The Boys Are Back… for Good
George Will is concerned that real men are a fading gender in our society:
Although [Penn State University History Professor Gary] Cross, an aging academic boomer, was a student leftist, he believes that 1960s radicalism became “a retreat into childish tantrums” symptomatic “of how permissive parents infantilized the boomer generation.” And the boomers’ children? Consider the television commercials for the restaurant chain called Dave & Buster’s, which seems to be, ironically, a Chuck E. Cheese’s for adults—a place for young adults, especially men, to drink beer and play electronic games and exemplify youth not as a stage of life but as a perpetual refuge from adulthood.
Personally, I’m hopeful that the back-swing of the cultural pendulum will bring back some of the self-reliance, chivalry, and, well, manliness to modern manhood, without erasing some of the intellectual and emotional gains that represent some necessary softening around the edges. Of course, such an outcome is only possible if people begin to acknoweldge — and talk about — what’s been lost.
Which is not to say that it’s been thoroughly erased. Some of the old guard are still around, overlapping with the vanguard of a new breed, but I’m talking about a sort of cultural average. There’s also a degree to which manliness has persisted as a sort of thematic lore in films and fiction; it’s the translation into action, without sinking into senseless violence and abuse, that is wanting.