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Aurora and “The End of Men”

 

HANNA ROSIN, the journalist now widely known for her Atlantic article “The End of Men,” a quasi-manifesto of late-modern feminism, [see the great discussions of it here, here, and here] analyses a paradox of  modern culture that was brought to light in the Aurora shootings. As has been widely pointed out, three of the men in the movie theater that night shielded their girlfriends from danger and were themselves killed. Thus despite all the evidence that we live in a twilight of masculinity, a fact which Rosin considers good and worthy of celebration, masculinity does still exist, Rosin notes, in a primal form. And women still want men to protect them.

Rosin surveys the devastation caused by feminism and the sexual revolution, and finds it “touching” and “poignant” that men remain manly enough to give their lives for others. 

She writes:

As always with such shooting, the papers try to portray Aurora as an all-American town that’s lost its innocence after a tragedy (“bonds of popcorn and a refuge from daily cares,” writes the New York Times). But the details that emerge from the shooting show the town to be all-American in a much less innocent way. The families in Aurora, like the families in most once-prosperous middle-class American towns, no longer look like they did. After a series of recessions, the men aren’t working as steadily, and far fewer people are married. [It would be more accurate to say that after decades of sexual freedom, leftist propaganda, government-enforced affirmative action and discrimination against men, men aren't working as steadily, and far fewer people are married.] Several women were at the midnight showing with infants and toddlers, presumably because there was no one else at home to watch them. The woman who took her 6-year-old to the movie–the 6-year-old who died–was living with her own father, the girl’s grandfather. Jonathan Blunk has an ex-wife and two children in Nevada. His ex, Chantel, was also speaking on the morning shows. On the Today show interview, Jansen Young, the girlfriend Blunk saved, mentioned that Jonathan was thinking about re-enlisting in the Navy. She attributed that to his undying heroism, but it may also have to do with the fact that he, like a few guys in the theater, was working at Target and surely not making enough money to support one family, much less two. Young, meanwhile, had just finished getting her veterinarian degree, becoming the latest in an onslaught of women who have taken over that lucrative profession, which was not very long ago dominated by men.

None of these life details are meant to detract from the men’s heroism. They are only meant to make it more poignant, and even beautiful. [Poignant? How is dying amidst cultural ruin and without hope of ever supporting your family "poignant?"] As I’ve traveled to different middle-class towns that are struggling after the recession to report my book The End of Men, I’ve found a strained and touching effort to redefine the roles of men. ["Touching?" I guess being "touched" by the lives of children without fathers is better than complete indifference.] They are often not the breadwinners because in that slice of America, women are often financially better off than the men. They are often not the steady fathers because couples don’t get married all that much anymore, and the women, if they are working themselves, see the men as just another mouth to feed. But one thing I find consistently is the enduring need for men to think of themselves and women to think of them as the protectors.

Couples will often insist that the man is the head of the household even when he doesn’t seem to be checking any of the traditional boxes. When I ask how it’s possible that he should retain the title without any of the attending duties, I almost always get some version of the same answer: If anyone threatened us, he would rescue us. If someone broke into the house, I would call him. If anything happened to the children, if a fire, if a tornado, etc. Papers have described what happened in the theater as “chivalry.” But it’s not really that. Chivalry is a code of conduct connected to social propriety. Throwing your body in front of your girlfriend when people all around you are getting shot is an instinct that’s basic, and deeper. It’s the same reason these Batman and Spider-Man franchises endure: Because whatever else is fading away, women still seem to want their superhero, and men still seem to want to be him. [And normal women still want marriage and men to provide for them. Feminism has destroyed it all.]

— Comments —-

Kevin writes:

Just read your mini-fisking of Hanna Rosin’s latest spew on Slate. Instapundit also noted it, and while I was reading that vile fembot’s latest, I was thinking that you would surely provide context and commentary within the hour.

You never disappoint!

Laura writes:

Thank you.

Jeff W. writes:

You wrote about the marginally-employed men of Aurora, “It would be more accurate to say that after decades of sexual freedom, leftist propaganda, government-enforced affirmative action and discrimination against men, men aren’t working as steadily, and far fewer people are married.

That is true, of course. But these men have also been on the receiving end of hammer blows from illegal immigrants and low-wage Asian labor competition. They have also been pounded by high taxes, high medical costs, and high tuition costs. They have been reduced to poverty by these blows, and they have no defenders in positions of power. But love conquers all, as the actions of these men has shown.

 Laura writes:

Yes, as to the other factors though I would argue that they are associated with the loss of male authority.

I’m not sure love conquers all. One of the men had a wife and two young children elsewhere. His wife may very well have kicked him out, but still I feel sorry for his children.

Buck writes:

If one man in that theater was truly prepared to protect himself and his woman, he would have been carrying a weapon and he would have known well how to use it to end the threat. Placing himself in between the shooter and his loved one was the ultimate sacrifice, but seen in the larger context of fear, resignation and submission, is the weak cousin to self-defense.

Men need to break modern man’s law in order to abide by natural law. That is a human weakness that can not be strengtened by increasingly denying that.

A couple of years ago, I posted my short definition of traditionalist conservatism on my unused Facebook page:

Life is participation in a permanent and immutable natural order of being that can not be altered or denied. Modern liberalism attempts to deny and to defy that order, while traditional conservatism accepts it and embraces it’s necessary constraints.

Is the first order of being to live and to protect and defend ourself, or to sacrifice our life to evil without a fight?

Laura writes:

Very important points.

How is it that with Colorado’s liberal gun laws and the history of at least one very deadly massacre there, so few men in the theater were prepared for something like this?

Buck is right. The men who protected their girlfriends were valiant, but the events in the theater, with no one atempting to shoot James Holmes, pointed if anything to an overall lack of manliness. There is endless talk about what to do about school shootings. Schools hold lockdowns and drills that terrify children when the very obvious solution is to arm a small number of male school employees.

These massacres create fear and terror, but not defiance.

Karl Hren writes:

Breitbart has a brief piece (I’ve seen it elsewhere also) stating that the theater did not permit weapons to be brought in, despite Colorado’s concealed carry law.

The article notes that film critic Roger Ebert had jumped to the conclusion that the failure of anyone to shoot back proves that concealed carry does not work. I don’t know what the penalties for breaking the no-weapons policy would be, but it seems clear the policy was effective (on everyone except the killer).

Jane S. writes:

The other day, I was talking on the phone with an extremely pleasant and helpful woman from an organization that provides resources for local business owners. She told me about a program here that pairs would-be and struggling entrepreneurs with retired successful businessmen. These men act as mentors on a volunteer basis, sharing their advice, insight, expertise to people who are trying to get their start.

Let’s pause a moment and take that in: a small group of people who directly participated in creating the most vibrant and prosperous business environment the world has ever seen, now devote part of their leisure time to helping others do the same. And they do it free of charge.

In the course of describing this program, the woman commented, with a subtle note of warning in her voice, that they were all white men.

Of course, that was my cue to gasp and say something like, “Oh, dear, white men, hmmm, I see.” Just to let her know that I understand that means something ominous.

I let it go, for a number of reasons. The purpose of my call was to get information, and I did not want to get sidetracked. I do not like to engage in feminist secret-handshake rituals. In order to address her comment directly, I would have to peel back all the layers of assumption first, and that is complicated and time-consuming, not to mention annoying. I should have a 30-second pitch ready to smack down liberal stoolies, but I don’t.

Since I missed my first cue, a couple of minutes later, she gave me a second chance. If you seek advice from these guys, remember they are white males and, as such, have a tendency to talk at you. They’re white males, got it? That means they’re difficult to deal with. Got it?

The second time, I didn’t let it go. I told her that I have plenty of experience with white males, my father and other blood relatives are white males, and that I do not find white males particularly hard to deal with. Quite the contrary, they are some of the easiest people to get along with. And she agreed, after all, she was a white female too and of course she knew exactly what I meant. People who engage in liberal phrase-mongering are rarely able to back up what they say.

The article by Hanna Rosen is annoying, to say the least. What I find more troubling is when I encounter that same mentality in my everyday interactions. It happens frequently, usually in the form of remarks that are offhand and trivial , but loaded with poison under the surface. This is one of the most pernicious things about the slow death of our culture by liberalism, and one that I find the hardest to deal with.

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