Young men especially need a culture that can help them define worthy aspirations. Adults don’t emerge. They’re made....,Child-Man in the Promised Land, Kay Hymowitz, City Journal, Spring 2008
When first reading this, it seemed that the author was describing young men in a blaxploitation movie set in Harlem in 1973. Directionless, overgrown teenagers, abandoned by society, seeking out pleasures, licit and illicit, utterly uninterested in the larger consequences of sexual relationships, high on one thing or another -- this was the foundation of a new hooliganism, sometimes called the Quiet Riot.
But, wait, this long and windy complaint is a general description of single young men in 2008. It's no longer Them (dark, foreboding, handsome, good at basketball); it's all single young men. While young women have become the New Woman, young men have become idle, video game freaks who just want some trim before breakfast.
Of course, Hymowitz fails to point out that it's illegal for there to be a New Boy Order, you know, where guys work together toward helping one another, where they're regarded as a disadvantaged class in school and therefore given vastly more assistance than so-called "advantaged" students. When was the last time you heard about a public education campaign to assist the huge number of male students at the tipping point of dropping out of school? When was the last college campaign you heard about to help male students over the hump of required courses in areas where many may have problems?
Single women in their twenties and early thirties are joining an international New Girl Order, hyperachieving in both school and an increasingly female-friendly workplace, while packing leisure hours with shopping, traveling, and dining with friends...(Child-Man in the Promised Land, cont'd)
And on the job, the writer's own experience suggests that the virtues of the New Girl (aggressive, assertive, hard-charging, and in control) are denied to the New Boy. The motivation to succeed has been undercut by a new privileged class and the order's enforcers in upper management.
Fact is, the game now is not a transformation of the old game, where boys were somewhat advantaged (except for little matters like required military service). The new game simply inverts the old. At least in the old days the girls had marriage and motherhood to look forward to. Funny thing -- some of these brilliant columnists should read a serious anthropologist like Robin Fox -- men unmotivated by the prospect of being a part of family and society tend to turn into video game freaks, drunks, and losers. It is also worth noting that, for thirty years, the propaganda from all points of the compass has been that men are dangerous, destructive, over-aggressive tyrants. After a while, the target of constant propaganda may begin to believe the lies and start saying "yeah, that's what I'm really like."
There is also some doubt in this writer's mind about the superiority of a New Girl culture of shopping, travel and dining. When that culture is upheld by the necessity to wage war for resources, this writer knows who pays. It ain't the New Girl driving the Escalade.