Saturday, July 15, 2006


I wanted to point to these articles earlier but then forgot. It was about a new book titled "Manliness", written by a Harvard philosophy professor no less, about how the feminist movement and our quest for a gender-neutral society are undermining the great masculine virtues. Though reading the reviews I didn't get a very good idea of what those supposedly great masculine virtues were that the professor was trying to defend!

Anyway, here is Martha Nussbaum, who is a political philosopher herself, writing in the New Republic. It is long but brilliant, very informative and a comprehensive dismissal of Mansfield's arguments. Incidentally, Nussbaum also mentions an incident involving a Chicago White Sox player who manhandled his opponent and was chided by the male commentators for displaying a foolish and rather unmanly behavior. This caught my attention because of the recent Zidane affair. Zidane reportedly defended his actions on TV by saying, "I'm a man above all"! So was he displaying the great masculine virtue of chivalry, being protective towards his womenfolk, willing to use disproportionate retaliatory violence to defend their affronted honour? This whole debate looks to me direct out of Don Quixote and I thought it was settled in that book itself! This code of honour and chivalry thing is a part of the medieval worldview and it should remain there. I am surprised at how Zidane defended his actions using these arguments.

Anyway, here's a hilarious interview of the modern day Quixote, the philosophy professor, out to restore the great masculine virtues in the world:

Q:Yes, but fewer jobs depend on that sort of physical brawn as society becomes more technologically adept. Physical advantages are practically meaningless now that men are no longer hunter-gatherers.

A:I disagree with that.

Q:When was the last time you did something that required physical strength?

A:It's true that nothing in my career requires physical strength, but in my relations with women, yes.

Q:Such as?

A:Lifting things, opening things. My wife is quite small.

Q:What do you lift?

A:Furniture. Not every night, but routinely.

Lol! I so desperately want to attend this professor's classes!!

Some more funny reviews from NY Times, Weekly Standard and WSJ (the last two unintentional I suppose, given their conservative and anti-feminism bent)...

But yes, having said all this I think I will stand up for one masculine virtue, that of Stoicism. In the name of "sensitivity", "metrosexuality", Oprahesque psycho-babble about emotional self-expression (or actually emotional advertising) and other such dubious ideas, men are being forced to turn into sentimental crybabies, which is very unfortunate. I find few things creepier and more embarrassing than a man shedding tears. My dear fellow men, If you really can't hold it, at least do it in private. I think this world will be a better place if women also behaved the same. Lets all stand up for stoicism!!

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