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Friday, March 04, 2005

"Men Without Chests"

Or perhaps not (Wherein your humble—ha!—author emulates J.E.P. "It's a daybook." It's not well organized or well-edited. It's just stuff that occurs to me to jot down. Notes, to myself as much as anything else.) One of the best reads of my teenage years was C.S. Lewis' Abolition of Man. I was lucky it was included in an addendum to The Great Books, or I might not have read it, even though I was already familiar with some of Lewis' other books (The Narnia Chronicles and the space trilogy). At any rate, recently as I was reading an interview Arthur Chrenkoff did with Victor Davis Hanson, I was reminded of the first essay in the Lewis book (Hanson made eliptical reference to the meme birthed by Lewis' "Men Without Chests"). Of course, my mind, being what it is, came up with a vision entirely at odds with the meme, though strangely complementary to Lewis' thesis... "Men without chests"—sure, that describes well the majority of men in our society who lack manly virtue (while embracing every manly and/or every effeminate vice), but is also brought to mind women who attempt to be the "men with chests" they seek to supplant or need to supply. Two different things, those, but both equally destructive. On the one hand we find femi-nazis who thump their ill-constructed-for-thumping chests in ape of manly agression and on the other women who—very necessarily—take up the slack for the wusses who ought to be men in their relationship (marriage, family, whatever). "Women with chests" really ought to comjure up some other image than that of either twin-turreted spouts of vitriol or strapped-in-the-harness workhorses. But with men mostly abdicating manhood, women will fill in the void of both manly vice and manly virtue while those who ought to be men slink off into a corner and form their various boys' clubs.
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