beyond dispute is the arrant cowardice of innumerable persons, some of them on the boards of directors of major corporations, before the “prepubescent girls” and their idiotic opinions. (Yes, some of those “prepubescent girls” are in their forties and fifties. Says something about the prevalence of arrested development in the human female, doesn’t it?)
Pablo Picasso's former lover has sparked outrage following her claims that fewer women would be raped in France if they just smiled at men.
Francoise Gilot claims people should just embrace the 'eroticism of the streets' rather than taking offence or being worried....
'If a man whistles at you and you smile, that oils the social wheels and eases the tension between the classes and sexes…It's a kind of give-and-take that acknowledges that the other person exists, so in that sense it's not treating another person as an object.
'To take offence all the time makes every relationship disagreeable,' says Ms Gilot.
'Each time a man says something to me, if I take it as an insult, then I'll be insulted several times a day by strangers I'll never see again…Whereas if I smile vaguely and go my way, it doesn't cost me very much,' she claims.
Admirable! Refreshing! Benevolent and civilized! And bound to draw the ire of the “angry ugly girls” (God bless you, Duyen) to whom it constitutes the rankest heresy, a clear declaration of Miss Gilot’s “gender treason.”
In point of fact, the “angry ugly girls” are mostly angry because men won’t whistle at them as they pass by. Damned few of the gender warriors are pleasing to the eye. At 93 years of age, Miss Gilot is infinitely more appealing than any of them, largely because of her carriage and her self-command.
These past few years, a lot of pixels have been expended on concepts of “alpha males” and “beta males,” the latter term put into currency merely to denote those who don’t qualify for the former one. The “alpha” designation originated in the study of the behavior of pack animals. In a typical pack, there is usually a subgroup of “alphas” who do the pack’s hunting and fighting, protect its females, and generally assume its risks upon their own hides. The term was imported into contemporary horror and quasi-horror fantasy to denote the ruler of a pack of werewolves. “Alpha” status includes privileges as well as responsibilities; among other things, the pack’s females prefer them as mates.
Though it’s somewhat variable in connotation, the “alpha” designation when applied to men seems to correlate with what I’ve promoted as the manly virtues:
A man must learn "where the line is": the line that separates behavior that must be tolerated from behavior that must not be. He must be willing -- personally willing -- to fight in defense of the former and against the latter, though it might expose him to risk and cost him injury or death. He must be ready to swallow his distaste and protect the rights even of persons he finds repulsive, if they have harmed no other human being.
A man must learn proportionality and restraint. Biology has optimized the male body for purposive aggression, sudden acceleration and focused violence. These are not things to be deployed in their 200-proof strength against trivial or unworthy targets. A man doesn't kill the bounder who steals his parking space, his business idea, or his wife. Even a punch in the nose is excessive for infractions like these.
A man must learn never to shirk a freely contracted obligation. If you've said you'll do it, you do it. No excuses. Conversely, if you have failed to meet an obligation, you must admit to it and try to do better next time.
A man must learn not to whine about disappointments, reversals, or the ways of women. Especially about the ways of women. They're not men -- thank God -- and we can't fairly hold them to manly standards.
A man must learn reverence in the presence of the numinous. The fact that each of us is a part of an infinitely greater whole manifests itself in innumerable ways. Learning to let it in, to cherish it, and to use it to buttress oneself in times of darkness is critical to attaining the endurance the world expects from a man.
Last and most important, a man must transmit the manly virtues to his male children.
Just as the manly virtues define the essence of respectable manhood, there are feminine virtues that define the essence of respectable womanhood:
- Nurturance of a man;
- Management of a household;
- The skills demanded of a mother.
A woman who lacks those virtues isn’t merely a marginal creature, unlikely to contribute constructively to her society; she’s a disruptive and destructive force. A fair number of such women infest our society today. Worse, they’ve wangled special legal privileges that no one deserves nor should be allowed. In consequence, young men are being taught to fear: especially, to fear women. Young women are being taught to resent: especially, to resent men.
Teaching the manly virtues to his sons was once a father’s principal parental duty. Teaching the feminine virtues to her daughters was once a mother’s principal parental duty. I maintain that though the practice has deteriorated, the moral and social obligations of fathers and mothers have not.
If the manly virtues are the qualifications for “alpha” status – and I can’t think of any better ones – then every man can aspire to that status. Indeed, for several decades all American men were regarded as alphas by the rest of the civilized world. The status was well deserved then, less so today.
Am I proposing a return to “masculine roles” and “feminine roles” as practiced among our forebears? Why, yes: I am. They worked. They produced the country our social strife has come near to ruining. And despite the propaganda of the angry ugly girls, both men and women were far happier when they predominated.
So here’s my prescription for an attenuation of our social wars:
- To men: Be masculine men:
- Learn the manly virtues.
- Then live them – and ignore their detractors.
- If you can’t or won’t, then have the decency to stay out of the way of the rest of us.
- To women: Be feminine women:
- Learn the feminine virtues.
- Then live them – and appreciate masculine men as such.
- Learn to be candid about what you want, and stoic if you fail to get it.
- If you can’t or won’t, then shut the fuck up. You’ve already caused enough harm.
That’s all. Where do you stand, Gentle Reader?