(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘masculinity

“Each time history repeats itself, the price goes up”*…

A supposed “crisis in masculinity” is much in the public discourse these days. But as Jules Evans points out, we’ve been here before…

Last month Fox News presenter Tucker Carlson released a TV series called The End of Men, warning that American men were becoming effete, flabby and sterile. Civilization is descending into chaos, the series suggests, but that’s OK, because ‘hard times produce strong men’. It also featured a man tanning his testicles to the tune of Thus Spake Zarathustra (you can watch the trailer here).

With that Nietzschean image in mind, now seems like a good time to tell the story of President Theodore Roosevelt and his cult of manliness. Teddy Roosevelt preached a life-philosophy of vigour, and embodied this in his own romantic life. His words and deeds made him an icon to the online ‘manosphere’. Indeed, the popular website ‘Art of Manliness’ sells inspirational posters of him, and calls him ‘the patron saint of manliness’.

And yet there is a darker side to his life-philosophy. It included Social Darwinian attitudes that might makes right, only the strong deserve to survive, there are fitter and less fit races, and the white race has a right to conquer other races, while itself needing to be strengthened through eugenics. It’s a story that helps us explore some of the ways that wellness, men’s fitness, the human potential movement and ecological conservation can lead to ‘spiritual eugenics’

The history– and the dark downside– of the “cult of masculinity,” “Teddy Roosevelt and the End of Men,” from @JulesEvans11.

C.f. also: Benito Mussolini and Vladimir Putin.

* Ronald Wright

###

As we parse power, we might recall that it was on this date in 1997 that software running on Deep Blue (an IBM supercomputer) became the first computer program to defeat a world champion in a match under tournament regulations.

The year before, Garry Kasparov had defeated Deep Blue (4-2). In the rematch, Kasparov won the first game but lost the second. The the next three games were draws. And the sixth game lasted only a little over an hour after just 19 moves.

source

“Tradition wears a snowy beard, romance is always young”*…

 

Thomas Gowing felt the mighty yet fragile English Beard to be threatened with extinction by an invasive foreign species, the Razor. So he set out to defend the furry face mammal in every conceivable way. The resulting lecture was received so enthusiastically by a bushy-faced audience in Ipswich that it was soon turned into The Philosophy of Beards (1854) — the first book entirely devoted to this subject.

It is Gowing’s ardent belief that the bearded are better looking, better morally and better historically than the shaven. To call him a huge fan of the suburbs of the chin would be an understatement. “It is impossible” he writes “to view a series of bearded portraits . . . without feeling that they possess dignity, gravity, freedom, vigour, and completeness.” By contrast, the clean-cut look always leaves him with “a sense of artificial conventional bareness”. Gowing’s apology for the beard makes frequent appeals to nature, some of them amusingly far-fetched: “Nature leaves nothing but what is beautiful uncovered, and the masculine chin is seldom sightly, because it was designed to be covered, while the chins of women are generally beautiful.” Sometimes his argument transforms from a shield for the beard into a swipe at the chin: “There is scarcely indeed a more naturally disgusting object than a beardless old man (compared by the Turks to a ‘plucked pigeon’)”.

Gowing was writing at a time when physiognomy — the art of reading a person’s character in their facial features — was still popular in Europe and America. So it is no surprise to learn that “the absence of Beard is usually a sign of physical and moral weakness”…

More tonsorial teaching at: “The Philosophy of Beards (1854).”

Read it in full at the Internet Archive; or buy a hard copy of The Philosophy The British Library republished it in 2014, for the first time since 1854.

* John Greenleaf Whittier

###

As we hail the hirsute, we might recall that it was on this date in 2005 that Kingda Ka opened at the Six Flags Great Adventure Park in Jackson, New Jersey.  The world’s tallest roller coaster (and the world’s second fastest roller coaster), it offers riders an experience that lasts 28 seconds… during which the roller coaster cars are “launched” to a speed of 128 mph (in 3.5 seconds).  At the end of the launch track, the train climbs the main tower (or top hat) and rolls 90 degrees to the right before reaching a height of 456 feet.  The train then descends 418 feet (straight down through a 270-degree right-hand spiral.  The train climbs a second hill of 129 feet, producing a brief period of weightlessness, before descending, turning toward the station, and being smoothly brought to a stop by the magnetic brakes.

Cool.

Kingda Ka’s “top hat”

source

 

Written by (Roughly) Daily

May 21, 2018 at 1:01 am

Are you a man or a…

From the BBC, “Sex I.D.: The Brain-Sex Test“– complete a series of exercises, and discover whether your brain functions more like most men’s or most women’s.

As we ponder the mysteries of gender, we might recall that it was on this date in 1776 that South Carolina became the first American colony to declare its independence from Great Britain and set up its own government.

The Palmetto State clearly has an itchy trigger finger:  your correspondent’s ancestral seat was also the first state to declare its secession from the Union. On April 12, 1861, Confederate batteries began shelling Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, and the American Civil War began.

Revolutionaries fighting the forces of the Crown, Charleston, 1776
(U.S. Army Center for Military History)

%d bloggers like this: