A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘men

[NEWS] Five sci-tech links: Chixculub archive, male pill, Garfield phones, Nova Scotia, ETI wars

  • Journalist Douglas Preston U>writes in The New Yorker about a potentially amazing site in North Dakota, a rich fossil bed that may well have been formed in the first hour after the Chixculub asteroid impact that ended the Cretaceous.
  • Arielle Pardes writes at WIRED about how a potential lack of demand among men might hinder the sale of male contraceptives.
  • Vulture reports the identification of the source, at last, of the components of Garfield phones that have been washing up on the French coast in a lost shipping crate from the 1980s.
  • CBC reports on the meticulous reports of environmental changes by Nova Scotia students more than a century ago, collected over years under the order of their teacher Alexander Mackay, that provide invaluable information about climate change.
  • Matt Williams writes at Universe Today about the possibility that the lack of self-replicating probes visible to us might be explainable by conflict between some of these probes and others.

[NEWS] Ten JSTOR Daily links (@jstor_daily)

JSTOR Daily is a quality source of links that can accumulate quickly.

  • JSTOR Daily shares ten poems about travel.
  • JSTOR Daily notes the decidedly mixed environmental legacies of missionaries.
  • JSTOR Daily explains why, exactly, a landlord in the medieval world might ask for a rose at Christmas time as rent.
  • JSTOR Daily explores the immersive cyclorama of the 19th century.
  • JSTOR Daily notes how, with a canny emphasis on the prestige of their drink and their lineages, dealers of champagne were able to build lucrative empires.
  • JSTOR Daily takes a look at the 17th century German painter of insects Maria Sibylla Merian, now at last gaining recognition.
  • JSTOR Daily summarizes a paper that examines why the literal image of Nelson Mandela is so popular, is so iconic.
  • JSTOR Daily notes that, alas, the balance of the evidence suggests alcohol is not good for people.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at “story papers”, the inexpensive 19th century periodicals carrying stories targeted at boys and young men which ended up changing both popular literature and gender identities.
  • Alexandra Samuel at JSTOR Daily takes a look, after Rachel Giese, at the ways in which the Internet and Internet culture can lead to outbreaks of misogyny.

[LINK] “Prime Minister Mulcair and the Politics of Masculinity”

Facebook’s John some time ago linked to this essay by one Stuart Parker analyzing NDP leader Thomas Mulcair. Parker thinks that Mulcair–English by language, but born in Québec–has what it takes to succeed in English Canada substantially because he demonstrates a sort of uninhibited traditional masculinity that plays really well.

English Canada fell in love with Pierre Trudeau in 1968 because he angrily seated himself in the direct line of fire of bottle-throwing separatists, not with calm and decorum but in an obviously enraged response both to the separatist rioters and to the handlers who sought to whisk him off to safety. Trudeau’s healthy libido, ability to shamelessly date (and even marry) mentally unstable women less than half his age, his willingness to order the assault of protesters and roll out tanks in the streets of Montréal and his expressions of contempt, punctuated with the odd obscene gesture endeared him to crucial voting blocs in English Canada.

[. . .]

In English Canada, men’s eligibility to join the elite is conditioned, in large measure, by their capacity to reflect the Victorian ideal of manliness exemplified in Upper Canadian culture. Like Hawaiians, Upper Canadians build their patriarchal culture around understated theatrical demonstrations of restraint, physical, emotional and sexual. Elite English Canadian men are not to shout; they are not to brawl; and, if they must engage in it, they keep their promiscuity invisible. Just ask the mayoral candidate who could have saved us from Rob Ford, Adam Giambrone, felled by what Torontonians called a sex scandal and what Parisians wouldn’t have called anything.

While I would never suggest that restraint and sensitivity have nothing to do with elite masculine status in Québec, I will suggest that they have much less to do with it. To non-elite men and women in English Canada, the relative freedom of powerful Québecois men from these standards is a powerful force, especially for non-elite men descended from Southern European immigrant communities that struggle to identify with the smallness and coldness of Anglo nuclear families and the disturbing bloodlessness of the surrounding culture. For Anglo chickenshits like Harper, aggression is often celebrated but when it is, it is always “serious business,” an exotic phenomenon; it takes a Chretien or Trudeau to indicate a real comfort with it by joking about violence (e.g. “I put pepper on my plate…”).

We remain a culture that is rooted in millennia of patriarchy. And generally, Canadians only hand majority governments to a party when one leader is able to embody the multiple definitions of masculinity that, together, comprise a majority, while the others are not. And, overall, the more bellicose, less restrained kind masculinity we find in French Canadian culture has resonance with more people in more places. It has resonance amongst working class Anglos in industrial towns; it has resonance on reserves; it has resonance in immigrant communities not yet domesticated to the passive-aggressive, restrained masculinity of neo-Victorian elites with its slut-shaming and excessive concern over female modesty. Really, the only place it doesn’t sell especially is Québec, where people are more used to it and, consequently, a good deal more tired.

But to us Anglos, a Trudeau, Chretien or Mulcair is a Tarzanesque figure, a creature from a world of which we know little, who has swung in on a vine to right wrongs and expose the hypocrisy, emptiness and veiled rage of the smug, little chess club patriarchs like Harper who run Anglo society. He can slam his fist on the table and threaten to break Peter van Loan’s nose if he steps an inch closer to Nathan Cullen — you know, that nice, mild-mannered House Leader, half a head taller than Mulcair and nearly a generation his junior.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 30, 2013 at 8:23 pm

[LINK] “Why the Gender Pay Gap Doesn’t Matter”

This post at Crasstalk makes the provocative argument that the continuing gap in pay between men and women in the United States (and almost developed countries, I’m willing to bet) doesn’t necessarily speak solely, or primarily, about the continuing issues of women in moving towards full equality. Things may be very bad for the majority of men, too.

Hanna Rosin’s controversial article for The Atlantic, “The End of Men,” struck a nerve in 2010. After all, if men are losing out to women, why are our corporate boardrooms and government institutions still dominated by men? Rosin’s answer is that the period of male dominance in management and leadership may be coming to an end. We’re on the cusp of changes that will topple the old Man Men paradigm.

Rosin’s argument centered around the fact that male-centric jobs (manufacturing, construction) are seriously threatening the role men have long held in the home and in communities, but she also combines an analysis of our economic recession with a sort of evolutionary argument about how males evolution hasn’t kept up with society at large.

Dr. Roy Baumeister, a psychology professor from Florida State University and author of “Is There Anything Good About Men?” has explored how male behaviors affect socities. In a speech to the American Psychological Assocation in 2007 he argued that the dominance of a few powerful men at the top of the food chain says nothing about the overall socio-economic wellness of men in our culture.


Written by Randy McDonald

May 2, 2012 at 7:35 pm