Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Where the Boys Are

In which a new book helps us discover that boys will be boys, but only if they get outside where they belong and off the God damned Ritalin

Boys aren't girls. They're genetically different, and need to be treated differently and raised differently. Boys like bugs and dirt clods and farts, but they also need tales of loyalty and courage and honor and adventure and, yes, violence. They compete, and physically. They like to blow shit up. They like systems that are clear and cut-and-dried. They like straightforward thinking. That's why they invented math and science and railroads and stuff.

"The Dangerous Book for Boys," which recalls the boys' how-to manuals of the early 20th century, is a shameless -- what's to be ashamed of, after all? -- celebration of boyness. Among the gems boys will find here:
  • Every boy needs a Swiss army knife, matches and a magnifying glass
  • How to shoot, skin, cook and eat a rabbit and tan its skin

  • What maritime signal flags mean

  • A chapter on artillery

  • Famous battles and the strategies that won them

  • How to treat girls

  • First aid tips

  • Identifying cloud formations

  • How a sailboat sails against the wind

  • How to make a battery out a roll of quarters

  • How to skip stones across a pond

  • Lessons in Navajo code-talking

  • Good grammar

Fifty years of feminization -- notice I didn't say feminism, which in its finest form is quite a different thing that simply seeks to redress a few ancient wrongs and assure women enjoy the same rights as men -- have attempted to strip boys of their essential boyness, and with disastrous effect. It's no wonder that losing wars is now considered acceptable, even inevitable when we live in a culture that insists that every kid on a bike has got to wear a helmet, of all things, and that rambunctious boys are put on drugs to "help" them "manage" their emotions (and in classrooms where kids get only a few minutes of recess a day, for crying out loud); where TV is used as a surrogate for parenthood and computer games act as stand-ins for real, hands-on learning.

We've become a civilization of pussies and cowards, ruled and coddled by an elite of limp-minded "effeminazis" of both genders.

That's what makes "The Dangerous Book for Boys" so refreshing. While aimed at boys, it's really a book about manhood and about what kind of men we want to be. It's not the slobbering, pizza-stuffing, slobovian "manliness" of the sort exhibited on "The Man Show" and in ads for cheap beer. It's the old fashioned type of manhood; the type the prizes actions with honor and adventure tempered by discipline -- all done with great style, a lot of laughter and a few nasty scrapes along the way. And it's a damned fine book, one you'll enjoy whether you're a boy or a tom-boy or a just a girl who likes real boys.


Blogger Catherine said...

I am a single mom raising a 12 year old boy, should I add now that I am also a redhead?? I LOVE this post. I have been ranting and raving about this issue since my soon entered the school system. Luckily I have an older brother and was raised around boys so I knew when to begin fighting back for my son in the classroom. I could make you crazy with the stories I could tell. All his teachers would say he was the best kid, "but" and those buts had to do with day dreaming and fidgeting. It made me a crazy woman with the FEMALE teachers. Somewhere back in my blog you can see a rant I did on a Scrap booking Project my son was given ( ). Yeah, scrap booking...OI. Everything I love about my son are the things that make him a man - not a male version of me.
Thanks for your support of boys.
Catherine, the redhead

6:47 PM  
Blogger M2 said...

Dear Cat.,

Thanks for taking the time to read. I appreciate what you're going through. You might also enjoy this article from John Derbyshire:

No, I'm not actually a conservative, but I do enjoy Derbyshire's work.



8:39 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

George Carlin has a great joke along these lines. If nothing else, he uses the word 'pussification.' In 10th grade that made me laugh for about 30 consecutive hours.

7:21 PM  
Blogger Leo ViĆ«tor said...

Cannot agree more @!#$%

11:04 PM  

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