Disposable Lives

Once upon a time, things were meant to last.  When you bought furniture, it was understood that it would most likely be the last piece of this you would ever need.  Oh, sure, you might buy another, but it was because the style had changed, not that the piece had fallen apart.

Photo by banjo d
Photo by banjo d

A lot of things were like that.  Hell, pretty much everything was like that.  It was just how things were.

Then one day, some executive figured out that they could sell a lot of something if it was disposable.  Take paper plates, for example.  This exec realized that paper plates were awfully convenient since you used and, rather than washing them, you threw them out.  This is attractive to consumers, and the paper plate companies like it because you’ll keep on buying paper plates rather than simply using the regular plates you already have.

Now, that’s not a big deal.  Might not be the smartest financial decision one could make, but it’s a balance between expense and the time it takes to wash dishes, a chore no one really enjoys.

Where the problem comes in is that somewhere along the way, everything became disposable.  In this day and age, even marriage is disposable. Continue reading “Disposable Lives”

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Do These Men Live In A Different Society Than I Do?

If you do a Google search on masculinity, you’ll find tons of sites.  There are a lot of discussions taking place right now on the subject, and that’s a good thing.  Unfortunately, I’m seeing a lot of discussions not being based on events remotely close to reality.

Photo from Flickr, by Brandon Baunach
Photo from Flickr, by Brandon Baunach

Take this post at The Good Men Project:

But nevertheless, I was thrust into society. I went to school, made friends, and picked up a whole new set of principles of manhood. I grew up playing partially violent, full contact sports like lacrosse and wrestling. I hung out with other kids who played sports.

What society told me about my niche of man was that I was to be tough and never express any emotions other than happy and angry. I wasn’t supposed to acknowledge any weaknesses I may have and I definitely wasn’t supposed to write songs or poetry. I also had to be a ladies man while still maintaining loyalty to my male friends at all times. It all seems a lot to ask a kid who is barely old enough to drive a car.

Now, I won’t say anything about this author’s friends, because I don’t know they, but if we both live in the same country with the same culture, then “society” seems awfully different where he is. Continue reading “Do These Men Live In A Different Society Than I Do?”

Are You Ready For Disaster?

Welcome Instapundit Readers!  Please note that I do not claim to be a preparedness expert, and would like to encourage your thoughts and comments, particularly anything specific to your neck of the woods!

Two days ago, my town was ravaged by a massive storm.  Trees were ripped out of the ground throughout the city, and thousands of us were without power for long periods of time.  It was ugly, though my community dodged a bullet since, despite the number of trees down, remarkably few were hurt.

Photo by Tim Patterson, From Flikr
Photo by Tim Patterson, From Flikr

Also luckily, the power outage at my place was from 10:30 pm to about 8:30 am, a time when most people are doing some sleeping.  However, it still reminded me of just how important it is to be prepared for situations like this.

I’m not talking about going full on prepper, though that’s not a bad way to be prepared for a nasty storm, but I am talking about the basic preparedness that even the United States government says you should take on.

Men, it’s in your roles as both provider and protector that you should take it upon yourself to make sure you’re prepared for such events.  However, I will also say that this isn’t just a man thing.  Everyone should be prepared for disaster. Continue reading “Are You Ready For Disaster?”

Guest Post: Barbecue Basics: London Broil

There’s something about cooking over a fire that’s just primal.  There’s a reason that even the most ardent “cooking is women’s work” jerkwad will drop that crap the moment it’s time to start grilling.  Since that’s the case, I asked my favorite barbecue master, Jonathon LaForce to work up a series of guest posts on such tasty subjects as grilling and smoking meats.

“I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

Photo by Jonathan LaForce
Photo by Jonathon LaForce

So spake Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now. In the summer time, men and women all over North America try their hand at the use of flame outdoors to create meals. More often than not, the end result looks like any VC hiding in the tree line when that air strike came rolling in: Burnt, crispy, dry. That burger patty could be used for sandpaper, the hound just turned up it’s nose at your over-flambeed hot dog, and the chicken looks like it’s been damned to a flaming circle of hell.

It happens every year. Like clockwork. Never mind that you and your neighbors and kinfolk never do anything on the grill besides what I just mentioned. Oh sure, you looked good firing up your grill. You had the slick tools, the fancy grill gloves, your wife bought you a “Kiss the Cook” apron for Father’s Day. Your male friends all gathered around the grill telling you how nice it all looked and how manly you appeared as you plied your trade, the avatar of the fire god Hephaestus himself. And then they lied to you, as they choked their way through what had been meat and is now blackened carbon. Add a little more pressure to it and you could make diamonds out of it!

I see this every year. And it disgusts me. What happened to men who knew and understood that the proper application of fire to meat, fish, poultry and all sundry items given to us for consumption produces incredible results? I’m not sure, but I have ideas on why. Whereas humility is not a martial virtue, it is not one which I have made the effort to cultivate. Nor will I attempt to engage in it now. If I say do something in the course of these articles, it’s because I know by experience it works or doesn’t work. Simple as that.

People have asked me, repeatedly- “Jon, what’s the secret to your barbecue tasting so good? Is it the wood? Do you have a special butcher you use? What is it?”

Don’t be afraid. Shall I repeat myself? DON’T BE AFRAID. Continue reading “Guest Post: Barbecue Basics: London Broil”

The Importance of Competence

Of the four core virtues I talk about in my book, competence may be both the easiest and hardest one for many to understand.  It’s easy to understand because it’s not rocket science to see the importance of being good at your job.  It’s hardest because, well, the Dunning-Kruger Effect is an actual thing.

 

Photo by Ken Walton
Photo by Ken Walton

The sad thing about competence, however, is that it’s far rarer than it should be.

I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but in my hometown, competence is so unusual in some industries like fast food that it should qualify is a freaking superpower.  “Do you have x-ray vision?  No?  You’re competent at your job?  THAT’S AMAZING!”

The funny thing is that many of these are the same people complaining about wanting more money for their job because they can’t live off of minimum wage.  I get that, I really do, but if you suck at your job, what do you expect?  Hmmm?

With anything, the creme rises to the top.  It always does. Continue reading “The Importance of Competence”

Paper Claims Women’s Strength Based More On Society Forces Than Biology

I’ve been pretty upfront that my work here is all about men being men, and that I generally feel it’s up to women to work up what it is to be women.  As such, I often don’t get into some of the more bizarre instances of feminism I see out in the wild.

Photo by Greg Westfall
Photo by Greg Westfall

However, over the weekend, a friend sent me a link to a paper’s abstract that had me scratching my head.

In particular, this line:

That is, women in fitness—particularly those who seek muscular strength in the weight room—may find their bodily agency limited not by biology but by ideologies of emphasized femininity that structure the upper limit on women’s “success.”

The implication here is that women aren’t held back by any biological factors, but by society limiting them to acceptable standards. Continue reading “Paper Claims Women’s Strength Based More On Society Forces Than Biology”