Recently the news in Old Melbourne Town has been saturated with tales of late night man-on-man action. I am not referring to the Sydney type of man-on-man action, but a more primal and violent version of street bashings. In short, I'm not for this. I think it more wrong than denim jackets worn with running shorts or the notion of rap-metal. But what's really going on here? Why is it that it is only men bashing other men? Surely we need to take a look and what it means to be a Man in Modern Society...lay down some guidelines. A revolution of thought. A hairy Germain Greer needs to rise and outlay the path of Masculism. What's that? You want me to do it? Ok. Here goes... 1. Balance- All guys have testosterone flowing through them. Like the Chinese notion of Qi and Sweet'n'Sour Pork, this can be too much or to little. Things like kicking balls, lifting stuff and ogling women turn it up too much, but conversely passive lifestyles, lack of masculine-role models and Jeff Buckley can turn it down. The modern man must learn to solve his disputes with combative words, not physical actions. Vice-versa, some guys need to become more aggressive and defend that they hold dear...unless of course it's your dream to open a Nail Salon for dogs. Being a real Man isn't all about beards, hunting and beer but neither is it about being aesthetically conscious, weak and non-committal. Its about a balance...like any good Sweet'n'Sour Pork.
2. Purpose-I once spoke to a wise old Carny at the Royal Show. He explained how his game of "Smash 'em Clowns"(where the player bops a clowns head into a hole with a mallet, only to have it appear out of another hole on the board elsewhere) is alot like life. King Cashington Snr, as was his name, explained that in life if we try to push down feelings, they'll just pop up elsewhere. How much of this brain-fart violence comes from the anger Joe Perpertrator is perhaps feeling from having to be a Tradesman, instead of a Nurse. Or his binge drinking- is it to dull the lack of purpose or pure boredom of his life? The fact is until humans, and Guys especially, start to acknowledge true inner-emotions and desires, these clowns will pop out at the wrong time and place. Another wise man once told me (he wasn't a Carny) that 'Depression', is the opposite of 'Expression'. Australia has a real and massive problem with depression, particularly among Males. It has led to excellent record sales for Smashing Pumpkins, Joy Division and My Chemical Romance but also a huge suicide rate. Maybe if more guys were honest with where they are at emotionally, and where they want to be, these evil little clowns wouldn't get the chance to pop up.
3. Responsibility- The Western world loves its Rights! We all have them and we'll do almost anything to protect them. Freedom. Free Speech. Religon. Equality. The right to Party. People will die for these. But no one really talks much about responsibilities. Sure you have the right to do almost anything, but you have, I think, the responsibility to do the right thing! You have the right to live off a diet consisting only of food found along a highway, but the basic responsibility to stay alive for as long as possible! You have the right to transport yourself with rollerblades, but the responsibility to correctly express your sexual preference to potential suitors. You get my point. Too many Father's have walked out on their kids, leaving them fatherless and without a strong male role model. No wonder so many Guys are confused about how to live and be a man! Watching "Walker Texas Ranger" and "Fight Club" will only get you so far. Guys need to take responsibility for their lives. Going to have sex with someone, but don't want kids? Take precautions for it! Have kids? Hang around and bring them up to be functioning human beings....otherwise your just contributing to the problem.
So that's me. Forgive me if it sounds preachy or self-helpish. I feel quite strongly on this idea of Masculine identity and culture. I think we need to take the current version we have to the Op Shop and go shopping for a new one. As a man myself, I'm not 100% there...but you won't find me(and I won't find myself, existentially speaking) in a random street bashing, nor in a nail salon.