Changing Our Masculine Coding
Wow, well, what a couple of weeks for masculinity, wouldn’t you say? Between Toronto’s mayor Rob Ford smoking crack and the Miami Dolphins locker room, we have been inundated with sordid tales of poisonous masculinity, and many people are now asking, “What does it mean to be a man?” Is Rob Ford’s cracked-out anger a sign of masculinity? Is Richie Incognito’s smothering bullying a sign? Unfortunately, these are not easy questions to answer.
Some believe that these titans of testosterone are examples of a misguided sense of American masculinity, a testament to our “warrior culture.” It is as if the media has turned these figures into gladiators, where viewers live out their masculine fantasies through anger and demise. Are we holding up a mirror to the deep-seated desires of our souls? Is the average person as angry as Ford and Incognito? Maybe, but is that such a bad thing? Yes, but there’s more to it than that. It’s not the anger that’s bad; the misguidedness is the problem. Stay with me here, but know this: a man must have a code. He must have full control over his anger, because hey, anger is natural. It’s in our blood, a big part of who we are as people, as men. You can’t simply snuff it out. Even if you could, it would be wrong to do so. Who wants to be near a husk of a man? Better yet, who WANTS to be a husk of a man? So yeah, a man must have a code.
Back in the field-heavy days of feudalism, there were knights and many lived by a code (or tried to anyway) called chivalry. The samurai had a code called Bushido, “the way of the warrior.” Bushido stressed frugality, loyalty, mastery of martial arts and honor to the death. Hmm…clearly, that’s something you don’t see much of when it comes to American men (Canadian men in the case of Rob Ford). In our age of excess, frugality would be nice. In our age of distrust, loyalty would be nice. Would martial arts be nice? Of course, but it’s not a must. Honor to the death? Sure. If we don’t value life, what’s the point of death? If we don’t value death, what’s the point of life? See, having a code of honor naturally removes all the frivolous things out of one’s life, forcing the person to focus on what’s important, things that must be upheld – and if those things aren’t upheld? Well, soul is ostracized from the body and there must be punishment.
A man must have a code, men like Rob Ford and Richie Incognito.
In the article, “Rob Ford and the Crisis of Masculinity,” Stephen Marche of Esquire.com writes, “Honor is conspicuously missing from the spectacle of Rob Ford’s pseudo-collapse this week. […] Omar on the Wire said it best: “A man must have a code.” Not the Fords. The Fords disdain honor. They boast openly about how they have no code.” Everyone needs an integrity code, like manly HTML, that helps structure one’s decisions and makeup. Clearly, Ford doesn’t have it. Neither does Incognito.
If you think about it, they’re like Matrix-y computer programs running amuck – their notions of manliness have gone haywire and they’re causing widespread damage. Perhaps we need to all just sit down and come up with new testosterone coding. What do you think? Is it time to change up the HTML?
Post by Geoff LaPlace