Thursday, February 7, 2008

Eating Cake

My wonderful father was kind enough to send me links to a couple of intriguing articles that touch upon a strange cultural phenomena that he has, of late, become aware of and is (as the father of 5 girls) deeply troubled by: it is the rise of the Child-Man.

The Child-Man, a term coined by Kay S. Hymowitz, a contributing editor of City Journal and the William E. Simon Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, is the title awarded to the growing class of perpetual frat boys who are descending upon western culture en masse. These men have jobs, they have homes, they may or may not have several degrees, and they have the disposable income to set any marketing executive salivating. Think of the possibilities when advertising to this eternal frat boy, whose finely-honed sensibilities have rendered him enraptured by bathroom humor, pornography, and things exploding into lots of pieces. (I think I just summed up the current marketing strategies of every major American corporation advertisingn on primetime TV...)

The point Ms. Hymowitz concludes her article with is this: that in addition to this behavior being a backlash against the raging feminism evident in the media and elsewhere, so many men today are embracing this newfound freedom to revel in perpetual adolescence because, well, they can.

They can have their cake, their sex, their ipods, and whatever else they need to satisfy their every whim... and they can eat it too. What guy's going to go to the trouble of coughing up three grand for an engagement ring when he can get the same emotional reaction and pseudo-committment by casually mentioning to his girlfriend that he thinks it might be time the two of them "take it to the next level"... ?

I mean, really, what the hell do we expect? And don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good men out there. Great men, in fact, who are valiently striving for holiness and wholeness, who know and embrace the value of sacrifice and service and real love. But there are a whole lot Child-Men out there too. And the next time I meet one, I pray I'll have the forsight to take my dad's advice, because he's right, I really don't have the time to baby sit.


  1. The obvious solution is what women have demanded throughout history, until the 1960’s ------- NO SEX UNTIL YOU MARRY ME!

    Will the current dissatisfaction with a generation of man-boys lead women en mass back to this alien concept?

  2. I hope that "dad" is right, and I completely agree with everything you said. But I have to confess, I still like seeing things explode.

  3. I'm a father of a little girl.

    Culturally, the horse is out of the barn, thanks to feminism, the sexual revolution, and the government-as-dad.

    As numerous other people have noted, too many boys are being raised without the model of a happy, married father in their home, and they have almost no "male only" instutions left to be socialized as manly men, husbands, and fathers. Everything now is co-ed and geared towards the sensitivities and needs of women.

    Young men have been taught that women don't need men, but they see that plenty of women WILL use men, mainly for their money.

    At the same time, they've noticed that even (actually, especially) being an unreliable jerk, they can get easy casual sex from many different women with nothing expected or demanded by the women except the physical interaction. And their male relatives, friends, and coworkers who DO get married are often miserable in the marriage or financially and emotionally scarred by divorce, usually initiated by the wife, who then takes his kids and alienates them from their father.

    So what will I teach my little girl? As Dr. Laura says: Choose wisely, treat kindly. Marriage and family-minded men and women should seek each other out and avoid the "fish in the sea" who are either hedonistic, or do not want to be dedicated spouses or parents. Don't even try playing both side of the fence.

  4. Thank God for you three, and Ken, I couldn't agree more with you and Dr. Laura...

    oh, and Fr.? That's cool if you like explosions.

  5. Dear Ken,
    The recital of selfishness, both male and female goes back in history at least as far as the Flood, so the link you make with feminism and evil is at the very least overdone.

    Pre-feminist men were self-centered in expecting women to live as if nothing mattered except the men. Now feminist women are living as if nothing matters except the women. Even if it is poetic justice, in both cases it is self-centered lust, using the other person without regard for their good.

    In the end, I do agree with you about the solution...

  6. The ultimate problem, of course, is sin. We all have it.

    As for selfishness - it may be selfish to deliberately avoid the perpetuation of society in a wholesome way by deciding not to build a nest, marry, and have children. However, should all marry and parent? I don't think so.

    If someone - male or female - chooses not to marry and have children, society will be fine, as long as there are enough others who do decide to marry and parent. The important thing from a societal perspective is that the person who decides to never marry earn and produce enough to pay their bills and contribute at least as much as they take (government benefits and so forth). If they save and invest for the future so that they can pay for their own care in their retirement, then great. Personally, though, almost all of these people will have sex. So much of society thinks there is no problem with this as long as any children conceived that make it to birth alive are provided for financially. But I do believe that what used to be called "fornication" is spiritually and emotionally damaging. In fact, I know it is from experience.

    I should make it clear that, if men really did have all of the power politically, legally, institutionally, and socially before, then men are originally to blame for many of the problems and other realities we are now discussing. Fathers, brothers, male clergy, male legislators, male judges, male entertainment and advertising execs, and so forth changed everything - or at least allowed that change - so that fathers and husbands have been dismissed and that marriage and fatherhood have increasingly become liabilities for men and decreasing in benefits. Males have very few places left to be where they are surrounded by men and things are done with men in mind, not geared towards the interests and sensitivities of women.

    Fortunately, people are recognizing this and talking about it. There are even church services popping up geared towards men. And you know what? Women who want a real man will turn up, because they know they can find one there.

    Feminism has been good in giving women real choices and legal protections in their lives. It has been bad in many other respects. I suggest that the best feminism is the kind that affirms and celebrates the differences with men instead of ignoring them or telling men they are wrong for not being women, and sees men as complimentary partners, not the enemy.


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