Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Left on Real Men and Real Thinking!

Yesterday I posted at Captain Bama a reply to The Atlanta Journal Constitution Republican shill that I titled "Jim Wooten's Wrong Thinking". At the tail end of this post I went after the Parent's Television Council and the FCC for their approach to "indecency". Surely there is much junk on TV, and that is simply looking at "air" channels. The PTC is truly wanting to get into the cable channels and they've got several in Congress that are wanting the same. I do think there is much hypocrisy and probably much political posturing at work with the PTC and the clearly partisan Media Research Center where PTC's L. Brent Bozell does his harshest work in the "culture wars".

Today I'd like to drop another link where you see another way a Progressive leftist resource tackles TV. In These Times, whichh I get in print to boot, gives us Lakshmi Chaudhry's "Men Growing Up to be Boys : Madison Avenue cultivates a Peter Pan version of masculinity". Notice the contrasts with how the right looks at serious and complex issues. No blasting of the liberals but a take on popular culture that recognizes corporate America's role in shaping the culture. Ms. Chaudhry sends us to other such as writing,

Susan Faludi foreshadowed the rise of the metrosexual in her 1999 book, Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man, which describes an “ornamental culture” that tells men “manhood is displayed, not demonstrated. The internal qualities once said to embody manhood—sure-footedness, inner strength, confidence of purpose—are merchandised to men to enhance their manliness.

She also writes,

As Neil Chethik, author of the newly published book VoiceMale: What Husbands Really Think About Their Marriages, Their Wives, Sex, Housework, and Commitment, found, most American men—the flesh-and-blood variety—embrace their roles as fathers and husbands. “I found in my research that the values of duty, honor, and taking responsibility are far from forgotten by men in our culture,” Chethik says. “Certainly, most men struggle to fulfill the ideals they set for themselves in this area. But they recognize that being a ‘real man’ requires that they are honest and respectful and willing to sacrifice. I saw this among men who worked at jobs they didn’t love, who took care of an ill spouse or child, who helped in their communities without recognition or compensation. There are millions of such men.”

American men may be doing their best to figure out what it means to be a man in the 21st century, but it’s no accident that these men—and more importantly, their sons—aren’t getting much help from the larger culture. “Consumerism wants to make us as atomized as possible—because the more individualized we are the better consumers we are,” ... “This is why masculinity is so fragmented today and incoherent—and irresponsible. It used to be the tradition. Literally passed down from father to son. But we live in a society where tradition stands in the way of profit. So bye-bye daddy.”

Great thinking piece that I'll stew on yet isn't this a radical departure from simply railing against liberals in Hollywood to actually dare consider how the right's beloved market and corporate profits might have a role in this mess of a society. This "culture war" might be considered a false war with corporate America happy to see the ReThuglicans in power with the voters stirred up by all these orgnaizations. We know this modern GOP seems all about taking care of the Big Mules and staying in power when it comes down to the nut cutting.

Let us change the culture but it is hardly done via the tactics of the GOP and the Reich Wing. Progressivism and Liberalism and Intellectualism and ... might at least merit a shot at the problem. Truly concerned parties from both left and right could probably find much common ground yet the ReThuglicans of today simply fight dirty. Bu$h struts around an aircraft carrier and in front of vetted venues and acts like a stud. Simple talking points on "terrorism" and "compassionate conservatism" and ... but he can still barely string together a coherent sentence. Faced with the 2004 election the GOP's hidden operatives swift boat and steer the so called liberal media spinning of an actual war hero into a wimpy hippie metrosexual flip-flopper that looks French. Indeed John Kerry gave them some ammo with the windsurfing and Botox and Lambeau Field and ... yet Rove and his minions hardly needed those gaffes. They waxed Max Cleland in GA after he'd worked with them to get Agribusiness lawyer/lobbyist Saxby Chambliss into his Senate seat. They are a cabal. Worst administration ever! They make Nixon look like a choirboy! Yet the "culture war" remains one of their most solid resources for keeping them in power. Peace ... or War!