Friday, March 17, 2006

WaPo: Manliness?

Proceed cautiously. You're about to see a lesbian admit something shocking! The faint of heart may wish to turn back now. Okay, you asked for it. Ahem. I love real men! You can reread that as often as you like, it'll still say that I -- a big ol' lesbian -- love real men. No, I don't want to sleep with them or marry them or take them home to mother. That's where the lesbian part comes in. But I definitely love them in a respectful, platonic, completely lesberrific kind of way.

So, you can imagine how really angry I get about nonsense theories like that being proposed by Harvard's Harvey C. Mansfield about how there's some sort of crisis of masculinity. The solution to this "crisis?" Let's bring back the bygone days of "manly men" who punched people and kept women in their place. This guy wouldn't know a real man if he bit him.... okay I don't know if real men would go around biting each other on the ass for no reason. (This is not to say that men who do like to bite other men on the ass aren't real men.)

Real manhood isn't "Me Tarzan. You Jane." grunting, chest thumping, ball scratching crap. Real men don't have to hit someone or kill something to "prove" their manhood. Masculinity is more than how many women you've bedded or how many men you've beaten up. Real men know they're men, no stupid displays necessary.

Trying to pin "masculinity" down to the aggressive, violent stereotype is insulting to real men. It degrades and dehumanizes them, painting them as animals. The "manly man" is nothing more than muscle, testosterone and a penis. There's no room in that archetype for the mind, heart and soul of a real man.

A real man thinks, feels, dreams, and hopes. He doesn't need to be over someone else to know his own worth. Real manhood comes from within and is won in an internal struggle more difficult and often more frightening than the battlefield. Real men, by the way, don't start fights, although they may finish one or two when necessary.

Real men do what's right even when other people think they're crazy because their own self-respect is worth more than the admiration of their peers. A real man will help someone who's hurt him just because it's right. A real man will cry if there's something worth crying over.

A real man knows how and when to balance his dreams with his responsibilities, his freedom with his obligations, his wants with other's needs. He knows when to walk away and when to take a stand even if the whole world calls him a fool or worse.

A real man knows that greater physical size and strength may make him male but they don't make him a man. A real man knows when to own up to his mistakes and to take the knocks he's earned so that he can move on as a better man. A real man is loyal to his friends and faithful to his wife. Most of all, a real man is bound to his word and dedicated to his own character.

I count myself privileged to have real men in my life. I'd name them but they'd just see that as an opportunity to mock me. That's one of the great things about being friends with real men. They'll lift you up when you need it, but they also know how to keep you humble. So, I'll just say thanks. You know who you are.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

And Now For Something Completely Different...

I know I promised a piece on the left's own nutballs and wackjobs, but it seems they may have zapped my brain, making me incapable of taunting them this week. Instead, I'll be bringing you something completely different... the lesbian's take on manliness. This piece was supposed to be done already but I've been fighting with blogger, struggling with posting errors. Keep an eye out for it this evening. And Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Nation: With G-d On Our Side

In the latest issue of The Nation, Eric Alterman tackles the conservative hijacking of religion in American political discourse. Amongst many interesting issues, Alterman raises the idea that liberals are to blame, in part, for giving conservatives the field by abandoning traditional economic and political radicalism for what he calls the "politically suicidal" cultural radicalism of the 60's. I think it goes further than that and will be going into greater detail soon. At the moment, however, I am reminded of my own foray into explaining religious liberalism and the response I received. From religious liberals themselves, an outpouring of gratitude that someone had finally acknowledged their existence. From the "secular" or atheistic left, an attack on my ideas (fair game, of course) and on me personally as a "supporter" of the "oppressive" agenda of religion (I'll link to this soon if it's still up, but haven't been able to find it yet. I'm virtually "evil incarnate"!). It seems to me, and this is all just a preliminary rant, that the vocal minority who take the virulently anti-religion stance a.) know very little about religion and b.) are the left's version of the religious wackjobs that plague the right. Extremism is extremism. Should we liberals be clearing the crazy relatives out of our own attics? More soon.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Brief Hiatus

My apologies from the break in posting. The first week at a new job has taken up my time and energy. A new post will be up by the end of this weekend. Hopefully, I'll be going back to regular posting in this coming week.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

GovExec: IRS Privatizing Debt Collection

Is the government really this corrupt? Yes, it is. Despite the fact that privatizing debt collection for our nation's taxes will cost much more, pose a grave threat to privacy, and be far less efficient than governmental collection, the IRS is set to sign contracts with private companies to do their dirty work.

The eventual dissolution of all government in favor of the privatization of all social functions has long been part of the "utopian" dream of the laissez-faire capitalist. From placing governmental agencies in the hands of the industries they're supposed to regulate to massive deregulation to corporate welfare/giveways to the privatization plans for Social Security and IRS debt collection to the untrammeled war profiteering that has led to the American taxpayer/soldier getting the shaft to the outsourcing of vital operations to companies run by foreign governments, George W. Bush has been the profit mongers' wildest wet dream.

For anyone familiar with the history of laissez-faire capitalism and the horrid abuses wrought in the name of profit, this dream is a nightmare of dystopic proportions. We'll get to pay more for less. We'll watch horrified as our personal information is sold willy-nilly to not just the highest bidder, but thousands of bidders. We'll watch all of the protections we've come to take for granted disappear in a cloud of lung-scarring smoke. Security will be a thing of the past, a cute bedtime story we'll tell our granchildren. And all this will be wrought by people who are completely unaccountable to the American people, even the comforting illusion of governmental accountability will be lost.

We need a new generation of muckrakers to show the American people what goes on behind the closed doors hiding our future masters, the capitalist pigs dining at the taxpayers' trough. Lacking that, we need to remind people of the work of the old muckrakers like Ida Tarbell, Lincoln Stefens, and Upton Sinclair. Their investigations of capitalism's worst abuses led to protections such as unemployment insurance, workplace safety protections, workman's compensation, social security, labor negotations, the Pure Food and Drug Act and the FDA, media regulation, the Environmental Protection Agency, consumer rights, recalls of dangerous products, corporate accountability for faulty products, fraud legislation, anti-trust laws, etc. etc. etc. We must do it now. Lest they and our way of life be forgotten.