What a weekend.
Hell, what a day. In the span of five hours last Friday, through the prism of pop culture, I was able to witness first hand so much of what has gone terribly wrong with our society.
Full disclosure; I am an ardent believer in an American culture of strong, traditional men, which is a very unpopular view to express publicly. Part of the reason for that unpopularity is the total bastardization of my definition of such. In my opinion, America needs men who remain chivalrous, are adept at stepping forward and navigating through times of crisis, bear the burden of those around them so that the unit can remain strong as a whole, and know basic skills vital to not just survival but civilized life as well. America does not need men who view women as subservient, harm them in any way, or question a woman’s ability to do almost anything. The latter, of course, is how a view such as mine is painted. Screw everyone that does such a thing.
On Friday afternoon my girlfriend and I saw “American Sniper,” the new film starring Bradley Cooper as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle who had at least 160 confirmed kills over the course of four tours in Iraq. I have made it very clear that I do not blindly regard Mr. Kyle as man above reproach. He was a terribly flawed person who has been proven a liar many times in the years that followed his service and prior to his murder. He was, by all accounts, a horrendous husband. He has been accused of being self-aggrandizing beyond his actual accomplishments. The movie portrays and/or alludes to some of this and ignores most of it, as do I when making my judgment about Chris Kyle; I unequivocally want men like him defending my family and my freedoms. The question of whether he was a pathological person before he became a trained killer or whether his time in theater made him into what he later became is totally irrelevant to me in offering an evaluation of what he and countless others did and still do for the rest of us. The fact that he was willing to go, and then to serve with such precision, is all I need to know and see.
That’s not to say that we should, in any way, abandon our research and treatment of PTSD. It is, however, to say that we must acknowledge that we need people, and more specifically, men, who are willing to do horrendous things under horrific circumstances because our enemies, long ago and still today, are willing to do even more. We are fighting sub-humans who use power drills to torture children to death. In return, we need men willing to pull the trigger when the same enemy sends a boy of the same age to blow up a convoy of Marines. With all due respect, “normal” men don’t have what it takes to kill that child. Certainly not what American men have become today.
After coming home from American Sniper, all we wanted to do was laugh. God knows we needed a chuckle, so we went to the DVR and found last Wednesday’s episode of The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, which featured his guest, Gwyneth Paltrow.
Regardless of what you think of either of those celebrities (I like Fallon a lot and hate Paltrow equally as much), they are, without question, at the forefront of today’s modern pop culture. For many people, sadly, they literally define much of what is deemed to be cool, proper, correct, and acceptable. While they sat talking, they described today’s coolest man on earth. They discussed his aura, his unmistakable power over a room, his effortlessness in being supremely hip and beyond reproach. They even said he smelled of tobacco and exuded manliness.
Clint Eastwood? Dwayne Johnson? Bruce Willis? Jason Statham?
No. Today’s most manly man, they said, is Johnny Depp. (Paltrow is starring in a horrible looking new movie with Depp but this assertion came as a result of a meeting she had with Depp years ago when he was “rolling his own cigarettes.” Barf).
And there you have it. We’ve been Depped. An open hater of America who thrives and succeeds off of this nation’s success and a man who personifies everything about modern metrosexualization and pussification of American men, both on screen and off, is viewed as the coolest cat in the room. Not much more needs to be said, but I will anyway.
Over the same weekend a friend of mine texted me as he sat in the theater before American Sniper. He had just seen a preview for something called “Sons of Liberty,” which is a show I have never seen on the History Channel which claims to follow the group of the same name that helped in the founding of America. During this preview, there was an allusion to Ben Franklin being a womanizer, and my friend asked me if I had any info on that.
As I told him, I have heard the claims, which are based in the absolute provable knowledge that Franklin had an illegitimate child prior to his marriage and was a known flirt. Beyond that, there isn’t a shred of evidence to any of the claims made of Franklin’s womanizing, including no known affairs while he was married, something fairly rare at the time, and something few men even bothered to hide. http://www.udel.edu/PR/UDaily/2005/mar/franklin061605.html
This is what happens when we view history through modern day prisms. Since the nation was founded 240 years ago by a group of white men who proclaimed that “all men were created equal,” while owning slaves and treating women as second class citizens, we do everything we can today to tear them down and apply today’s standards and morals to their time, rather than acknowledging the progress and naturally slow maturation of our society into what it has become today. Today’s modern American hating American views the very people who created this great union through our current set of ideals and is appalled at perhaps the bravest men to ever walk the earth.
And today’s modern American hating American views Chris Kyle and those like him as antiquated, barbaric and filled with hate, while never acknowledging that they are fighting people who almost literally live in the 18th, if not the 14th, century. I, on the other hand view Kyle and those like him as something entirely different; necessary and heroic. And whatever abnormalities, faults and flaws they either come with or accumulate as a result of their service are nothing more than reminders to me of everything they sacrifice, including their own sanity and pursuit of personal happiness in some cases, in the name of the idea that is America. Damn you if you feel otherwise. I only ask that you at least acknowledge you’d not have the ability to express your pathetically childish opinion aloud if it weren’t for them. At the absolute very least, you can afford them that tiny bit of dignity.