12 February 2010

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Declining manliness

Dear Friends,

Declining manliness is the theme for the meeting this coming Sunday.

Indeed what is manliness or masculinity? And is it declining?

To help us understand these questions, and many more, Raul has kindly
written for us a few thoughts about the subject. As usual I did not read
his essay before I finished mine.

In the meantime see you Sunday

All the best



+++++++++MEETING DETAILS+++++++++
SUNDAY 6.00pm – 8.30pm at Molly Malone's Pub, probably downstairs----
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-metro: Bilbao : buses: 21, 149, 147
Tertulia with Ignacio and friends: Every Thursday, from 19:30 to 21h, at
Moore's Irish Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal).

======comments by Raúl =====Declining manliness=====

Hi Lawrence,

Please, I would like to share these thoughts with you and the rest of
our friends.


Am I still a man? Was I in the past? Shall I still be in the future to
come? Nowadays, this dubitative triptych mirrors many male adults'
restlessly efforts and concerns to shed some light on their own
identity. Even me, for I am a man. I have always sensed and pulsed this
inner self beyond any lurking logical or organic doubts. Yet, I have
never exactly ascertained what being a man really entails, bar the key
physical and physiological attributes one is assigned from the moment of

At least, manliness has more to do with the type of mental attitude we
men embrace in keeping with a succession of particular situations that
put ordinary people to the test. Men are supposed to possess more body
strength which enables them to vigorously cope with extra-risk
adventures in the blink of eye whereas women are known to ruminate ways
to downplay the side-effects of a weaker consistence.

Moreover, going hand in hand with the precursors Simone de Beauvoir and
Germaine Greer, rampant feminism cracks down on men as the backbone of a
political campaign whose ideology advocates the deconstruction of any
signals of men's actions over the course of the Western civilisation.
This neutralises the two genders and prompts a one-sided single status
where any differentiation whatsoever vanishes into thin air – the
neutral gender. Nevertheless, few of us, men and women, see ourselves as

A bitterly resentful newly-divorced ma'am sprang on me yesterday: "Come
on, bloke, do you think that fucking bastard had ever been a man since I
got hitched with him". She bumped into me when I left the courtroom
after interpreting one former-Nigerian Spanish-national woman who had
fallen out with her Spanish husband over his ex-girlfriend. Eaten up
with jealousy, the former-Nigerian flung their honeymoon candlestick
down on his back. Now he is crippled for life.

Not surprisingly, a newly-revised decaffeinated interpretation of
Marxism has been heralded by a soaring proportion of Western women. "We
women are exploited and bastardised. Let's take over the economy. Now it
is our turn." Which leaves them in the self-complacent paradigm that
there is Nothing after a woman. Will Friedrich Nietzsche not be
frolicking in his grave right now?

In essence, we people of the universe need to gain momentum and
reconquer the soil where one day, by virtue of a sound yet not insane
virility, Aristotle plucked up the courage to tackle one's existence as
a man.

Thank you very much,

Raúl Martín-Díaz

======comments by Lawrence =====Declining manliness=====

What is manliness or masculinity? And what is the evidence that
masculinity is declining? And why, if it is?

Masculinity is the role played by the human male not as a biological
being but rather as a human being interacting within a society. This is
fine in theory, however, in my opinion the division is not clear between
male social activities and biological male activities.

For example, we can see masculinity exhibited in someone who is
successful at sports. But of course to be able to play sports one must
also be physically fit. So where is the dividing line between being
biologically fit and a masculine sportsman?

But the concept of masculinity might not even be based on reasonable or
even rational ideas; or rather masculinity might be ingrained in the
social psyche independent of whether it makes sense or not. Most
probably our idea of masculinity dates back to bygone times when being
the man was something to achieve because the rest of society was
subjected to the brutal forces of life. Indeed life was hard, brutal and
short. In other words, the man who lived long enough to prove himself in
battle or even life in general was something to be proud of.

However, today, for example, advertisers depict certain activities as
being masculine, but they do not warn viewers that such activities might
be dangerous if one is not well prepared physically or have received the
right training. Driving fast cars is often depicted as being masculine,
although adverts leave the fast bit to the viewer's imagination.
However, as we all know young men driving fast cars are more likely to
be involved in accident. Of course, there is nothing masculine about
crushing a car doing two hundred kph.

Is irresponsible behaviour a condition of masculinity, or at the very
least, are masculine activies easily associated with irresponsible
behaviour? Not necessarily. My example of men driving fast cars is not
an attempt to claim that men should not buy fast cars or even drive fast
cars. On the contrary, anyone, young men, women or old men or women
ought not to attempt activities that are seen as masculine without the
necessary training or preparation.

And the problem is not that men might injure or kill themselves if they
drive cars fast, but rather, irresponsible behaviour can easily have
consequences on others. I have no problem with someone crashing against
a tree or lamppost if they decide to drive fast. After all, that is
nature doing it selection process. What bothers me, and maybe even you,
is that when such accidents involve others, especially if they had no

That certain masculine activities might be seen as irresponsible it is
not because men are irresponsible but because some men are irresponsible
and not mature enough to see the hype for reality. After all most men go
through life being none other than responsible and an example for the
rest of us. Are these people less masculine because they drive cars
responsibly, behave responsibly with their partner and family, uphold
values and standards that they have self fulfilment in life?

So if by decline in masculinity means a decline in reckless or
irresponsible behaviour then maybe, things are improving and certainly
we should not feel bad about it.

Take care


from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Declining manliness

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