Wednesday, June 25, 2008

SOMETIMES IT'S JUST TOO EASY. Adar Kielczewski at the American Thinker:
Society is promoting an entirely new type of leader: the wimp.
Sigh, OK, what is it this time? Arugula? Knickers? The dolorous effect of Dear Abby?
Today's television hero doesn't have big muscles, wear a cowboy hat or fly. He smirks. NBC's popular series The Office reflects this trend quintessentially: promotion of the beta male. Jim Halpert, unofficial "hero" of the program, does little more than raise an eyebrow at the camera as he lives a day-in, day-out life of quiet passivity. His most aggressive action is the occasional practical joke. At last year's season finale, he turned down a managerial position. A man of action he's not.
I don't watch that much TV, but I know somewhere on prime time there must be a PI who doesn't play by the rules. Wouldn't he cancel out Jim Halpert? Also, cops. There's always lots of cops on TV. And Charlie Sheen! He loves 'em and leaves 'em. That's got to count, right?

Most of Kielczewski's essay is about that one show but, perhaps sensing the absurdity of denouncing society based on a single TV program (though I might have gone for it if he'd picked "The Two Coreys"), Kielczewski makes the big reach further down:
Who wants to promote hard work, leadership or taking a stand? Men are just as content to follow as to lead. We like the message of Napoleon Dynamite, Spiderman, Shrek and "The Office," because it tells us softly, "It's okay to be mediocre."
First of all, real men don't use italics and quote marks; it's like wearing a belt and suspenders. Second, WTF? Napoleon Dynamite totally kicked that chick's ass at dancing! And Spider-Man and Shrek totally kicked those guys' asses at kicking ass.
History provides role models such as Rough Rider leader Theodore Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and honest President Abraham Lincoln: men with ambition, guts, drive and notable character.
Even during the Second World War, if you attempted to fill an entire movie matinee with newsreels and patriotic biographies, I'm sure the fine young people in the audience would have gotten up and yelled, "We want Abbott and Costello!"
If history had put Jim Halpert up to commanding the men and the love of the Continental Army, or if the Declaration of Independence/British death warrant was waiting for the signature of one "Peter Parker," I think we would find ourselves in a much different nation.
Sure we would: with Spider-Man fighting for us, the Revolutionary War would have been over in about two hours. Because he has super-powers. Because he's a comic book character. And --

Wait a minute. For a moment I felt as if these people could be reached with common sense. In fact, I got so excited I swelled up, turned green, yelled "ROY SMASH!" and crushed a couple of beer cans. Yes, it's that important to have proper role models.

UPDATE. Commenter Halloween Jack suggests that Adar is not male but female, based on this evidence. Till I have better sourcing -- can we really trust an unaccredited Jesus school/compound to get a caption right? -- I'm going to stick with my original gender assumption. For one thing it's funnier, especially since "Adar" reminds me of the way Adore's mother pronounced his name ("Yuh wanna cry, Adah? Yuh wanna cry?") in The Day of the Locust. (You may recall Adore -- played by a young Jackie Earle Haley! -- was the belligerent, peroxided child-monster who got stomped to death by Donald Sutherland.)

Also, it's depressing to see the right is still finding new harpies and termagants who bitch out the menfolk for their lack of alpha. I suspect it's part of a COINTELPRO plan to discredit feminism by hiring shills to embody tiresome gender stereotypes in public.

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