Remember when I lamented the fact that National Public Radio (NPR) was doing a series on men? I suggested that they might take their highly feminized, pantywaist perspective and try to impose it on men, and I was right. Our piece is here.
Our relevant quote was:
• Back to the “Men in America” thing. I’d bet you a million bucks that they (NPR) treat men like defective women.
Soooo… who’s gonna pay me my million clams, eh? :)
Today’s edition featured a former NFL’er, and you could just smell where it was going to go. You know, the rough and tough guy, taught never to cry or show emotion, sees the light and tells the world via his interview by Audie Cornish (the NPR anchorette) that men need to feel, and care, and share, and cry, and support, and nurture… in other words, men need to be like women. And that’s exactly how it went. You see, the father (of course) of former NFL’er Joe Ehrmann, taught young Joe to be tough, and not to cry, and to be strong and insensitive, and that men have to control things, and dominate them and all that.
NPR makes it seem as though being a man is a choice between the macho, violent, brutish, stereotype that feminism calls “manhood,” and the effete, soft, balding, granny glasses-wearing, oh-so-intellectual, cultured sophisticate they think listens to NPR.
Wrong on both counts. It’s simple: when the bear is at the door, you want the enraged, testosterone-drenched, berserker who will take the bear right down. But, when the daughter falls off the tricycle and barks her knee, you want the tender, kind, supporting, yet vastly strong and reassuring sensitive man.
And all points in-between.
There is still vast room for all the stereotypical traits of the man. Powerful, muscular, stubborn, rugged, mono-syllabic, Grizzly Adams-type men. The bears aren’t all under control, ya know, they just come in different shapes now. And, we always send the men after them, not the women.
There’s plenty of room for the sensitive man who runs to scoop up his little daughter when she falls from her trike. Just don’t forget, when the neighbor’s pipes burst in the winter, we still send the man down every time to help the neighbor mop up, and pump and wrestle furniture and appliances back into place.
You and I both know, when the pipes burst, that’s the point at which the granny glasses-wearing, NPR-listening man … comes up with a bad back.
At the end of the piece, Audie Cornish asked the former NFL’er what manhood means to him. His reply was completely couched in they-should-stop-being-defective-women-and-learn-to-be-real-women terms.
And he’s right. Sometimes. However, that’s only a small part of the manhood picture.
At other times, though, when the bear is at the door, it’s really good to have the 6′ 4″ tall, 250 pound, fire-in-his-eyes, adrenaline-fueled and testosterone-overloaded, savage man to throw at him.
The real problem is that if NPR and feminists had their way, men would never learn the real manly aspects of life — those times when the bear is at the door — or the house is on fire, or the tree has come down on the roof, or the car has overturned, or the flood has swept the dog away, or the tide has carried the child out to sea, or the hurricane is pummeling the house, or the earth is quaking, or even when we only hear about these things on television — the men won’t be there to bring their massive comforting strength into the room, either to turn the bear away, or to give the message that no bear — or anything or anyone else, for that matter — will get past him to hurt them.
Men have a unique place in humanity. They can be like women. Men have no problem being sensitive and tender and gentle and loving and emotional and sharing and feeling and caring and all that.
It’s kind of nice when we do get the opportunity to show a softer side. But, when a woman tries to be like a man, she just looks silly. Imagine when you hear all those high-pitched voices at the feminist convention telling you how “fierce” they are.
Until the pipes burst, the cesspool overflows, or there’s a noise downstairs during the night. Then, let’s face it, it’s time to send the dude.
A quick memory.
I was 21-years old. My younger brother was 19. He was in the Old Guard Fyfe and Drum Corps — the Presidential Honor Guard.
One day, after an evening of being a 21-year old out on the town, I learned that my younger brother had died in a car accident.
As my world crashed around me, as my mother sobbed uncontrollably, as my sister and other brothers, like me, utterly lost control of ourselves and sobbed, or sat there numbly, or hugged our knees and rocked…I was aware that my father was silent and calm.
Dad remained that way over the next few days and weeks. Calmly making arrangements, handling phone calls, greeting guests, cleaning up, and working with the church and funeral home. Mom retreated to their bedroom, coming out only occasionally, eyes red-rimmed and swollen.
My older brothers got drunk and went out and did things that seemed desperate. I played my guitar. My sister retreated within herself.
We all went more or less quietly crazy for a couple of weeks. Dad was calm, grave, placid, controlled. To the point where I got angry.
Didn’t he even care?!? Didn’t this affect him?!? This was his son! This was my brother! But I didn’t say anything.
I think you know where this is going.
After a couple of weeks, the funeral was done, my brother was buried, the numbness was starting to wear off to be replaced by a breath-stealing pain, life was resuming, I was back at work.
My mom took me aside one day and told me that she’d gone upstairs when she’d heard a strange noise. There on their bed was my father sobbing uncontrollably. Great, anguished, racking sobs that he tried unsuccessfully to stifle in his pillow. Mom stole back down so as not to disturb him.
All along, he had been in every bit as much shock and pain as we, but he gave us the freedom to grieve as fully and as long as we needed to, before he permitted himself to.
In looking back at it all, I remember dimly that as I was wallowing in my grief, all along things were getting done, the house was being cleaned up after guests, the arrangements were happening, all very quietly, and all fairly smoothly. It was this smoothness that I was resenting, as I mentioned above, not stopping to think then that he was simply making sure that everyone else had complete freedom to react as they needed to. Then, and only then, did he allow himself to break down from the heartbreak that tormented him.
That was manliness in all its quiet, astonishingly strong, graceful, understated, awe-inspiring, mountain-like grandeur. All the things that NPR would tsk tsk sternly. No, you’re not supposed to hold it in; you’re supposed to show your feelings, to let it out for all to see! You’re supposed, you see, to be more like a woman.
Please note: I mean no disrespect whatsoever to women. To the contrary, in fact. I have a deep and abiding respect and love for women. Awe, even.
This vignette that I just recounted from my younger days is a simple example of how men and women have, for millennia, spread out the impact of tragedies so that they’re more manageable for the whole family unit. Both my father’s and my mother’s responses were perfectly appropriate to the occasion. Both needed to grieve, but life out there didn’t stop, just because we thought it should.
So Dad just kept things going as we sank into the depths, and gradually climbed back out.
We never talked about how he handled my brother’s death, my father and me, but if we had, he would have shrugged it off with a simple, “I did what I thought was needed, that’s all.” Then my father would have said what men have said through millennia of doing pretty much what I just described: “Any man would have done the same.”
Those last two phrases could be the motto of men all around the world, and all through history. “I did what I thought was needed. Any man would have done the same.” To the point that such nobility and greatness of spirit is so common that we’re no longer aware that it’s there, and sometimes, we’re even irritated by it, as I had been.
Feminists certainly have nothing but scorn and derision for this “macho,” this “insensitive,” this “unfeeling”-seeming man, completely ignorant of the fact that all along, guys have simply been allowing them to be sensitive and feeling and … protected.
Once, not too long afterward, my father and I did talk about my brother’s death, and he said something that also might express what men have felt forever, that women might have some trouble understanding: “When he died, I felt as though I had failed utterly. Failed to protect him.” He said it quietly and matter-of-factly, but there was such deep sadness in the words, as if he no longer even had a concept of what happiness was.
“Dad,” I said, “it was a car accident. It happened six states away in Washington, D.C. There was nothing you could have done to protect him.” “I know,” he said, ” I just can’t help it.”
That’s a man.
Heaven help the country, and the world, if we’re not raising such men anymore; if we’re raising granny glasses-wearing, NPR-listening men who develop a bad back when the pipes burst… or the bear is at the door.