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October 26, 2003 Other Mail

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Real men.  The only ones.  Republicans.  The dialog continues....



In October 19, 2003 Other Mail there was a discussion headed with the title  Real men. The only ones.  Republicans.  Dean and Clarke and the rest don't even have a chance.  And it referred to a Jay Nordlinger article - Political Virility: Real men vote Republican.  TRhat was in the Wall Street Journal  Wednesday, September 17, 2003  URL: http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110004188


There was a flurry of email back and forth about this.  It continued this week.


Bonnie in Boston had written this:

Speaking as a woman who loves men, this conversation sounds like real men talking!


For my money, the Bushies are unevolved males, stuck in the macho strut of late adolescence.  Clinton, perhaps, was our first feminist president, in that he tended to be more of a cooperator than a competitor.


The way I see it, collaboration and cooperation are necessary evolutionary behaviors if we are to survive on the planet.  And by we, I mean as many of us as possible, in all our various complexions and cultures.


Guys like Bush and Saddam retard our collective development.


Brotherhood is powerful, too

And this week Rick Brown added:

"The way I see it, collaboration and cooperation are necessary evolutionary behaviors if we are to survive on the planet."

I think cooperation is absolutely one of the most overlooked theories in the study of the survival of species!  (Anyone who doubts Social Darwinists are still around, pushing their antiquated point in this modern age, should listen to more talk radio.)  I believe that, just as competition may have a genetic place in keeping us alive, the learned-behavior of community plays probably more of a role.

Also of note: There's a book out in the last week or so that I heard about on NPR (I forget the title and authors name, but she runs or ran the NY Times editorial board) says that visitors to Jamestown, soon after it was founded as an all-male colony, discovered all the boys bowling in the streets ("constant fraternity parties," I think was her phrase), and getting no work done.  The colony, of course, soon disappeared.  After that, whenever the guys in the home country contemplated settling a colony in the new world, they made sure women were sent along, reckoning the civilizing influence would better insure success - a hypothesis that apparently was born out.

Phillips Raines added:

Like Hassert I wrestled, and had a coach that resembled him.  Though I was really no more than a sparring partner to the state champ in my weight class.  Like Cheney, I didn't go to Nam, though I was just too young.  Unlike Bush and Reagan I never wore a cowboy hat thinking with my thick neck it just made me look like Bubba.  When it comes to machismo through sweaty filth I take the Lister's cake, being sent to the hose in the driveway to bathe before I could shower inside, the result of tearing down a 100 year old chimney.  After years of yoga in college I lost all interest for competitive sports, which I decided, were lower on the athletic food chain than climbing or putting my nose on my knee.  In climbing, and especially hard core caving, cooperation is the higher path.  Never saw much sense in killing things when it could be avoided, and there was always some one else to do that anyway among my hunting friends.  Cooperation, or making some one feel more comfortable with themselves takes a quicker mind, shifted to a better end.  It plays into being more civilized, which is of course, a benefit of valuing the company of women, without whom there would be nothing but war and drugs and bowling in the streets.

The photo-op of Reagan mending fences on the ranch is really not very substantial, because Pepe was most likely right beside him ready to take over as soon as the camera work was over, but the image making right pulls it out to fool the gullible every now and then.  I was tickled at the image of  Dubbya welding a chain saw.  Left to his own devices he would pick up the torch with out draining the gas and removing the tank, rinsing out the cylinders with alcohol, all the sequences that keep the tool from blowing up in his face.  That kind of insight would have to left to guys that actually do the work, and he's a long way from the proletariat.

But there is a problem for the image-makers in making a democrat "look" macho enough to mostly bone-headed men or subservient and religious women.  I wonder if it's worth the effort.  Not many photo-ops for a candidate being reasonable, well read, or thoughtful.

From Hollywood:

I agree with the last point.  Making any of the nine remaining candidates "look macho" and thus more likely to appeal to bone-headed men and subservient Christian women?  What's the point? 

Yes, there may not be many photo-ops for a candidate being reasonable, well read or thoughtful.  It seems that if Bush, like Reagan, wants to do the "manly cowboy" staged poses, one of the guys on the other side should cultivate another image from the movies - Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird.  You know, quietly standing up to the rednecks, reluctantly shooting the rabid dog in the street to protect his children, defending the outcast wrongly accused.  Of course the state troopers shoot and kill the man he so passionately defended, and the redneck does attack the kids and break his son's arm.  Oh well.  I'll give it some thought.

Movies may not be the answer.  I remember what the late cartoonist Andy Capp said when asked what he thought of the film Easy Rider - "Well, at least it had a happy ending." 


I wonder what Ann Coulter would say about To Kill a Mockingbird.  Gregory Peck was a life-long liberal Democrat.  Guilty of treason, if I'm reading Ann's latest book correctly.

Competitive sports?  I agree.  Well, the issue is competition itself. 


"Competition is what made this country great - the free market generated wealth and prosperity - and striving to win builds character and self-reliance."   Okay.  I hear that. 


"Community is what made this country great - from barn-raising in the old west to us all pulling together to defeat the bad guys in the forties - learning to cooperate makes you more effective, more human, and more humane."  Okay.  I hear that too. 


If you lean toward liking the second contention more than the first, you probably enjoy the company of women.  Hanging out with just the guys is usually just a pain and a bore, unless you win and get to humiliate an sneer at your buddies.  Guilty as charged - I prefer the company of women.

But the funny thing is that the good women always run off with the "bad boy" cowboys who slap them around.  Happens all the time.  Kind of like what's going to happen next year - Bush will win easily.


It's the appeal of the somewhat dense, inarticulate cowboy who likes to "do" rather than think about things.  There's a certain purity to that.  But it's a shallow purity that doesn't do the country much good.




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