ONCE WERE MEN AND STRONG

I was six years old when we gathered in the living room to watch  Neil Armstrong walk on the moon on our black and white Zenith in 1969. It was just four years after the Watts riots, a year after the murder of Martin Luther King Jr., Vietnam was happening, and Woodstock, and a little later in the early seventies was Helter Skelter, the fall of Saigon, Watergate and Wounded Knee in ’73 and every man that I grew up around were MEN.

My Father’s generation-men who fought in the Korean War, sat at home waiting for their sons to return from Vietnam, and the young men of that war set the standard for my generation as far as what a man is. But the ones who took over after we stepped back dropped the ball.

The door was wide open for books, movies and music to step up, and they did. Hard boiled movies like Death Wish, Dirty Mary and Crazy Larry, Vanishing Point and Walking Tall and Dirty Harry, Foxy Brown, Mr. Majestyk, Billy Jack, Shaft and Jeremiah Johnson, Hang ’em High, The Sting, Serpico-  all had what the public was hungry for, and then there were the fiction writers like Mario Puzo, Leon Uris, Kurt Vonnegut, and  Norman Mailer. Bold essayists were on the scene like Gloria Steinem, Maya Angelo, Charles Bukowski, and Susan Sontag and they were breaking all the rules.

Men handled their disputes with other men toe to toe and women handled their business face to face. We were strong, a spiritual movement was emerging in Christianity, Buddism, Hindu, Tao, Wicca and we were waking up as a nation again.

Since then, it is my contention, there has been a drought on every level. Somewhere along the way women got therapists, and spent time getting in touch with their inner child and wrote about it, while the men were shaving their chests and doing their hair while they developed politically correct scripts and novels, being careful not to offend. Anyone. Until now.

Women are making movies, fighting in wars, pastoring churches and running multi-million dollar companies. Men are becoming men again, but now it’s okay to be a whole, well rounded and intelligent badass.

There is a resurgence of historical fiction in film and books and it’s a violent history portrayed in every film and series that appeals to both men and women, and I believe we want back what we’ve lost in the last couple decades.

To be politically correct is a process that requires you to lie so as not to offend or rile-up the other. There is no truth on pages or in conversations if the words don’t evoke passion. I see us evoking passion again. I am encouraged.

E.A. Cook

 

 

 

 

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