Author Topic: So What If Boys Can't Be Boys And Men Can't Be Men?  (Read 7610 times)

G.Edward

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So What If Boys Can't Be Boys And Men Can't Be Men?
« on: December 14, 2010, 11:02:12 PM »
Just read an article from the September 2005 issue of Touchstone Magazine by Anthony Esolen.

http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=18-07-021-f

What do you think about Esolen's contention that the sexual revolution and the sexualization of our culture has destroyed the foundational relational components?

Charles_Austin

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Re: So What If Boys Can't Be Boys And Men Can't Be Men?
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2010, 05:00:02 AM »
I don't know if I ever had a "foundational relational component." I've got a lot of old audio components stuck in a drawer somewhere. Maybe there's one in there, but I don't think so.

Dadoo

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Re: So What If Boys Can't Be Boys And Men Can't Be Men?
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2010, 07:38:13 AM »
I am struck that this article is a, perhaps more sophisticated, version of Iron John, FIre in the Belly, and the Sibling Society, all by Robert Bly, all fro the 90's. I thought them over done when I read them. Maybe I am wrong about that but maybe this article is wrong too. It might be overlooking life outside of the ivory towers. Sure, it is not easy anymore to gather a couple of guys around the concept of writing poetry or composing for Broadway. But if you live in a little, blue collar, Ohio village and you put an old Ford PU truck on blocks and back the engine hoist up to the hood, you and your neighbor men will have a great afternoon of friendship coming your way. The same goes for cold winter Saturdays with snow mobiles - for that matter, there are plenty of hunting trips to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as well as 4 wheeler weekend trips to W. Virginia.

I am not so sure that male friendship is all dead, neither it the concept of intergenerational male friendship, and, no, these are not tainted by the suspicion of sexual conduct. The yarn spun here has some merit, but I do not think that he severity suggested is warranted.

What I see of value is the warning not to take the current societal assumptions and fears and values and impose them on the past, when male - male friendship might just have had a different flavor.
Peter Kruse

Diversity and tolerance are very complex concepts. Rigid conformity is needed to ensure their full realization. - Mike Adams

Michael Slusser

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Re: So What If Boys Can't Be Boys And Men Can't Be Men?
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2010, 08:26:02 AM »
I am struck that this article is a, perhaps more sophisticated, version of Iron John, FIre in the Belly, and the Sibling Society, all by Robert Bly, all fro the 90's.


Fire in the Belly was written by Sam Keen, not Robert Bly.

Alfred Gingold wrote a humorous riposte to both of them, Fire in the John (NY: St Martin's Press, 1991).  :D

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

Maryland Brian

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Re: So What If Boys Can't Be Boys And Men Can't Be Men?
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2010, 08:51:58 AM »

 But if you live in a little, blue collar, Ohio village and you put an old Ford PU truck on blocks and back the engine hoist up to the hood, you and your neighbor men will have a great afternoon of friendship coming your way. The same goes for cold winter Saturdays with snow mobiles - for that matter, there are plenty of hunting trips to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as well as 4 wheeler weekend trips to W. Virginia.


Buy a cruiser motorcycle and you'll soon discover a group of men who will go riding with you.  Offer to bless the bikes and you'll be invited to join a motorcycle club as their chaplain.  Take up competitive shooting and a group of men will meet up with you at the range. Offer a flying fishing clinic one weekend and a fishing/camping weekend retreat the next and a lot of guys will go to Bass Pro and get ready. Invite men to bring their hotrods, custom bikes, restored vehicles to church on Father's Day and you'll fill your parking lot with "manly toys" belonging to unchurched friends.  And they'll likely also wander into church.

Men need friends.  Sitting around quoting poetry with each other isn't going to happen. They also want, surprisingly, a robust faith.  The church has many opportunities to reach these guys.  Just leave out the "Our Mother in Heaven" stuff.


Dadoo

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Re: So What If Boys Can't Be Boys And Men Can't Be Men?
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2010, 09:04:32 AM »
I am struck that this article is a, perhaps more sophisticated, version of Iron John, FIre in the Belly, and the Sibling Society, all by Robert Bly, all fro the 90's.


Fire in the Belly was written by Sam Keen, not Robert Bly.

Alfred Gingold wrote a humorous riposte to both of them, Fire in the John (NY: St Martin's Press, 1991).  :D

Peace,
Michael

Thank you for that correction.

ANd yes, Fire in the John is a funny book.
Peter Kruse

Diversity and tolerance are very complex concepts. Rigid conformity is needed to ensure their full realization. - Mike Adams

Dadoo

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Re: So What If Boys Can't Be Boys And Men Can't Be Men?
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2010, 09:14:37 AM »

 But if you live in a little, blue collar, Ohio village and you put an old Ford PU truck on blocks and back the engine hoist up to the hood, you and your neighbor men will have a great afternoon of friendship coming your way. The same goes for cold winter Saturdays with snow mobiles - for that matter, there are plenty of hunting trips to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as well as 4 wheeler weekend trips to W. Virginia.


Buy a cruiser motorcycle and you'll soon discover a group of men who will go riding with you.  Offer to bless the bikes and you'll be invited to join a motorcycle club as their chaplain.  Take up competitive shooting and a group of men will meet up with you at the range. Offer a flying fishing clinic one weekend and a fishing/camping weekend retreat the next and a lot of guys will go to Bass Pro and get ready. Invite men to bring their hotrods, custom bikes, restored vehicles to church on Father's Day and you'll fill your parking lot with "manly toys" belonging to unchurched friends.  And they'll likely also wander into church.

Men need friends.  Sitting around quoting poetry with each other isn't going to happen. They also want, surprisingly, a robust faith.  The church has many opportunities to reach these guys.  Just leave out the "Our Mother in Heaven" stuff.



Been there, done that. Saw pic of yours on FaceBook. Cool ride. Traded lateral for a NT700V this year; the car got little use this summer.

 . . .and you are right: What has changed are the activities that men will involve themselves in, not the involvement itself. Some of those pastimes get, what was the Gingold term, "sissified" and therefore abandoned. New ones are found all the time. (Poetry, thankfully, is not one of them.) Men seem to make friends by activity that hints at trial. The best friends I had (both dead) were made hunting and we did not talk much when we were out chasing quail through middle Tennessee, we did not have to. Maybe this is how men make friends . . .
Peter Kruse

Diversity and tolerance are very complex concepts. Rigid conformity is needed to ensure their full realization. - Mike Adams

Karl Hess

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Re: So What If Boys Can't Be Boys And Men Can't Be Men?
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2010, 09:40:36 AM »

 But if you live in a little, blue collar, Ohio village and you put an old Ford PU truck on blocks and back the engine hoist up to the hood, you and your neighbor men will have a great afternoon of friendship coming your way. The same goes for cold winter Saturdays with snow mobiles - for that matter, there are plenty of hunting trips to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as well as 4 wheeler weekend trips to W. Virginia.


Buy a cruiser motorcycle and you'll soon discover a group of men who will go riding with you.  Offer to bless the bikes and you'll be invited to join a motorcycle club as their chaplain.  Take up competitive shooting and a group of men will meet up with you at the range. Offer a flying fishing clinic one weekend and a fishing/camping weekend retreat the next and a lot of guys will go to Bass Pro and get ready. Invite men to bring their hotrods, custom bikes, restored vehicles to church on Father's Day and you'll fill your parking lot with "manly toys" belonging to unchurched friends.  And they'll likely also wander into church.

Men need friends.  Sitting around quoting poetry with each other isn't going to happen. They also want, surprisingly, a robust faith.  The church has many opportunities to reach these guys.  Just leave out the "Our Mother in Heaven" stuff.



Poetry is great, but Iron John was stupid.  I do think we need to re-teach masculinity and femininity, or maybe better to re-teach Christian vocation.  We have inadvertantly perhaps, made men uncomfortable in church.

Charles_Austin

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Re: So What If Boys Can't Be Boys And Men Can't Be Men?
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2010, 09:44:30 AM »
Pastor Kruse writes:
What has changed are the activities that men will involve themselves in, not the involvement itself. Some of those pastimes get, what was the Gingold term, "sissified" and therefore abandoned. New ones are found all the time. (Poetry, thankfully, is not one of them.) Men seem to make friends by activity that hints at trial. The best friends I had (both dead) were made hunting and we did not talk much when we were out chasing quail through middle Tennessee, we did not have to. Maybe this is how men make friends . . .

I muse:
So sexism reigns. What the heck is wrong with poetry? Does male bonding have to occur while planning to kill something? Do male friends have to be made through quasi-phallic machines like motorcycles or power tools (dodging for now, the erotic aspects of both).
Some of my good male friends and I get together at plays and concerts. Some of us sing barbershop harmony or male chorus music. But, of course, those aren't "real man" activities, are they?  ::) ::)

Kurt Weinelt

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Re: So What If Boys Can't Be Boys And Men Can't Be Men?
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2010, 10:06:58 AM »
....Some of us sing barbershop harmony or male chorus music. But, of course, those aren't "real man" activities, are they?  ::) ::)
Sure they can be, esp. if followed up by a brewski or trip to the range. BTW, I just sang in a chorus the last three nights with the Air Force Band of the West, and some of the singers had war injuries. Much of the talk in the green room was definitely male bonding, such as dogs, weapons, cars, hunting, war (literally) stories. So you see, Pr. Austin, we made it a "real man" activity, and so can you! ;D
Kurt
"Learning about history is an antidote to the hubris of the present, the idea that everything in OUR lives is the ultimate." David McCullough

Charles_Austin

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Re: So What If Boys Can't Be Boys And Men Can't Be Men?
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2010, 10:11:11 AM »
Kurt Weinelt writes:
Sure they can be, esp. if followed up by a brewski or trip to the range. BTW, I just sang in a chorus the last three nights with the Air Force Band of the West, and some of the singers had war injuries. Much of the talk in the green room was definitely male bonding, such as dogs, weapons, cars, hunting, war (literally) stories. So you see, Pr. Austin, we made it a "real man" activity, and so can you!

I muse:
Some of us can also manage male friendship without that other alleged necessity for bonding, alcohol. And among some of my older friends the talk in the green room is of prostate difficulties, arthritis, heart medications, grandchildren and the war stories of the corporate world we have survived, though some of us bear wounds.
Glad to have another vocalist online here.  ;D

Kurt Weinelt

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Re: So What If Boys Can't Be Boys And Men Can't Be Men?
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2010, 10:16:21 AM »
A second bass, mind you. Not one of those tenors! ;)
"Learning about history is an antidote to the hubris of the present, the idea that everything in OUR lives is the ultimate." David McCullough

Charles_Austin

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Re: So What If Boys Can't Be Boys And Men Can't Be Men?
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2010, 10:17:34 AM »
Bari here. Tenor in church choirs, not in barbershop or male chorus settings.

Dadoo

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Re: So What If Boys Can't Be Boys And Men Can't Be Men?
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2010, 10:30:21 AM »
Iron John managed to out it's finger on a symptom, correctly I add, but then proposed a poor resolution to the problem. If that makes it "stupid," OK.

If you enjoy poetry, again, fine. My post is trying to interact with the article that was commended to us in the opening post. I think it has some flaws, some blind spots, but also some merit. Among the latter it has rightly, I believe, pointed out that certain activities are in our culture no longer seen as "male" activities. In other words, these might once have been things men did for the furtherance and development of friendship but they are that no longer. Poetry groups may continue to exist, men might attend them still, but they no longer fill the nich and need that the article describes them filling in the times of Tolkien. What Brian H. Is pointing out in response to me is good sense evangelism. Yes, you can start a poetry group at church, no problem. Don't however think that the guys will flock to it. You can however do the things that Brian suggests and fairly reliably get a group of men to show up. Maybe that is not what the article really was about or what the author cared about when he was writing it. But it is good advice: one has to get to them where they live.


 But if you live in a little, blue collar, Ohio village and you put an old Ford PU truck on blocks and back the engine hoist up to the hood, you and your neighbor men will have a great afternoon of friendship coming your way. The same goes for cold winter Saturdays with snow mobiles - for that matter, there are plenty of hunting trips to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as well as 4 wheeler weekend trips to W. Virginia.


Buy a cruiser motorcycle and you'll soon discover a group of men who will go riding with you.  Offer to bless the bikes and you'll be invited to join a motorcycle club as their chaplain.  Take up competitive shooting and a group of men will meet up with you at the range. Offer a flying fishing clinic one weekend and a fishing/camping weekend retreat the next and a lot of guys will go to Bass Pro and get ready. Invite men to bring their hotrods, custom bikes, restored vehicles to church on Father's Day and you'll fill your parking lot with "manly toys" belonging to unchurched friends.  And they'll likely also wander into church.

Men need friends.  Sitting around quoting poetry with each other isn't going to happen. They also want, surprisingly, a robust faith.  The church has many opportunities to reach these guys.  Just leave out the "Our Mother in Heaven" stuff.



Poetry is great, but Iron John was stupid.  I do think we need to re-teach masculinity and femininity, or maybe better to re-teach Christian vocation.  We have inadvertantly perhaps, made men uncomfortable in church.
Peter Kruse

Diversity and tolerance are very complex concepts. Rigid conformity is needed to ensure their full realization. - Mike Adams

Maryland Brian

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Re: So What If Boys Can't Be Boys And Men Can't Be Men?
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2010, 10:39:31 AM »

So sexism reigns. What the heck is wrong with poetry? Does male bonding have to occur while planning to kill something? Do male friends have to be made through quasi-phallic machines like motorcycles or power tools (dodging for now, the erotic aspects of both).
Some of my good male friends and I get together at plays and concerts. Some of us sing barbershop harmony or male chorus music. But, of course, those aren't "real man" activities, are they?  ::) ::)


  No, they are not real men activities Charles.  How much danger can there be in a male chorus, dirty looks if singing off-key?  A hissy-fit if your bowtie is the wrong color?  Then again, a man has to learn his limitations.  And, btw, just in case you're wondering, I probably have the best baritone voice in my congregation. And the leader of our contemporary band is an amazing tenor.  A Peabody grad, he use to sing with the Baltimore Opera.  More importantly, he also use to be a Baltimore City cop, but was injured in the line of duty.  He still rides his full dresser Harley Electra Glide.  Manly.  
« Last Edit: December 15, 2010, 11:30:07 AM by BHHughes »