The Rise of the Needy Man
"Men, writes Matlack, are filled with yearning: to talk, to be understood, to be accepted. Men, he suggests, have more emotional depth than we give them credit for having. What he doesn’t say is that guys today have so much less emotional resilience than we need them to possess."
- Hugo Schwyzer
In my experience, many men (mostly American men, straight men) can’t handle feeling big things. This is a vast generalization but I’m going for it: they avoid it if they’re single and they cling to the women they know will help them through it if they’re not.
What conditions them to be less emotionally resilient?
There’s the obvious: Men are expected to be professionally successful financial providers to their families. They’re conditioned to exude strength, power, lack of weakness, blah blah.
Then there’s the community aspect: in some ways, women get to feel camraderie around the fact that they’re the societally disempowered sex – it gives them a community for “gender and women’s studies,” for a “women’s lib” movement. Like there’s no “caucasian studies,” there’s no “gender and men’s studies,” but the latter could be useful, as no movement to connect under that doesn’t have tainted connotations, like fraternities, may retard their emotional maturity. Many therapists say men’s groups are good for men, encouraging them to use each other to parce through their feelings instead of leaning so hard and dependently on the women in their lives.
There’s the biological, that women have fluctuating hormones. Then there’s the psychological effect of biological realities. What about this: women gutturally scream when they give birth. It is a major life event in which they’re expected to show extreme emotion, to hold back none, to give over all control of their own body to the development and creation of their child. Men just don’t ever have that built in excuse in life to emote like that.
Many men I’ve met have a far less developed ability to pinpoint, accept, translate, discuss and work through big feelings like the women in my life. That can be exasperating. Many, I think, are inspired (if quietly) by a woman’s ability to be emotionally available and accepting of hearing, talking, listening to feelings. Many need permission to explore their own feelings, and many think they’ll only receive that from a gender that doesn’t see weakness as a weakness.
By Jane Mayer
August 27, 2012
Read this. It’s about how Citizens United lets billionaires buy an election, allowing for a severe gap between donations given to Obama vs Romney for 2 main reasons:
1. Obama’s less comfortable stroking the egos & bellies of his wealthy donors than Clinton et al, partially because he doesn’t want to owe anyone a favor (“Obama wrote, politicians who spent too much time among the wealthy risked losing touch with the ‘frequent hardship of the other 99 percent of the population—that is, the people that I’d entered public life to serve.’”).
2. Wealthy liberals like Warren Buffett are disinterested in engaging in super PACs as they, like Obama, find the institutions plutocratic and devastating to the public interest.
Say what you will about Obama’s leadership and the change you wanted versus the change you saw, but changing yr vote will put a Republican in power that is comfortable being lobbied to by some of the country’s most socially and fiscally closed-minded wealthy losers. Why won’t Mitt stand for clean energy? The Koch brothers are spending $400 million on his campaign and they want the issue buried in the interest of their fossil fuel company. Why are Republicans so eerily one-sided on Israel & Palestine? Sheldon Adelson, one of Mitt’s biggest donors, thinks the Palestinian prime minister’s a terrorist. Why are Republicans in Congress protecting Adelson’s casinos’ ability to pay a 9.8% tax rate when the statutory rate is 35 (Is fairness not a historically Republican cause?)? Appeasement. The point that these Republicans scare me feels too obvious to state on a blog, but Paul Ryan the other day called rape a “method of conception,” and making rape a talking point, diluting the severity of our connotations to such a traumatic abuse = scary. Doubtless the rights on women’s bodies are about money and the closed-minded beliefs of rich men, too.
I like many of the things that traditional Republicans stood for. Mitt’s historically moderate - he was inoffensive in Massachusetts – but any traditional Republican’s nuts to think he won’t be committed to following through on his donors’ needs. I’ve found Obama to be a stable leader in times of severe & unprecedented political polarization. He could be close to losing on such a high-road ethical stance, but he comes across as a more honest politician for it. Last week I Googled, “Why don’t Republicans like Obama.” Call me simplistic. Google’s not built to answer that.
I come from an immediate family of swinging liberals and an extended one of Yankee conservatives. My aunt didn’t vote for John Kerry because she had a bad feeling about Theresa Heinz. One uncle is waiting to see how the two do in the debates to base an opinion, although he should have all the facts he needs (and the debates are scripted, guys: candidates know and can prepare for questions 3 weeks before it takes place). Another uncle emailed me yesterday with this sad overgeneralization that presidential candidates “all love the office and will say anything the people want to hear in order to get elected …or re-elected. The way things look and how ALL the members of Congress and the President act, there is no solution to our country’s problems.” These, my own genetic counterparts, vote with their feelings over facts.
There’s fairness and reality, and tiptoeing around reality for the sake of fairness, even to keep the peace on Labor Day, feels increasingly to be a disservice. The billionaires are looking out for themselves, and the policies they push through if Mitt’s elected are about them: they are not traditionally conservative, won’t benefit us and have none of us in mind.
Why don’t Republicans like Obama?
So tired of the old & middle-aged that scorn my generation and our fractured way of consuming content. It’s such a lazy argument. Being comfortable with a reality that is not linear doesn’t mean we don’t read, innovate or value intellect. Actually, the way I consume content is more immersive & exploratory and puts the impetus on me to find an issue’s greater narrative. It’s not handed down to me from my nightly news anchor. Is that what they miss? That and the feel of flipping pages? Then they should save their breath and GO BUY A BOOK.
According to the 2012 U.S. Book Consumer Demographics and Buying Behaviors Annual Review, if you were born between 1979 and 1989, you spent more money on books in 2011 than older Americans. The survey found that millennials now buy 30 percent of books. In comparison, baby boomers, who have far more disposable income than most millennials, only made 24 percent of book purchases.”
(photo via @dont-slouch)
More plagiarism & fabrication from the beloved & young.
"Lehrer’s success and this current humiliation, how far he had to fall, is a symptom of a much bigger problem, one that is systemic, one that continues to consistently elevate certain kinds of men simply for being a certain kind of man. Jonah Lehrer fits the narrative we want about a boy genius…[he] may or may not be a genius, but we wanted him to be one."
- Roxane Gay in Slate: "Jonah Lehrer throws it all away"
"These aren’t showy passages. Just unusually precise descriptions of things we all do and see. We enter and recognize the modern-day office environment: “the desk practically an abstraction. The whisper of sourceless ventilation.” Friends left behind in a small town are imagined “selling each other insurance, drinking supermarket liquor, watching television, awaiting the formality of their first cardiac….
"Like all good citizens, I’m with those who wish to resist romanticizing his suicide, but there remains a sense in which artists do expose themselves to the torrents of their time, in a way that can’t help but do damage, and there’s nothing wrong with calling it noble, if they’ve done it in the service of something beautiful. Wallace paid a price for traveling so deep into himself, for keeping his eye unaverted as long as it takes to write passages like the one just quoted, for finding other people interesting enough to pay attention to them long enough to write scenes like that. It’s the reason most of us can’t write great or even good fiction. You have to let a lot of other consciousnesses into your own. That’s bad for equilibrium."
- John Jeremiah Sullivan Reviews David Foster Wallace’s Last Novel, ‘The Pale King’: Books: GQ
Just got around to reading this review and it rules: Read here.