Sunday, July 20, 2008

Take him out back

You know what a fan I am of Alison Armstrong.

In one of the classes, I believe the co-ed UNDERSTANDING WOMEN, she talked in her ceaselessly respectful way about men and how the feminist moms did a disservice to them, coddling them from reproach from their fathers. That it was so painful for the mothers to watch their sons be made wrong and told no, that they begged their husbands/brothers/uncles not to do it.

And that too many men were raised then without the necessity of an adult male pulling them aside and firmly telling them "No! That is not how a man behaves. That is not honor, integrity, responsibility." That this is a CRUCIAL part of a man's upbringing and a great disservice to his soul if he can not be taught this by other men; kept in line by other men; taught right from wrong. That women must allow it to happen, but that husbands could learn to work with this pain women suffer by taking the boy out back and disciplining him away from the mother's unconditional love.

(I witnessed male on male disciplining all the time in the dojang and had great respect for it...it is something I've discussed as being necessary and missing from women's self-defense training and it frightens the beejesus out of me that women are falsely empowered without responsibility, and frankly, an unfair fight they lose. Because life is nothing if not an unfair fight, and this false idea that we're all special and are going to win and deserve/are entitled to nothing but the best is what's bringing on Armageddeon.)

I'm so bone tired, I don't know if I'm going to be able to connect the dots...

I was raised by my mother to do the right thing and take responsibility for myself and to empower those around me when I had the strength to. Sometimes even when I didn't. And I was taught this is done because it's the right thing to do. And it was reinforced in me by the men I was blessed to grow up with in high school, in the dojang, in my comic books and stories. I was raised to be a warrior and I have fought side by side with men my whole life.

I guess I'm pondering...when I see this person whom I've given unconditional love to for the past ten months, who countless other women support and soothe and coddle and put first before their own happpiness and welfare...when I see him behave over and over again in a way that is suicidally destructive to himself, harmful to women, self-indulgent, intolerably cruel, and completely unbefitting of a man and deserving of no respect or validation...

Where are the men in his life? Why hasn't anyone stepped in to punch him out cold? Tell him to knock this shit off? To grow up and stop acting like a spoiled child. That there is no honor or decency in making someone else's tragedy all about him, that not standing by that person during their tragedy was unacceptable, and that to use it as an excuse for the rest of his life to indulgently mess around doing whatever he wants and using people for his whims is worse than the tragedy itself. That contrary to what he professes, his vices have made HIM the only person he can't trust. That he is a disgrace.

I don't understand. I don't think I'll ever understand.

Doesn't this person have friends to kick him in the head? Is it really going to be up to me to doorah him to the mat? Because I will. For the protection of society. To save his soul. And the best way is to remove myself from his life.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like he is his own worst enemy.

Raquel said...

There really seems to be something significantly wrong with the generation that grew up in the mid-80s to mid 90s -- the sense of entitlement! the lack of compassion! the blind adherance to confrontation and defending yourself and making sure you have your say all under the guise of being "honest" and not "hiding things." Expecting to be accepted, warts and all, to the point of emphasizing the warts, parading them around like they are badges of something other than insecurity, bad manners, disrespect. This is the product of the "self-esteem" movement of the late 70s, early 80s, the idea that the individual is precious and wonderful inherently. Well, clearly not! A rude, self-righteous butthead is not precious and wonderful. A crass, in-your-face, pushy brat is not precious and wonderful. Grrr. And Lord forbid one suggest that they should earn respect, consideration, a grade. Earn anything. Their motto seems to be, "I exsist, therefore I deserve." Give me a break.
My husband has an interesting argument (economic, of course). He thinks it started in the 50s! The 50s were a time of prosperity -- everything had more than they needed, there were plenty of jobs, consumerism as a way of life kicked in. And the kids growing up in the 50s learned that life was, pretty much, easy. So they taught their kids that, too. Then, things in the 70s got tough again, and so kids growing up in the 70s learned, oh, not so easy. Have to work for stuff. Have to buy what's on sale. Have to do without or save up, etc. So, no massive sense of entitlement there! Then, after a short recession in 81, things boomed again. Money for everyone. Good jobs for everyone. A return to consumerism in a big way. (For which Reagan often gets all the credit). There was a brief lull in this prosperity, and then the 90s were pretty prosperous, too (Go Bill!). So, basically like 20 years of easy life. So that's what kids in those years learned. Things come easy--jobs, money, prosperity. No real suffering or even waiting involved.
I buy this as a partial explanation to the apparent sense of entitlement, but it doesn't fully explain for me the lack of humility or basic manners or "believing in yourself" so much that no one else matters. But it does explain why they might feel like they don't have to earn things; because they didn't.
Of course, all this griping about "young" people makes me feel "old," so, stepping off soapbox now. . .

Kid Sis said...

No, that's spot on for me...the "Self-esteem Movement" spearheaded by feminist moms is exactly what Alison Armstrong blames.

The economic boom I'd only ever heard of as applied to the 90s...there were several interesting newspaper articles out after 9/11 about the lack of compassion and interest the young generation had in it, and people were analyzing and blaming prosperity, being given everything you want, essentially SPOILED as having thwarted the development of empathy. Ironically enough, also the lack of war in their lifetimes.

But I've never heard a cyclical argument that starts in the 50s; that's genius! Perfect timing too, as I'm about to watch Mad Men again, so I will see it through new eyes. You can chart the rise and fall of horror movies' popularity onto the exact opposite economic chart, by the by...would love to get Kyle's take on that.