The following video is a warning, not a how-to guide. Or as I wrote last month, “Man’s Crisis of Identity in the 21st Century — Now Neatly Summed Up in Video Form:”
Similarly, Kathy Shaidle has a new post at the PJ Lifestyle blog on why “Grown Men Don’t Read Comic Books:”
If you think I was too harsh on Christmas and families and Christmas-with-families last week, consider this:
On one of these recent holiday outings, I was obligated to spend three painful hours with a young man who:
* Was wearing boardshorts and flipflops (in December)
* Didn’t greet us when we arrived or say goodbye when we left
* First whine-ily refused to eat dinner, then, with a heavy sigh, slammed some food on a plate and went back to watching a Home Alone marathon, leaving the rest of us, including his elderly grandmother, at the dining room table. (“He’s busy downloading some computer games,” his mother meekly explained.)
* Was completely silent for the entire evening — except twice: first, he sprang to life at the mention of The Hobbit and lectured us about those 44 frames per second. (“If you can’t handle 3D, stay home.”)
* Second, when my husband mentioned our new favorite burger joint, the kid piped up that it was “s*it” because they “serve American cheese.” (Had the same cheese been called “Tibetan,” I guarantee he’d have asked for two slices.)
Now some of your are saying:
“Kathy, it sounds like you were a pretty petulant, taciturn teenager, too. Give the boy a break!”
Did I forget to mention this “boy” is 33 years old?
At that “boy’s” age, Jesus had risen from the dead.
This unemployed man-child lives with his mommy and daddy and can barely rise from the couch.
Brutal stuff, but as Kathy writes, “They’re boors and they’re bores. And everyone reading this knows at least one of these ‘kids.’ They are legion.”
As to why they are legion:
I expect to hear from more than a few men that their incentive to better themselves, and thereby attract a marriageable young woman, is non-existent.
Between the easy availability of porn, the high cost of divorce and the reported paucity of non-slutty, non-shallow females on the market, why bother?
A “life” wasted debating the niceties of the “Prime Directive” with other male geeks is, when viewed from that perspective, actually quite rational.
There’s also another reason: as an alternative to comic books, superhero movies, and sci-fi geek culture such as Star Wars and Star Trek, Kathy suggests studying American history. But ever since so much of that past has been declared anathema by the academy, who view history as little more than groups of racist, imperialist white men tolchocking other groups of racist, imperialist white men for their land, geek culture has arisen to take its place. Rather than learn boring old American and Europen history, someone devoted to either of the major cinematic universes can happily spend hours upon hours searching through Wikipedia-style sites devoted to the technical minutia and “history” of the United Federation of Planets and Palpatine’s Galactic Empire. (The latter carbon dated both pre- and post-“Battle of Yavin,” for the Star Wars universe’s equivalent of the Gregorian Calendar — something that’s also under attack in the academy.)
Kathy writes, “I’ll be picking on my fellow females in my next installment.” But while we’re waiting for Kathy’s own take on the distaff equivalent of grown comic book obsessives, there’s always Kyle Smith’s observation that the wannabe-cougars who flocked to the Sex and The City movies are the equivalent of Star Wars fanatics and Trekkies:
Suppose there were thousands of men who, every Thursday night, dressed up as Chewbacca or Boba Fett and headed en masse to an inviting “Star Wars”-themed neighborhood where they could discuss their strange obsessions at bars like Cloud City or Jar Jar’s Joint while guzzling specialty cocktails (the TatooTini, the Hothmopolitan).
That would be strange, but not quite as strange as what happens at the “Sex and the City” theme park in the Meatpacking District, which is about two years away from installing its first TGIFridays and already is to hip what Mark Hamill is to acting. Unlike the “Star Wars” nerds, who are under no illusions that they will ever actually take the Millennium Falcon out for a chance to complete the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, the “Sex and the City” fangirls think that they can live the life they see on TV.
So they swarm the night, staggering packs of “Sex” geeks – the hungry streets beneath them cackling, “Say hello to my leetle cobblestones, Manolo mamas!” – heedless to the fact that the ratio of them to their male equivalents is already the inverse of ComicCon and getting worse. The cougars of the movie, reviving their Jurassic snark for one more pun-dump, have digital airbrushing on their side, but in reality, bitchy 43-year-old women are not the center of attention at the clubs. Sexist? Not I. God.
Even 33-year-old women are not living in reality in this town. The multiplexes and networks and bookstores can barely accommodate all the movies and TV series and books (almost all written by men; one, I recall vaguely, written by me) about comical manboys coming to terms with the need to grow up. There is no equivalent message getting through to women.
Both sides in the cinematic Battle of Sexes came together in Aint It Cool News’ classic review of the first Sex and The City movie from 2008:
I just couldn’t get over how much this shared in common with BRATZ: the Movie. Montage after montage after montage with each and every problem finding a solution by the fabulously dressed four getting together, squee-ing in a pitch that will deafen dogs and neuter most of the males in the audience, and realizing that friendship will get you through any bout of rampant self-absorption. Oh, so this is what happens when you leave Bratz dolls in the sun too long. I’m not gonna get on the consumerism trip. Not here. Not with the crowd that will drop a grand on a mint condition Revenge of the Jedi poster and consider it an investment in the future. A COOL investment in the future. Come on, I’ve been to a sci-fi convention. And once you’ve stood in the dealer room and pondered dropping $45 on the Battlestar Galactica Boardgame you had when you were five years old, you can’t really fault a woman for getting excited about a $600 pair of purple fuzzy pumps that look like they should come with their own stripper pole. I mean, who the f*ck am I to judge? But Christ in a bucket people, did we need so many montages of them doing it? For two and a…you get the picture.
I will say this — the movie did take me back. 8 Years in fact. May, 1999. The screen goes black and words fade in. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. The crowd loses its f*cking mind. Then they watch Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Outside, after the movie, while several people bitch about the utter crappiness of the film, others embarrassingly say “Come ooooooooooon. I Liiiiiiked it.” Then they accused the detractors of not being fans. They didn’t get it. The movie didn’t suck, you just weren’t the right audience for it. Well, instead of A long time ago…, it was a piano tinkle. The familiar opening of the television series. I’ve read a number of flabbergasted critics try to explain the crowd reactions as devotional or bordering on the religious. But that’s only because they’ve never had a Trekee try to explain to them the redeeming qualities of Star Trek: Insurrection. Once you’ve been down that road, you can see exactly what this is.
In more ways than one.
Related: Victor Davis Hanson on “The Hipster Facade,” and Bryan Preston on “Recasting History: Scholarly Study Finds that Race, Class, and Gender Studies Crowd Up University American History Classes.”
And finally, the secret VDH-Susan Sontag connection revealed! by Stacy McCain.