Monday, July 17, 2006
You're the Dog Now, Man
I urinate standing up -- occasionally missing the toilet altogether.
I've slept with a couple of women I've never spoken to again.
I have a fast-held belief that any movie with the word "Heart" in it -- which isn't preceded by the word "Angel" -- is generally something I have no desire to see.
Jackass made me laugh so hard I couldn't breathe.
I like porn and cigars, although not at the same time.
I don't like most Broadway musicals, nor any other form of entertainment where people suddenly break out into song to further the plot. I was once dragged kicking and screaming to Mamma Mia. I'm still trying to get my testicles to forgive me.
I still have scars on my legs from my time in the pit at Black Flag shows, circa early 80s.
I have indiscriminate anger issues.
I once stuffed a naked girl into a closet and kept her there for 20 minutes while I tried to get rid of my girlfriend, who had the bad manners to stop by without calling.
I hate Oprah.
I can sometimes be a crass and insensitive bastard (see all of the above).
These facts being what they are, you'd think I'd be doing a rollicking, celebratory dance around my piles of Maxim magazines at the revelation that it's once again okay to embrace my inner-asshole. I know this to be true because the mass media has declared it so. I see it on TV. I read it in magazines. It's even been given the blessing of the English press, and we know we can trust them -- I mean, they have those accents, right?*
The return of the caveman aesthetic to the public zeitgest has even been tagged with a clever title by the mighty media machine: they're calling it "The Menaissance."
From Bud Light's "Man Laws" commercials -- which I've already written about -- to Burger King's "I Am Man" ditty, to the rise of so-called "Fratire," (I challenge you to say that word without rolling your eyes) and the ratings-surge of Spike TV, it seems that embracing the Y chromosome is all the rage. The message is simple: Guys, you don't have to hide anymore; put down the John Gray book and the Gwyneth Paltrow DVD, get your balls out of the refrigerator and be a "Man" again. The pride is back.
The problem of course is that it's all complete bullshit.
The basic premise is that for several years, men were oppressed -- pinned under a dark cloud of political correctness which labeled their natural instincts unacceptable and uncivilized. We were supposedly expected to bury the Neanderthalic misogynist and get in touch with our inner-Alanis, all in an effort to better understand the other half of the population of this planet. We were supposedly being turned into pussies. But in reality, we weren't being turned into anything. If there's anything that the unimaginative media in this country -- and around the world for that matter -- loves, it's a trend they can recycle, parrot, and forcibly jam down the collective throat of a jaded public until it's choked on. The idea of an anti-man movement fit the bill nicely.
Another thing the media loves: sweeping generalizations. This is why we get day after day of nightmarish hyperbole about everything from rising crime rates (which are actually falling), to terrorism threats (which fortunately affect almost no one in this country), to the horrific meth "epidemic" (which is the closest thing to absolute nonsense that the press has ever deemed to foist on the masses). On a smaller scale, this is also why every so often, the gods of what we see, hear and believe choose to come down from Mt. Olympus and assure us of a new cultural touchstone which will impact all of our lives. It's post-modern circular logic at its finest: if Time magazine tells you that the culture is moving in a certain direction, you can be damn sure that if it isn't, it soon will be -- all thanks to the article in Time magazine.
The reality of the "Menaissance" is the same as the truth behind any media-driven cultural phenomenon -- from Internet predators to the career of Paris Hilton -- namely, it impacts some people and not others. You'd be a moron to think that every man on the goddamned planet has decided that he's going to down four Hungry-Man meals a night while masturbating to Fight Club. Some guys will do that -- because chances are they always have -- and some won't. Dropping clever terms like "Fratire" can give Tucker Max all the legitimacy in the world, it doesn't make him a decent writer -- nor does it lend any kind of extraneous gravitas to a frat kid's decision to read him.
I'm a guy. If I wanted to, I guess I could choose to make some kind of bold statement of solidarity with my fellow Y-chromos by buying into this crap about how I don't need to be ashamed to be a "Man" again. Thing is, I was never all that ashamed to begin with -- probably because I always considered myself to be an individual above all. There are some stereotypical traits I share with my fellow guys. There are plenty I don't.
I don't find Jessica Simpson the least bit attractive.
I don't give a crap about most sports, and plan to live a very productive and happy rest-of-my-life never playing golf.
I never named my penis, joined a fraternity, or wore a t-shirt that boasted how much I could drink.
I think the funniest thing Dane Cook could do is get run down by his own tour bus.
If Kim Jong Il nuked Vegas, I'd turn my pillow over to the cool side.
I don't own one goddamned striped-shirt.
I could care less what a woman's bra size is, and I'm baffled by that fascination. I also truly believe that young women can be plenty of things, but they can almost never be sexy; that's a trait that comes with age, wisdom and confidence. It has to be grown into.
These are the qualities that make me me. It would seem like common-sense: the rarest of products is always the most valuable. The individual person you are is the thing you should prize most.
And so far at least, there isn't an ad campaign aimed directly at you.
*I'll give a dollar to anyone who can explain to me why British actors are Hollywood's default setting when it comes to casting for the part of any international character, no matter the country.