There are spelling errors in previous posts that I really ought to fix before I post anything new. And frankly I’m supposed to be in bed.
But here I am up and thinking about Al Franken and Garrison Keillor and Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose and Harvey Weinstein so on and so forth. I don’t have any evidence for myself whether each individual accusation is true, but there are enough of them that one has to presume that at least some of them are true, and there is a troubling pattern to all of the accusations.
That pattern—forgive me for sounding square here—is that they all describe and/or reveal utter weirdos who have no business being allowed out into public, much less being put in charge of things in an actually functioning society.
I mean—WTF? In what world is this sniveling, pre-pubescent, gutless behavior erotic in any way? And saying that it’s about power—well I suppose so, but it’s about the most emasculated, embarrassing version of power one can imagine. It is “power” for those who have no backbone, no steel at their core. It is a kind of power that is powerless and hollow in the extreme. With endless resources at their fingertips, do they better society? No, they parade around nude, uninvited, in front of total strangers, in private—or some onanistic worse thing—hoping to be admired or at the very least indulged. So small. So petty. So ridiculous.
And yet at the same time, these are the wealthy. The ruling elite. The educated. The adored. The rewarded.
It speaks to a hole right in the middle of our culture and our society’s understanding of masculinity that these psychological profiles, of all the possible psychological profiles in dispersion throughout our civilization, are the ones that percolate to the top, to the very positions in which they can do such infantile, pointless, impotent things with relative impunity.
I come from a long line of men—all of the men in my life, really—that would be similarly baffled. And of course each and every one of them was a nobody living in (at best) modest circumstances or (at worst) penury, much like myself.
Sure, I suppose a discussion of masculinity is in order, but I don’t think that gets to the heart of the problem. The heart of the problem is the question of why we are promoting germinal, puerile, mentally pre-pubescent—well—losers and giving these people, of all people, the hire-and-fire purse strings, the big offices with locking doors, the big travel budgets with big hotel rooms, the headlines and the footnotes in the history books. Why are we setting these imbeciles up as inevitable role models?
Yes, sure, examine masculinity, but the problem won’t be solved until we examine values. Somehow we have decided to let the Trumps and the Clintons rule while burying the stoics, the self-sacrificers, the strong-and-silent under piles of disdain. The marketing-led culture of capitalism seems to have given us a ruling class of gluttonous self-promoters who were utterly failed as children and who have utterly failed to mature into workable superegos, simply because they demand and take and nobody stops them (indeed, the opposite), while their noumenal betters quietly demure and are allowed—shockingly and regrettably—to be forgotten to time.
Let’s fix that. Let’s stop promoting the people who aren’t mortified to demand it all—the climbers, the hucksters, the loudmouths, the gourmands—and start suspecting the marketing of the shameless self-marketers—rather than applauding self-marketing and “staying hungry” as some sort of essential virtue. Being hungry when there’s food about is stupid, and counterproductive, and harmful, and fundamentally maladjusted.
How about we return to an ideal of restraint and discretion, rewarding those who quietly chop wood and carry water without complaint or imposition? And who aren’t just fucking weird at the end of the day?
I mean, seriously.