Friday, November 14, 2003

A Father's Wisdom

During the arse-end of the industrial revolution, when I was living in a three-up-and-three-down in the arse-end of Manchester I loked through the front window one afternoon and saw a road laying crew at work. I wasn't much older than six or seven at the time.

I was impressed, and a little thrilled by the road laying machinery; particularly the machine that was pouring bitumenised gravel on the road surface. It was followed by a trail of smoking tarmac and flames occasionally burst out of the base of the hopper. Riding on the back of the machine were two men in donkey coats, and sometimes it looked like the flames might reached out to lick their boots and trousers.

"Ee," I said, "I w'u'n't 'alf like a dangerous job like that, when I grow up."

Dad looked through the window quickly and shot me a look of complete disgust.

"Don't be bloody daft." he said. He went on; "Gummo, there's people in this world as works wi' the' brains, and people as works wi' the' brawn. An' it's them as works wi' the' brains as gets al't' brass."

Then he went back to reading his copy of Reveille. He was stuck on page three. He always got stuck on page three of Reveille.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Real Men (III)

There's some very serious, soul-searching commenting on the two previous Real Men posts. I've been trying to come up with a more extended post on the topic but the soul can be a slippery little sucker when you try to get to grips with it. While I'm trying to corner the little bugger, you could always take a look at this article on why some people just don't deserve their dangly bits.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Real Men (II)

But most of all, I do this website because I love being a man. Amongst other things, I talk about guns, self-defense, politics, beautiful women, sports, warfare, hunting, and power tools -- all the things that being a man entails. All this stuff gives me pleasure.
Kim De Toit states his blog's raison d'etre.

By these standards I'd have to consider myself a failure as a man; sure I like beautiful women and I'd like to have more time to get seriously into them and I have difficulty ignoring politics. But I can live without the guns, warfare, hunting and power tools. Sports I'll happily ignore most of the time too. All I know if self-defence is that it's all in the posture; if you know how to walk down the streeet or stand at a bar looking like someone who shouldn't be fucked around with, you won't be fucked around with. You can learn this in a couple of hours, which makes all the extra time spent mastering Osoto Gari superfluous. By Kim's standards, I'm probably one of those girly-men and I doubt that my rusty ability to perform a calesita would do much to change his mind. Dancing the Tango doesn't appear to be something real men do.

I do know a couple of people who get a lot closer than I do to Kim's idea of real men. They're not much into guns - but few Australians are, so I think we might have to make allowances for local conditions and cultural differences there. Hunting doesn't grab them either, but they are into other outdoorsy stuff. They have a big serious real man's dog - an Alaskan Malamute, 30 odd kilos of pure muscle, with a set of jaws that could break every bone in your hand. The sort of dog that has to be put in its place firmly - and kept there.

Where my idea of a power tool is that it's something you borrow, or hire, when there's really no alternative to fitting new window locks, these are people who believe that power tools are worth owning. Because they use them. They build pieces out of real timber, not MDF hidden under a veneer of wood-grain Laminex.

Pick a fight with either of them, and you're likely to get an earful of Nike; they're serious about self-defence, but they don't much like warfare. Who does?

They've been following the rugby world cup pretty avidly; they barrack for the All Blacks.

They do volunteer work with the State Emergency Service. So, when it gets windy and rainy here in Melbourne, they're likely to get paged to go out to deal with a tree that's fallen through someone's roof or into the road. So they get to work with seriously heavy power tools, chainsaws, portable generators and pumps. And drive big trucks.

In short, they have a lot of the interests and qualities that Kim thinks it takes to be a real man. It's unlikely that they'll ever meet Kim. If they did, there'd be an interesting discussion of Kim's views on real men and the proper relationship between the sexes, but I don't think Kim would enjoy it.

They're both women.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Real Men

Thanks to Stewart Kelly for linking (indirectly) to this essay on what it means to be a real man. Makes me feel like getting out my Kinks' greatest hits CD, turning the volume up really loud, and listening to Lola for the next hour or two.