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December 04, 2008

American Manhood, R.I.P.

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

These days we can't even breed our own movie heroes. “Hollywood is great at producing male actors, but sucks at producing men,” says graphic novelist/director Frank Miller. “I found them all too much like boys.”

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at December 4, 2008




Comments

It isn't that masculinity has disappeared entirely among American men. You see plenty of it among athletes, for example. My guess is that the movie industry's difficulties in finding masculine American men is due to something inherent in the industry itself.

Posted by: Peter on December 4, 2008 9:29 AM



American actor Michael Chiklis of The Shield would make a terrific movie tough guy. Beats me why he hasn't been cast for the big screen.

Posted by: ricpic on December 4, 2008 10:24 AM



Uh... blacklist, anyone?

My alumni organization just sent me the quarterly magazine. Cover article on McCarthyite blacklisting back in the 50s. Oh, the horror!

Humanities departments at my alma mater, I guarantee you, have not hired a conservative religious Republican to a tenured faculty position in 30 years.

Masculinity is a violation of the party line for the hard left, which controls the movie industry. Gay worship is required. Hatred of the U.S. is one of the primary qualifications.

You get hired in the movie biz by going through the party circuit. That's where political and social views get vetted.

As I said... blacklist, anyone?

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on December 4, 2008 10:53 AM



George Clooney is plenty manly, and he also has that wry comic touch when he wants to.

Posted by: MQ on December 4, 2008 11:12 AM



I dunno, are Christian Bale, Colin Farrell, Ewan MacGregor et al any more manly or less boyish than Reeves, Cruise, etc.? I don't see it.

The generational thing I kinda get--but isn't it equally true that McQueen, Brando, etc were regarded as girly men in comparison with previous Hollywood he-men?

Posted by: Steve on December 4, 2008 11:30 AM



"Where have the manly movie stars gone?" Same place they've hidden all the womanly female stars, I guess. Childish stars for a childish culture. Though why people in an industry that devotes most of its resources to churning out comic-book movies are scratching their heads about this, I do not know. Out of curiosity I looked up the trailer for the new movie from the guy in the article - Frank Miller - complaining about the dearth of manly men to play his lead. And what have we here? More comic book characters with super-natural attributes!

The article enumerates the great masculine icons of American cinema, but I'm damned if I can imagine any of them playing a super-hero, rather than a hero. Steve McQueen turning green? Robert Mitchum or Gregory Peck slipping into a Bat ensemble? Perish the thought. (Even the kitchiest, gayest Roman Empire/Homeric/Bible pics of Kirk Douglas or Charlton Heston look like they were marketed to the general adult audience. And only the gods had magic powers.)

Looking at both actors and actresses it seems to me more of a general infantilizing trend rather than specifically actors wussing out. I've always been impressed by how the great female movie stars of the past, even in their earliest, dewiest ingenue roles, can seem decades older (in character and presence, not looks) than modern actresses on the far side of their leading-lady arc. The latter, as with the men, seem to "go bad before they hatch", never acquire any adult substance. The article describes this quality as "mystery", but what that really is the ability to produce in others the sense that there's a lot more going on inside the character than is being explicitly revealed. Adolescents, no matter how long in the tooth, are not "mysterious".

Posted by: Moira Breen on December 4, 2008 11:34 AM



Bingo, ST! I have first hand experience of this process. It is very real and is responsible for the product we now see in movie houses all over the world. And I can think of at least one film in which the idiotic casting really cost the producers a chunk of money: the recent remake of King Kong. If ever a film missed the kind of masculine star needed to make the movie a complete success, it was this one. What a missed opportunity!

Where did this begin? IMHO, it started in the sixties with the film "Klute". Donald Sutherland was the poster boy for this stuff and it went downhill from there. He was the perfect anti-hero.

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on December 4, 2008 11:44 AM



I think Moira nails it--the idea of a scrawny comic book nerd like Frank Miller making this complaint is kind of ridiculous. Isn't his movie just another a digitized pseudo-world a la Sin City and 300? What does he need a real man for?

Posted by: Steve on December 4, 2008 11:58 AM



I think Moira nails it--the idea of a scrawny comic book nerd like Frank Miller making this complaint is kind of ridiculous. Isn't his movie just another a digitized pseudo-world a la Sin City and 300? What does he need a real man for?

What does the rise in comic book movies have to do with explaining the decline of masculine male heroes? Only realistic movies demand manly men? The old George Reeves Superman was manly. What about the old sci-fi Flash Gordon serials? Lone Ranger flicks? Tarzan was very pulp, a predecessor to the comic book superhero, and he was always cast manly. Hercules movies have a man with superhuman powers, and I doubt anyone would call Steve Reeves wimpy or a beta male. Indiana Jones is a fantastic childish character too. Bladerunner was a digitized pseudoworld yet it was made better by the presence of a alpha male like Harrison Ford. Star Wars was a digitized pseudoworld, yet you don't think the presence of an alpha male like Harrison Ford made those films better? (And Luke became an alpha himself by Return of the Jedi)

Saying Miller has no right to criticize the dearth of manhood in Hollywood because he writes comics and fantasy just makes no sense to me. Some of our most enduring archetypes of manhood come from fantasy, superheroes and sci-fi. In fact, I'd argue anything aimed toward impressionable younger boys in their formative years needs manly protaganists MORE than entertainment geared toward adults.

Posted by: T. AKA Ricky Raw on December 4, 2008 12:22 PM



I'm in Moira and Steve's camp. I think masculinity is just one way of framing this discussion and says plenty about the framer. The real difference to me is the silence. Too much talking nowadays. It reminds me of the early thirties pictures when the studios wanted to show off sound. McQueen's not one of my favorite actors, but I was struck when listening to Pollack talk about him on Elvis Mitchell's show. Pollack said McQueen took a script and cut 70% of his dialogue and said, "I'm better when I'm not talking." There's plenty of doubt and ambiguity in that attitude. The difference is that the audience can project their own interpretations on it. If your looking for macho, it's there.

Posted by: OutOfContext on December 4, 2008 1:03 PM



OutOfContext -- Nice snapshot of McQueen, and I agree that today's youngdudez spend 'way too much time venting. Guys: venting isn't alpha, it's girly and stupid. A big part of the craft of being a real guy has always been about being in charge of your feelings, most of the time anyway.

All that said, the realguyz who were leads in pre-Boomer movies (Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, etc) often in fact spoke more words than guys in today's films. I read a report once that there was as much as 1/3 more lines of dialogue in the typical Hollywood movie back in the day than there is now.

To me the difference has to do with prowess. Actor-guys back in the day knew how to deliver dialogue and play with words. It's one of the things a real-man actor knew how to do, along with wearing a suit, using a gun, and romancing a woman. Actors these days don't have that kind of prowess with dialogue. They'll mumble and fumble, repeat themselves, use up a lot of time gasping and hemming and hawing. They vent, they collapse, they express their stupid feelings. But one thing few of them do is show off a lot of confidence with words.

Hmm, now that I type this comment out ... I wonder if this is equally true of black performers. It seems to me, without having thought about it much, that prowess-with-words is still a big part of what many black male performers are showing off. Anyone got any thoughts about this?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on December 4, 2008 1:20 PM



Hmm, now that I type this comment out ... I wonder if this is equally true of black performers. It seems to me, without having thought about it much, that prowess-with-words is still a big part of what many black male performers are showing off. Anyone got any thoughts about this?

I will say this, Will Smith has somehow emerged out of the pack as both the only American male under 40 who can give off a convincing alpha male vibe AND also the only A-list actor that is currently a bona fide box office draw. I read the figures and it's true. He is the only star left who can guarantee big box office just on marquee name value alone. For all of Brad Pitt and Jolie's constant media exposure, they have more box office flops than successes.

Posted by: T. AKA Ricky Raw on December 4, 2008 1:42 PM



Machismo is a good thing, by leftist PC standards, if you are black. It's the kiss of death if you are a white man.

Black macho men are kicking those devlish white men in the shins. Racial revenge is highly recommended for black men. White men who stand up for themselves are Nazis.

These PC statutes are pretty rigidly codified. What's the mystery here?

Black men know they are going to be rewarded for public displays of machismo, so they let it rip. White men know they are going to be beaten and exiled if for public displays of machismo. So, you keep it to yourself.

Once again, Michael, what's hard to understand about this? The same conduct that enhances a black man's public and job status condemns a white man to public ridicule and unemployment.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on December 4, 2008 2:00 PM



"They vent, they collapse, they express their stupid feelings."

That made me laugh out loud, MB. Hilarious.

I don't much like this current crop of young stars: they all seem very bland to me. I suppose this is just age showing, eh? Still, what young movie star, male, really excites? Dunno. Can't think of one. Again, age showing? Why so scrawny, Hollywood, why so scrawny?

Posted by: MD on December 4, 2008 2:33 PM



Ooooh, you know who I always sort of liked and found fascinatingly masculine on screen? William Holden. I liked the face furrows, the suits, and the dimpled chin.

Posted by: MD on December 4, 2008 2:34 PM



Black men know they are going to be rewarded for public displays of machismo, so they let it rip. White men know they are going to be beaten and exiled if for public displays of machismo. So, you keep it to yourself.

It's not that black men get rewarded. If so, why would so many blacks currently be in jail for committing violence? It's that blacks, especially lower class ones, don't care about the consequences like white men do. White men are more cautious, more self-censoring, more big-picture oriented on average than most black men. Plus they have more to lose. Once you get to upper class blacks, who have usually been socialized among whites and actually have something to lose, they are just as averse to fighting as white men are. Sometimes even worse for fears of fulfilling a stereotype and falling into the category of one of those "bad blacks."

Trust me, the violent black man's thought process isn't that he's emboldened by some social reward he will receive from white liberals. He WILL get punished for violence the same as a white man would, maybe even worse if he's poor because he's more likely to have an overworked and uninsterested legal aid rookie as his counsel who will urge him to plea. He just doesn't give a fuck. His manhood is more important than the consequences.

Posted by: T. AKA Ricky Raw on December 4, 2008 2:49 PM



George Clooney is plenty manly

Any man who keeps a pet pig is a freak.

Posted by: slumlord on December 4, 2008 3:18 PM



I don't agree there aren't truly masculine actors around, but one thing that has changed is the physical size of actors. They're all tiny now. Aside from Tim Robbins, I can't think of a major actor over 6 feet tall. Sure, a lot of actors have always been short, but there's always been a cadre of tall guys as well. Gable, Holden, Grant, Stewart, Mitchum. Those guys were physically large. Harrison Ford, who seems like he's be a big guy, is only like 5' 10" or something.

Posted by: JV on December 4, 2008 3:27 PM



The definition of "actor" is at odds with "masculine." (I'm a woman) I can't get excited about a man who pretends for a living. An actor may be "masculine" at home, or in the rest of his life, but pretending is fake.

Posted by: jz on December 4, 2008 3:55 PM



Hollywood's portrayal of manhood is really a reflection of what our culture thinks is manly.

This definition has changed, especially since the sixties. Hollywood screenwriters and casting directors are also products of our culture, and when fashioning a movie's leading man, incorporate cultural ideals of the zeitgeist in their portrayal of them.

The feminisation of the culture is thus reflected in the portrayals of manhood on the screens. Hollywood after all, is all about fantasy. The leading men today tend to embody girly ideals of manhood.

They're pretty rather than handsome, "complicated" rather than simple, vulnerable instead of secure, inclusive rather than solitary.
All girly traits.

Clint Eastwood was one of those actors who has been working in during the transition. His early characters are different in nature to his more recent portrayals. I like the "old" Clint much more.

Some reminiscing.

Posted by: slumlord on December 4, 2008 3:56 PM



I actually think Clooney could have made it as a leading man in an era. He's the equal of the old ones to me. Also, 5'11!

Also, T really understands black culture, it's nice to have him around on this circuit of blogs (Roissy, Sailer, here) that tend to have a lot of frankly racist commenters. It's ridiculous to say that black men don't get punished for violence, I mean what planet do you have to live on to think that? Not the one where one fifth of black American men serve jail time by the time they reach their 30s. Like he says, they just don't give a fuck.

Posted by: MQ on December 4, 2008 3:58 PM



T. AKA Ricky Raw,

Specificity seems hard to enforce in these comments.

I was, of course, talking about black men in movies and the entertainment business, not about black men robbing and murdering people on the streets.

I kinda thought that would be obvious.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on December 4, 2008 4:22 PM



While, I'll certainly agree that the american male in hollywood is certainly a lot more softer than he used to be, some of the "so-called" manly foreign men, paticularly the british ones are gay in real life. Ian mckellen, and Micheal Cain, are gay in real life. Not saying gay men can't portray manly, but before we start US bashing lets get our facts straight. remember folks, that radical 70's feminism, which is to blame for the softening up of the modern american male, coincided with the rise in domestic violence cases, at that time. So blame men, for the down fall of man!

Posted by: tommyguy on December 4, 2008 4:56 PM



T.: What does the rise in comic book movies have to do with explaining the decline of masculine male heroes? Only realistic movies demand manly men?

T., what are you banging on about here? Who's arguing that comic-book movies should cast wimpy guys? (I'm pretty sure Steve was contrasting "real man" vs. "digitized image", not "real man" vs. "wuss".) Or for that matter, that there's something bad about such movies, per se? I've enjoyed the genre, myself, and, as you say, it's inherently appealing to young males. Maybe you should back up and examine the points that are actually being made here. All that glorious pulp like Tarzan and Flash Gordon was eagerly consumed by young males in a context in which it was understood that this was properly adolescent fare (even if it could be enjoyed by adults); the Lone Ranger, in the fullness of time, would be superseded by more complex, real-world masculine models. If there is a rise in comic-book movies, that suggests that this juvenile form is crowding out more adult fare. So while there is nothing inherently bad in the form itself, its over-representation signifies an infantilized culture, and infantilized cultures do not produce manly men - no matter how much CGI muscular hypertrophy they lay on the meat-space action figures in their comic book movies.

In fact, I'd argue anything aimed toward impressionable younger boys in their formative years needs manly protaganists MORE than entertainment geared toward adults.

Again, I don't know where you're picking up an argument against manly protagonists in material aimed at the young. The problem is the puerility of the models aimed at the not-so-young. The comic-book movies in question are not made for 15-year old adolescents. Their intended audience seems to be 30-year-old adolescents.

MQ: I actually think Clooney could have made it as a leading man in an era. He's the equal of the old ones to me.

Nah. When he first turned up, I remember thinking, "Wow, that is one handsome fellow. (And by 'handsome', I don't mean 'pretty boy'.) He has the potential to age well into real old-school leading-man movie-star material." But it never happened (to my taste, anyway). I dunno, I think he just doesn't project enough intelligence to be interesting. I am so disillusioned.

Posted by: Moira Breen on December 4, 2008 5:47 PM



Hollywood is a fantasy, period. Its used for shaping minds and culture, not reflecting it. If you don't see any manly men in movies anymore, its because they don't want you to. If all you see are blacks, gays, and minorities, that's what they wan't you to see. Its all controlled and contrived. To think that any of it reflects reality is to say that the mind control they exert has worked on you.

Posted by: klo on December 4, 2008 5:53 PM



I regard Gregory Peck the way Patrick H regards Helen Mirren. Gregory Peck in a double breasted suit with peaked lapels...Brad Pitt's not even in the neighborhood.

Posted by: Bradamante on December 4, 2008 6:51 PM



Michael Caine is gay? Hadn't heard that one before. However, Cary Grant probably was, and Rock Hudson definitely was. Two very manly movie stars. Thinking about that kind of illuminates the illusion of Hollywood.

Posted by: JV on December 4, 2008 6:57 PM



I should clarify, not that gay men can't be manly. But Grant and Hudson were seen as manly, straight men in movies.

Also, Hollywood doesn't tell us what we want, it gives us what we want. It's all about selling as many tickets as possible.

Posted by: JV on December 4, 2008 6:59 PM



George Clooney is certainly he-man enough. I second Michael Chiklis (Vic Mackey in "The Shield") as a real he-man. A third one is the latest bond, Daniel Craig. I have to say that I really like the recent bond movies with Daniel Craig.

Posted by: kurt9 on December 4, 2008 7:08 PM



Uber masculine:
-Benjamin Netanyahu after 9/11. Calm and wise in chaos. Intelligent and well-spoken. Deep voice.
-Ahmed Karzai from Afghanistan. Dresses in western/native combo. Lustrous eyes. Negotiates peace.

Hollywood men are flimsy cardboard. Maybe Nicholas Gage as a rare exception, because he's actually talented. Jon Hamm looks fine, but he's not a true actor; he's just a pretender who looks attractive.

Posted by: jz on December 4, 2008 7:38 PM



"Masculinity is a violation of the party line for the hard left, which controls the movie industry. Gay worship is required. Hatred of the U.S. is one of the primary qualifications."

As usual, you don't know what you're talking about. Since the late 70s, Hollywood has raked in the cash with action movie franchises selling a combination of violence and superpatriotic jingoism. The Rambo series is typical, but look at the Die Hard series, Indiana Jones, Bronson's seemingly endless Death Wish series, Eastwood and the films of actors like Steven Seagal or Van Damme, not to mention the B-level imitators like Dolph Lundgren. Even Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 and Sigourney Weaver in Aliens were Rambettes.

None of the characters were gay, nor, to my knowledge, are any of the actors. No major American star has yet to play a gay character in a big budget dramatic film. The one or two exceptions are comedies like The Birdcage, which is a comedy starring Robin Williams. Hollywood films based on real characters whose were gay or bisexual usually omit this information as part of a whitewash, like A Beautiful Life or Patch Adams.

So much for the fictional gay worship that seems so omnipresent only to yourself.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on December 4, 2008 9:41 PM



"I read a report once that there was as much as 1/3 more lines of dialogue in the typical Hollywood movie back in the day than there is now."

Dialogue lite films are much easier to market abroad, especially to third world countries with low rates of literacy. That's another reason Hollywood execs love action films and spectaculars.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on December 4, 2008 9:46 PM



In 1957, in an interview with Mike Wallace, author Philip Wylie said,

" Well, I think for this reason. I think this is getting at the heart of one of the things I protest most. Because about a hundred years ago it began to be apparent to Americans that our technology in mass production could give to multitudes, to the majority, maybe everybody, ease, comfort, luxury, possessions that have belonged further to only the king. And men, women, and everybody went for that, and the... the real authority in men historically is rested on their knowledge of the arts, their sensitivity, their appreciation of music, their knowledge of literature, their awareness of sciences, a man and we still have that feeling in Charlie Van Doren.

WALLACE: Yes.

WYLIE: Made a lot of people realize that an intelligent man, matter of fact, but, generally Americans today have gotten to call scientists "eggheads" and artists "sissies".

WALLACE: And yet you confound yourself by the very Van Doren situation, because you say we are becoming a nation of "exalted ignoramuses" and then all of a sudden we practically deify by Charles Van Doren because he has it here. So, in a sense, you do confound yourself...

WYLIE: No. I say that the possibility with women that were crazy about this guy and they were right. The possibility to appreciate real male authority is there. Not just strength, not just money, not just earning capacity, but all that makes a real man, that uses his brain and his heart.

I find the obsession with masculinity as narrowly limited to physical strength and its ostentatious displays very adolescent. Most men in developed countries do not make their livelihoods by the strength of their hand or the sweat of their brows, and barring some Mad Max-esque post-apocalyptic scenario, they still won't have to. The technological progression of the last century means that there is an ever decreasing market for manual labor, which, for the record can be fulfilled by many women as well.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on December 4, 2008 10:06 PM



My sister reminded me that Tom Hanks, a legitimate star, potrayed a gay lawyer stricken with AIDS In the film Philadelphia.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on December 4, 2008 10:10 PM



Peter,

Your point is well taken.

Perhaps the problem here is that I (and I think Michael) was referring to theatrical dramas... what we might call "legitimate" movies... as opposed to the exploitation genre that the Rambo movies fall into.

I don't care for the Rambo movies either, although I don't get worked up over them out of leftist anger the way you do. I just think they're bad movies.

I don't think that Eastwood falls into the macho exploitation genre. He's something entirely different.

If you are a fan of Roissy (and I am not), you'll discover that in the absence of role models of the traditional macho, family man, the young men have redefined masculinity into barbarism. They are playing out the extreme of male piggish behavior in a deliberate attempt to offend feminists.

There is something barbaric, also, about the shoot 'em up, blood and guts exploitation movies that you've mentioned. (Once again, I would never include Eastwood in this category.) I have never watched this genre out of a complete lack of interest.

Somehow, and I may be wrong, I think that the subject of this post is the standard theatrical Hollywood movie, not the blood and guts exploitation movies that you've referenced.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on December 4, 2008 10:37 PM



Just so no one thinks the mainstream hasn't noticed ... Here's a passage from a blog posting I wrote a few years ago, with a quote in it from Newsweek's David Ansen:


Interesting to see that many people are struck by the boyishness of the current pop-cult scene. Newsweek's David Ansen, for instance, recently wrote a good piece asking which of today's stars will become part of movie history. One of Ansen's central points is that the male stars of yesteryear -- Bogart, Gabin, Cary Grant -- were men, while today's male stars ... Well, here's Ansen:

There's a fundamental difference between the big American male stars of Gen X and their predecessors. The icons of the past were men. Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Warren Beatty were young and beautiful at the start of their careers, but they were never "boys." Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Will Smith and Cruise, not to mention Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio, are defined by their boy-ishness. They began their careers as kids and, even as they move into their 30s and 40s, have never fully lost their dew.

Ansen -- to my mind persuasively -- attributes responsiblity for this change to the Boomers. In his view, the Boomers refused to grow up, and have since raised generations of young men with no concept at all of what it is to be a man. I often find myself wondering these days if adulthood might not be the current taboo and sin. I marvel that adulthood is no longer the great adventure. Instead, it seems to have become equated with defeat and failure.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on December 4, 2008 10:56 PM



Dear ST:

The films I referenced are mainstream Hollywood films. They may be categorized as genre films, but so are Star Wars, Indiana Jones or Jurassic Park. They're science fiction, but their budgets and aspirations brand them mainstream. The post-70s action franchises may be bloody and violent, but that doesn't relegate them to true exploitation film status. These were generally well produced, A-budget movies made and released by major studios. They aren't hapless little B-movies from shlockmeisters like Roger Corman that only played in sticky-floored grindhouses.

What is the most successful film in history? The last Batman film, dark and violent as can be.

Clint Eastwood made about a half-dozen Dirty Harry films, not to forget violent westerns High Plains Drifter, Josey Wales, Pale Rider and The Unforgiven. Not to forget other of his films like The Gauntlet, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot or The Eiger Sanction. Action and violence have been the mainstay of his career.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on December 4, 2008 11:24 PM



I marvel that adulthood is no longer the great adventure. Instead, it seems to have become equated with defeat and failure.

In its precision and eloquence, this is one of the best things I've heard you say on this blog.

It does make me wonder why you have become something of a groupie for Roissy, who seems so clearly trapped in an adolescent mode of thinking.

Posted by: MQ on December 4, 2008 11:51 PM



[MQ said] "It does make me wonder why you [Michael Blowhard] have become something of a groupie for Roissy, who seems so clearly trapped in an adolescent mode of thinking."

=== I'm a regular at Roissy's, and it's always looked to me like Michael is there for the same reason I am, for the spectacle. It's both sad and fascinating to watch the Machiavellian machinations of the PUA crowd, and Roissy is a showman who loves holding court. Whatever his character flaws may be in real life, he can be wickedly brilliant, and that is very entertaining to watch, such as when he wields his verbal sword against his detractors there.

Michael just asked for recommendations of books on game (in a Dec 4 entry at Roissy's), and it's obvious he's not interested in them to employ the techniques, he's just fascinated with the whole thing, especially looking back on his dating years. I know, it's the same with me. How much better would I have done with girls if I had known about all those invisible buttons back then?

Plus, as Michael pointed out once, Roissy's is a place where guys so inclined can swing their dicks around without apology.
Unlike Michael, I enjoy posting juvenile (smartass, mocking, nitpicking, posting quasi-random links, being brutal honest) comments at Roissy's. It's like a locker room where I can harmlessly be a brat. Any females who are there, well, they've chosen to be there. And the cast of characters is interesting. Clio, Michael, painslut David Alexander, fetishistic Peter of "GNP" fame, Whiskey, Lemmonex, Shouting Thomas with his venomous tirades...the fun never ends! I'm curious to see how long Roissy keeps blogging.

Posted by: James O, on December 5, 2008 4:46 AM



fetishistic Peter of "GNP" fame

For the record, it does not mean Gross National Product.

Posted by: Peter on December 5, 2008 10:07 AM



Peter is single-handedly keeping the word "pelt" alive.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on December 5, 2008 10:10 AM



I admit I hang around Roissy's place for exactly the same train wreck/"spectacle" reasons identified by James O. But I'm occasionally one of Roissy's critics (albeit one of the "timid" and "intellectual" haters), whereas MB seems at times to be an active fan.

It's not my ideal locker room, because my ideal locker room would have an attitude of amused, pleased cockiness and pleasurable retailing of anecdotes with regard to the endlessly entertaining details of male/female relations. Roissy's place seems to be driven by active resentment of the opposite sex and even fear at times.

Speaking of DC PUAs, I like Roosh V.'s site, he's going through the true rake's progress from naivete to experience to apathy, and has a suitable amused distance from the whole thing.

Posted by: MQ on December 5, 2008 10:32 AM



One possible reason why people now want to remain adolescents for life, and why adulthood has lost its glamour: it used to be that unmarried adolescents, particularly girls, had few opportunities for sexual expression and could not safely have sexual relationships. That meant that adulthood, marriage, and all their symbols marked the beginning of sexual maturity, with all the glamour that is attached to sexual maturity.

But today, adolescents in the western world are free to indulge in unlimited sex if they want to do so, with few obvious penalties. As a result, adulthood and marriage no longer mark the beginning of sexual maturity and sophistication, but merely the beginning of adult responsibility, something far less glamorous and appealing to the young and old alike. Marriage is no longer the gateway to sexual experience, as it was for centuries for most people (making exception for periods of social upheaval, like the early days of the Industrial Revolution), but a way of closing the door on it by limiting one's options.

An adult can no longer raise an amused eyebrow at a teenager as if to say, "there are a few things I know about the Mystery of Life that you aren't aware of yet, whippersnapper." Of course, there is in fact much that adults may know about sex and other matters that their juniors don't, but in terms of raw sexual experience, it's not likely that the old have much over the young. Allan Bloom has written of the change that came over the university classroom when the professor at the lectern could no longer assume that the young adults he/she taught were sexually naive and relatively inexperienced.

This change has had its impact everywhere, but is perhaps most immediately noticeable in women's fashions. Once to put on the clothes of an adult woman was to put on sexual sophistication. This is a bit paradoxical. Teenage girls were once expected to wear ingenue fashions: bows in their hair, ankle socks, no makeup, no decollete (low-cut dresses). Now certain marks of adult femininity have travelled downward in age and even very young teenage girls are free to dress in a sexually provocative fashion - but once old enough to do so, they lose their wish to look any older. Older doesn't mean glamorous or sexually sophisticated any more: it means boring and sexless.

And of course, the great key to this change - to the fact that adolescents are freer than ever before in history to indulge in sexual experimentation with few penalties - is the result of effective and widely available methods of contraception.

Clio

p.s. This explanation may sound a bit simple-minded, but I'm sure it's the main reason why adulthood has become passe.

Posted by: Alias Clio on December 5, 2008 2:01 PM



Michael sez Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Warren Beatty were young and beautiful at the start of their careers, but they were never "boys." Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Will Smith and Cruise, not to mention Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio, are defined by their boy-ishness.

Surely this is wrong. Even as adults, Newman and Redford were very much defined by their cutesy boyishness in pics like "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and "The Sting," and Beatty in pics like "Heaven Can Wait." (Could you see Mitchum or Holden in any of these roles?) Newman grew out of it, but Redford and Beatty continued to plug away on their Peter-Panishness into middle age and beyond with "Sneakers" and "Legal Eagles" and "Ishtar" and "Dick Tracy." Meanwhile, DiCaprio was convincingly manly in "Blood Diamond" and "The Departed" and "The Aviator," and Damon in the "Bourne" movies.

I think the comments here are more based on the age of the commenter relative to the age of the actor than they are on the actual actors themselves.

Posted by: Steve on December 5, 2008 3:08 PM



Hollywood makes movies to make money. In order to make money, they make movies that appeal to those with disposable dollars to spend on entertainment. Leading men are chosen primarily to appeal to women in the 18 - 35 or so demographic because that is the most lucrative market. They are also chosen to mirror men in that same 18 - 35 demographic. What guy wants to go to the flicks and not be able to identify with the hero? Whether an aging bunch of libertarian guys (and gals) find them “manly” or not doesn’t matter a whit to the bean counters in Hollywood. For good or ill, boomers still are enough of an economic and demographic force that actors (especially female actors) over the age of 35 are no longer relegated almost entirely to background roles as wise, if irrelevant, elders but can be still be leads … with their sexuality entact … at least in some films.

Posted by: Chris White on December 5, 2008 4:33 PM



MQ established tea party politesse:
It's not my ideal locker room, because my ideal locker room would have an attitude of amused, pleased cockiness and pleasurable retailing of anecdotes with regard to the endlessly entertaining details of male/female relations.

will there be recipe swapping at this creampuffs anonymous meeting?

Roissy's place seems to be driven by active resentment of the opposite sex and even fear at times.

another unbiased third party heard from.
mq, if i had true resentment and hate of women i would advocate paying whores for sex. it's efficient and it avoids all that dirty confusing business of flirting and seduction. but i don't. i love beautiful women. i love being loved by beautiful women. i love the way they look, the way they move, the softness of their skin, and the gaze in their eyes as they fall under my spell. there can be no hate for such creatures who have brought me so much happiness.

Speaking of DC PUAs, I like Roosh V.'s site, he's going through the true rake's progress from naivete to experience to apathy, and has a suitable amused distance from the whole thing.

you must be using a definition of rake with which most are unfamiliar.
hint: a true rake never feels apathy. he embraces the pursuit, and never loses his love for his quarry. he may effect an amused distance as an element of his seduction process, but he will never allow too much distance to come between himself and the "whole thing".

ps: i can smell your fear of the id, MQ. so you go and keep on trying to discredit me. it will help you sleep better at night.

Posted by: roissy on December 5, 2008 5:41 PM



relax, Roissy, this is all just people saying shit on the internet.

Steve -- I think of Beatty and Redford as transitional figures to that new "boyishness" being referred to. If you look at movies from the 30s-50s, it's pretty astounding how male stars in their mid 20s to early 30s looked and carried themselves in comparison to today, they appeared far more adult and mature. The thing is, the same is true of actresses -- at 21-25 they appeared much more "womanly" and less girlish than today's actresses do. That makes me think it's about a general cultural change more than "manhood" in particular, although that's part of it.

Posted by: MQ on December 6, 2008 10:39 AM



Bradamante: I regard Gregory Peck the way Patrick H regards Helen Mirren. Gregory Peck in a double breasted suit with peaked lapels...Brad Pitt's not even in the neighborhood.

Hah! He's not even in the neighborhood of not being in the neighborhood. Gregory Peck - suit, trench coat, cowboy duds, military uniforms - it's all good. My goodness gracious I do believe I'm going to have to go out and order me up a GP marathon from Netflix now. Where to start, where to start...

Steve: I think the comments here are more based on the age of the commenter relative to the age of the actor than they are on the actual actors themselves.

I dunno, Steve. I think I'm around the same age as Michael, but, like you, found Redford and Beatty "boysy". (Never understood what everybody was drooling over.) Always got the point of Peck and other, older icons, though, even if they were before my time. DiCaprio? Can't see it for the life of me.

Posted by: Moira Breen on December 6, 2008 12:21 PM



I think you're right about Beatty and Redford MQ, and about earlier actors and their maturity. Yet I do feel a change coming on. Will Smith wasn't remotely boyish in "The Pursuit of Happyness"--I could easily see Holden or Dana Andrews in that role, and Smith carried it off beautifully. I think anyone who sees DiCaprio as boyish in his most recent roles isn't paying attention.

Posted by: Steve on December 6, 2008 12:26 PM



Ha. Pardon my boastfulness, people, but if you're still looking for the answer, please read my (rather long) comment, above, explaining why adulthood isn't sexy any more.

I'm right.

Thank you for your time.

Clio

Posted by: alias clio on December 6, 2008 12:37 PM



relax, Roissy, this is all just people saying shit on the internet.

translation: pwned.

Posted by: roissy on December 6, 2008 1:03 PM



Clio: Ha. Pardon my boastfulness, people, but if you're still looking for the answer, please read my (rather long) comment, above, explaining why adulthood isn't sexy any more.

Adulthood no longer being sexy, we have none of us bothered to develop the adult attributes necessary to follow and appreciate your explanation. (Maybe if you'd caught us before we sank to the "Leonardo di Caprio: hot or not?" level...)

Posted by: Moira Breen on December 6, 2008 2:01 PM



translation: pwned.

no, translation is that I don't take you or your latest hissy-fit very seriously.

Posted by: MQ on December 6, 2008 2:56 PM



Moira:

Adulthood no longer being sexy.

Give me the woman to the girl any day. Self assurance and grown up sensuality; that's so damn hot.

Posted by: slumlord on December 6, 2008 3:18 PM



Roissy:

As I do find you amusing, I suggest that you continue to do your shtick on your own blog. Attempting to do it elsewhere (as with MQ here) simply leads you to being tiresome, dull and (dare I say it?) rather beta sounding (though I'm quite open to an explanation as to why vociferously defending your rep to anonymous strangers on various sundry blogs is alpha, as I'm sure it will be quite funny).

I'm not sure why it's not entertaining. Perhaps for lack of an echo chamber, perhaps for lack of the cast of supporting actors. Who knows? Outside of the flames, the devil just looks rather shabby in his red long johns.

Posted by: Spike Gomes on December 6, 2008 6:00 PM



some effete larper droned:
As I do find you amusing, I suggest that you continue to do your shtick on your own blog

who made you queen?

(though I'm quite open to an explanation as to why vociferously defending your rep to anonymous strangers on various sundry blogs is alpha, as I'm sure it will be quite funny).

MQ is no random stranger. it and i have a history over at my blog. it attempts lame remote psychological diagnosis of yours truly entailing the usual tedious accusations; i occasionally correct it and put it in its place.

I'm not sure why it's not entertaining.

and yet you respond.

Outside of the flames, the devil just looks rather shabby in his red long johns.

on the contrary. outside the flames is where the devil does his most insidious work.

i noticed you're obsessed with long johns. so... ass flap, or flapless?

Posted by: roissy on December 6, 2008 7:00 PM



Clio, I agree heartily with your explanation, and in fact had saved it for future reference.

I am curious, though, about what Allan Bloom had to say, to which you alluded; can you share, in brief, some examples of the sort of changes that came about in the university classrooms, as a result of the Sexual Revolution?

Posted by: Will S. on December 6, 2008 10:43 PM



"Jon Hamm looks fine, but he's not a true actor; he's just a pretender who looks attractive."

Couldn't agree less. Hamm's the real thing: the manly grownup you're all pining for. You guys need to watch more cable.

Posted by: David C on December 6, 2008 11:04 PM



. i love beautiful women.

I'm not sure loving beautiful women who fall under your spell means you "love women" any more than a woman who only loves successful, tall, good-looking men she wants to bang and has contempt for all the others "loves men". Loving the cream of the crop of any group is easy. Your statement & MQ's statement aren't mutually exclusive.

Posted by: yt on December 7, 2008 6:32 AM



Roissy:

some effete larper droned:
I do wish I had someone to larp with, but unfortunately I demand far greater authenticity than most larpers are ever willing to put forward. More's the pity.

As for effete, I've never denied it, and have striven to cultivate it as part of a jaded world-weary persona. Much like you've constructed a persona of an infernal voice shouting unspoken truths to your hellish congregation (the crackling of flames do little to hide their sobbing "Amens" as they lay their hands on the altar of the phallus and testify testify testify) We're not so dissimilar, are we not?

who made you queen?
A queen gives orders, I'm just a heckler. You know one of those people whose job it is to let jesters know when they're not being funny anymore. Think of it as an opportunity to eviscerate me good and leave me and the rest in stitches.
If you can, of course.

MQ is no random stranger. it and i have a history over at my blog. it attempts lame remote psychological diagnosis of yours truly entailing the usual tedious accusations; i occasionally correct it and put it in its place.

No doubt it's dull. I enjoy the much more colorful attempts of others. Since you don't do subtlety at all, your reaction to the likes of MQ is about as funny as watching a bearbaiting. In any case, if that's so, then why waste your breath on an amorphous stranger like myself?

and yet you respond.

Of course I would! If the show is getting dull, why not jump into the center ring and squirt the ringmaster in the face with a seltzer bottle? Even if he pummels me senseless, better that than being bored senseless by him. You can be most entertaining. I just think you're starting to repeat the same old routines over and over and over again, and as someone who simply doesn't give a shit about alpha, beta, gamma, kappa, omega etc. etc. etc, I just want you to be less tiresome and more entertaining. Really, you've been hanging around your echo chamber too long. Do you really want to be the Ayn Rand of Game websites?

on the contrary. outside the flames is where the devil does his most insidious work.

i noticed you're obsessed with long johns. so... ass flap, or flapless?

Really? From the looks of it, this devil is hardly doing insidious work outside the pit. From this lost soul's perspective, it merely looks... insipid.

As for the red long-johns I can't see you as any other devil than Old Scratch. You're too into being worshiped and righteous to be Luciferian, and the ideal of you being the Lord of the Flies is laughable on it's face. No, a petty devil in red pajamas it is, poking all the little Peredonovs in the pants is what you are. Sologub would be amused.

As for the long-johns: ass flaps. The pleasure you take in bearing your buttocks and slapping them at the world while giggling at your own mischief is palpable.

Posted by: Spike Gomes on December 7, 2008 8:59 AM



Isn't Roissy too old to be using expressions like "pwned"? That's impressive to his Pimple Posse, sure, but the pus-faced laddies in Roissy's fan club don't matter to anybody but their moms, and no matter how hard he tries, all Mr "pwned" is doing is getting old.

Any luck finding that test, Roissy? Hey, it works for me! Helps me feel young again. And I know that's something you want to experience in its fullness, now that it's slipping so inexorably away from you.

And Spike, MQ, you watch yourselves now. Any more lip from you, and Roissy's going to think alpha thoughts at you. And you know how good he is at doing that.

Posted by: PatrickH on December 7, 2008 10:34 AM



Funny that the modern definition of manliness from today's crop of leading "men" has a long history of treating women like so much post-masturbatory toilet paper.

Peck, Mitchum, Bogart, et al, were guys that made women swoon and that men would follow into battle. Any of today's crop fit that bill? I'd only follow them if they were headed into a titty bar!

Another thing I find interesting is that the People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive schtick finds Hollywood wonder boyz like Damon, Pitt, McConaughey and Clooney single and childless or shacked up with the baby momma while acting outcast Affleck is married and awaiting the birth of his second child. Who's the "man" on this list?

Posted by: Brutus on December 7, 2008 11:28 AM



I have to admit to being lost for words when it comes to today's movies. I see the trailers and hear the buzz and I think to myself out completely out of the mainstream I have fallen. Me, who used to adore films.

We all know where they are going before the trailer is 10 seconds in.

A secret government agency is keeping the truth from getting out and our hero is caught in its web.

A group of women find solidarity and learn to appreciate the real meaning of life while dealing with men.

Gangsters, crime, guns!

Those are the big three right there. What use would anyone have for MEN to tell the above stories?

Posted by: Jourdan on December 7, 2008 12:17 PM



Josh Brolin.

Posted by: Steve Sailer on December 7, 2008 6:10 PM



Also, keep in mind that trends come and go for who knows what reasons. For example, in the 1930s-1940s, many top female stars had a bisexual vibe (Dietrich, Garbo, Stanwyck, Crawford, K. Hepburn) that hasn't been much seen since. Was that a reflection of some aspect of the 1930s? Or was it just a fluke caused by a small sample size?

I suspect the current fad for boyish leading men is not a fluke, but at least in DiCaprio's case, he isn't a star these days because he's so boyish-looking, he's a star because he's one helluva movie actor.

Posted by: Steve Sailer on December 7, 2008 6:46 PM



Will S.: Bloom's comment on the matter was very brief - really, no more than what I wrote above, in my long post. He wasn't trying to itemize the changes: he was only trying to say that the nature of the relationship between professors and students changed, esp. in the liberal arts, when the professors could no longer assume that they were more sexually experienced than their students. His implication I think was that the profs began to feel rather inferior, less like guides into the world of adult maturity, and more like sheltered children gazing into a new world of license hitherto unknown to them.

One other point he added was that students' relative lack of sexual experience, before the 1960s, meant that their university studies acquired an erotic charge as incoming students read about adult life and love, and began actually to experience them, at the same time. This erotic charge made their studies more compelling and fulfilling to them.

Clio

Posted by: alias clio on December 8, 2008 1:08 AM



Look here to see that this evil conspiracy is so far gone that it is not just American males who are endangered, but all males.

Posted by: JM on December 8, 2008 3:45 PM






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