Friday, August 8, 2014

Home of the Far From Brave

Talk to a Boomer about how it was like going to bars back in their day. Ask them about their experiences; it's quite educational. Likely what they'll describe to you will sound to Millennial ears like a cross between the movie Roadhouse and the Vietnam War. Going out to the bar back in those days was downright dangerous, a place where you had to keep your friends close and your wits closer.

photo credit: Underpuppy All photos via photopin cc

Now think of your experiences going out to the bars now. Yes, its still sweaty, and the people are still drunk, but where's the danger, where's the excitement? A few people are drunk enough to dance, but most just stand around in circles that are only punctuated by the occasional PUA making his move.

Wait - what's that? You see guys backing up nervously, the glimmering lights now scintillating in a splash of shaken drinks. The women are making their way out, mascara smudged, tears running, and their bar dress ruined in the commotion.

This is it! You push your way through the crowd, wanting to see the burning virility of the American man on full display. You are excited, yet terrified as you approach what surely must be a scene of unparalleled carnage: these are the grandsons of the men who stormed Normandy, the great-grandsons of the men who put the Kaiser on a roll, the great-great grandsons of the men who conquered the West!

photo credit: AGB in AR
Finally, you make your way through in order to see - two grown men pushing each other like a couple of five year olds. Instead of a dangerous brawl, you have pee-wee football o-line practice (early season of course, those kids improve quickly!) Somebody half-heartedly steps in between them, and the two men sulk off, one exiting with all his entourage, the other apologizing with drunken fervor to the intervenor, who is beginning to realize that physical harm should have been the least of his concerns when he decided to step in.

In my (admittedly shorter than most) time of going out to bars in modern America, I've only seen a bar fight involve real danger once. That was only because the traditional shoving match was taking place at a rooftop bar, close to the edge. While I'm not saying that having a strong chance of picking up a life-altering injury with your weekly dose of lukewarm piss-water is a good thing, the subsidence of masculinity that this presages is having strong negative effects elsewhere.

Return of Kings' ak86 recently shared the story of how his school's competitive baseball showcase was mutilated beyond recognition by the self-esteem movement. What was once a showcase of the best that his community had to offer was degraded into a mere play date. The competitive, manly fire was excised, and with it, any motivation for the children and their community to care. By becoming more inclusive, the event lost its meaning.

School bake sales have been neutered into irrelevancy by new Federal guidelines. You can still have them, just without any of the foods that anyone would actually like to buy. I'm sure that sales of fruit cups and veggies will bring in the money for the baseball trip... across the street.

photo credit: PhotoBen27 
Everywhere you turn, every activity that in the old America carried the zest and fervor of life is being banned, regulated to within an inch of its life, or just dying out. Dodgeball is being removed from schools left and right. Even tag is on the ropes! When the dust settles, what is going to be left? Presumably, a nightmare.


  1. "Talk to a Boomer about how it was like going to bars back in their day. .... Likely what they'll describe to you will sound to Millennial ears like a cross between the movie Roadhouse and the Vietnam War."

    That's probably what they'll describe, yes. And perhaps levels of violence were higher back then. But we also have a level of hyper-competitiveness they couldn't dream of in many regards today. The 2014 admission rate to MIT was roughly 4 times tougher than the 1975 admission rate (7.5% vs 30%). More and more people around the world for roughly the same number of prestigious schools/jobs/etc.

    More to the point, boomers are the generation that bankrupted America for their own short-term stock gains. And offshored all our manufacturing. IMHO: fuck the boomers and anything they say.

    Now the generation that fought the Nazi's, they were solid...

    1. I certainly didn't write this as a paean to boomers. I agree that their generation has screwed us, and screwed us hard, and continues to screw us to this day. However, that said, we cannot ignore the ways in which their generation, among others, surpassed ours. That they had a superior vim and vigor than we and failed to pass it on compounds their sins, rather than lessens them.

      In the interests of full disclosure, a guy at my work DID get in a pretty intense bar fight recently. He's probably Gen X though, not Millennial. He looked pretty roughed up. From what he told me, the other guy probably got it pretty bad too. This guy's pretty badass, he has my respect.

      Finally, do you really want to lionize the generation that empowered FDR? I loved my grandparents too, but *FDR*! I recommend this post and its comments, as well as this one to get a fuller picture of how all of the last few generations really really sucked.