Looking for men

discusIt’s impossible at this point to avoid the Facebook discussions, memes, “teachable moments”, and other posts concerning the shooting in Santa Barbara and the attempted shooting in Stockton, both of which followed a similar and disturbing pattern. It is equally impossible to avoid being a participant in them. “All men” and “all women” are being invoked pretty much constantly, and their hashtags and accompanying invective litter the Internet; there are multiple self-appointed representatives speaking for you through your gender.

My response could probably fill an entire blog, not just a blog post, and it is in fact still evolving as I consider new facts, and different points of view. There is a lot of nuance to it…but a few things are clear, and need to be said. And, in doing so, I also incidentally claim the right to say them, in the way I feel I must. A great many posts are circulating which attempt to explain how I may and may not argue as, for instance, a member of my gender. Demands of that sort will be politely ignored.

My first response to the shootings was to consider them the work of mentally disturbed individuals – not, as was claimed by some feminist columnists, the product of rampant institutionalized misogyny. I still feel that way in a general sense; however, I now don’t believe it is wholly adequate to describe the situation. There is something behind this unbridled rage at women, both in the acts themselves and the inexcusable, indefensible hate speech men have concocted to comment upon them. I’m not going to pretend I know precisely what it is, but something more is happening, it has roots within our identity as men, and it is very clearly wrong.

I do know, however, that women cannot define this problem for us, and women cannot solve it. Continue reading

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The world without them

death and sufferingRecently, the usual crop of nonsensical conservative pundits spoke out in objection to an advertisement by Coca-Cola, featuring “America the Beautiful” sung in a variety of languages, most of which I have heard spoken in this country by fellow Americans, either naturalized or otherwise, during the usual course of my life.  The reactions of these pundits, as well as many random fellow conservative Twitterers and commenters, are stereotypically fearful, and when you are in fear, you don’t necessarily make a lot of sense.  Glenn Beck’s take, as an example, was how “in your face” and “dividing” the commercial was.  A whole bunch of different people getting together and praising the United States and its beauty in song is…”dividing”.  This should tell you all that you need to know about Glenn Beck.  (For more information, consult the book 1984, by George Orwell.) Continue reading

Seasons change with the scenery

look-sunsetI was in Glen Burnie yesterday and had lunch at Gino’s. If you are a Baltimore kid like me, you’ll understand the significance of this; this was my first time in a Gino’s in – I’m not kidding – 40 years or so. Growing up in Baltimore, even in the nearby ‘burbs as I was, you were a McDonald’s kid or a Gino’s kid. (Yeah, there was Burger Chef, too, but somehow they were never really part of the debate in the playground.) I was definitely a Gino’s kid. It just felt right to be so, even when I didn’t fully understand that McDonald’s was the interloper in our city, while the other burger joint was the enterprise of Gino Marchetti, who played for the Colts before my time. The new Gino’s is more like Cheeburger Cheeburger than McD’s – the food is to order, they have specialty milkshakes, and they play oldies while you eat – but that was fine by me: it was good food, there was Old Bay and malt vinegar on the table, and I was at Gino’s again and just basking in the nostalgia. Continue reading

Ground suggestions

anywhereThere are some things in the public consciousness and discourse right now (articles, newspapers, random yawps on the social network squawkbox) that I feel compelled to comment on, because there are some ground rules about things, and we apparently need to restate them.  So please take heed:

If something happens right in front of your face and you pay it no particular heed and make no comment…and some time later, an opinion piece proclaims that thing as offensive (or whatever) – and then, and only then, you make some public pronouncement that you are offended…then you are not really offended.  You are, however, guilty of groupthink. Continue reading

Looking back at looking forward

I was chatting with a friend recently when I recalled a prediction that I’d made many, many years ago.  It’s useful to look back at such things in order to differentiate one’s self from the huge mass of agitprop-spewing talking heads in today’s Mainstream Media.  The current standard for punditry requires no adherence to fact or reality at all, and this in turn makes it pretty entertaining.  (Take John Derbyshire’s recent swan dive into the shallow end – so breathtakingly free of sense that his brothers-in-pomposity at the National Review have been spinning like tops in their efforts to pretend he never actually wrote for them.)  Alas, I like to look at the facts of the situation in as sober a way as possible, and change what I think when it doesn’t conform.  Nowhere near as much fun to read, I’ll grant, but I never claimed to be anything but stodgy. Continue reading

Falling down and staying down

So I took the field for a bit of pick-up football (the real kind, natch) on a fine Monday afternoon in a t-shirt reading “HUP!”, ready to do battle for the glory of den Oranje*…after thirty minutes running around in the heat, I stopped to get some water, was back for a few minutes, hustled back for a play on defense, and ow ow ow cramp cramp ow dammit ow.  In one split-second, I’m transformed from Marco van Basten** to an old man in an orange shirt, down on the field, whining and grabbing my right hammy.  Back in the golden days, I’d stretch it out and head back in – now, not so much.  Though it’s much better, it’s still twinging two days later.  Lord, but getting old sucks mightily.
Continue reading

Time, the Avenger

When I was a kid, I had a lot of baseball simulation games.  Most people who had one had APBA Baseball; even actual baseball players would play that one.  (I seem to recall Lenny Dykstra of the Phillies mentioning at one point after a home run, “The last time I hit one like that was in APBA.”)

I was a Statis-Pro Baseball guy.  I would stage numerous games on my bed with my cards all laid out, under the close supervision of my otherwise-complete-antisocial cat, who no doubt looked upon this activity as good reason that he should continue shunning most of humanity.  Continue reading