The Decline and Fall of the All-American Male


The All-American male, after years of verbal and psychological abuse, finally succumbed to the many injuries inflicted upon it by the politically correct mainstream media, Oprah and Hollywood. There will be no funeral and in lieu of flowers it is requested that any contributions be sent to the NRA and NASCAR.  

Well, it was a good run but all things must come to an end.

Many men have become weak and slovenly and have no manners. Their courage and manhood seems to emulate from a beer bottle and not from their strength of character. Go to any bar during a major sporting event and you will see it on full display. Lots of tough talk fueled by liquid courage but in reality they are "all hat and no cattle."

In many cases men have regressed and have adopted the clothing and habits of their children's baggy shorts, hands in their pockets, a ball cap on backwards and a T-shirt with a witty saying such as "Beer Belly Under Construction." Think I'm kidding? The next time you go to an airport take a good hard look. It's getting so you can't tell the kids from the parents.

How did this happen?

Hollywood has had a big hand in it. They shape modern culture with their constant presence and their ability to use the media to deliver their version of what a man should be.

Take the simple sitcom. We went from the strong father figure in "Father Knows Best" in the '50s to Mike Brady in "The Brady Bunch" in the 70s. And it went straight downhill from there.

Today on shows like "According to Jim" the father is typically portrayed as a dumb fat sports loving overeating slob in a dead end job who responds to adult situations like a little boy. And he usually has a smart, pretty wife who "parents" her adolescent husband just like her other kids.

They usually have 2-3 kids. A young teenage girl with an attitude who dresses like a skank, an obnoxious, wise-ass son who is usually smarter than his Dad and sometimes a precocious 5-year-old boy or girl who just says the darndest things, most of which is highly inappropriate for a child their age but no matter, it sounds cute.

Dad always forgets his wife's birthday or some other special occasion and Mom wears the pants in the family. Men are not heroes to their kids, just weak bumblers.

In TV dramas women are now the hard-bitten, foul mouthed detectives and the men clueless dopes.

We brought much of this on ourselves but some was beyond our control.

As the women's movement gained steam in the '70s and roles were changing we didn't adjust. And over the years as women progressed and took on larger roles in the highest levels of business, politics and government, many men seem to have retreated to their inner adolescent unable to cope with the new reality. David Letterman's locker room humor at the expense of Sarah Palin is a perfect example of this --a middle aged man desperately trying to stay relevant and hip, ably supported by sophomoric writers who are even more juvenile.

This is not an indictment of all men. But we need to clean up our gender and start asserting ourselves again. Boys are falling behind every day. More women than men are attending college than ever before. But a successful America needs two strong genders not one holding power over the other.

We need to teach young boys what it means to be a man and what the brotherhood of men expects of him. That one's masculinity is not to be found in the bottom of a can. To stand up for your beliefs and being willing to defend them. Sitting up straight and not slouching through life mumbling instead of speaking clearly. Looking someone in the eye and telling the truth. Respect for elders. Not excusing bad behavior with the "boys will be boys" nonsense. And yes, teaching respect for women.

We need to start building real men from the very beginning. And that means fathers need to be fathers and not friends and buddies. My dad will be 91 in August and he is still my dad. I don't think we will ever be friends nor should we be, because that is not the relationship we have. I still seek his counsel and advice because he has the wisdom and experience that I don't. Every time I talk to him I learn something new about our relationship and about myself.

Will boys resist this reassertion of the traditional father-son relationship? They probably will but that's a good sign. Because that means that fathers will have put their foot down and become fathers again and not enablers of bad behavior.

Some day they will thank you.

John Wayne once gave this advice to his son and I think every father in America should impart this to their sons.

"Never think anyone is better than you, but never assume you're superior to anyone else. Try to be decent to everyone, until they give you reason not to." -- That's what a real man is.

Patrick Dorinson is a commentator and communications consultant based in California.