Quote of the Day: An Era of the Angry Useless Weenie?

 

“I will not serve that in which I no longer believe whether it call itself my home, my fatherland or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use – silence, exile, and cunning.” — Stephen Daedalus (James Joyce,  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man 1922)

How do narcissists come to believe themselves to be too clever and insightful to be bound by societal expectations of any kind? The fictional tragic figure of Satan in Milton’s Paradise Lost was an archangel and thus possessed some basis for high self-regard, which led to the defining moment of his non serviam.  But the same defiance, the same non serviam issued by a useless weenie like Stephen Daedalus is too pathetic to rise to the level of tragedy.

In Catcher in the Rye, a novel apparently still inflicted on American youth, the useless and tiresome protagonist Holden Caulfield dismisses the rest of the world as “phonies” whereas his self-centered meanderings are supposedly authentic stages in his journey to (a stunted) adulthood.  It still enrages me that the education establishment thought the novel spoke to me and my generation.

Try to picture Caulfield or Daedalus as characters in The Iliad, any James Fenimore Cooper novel, or any other setting in which manliness, a sense of purpose, and willingness to sacrifice for something higher are required.  It is hard to believe in the survival of any nation in which angry useless weeniehood is prevalent.  My recurring nightmare is that those whinging panels of useless weenies on MSNBC may represent the real future of manhood in America.

The women of my mother’s generation tended to place all males into one of three categories.  At the top, there are special figures entitled to a fuss being made, such as the pastor coming to dinner or some author coming to a ladies’ book club function. Then there are providers, the men with a touch of gray who dutifully write checks to pay for what needs to be acquired, keep it all in repair, and just take care of things.  And the bottom rung is the field hand/chore-doer/useful muscle.  Ideally, a young man would begin by being useful moving furniture, hauling, or painting, then achieve success and status so he could write checks when needs require and maybe even eventually become someone deserving a fuss. Any male outside that category system is deemed a bum or worse.  The measure was whether the male of any age was of any use to society in general and women in particular and possessed of the requisite virtues, skills, and character to deliver such service.

In bizarre contrast, feminists created a system in which men could be oppressors, competitors, or enemies.  A minimally acceptable mate is one who must somehow be a traitor to the patriarchy. And now women complain that there are no suitable husbands.  Duh. It is as if they wanted to promote useless weeniehood as the norm (along with small local cadres of lounge lizards to provide a parody of masculinity) to justify a culture of perpetual complaint.

How long must we wait for the pushback, the end of the current celebration of castrati and men in dresses and angry useless weenies making policy?

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  1. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Old Bathos: The women of my mother’s generation tended to place all males into one of three categories.  At the top, there are special figures entitled to a fuss being made such as the pastor coming to dinner or some author coming to a ladies’ book club function. Then there are providers, the men with a touch of gray who dutifully write checks to pay for what needs to be acquired, keep it all in repair and just take care of things.  And the bottom rung is the field hand/chore doer/useful muscle.  Ideally, a young man would begin by being useful moving furniture, hauling, or painting, then achieve success and status so he could write checks when needs require and maybe even eventually become someone deserving a fuss. Any male outside that category system is deemed a bum or worse.  The measure was whether the male of any age was of any use to society in general and women in particular and possessed of the requisite virtues, skills, and character to deliver such service.

    Excellent post, OB. I love these characterizations, because they are so true and reminiscent of what we came to expect from men, and it showed how we treasured whatever contribution they made. The feminists don’t think we need them at all. How tragic. I don’t know if and when a pushback will happen.

    • #1
  2. She Member
    She
    @She

    Old Bathos: In Catcher in the Rye, a novel apparently still inflicted on American youth, the useless and tiresome protagonist Holden Caulfield dismisses the rest of the world as “phonies” whereas his self-centered meanderings are supposedly authentic stages in his journey to (a stunted) adulthood.  It still enrages me that the education establishment thought that the novel spoke to me and my generation.

    Oh, bravo!  The same could be said for an entire canon of twentieth-century literature served up to Western college youth in which self-centered, whiny, malevolent and destructive “antiheroes” were held up as exemplars of authenticity and self-discovery.

    All you have to do is look at the life stories of many of the authors to discover why their works were so vile and why their characters were so self-involved and dysfunctional. (It’s not the portraits of dysfunctionality, per se, that are unique; it’s that–as a society–we’re supposed to celebrate and revere exactly those things that make these characters so antisocial and perverse.)  Ugh.  It’s about time such corruption got called out for what it is.

    Follow Up:  I find myself wondering, in light of the fact that “The Big F” (Feminism, BTW) is so often blamed for all the ills of the world, what impact it had on the works of people like J.D. Salinger, Hunter S. Thompson, John O’Brien, William S. Burroughs and company.  IMHO, when it comes to the narcissistic weeniness of today’s pajama boys and their unwillingness to face reality and come to terms with their masculinity, those guys have a great deal to answer for, too.

    • #2
  3. Juno Delta Whiskey Coolidge
    Juno Delta Whiskey
    @Cato

    There is a counter culture of masculinity – found in places like ArtOfManliness.com and others – that support the manly pursuit of virtue.

    However, those men are picky about their mates, and don’t seem to be interested in being useful to society in general. Instead, they are interested in being useful to society in particular: their kith and kin.

    I believe those small cohorts of localized community will win the day in the end, because they are in fact building the parallel economy so often talked about but never described. The society in particular will eventually be all that is left of society, and then oddly enough will become the new society in general.

    And praise to the rare men who are willing to put their neck out in an effort to help beyond that small, particular circle in the hopes of preventing everything being burned to the ground – like Matt Walsh, Nick Freitas, Jordan Peterson, Voddie Bachman and others.

    • #3
  4. Old Bathos Member
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    She (View Comment):

    Old Bathos: In Catcher in the Rye, a novel apparently still inflicted on American youth, the useless and tiresome protagonist Holden Caulfield dismisses the rest of the world as “phonies” whereas his self-centered meanderings are supposedly authentic stages in his journey to (a stunted) adulthood. It still enrages me that the education establishment thought that the novel spoke to me and my generation.

    Oh, bravo! The same could be said for an entire canon of twentieth-century literature served up to Western college youth in which self-centered, whiny, malevolent and destructive “antiheroes” were held up as exemplars of authenticity and self-discovery.

    All you have to do is look at the life stories of many of the authors to discover why their works were so vile and why their characters were so self-involved and dysfunctional. (It’s not the portraits of dysfunctionality, per se, that are unique; it’s that–as a society–we’re supposed to celebrate and revere exactly those things that make these characters so antisocial and perverse.) Ugh. It’s about time such corruption got called out for what it is.

    Follow Up: I find myself wondering, in light of the fact that “The Big F” (Feminism, BTW) is so often blamed for all the ills of the world, what impact it had on the works of people like J.D. Salinger, Hunter S. Thompson, John O’Brien, William S. Burroughs and company. IMHO, when it comes to the narcissistic weeniness of today’s pajama boys and their unwillingness to face reality and come to terms with their masculinity, those guys have a great deal to answer for, too.

    Good stuff.

    Feminism may have emerged in a kind of void.  As long as the patriarchy was about duty, honor, and the well-being of women and children and delivered on those obligations, there were fewer reasons to overturn the system.  Those guys who calmly sipped drinks on the deck of the Titanic so women and children (and the execrable Billy Zane) could have the lifeboats were following the code to the end, literally. But when prosperity fostered self-indulgence, navel-gazing, and rejection of duty, there was not much reason to tolerate already outmoded restrictions.

    • #4
  5. She Member
    She
    @She

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Those guys who calmly sipped drinks on the deck of the Titanic so women and children (and the execrable Billy Zane) could have the lifeboats…

    Oh, he really was, wasn’t he?  He stood out–which was, just by itself, quite an achievement–even in that movie.

    • #5
  6. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    American youth would be better served by being required to read this book:

    • #6
  7. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    EJHill (View Comment):

    American youth would be better served by being required to read this book:

    Now I want to read that one. 

    When we studied Catcher in high school, no one liked the protagonist and we deconstructed it. 

    • #7
  8. KCVolunteer Lincoln
    KCVolunteer
    @KCVolunteer

    The women of my mother’s generation tended to place all males into one of three categories.  At the top, there are special figures entitled to a fuss being made such as the pastor coming to dinner or some author coming to a ladies’ book club function. Then there are providers, the men with a touch of gray who dutifully write checks to pay for what needs to be acquired, keep it all in repair and just take care of things.  And the bottom rung is the field hand/chore doer/useful muscle.  Ideally, a young man would begin by being useful moving furniture, hauling, or painting, then achieve success and status so he could write checks when needs require and maybe even eventually become someone deserving a fuss. Any male outside that category system is deemed a bum or worse.  The measure was whether the male of any age was of any use to society in general and women in particular and possessed of the requisite virtues, skills, and character to deliver such service.

    I think you just described the patriarchy.

    • #8
  9. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    The feminists don’t think we need them at all. How tragic. I don’t know if and when a pushback will happen.

    I’m not going to claim I have an understanding of precisely how we got here, but I was right in the middle of the period in the sixties when, I think, a major shift happened. 

    There are two schools of thought about how society should order itself, one is the collective and the other is the American Ideal. One is a phony charade in which the meaning of the words in the language is changed to support the propaganda being dispensed. 

    The American Ideal is based on a fundamental concept of societal equality of rights for all that means government will insure the protection of equality under the law for all, regardless of race or sex. There is a monster-sized moral implication embedded in that ideal and the Founders saw that and accounted for it in their deliberations and formulations.

    It took Americans almost two centuries to get the racial equality issues right and with the help of technology similar progress was made on sex issues. But the collective impulse was never idle during this time and all is not bad with that. One of the worst aspects of it is the push towards big oneness against which our Founders provided the federalist Republic. But the narcissistic elite is always there to exploit any weaknesses so they jumped to destroy masculinity with the feminist movement and to reignite the racial animus to create a new communist world order and now we will get that pushback. 

    • #9
  10. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    I think the direction the feminist movement took was a big factor in destroying masculinity but another was the vilification of our Vietnam veterans while ignoring the faulty morality of our political and military leaders of the period.

    • #10
  11. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Old Bathos: My recurring nightmare is that those whinging panels of useless weenies on MSNBC may represent the real future of manhood in America.

    Future, or present?

    • #11
  12. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Old Bathos: Then there are providers, the men with a touch of gray who dutifully write checks to pay for what needs to be acquired, keep it all in repair, and just take care of things.  And the bottom rung is the field hand/chore-doer/useful muscle.  Ideally, a young man would begin by being useful moving furniture, hauling, or painting, then achieve success and status so he could write checks when needs require and maybe even eventually become someone deserving a fuss.

    I believe one factor is the transition from agricultural and industrial economies to a predominantly service and knowledge-worker economy that has less need for masculine physical strength.

    For example, I don’t think we software engineers are typically recognized for our studly manliness, even though:
    1) It’s still a male-dominated profession despite years of scolding from the DE&I crowd
    2) It requires self-discipline and long hours to succeed
    3) We earn enough to “dutifully write checks to pay for what needs to be acquired”

    • #12
  13. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    Reminds me of one of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes. “We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

    • #13
  14. Pagodan Member
    Pagodan
    @MatthewBaylot

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    American youth would be better served by being required to read this book:

    Now I want to read that one.

    When we studied Catcher in high school, no one liked the protagonist and we deconstructed it.

    I don’t think you were intended to particularly like Holden Caufield. It’s been close to thirty years since I read it, but I always thought a large part of the tension in the novel was that Holden was an unreliable hypocrite. 

    • #14
  15. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    EJHill (View Comment):

    American youth would be better served by being required to read this book:

    The captions to the photos in that book are priceless.

    • #15
  16. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    Reminds me of one of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes. “We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

    You beat me to it – that’s the quote that came to my mind as well.

    • #16
  17. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Old Bathos: In Catcher in the Rye, a novel apparently still inflicted on American youth,

    I’ve never read it. I wasn’t opposed to reading it, but a reason to read it never came up. 

    • #17
  18. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Dotorimuk (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    American youth would be better served by being required to read this book:

    The captions to the photos in that book are priceless.

    I’d like to read it, but not $50 for a used copy

    • #18
  19. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Old Bathos: In Catcher in the Rye, a novel apparently still inflicted on American youth, the useless and tiresome protagonist Holden Caulfield dismisses the rest of the world as “phonies” whereas his self-centered meanderings are supposedly authentic stages in his journey to (a stunted) adulthood.  It still enrages me that the education establishment thought the novel spoke to me and my generation.

    Never read it. Having looked at a Wikipedia summary, I expect I never will. Looks like there are better stories in the Sharknadoverse.

    I had to read a book in high school about a girl who turned into a chimpanzee. I still loathe it dearly. To be fair, the same class did have us read some Odyssey, some Othello, and Animal Farm. Those were good.

    • #19
  20. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Dotorimuk (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    American youth would be better served by being required to read this book:

    The captions to the photos in that book are priceless.

    I’d like to read it, but not $50 for a used copy

    Amazon says I can buy a used paperback copy for $36.63.  That’s still kind of expensive, considering.  I used to enjoy listening to him when he made an appearance on one of the evening talk shows, and would gladly read his book.  My university library has a copy, but I can’t check it out. It’s in “Special Collections” — for library use only.  

    • #20
  21. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

     

    Old Bathos:

    In bizarre contrast, feminists created a system in which men could be oppressors, competitors, or enemies. A minimally acceptable mate is one who must somehow be a traitor to the patriarchy. And now women complain that there are no suitable husbands. Duh. It is as if they wanted to promote useless weeniehood as the norm (along with small local cadres of lounge lizards to provide a parody of masculinity) to justify a culture of perpetual complaint.

    How long must we wait for the pushback, the end of the current celebration of castrati and men in dresses and angry useless weenies making policy?

    We must not wait for the pushback. We must confront the lies that have allowed our society to get to the point of elevating and “celebrating” men in dresses and angry useless weenies. Which lies? I think the biggest ones are the lies of feminism. Stop lying to young women that the pursuit of careers should take so much precedence in their lives that they view their own offspring as the enemy. 

    The secondary effect of that shift in outlook would be to encourage young men to be useful, if they want young women to take notice. Note, this all requires that young women stop taking the pill and start being discriminating about their sexual partners. 

    *****

    This post is part of the Quote of the Day Group Writing Project. You’re welcome to sign up for a day in August here.

    • #21
  22. Joker Member
    Joker
    @Joker

    I’m thinking that the blossoming of power tools has seriously reduced the demand for strong backs. And we are likely a generation or two into this era, so dad was probably not doing physically demanding work as a young man. Obviously plenty of those jobs still exist in the military, construction trades etc. but are generally less physical than they once were. The kids have less chance to fulfill that first step and the confidence it brings.

    If there’s no practical difference in early professions between men and women, and that slide toward work that women were always capable of (like desk work), the world will tend to tilt toward womanliness. And leave society with more useless weenies.

    Fortunately, spiders still provide an opportunity to be manly.

    • #22
  23. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Lilly B (View Comment):

    Which lies? I think the biggest ones are the lies of feminism. Stop lying to young women that the pursuit of careers should take so much precedence in their lives that they view their own offspring as the enemy. 

    The secondary effect of that shift in outlook would be to encourage young men to be useful, if they want young women to take notice. Note, this all requires that young women stop taking the pill and start being discriminating about their sexual partners. 

    We also need to end no-fault divorce and restore a sense of permanence to marriage.  I’ve heard even fairly traditional young women say things like “ideally I’d prefer to be a stay-at-home mother, but what if my husband leaves me for a younger woman?  That’s why I need my own career to fall back on, just in case.”

    • #23
  24. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Joker (View Comment):
    Fortunately, spiders still provide an opportunity to be manly.

    Until they mate, and their wives eat them.

    • #24
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