I know that many of you read this blog to stay informed on firearm issues. I know others read it for my perspectives on liberty and freedom. A few of you, I am convinced, read it for no other reason than to check my grammar and report my inadequacies back to me. This particular entry is going to go in a somewhat strange and, in many respects, troubling tangent: male masculinity… or, rather, the lack of it in today’s adolescence.
My father, for the last few weeks, has been suffering from some God-awful infection that has necessitated intravenous antibiotics. He is doing okay now… (thanks for asking)… but he has no interest in taking my mother out for a night on the town. They both have season tickets for the Segerstrom Performing Arts Center. When they can’t use their season tickets, they typically give them to Sandy and Chaney. Since Sandy was out of town for CES, Chaney received the tickets and she decided to take me as her “date”. So, last Wednesday I had a father-daughter date with my daughter at the theater.
The show was Dear Evan Hansen.
I had never heard of this show but, apparently, it has won several Tony Awards, and the massive Segerstrom Hall was completely sold out.
If you are unfamiliar with the subject matter of the show, let me set the stage… so to speak.
Evan Hansen is a teenage boy with a crush on a fellow student. He is socially awkward and parented by a single mother who works as a nurse, and goes to paralegal school at night. Everyone in the show is adept at social media and posts / tweets / blogs frequently. A bully, who happens to be the brother of Evan’s love interest, torments Evan and then, ultimately, kills himself. This sets up for a magical exploration of deceit, reaffirmation of love, and the viral nature of YouTube videos.
My problems began at the very first moments of the show.
Evan is completely devoid of testosterone.
I mean COMPLETELY devoid.
He contorts himself into feminine poses as he sings a falsetto song about being a social outcast. His putative friend is not quite as feminine, but creepily willing to exploit sexual insecurities for his own gain. In fact, the only male teenage character who even reasonably represents what I would consider “male” is the bully who kills himself in the first act.
When Evan was done with his first number, I sat there next to Chaney appalled. I was expecting the audience to give a tepid applause.
I was wrong.
The crowd went wild with admiration.
I just sat there wondering what has happened to our world.
As the lights rose for intermission, I turned to Chaney and asked her, “Is this indicative of the male students you go to school with?”
“Dad, I go to the Orange County School of Performing Arts… what do you think?”
“Okay, fair enough, but in general is this how boys are now?”
“To a large extent, yes.”
“Sadly, yes. I think it has to do with a fear of Toxic Masculinity.”
“Toxic Masculinity??? There was no danger of any masculinity, in what I just saw, reaching to the level of toxic! My God… what has happened to the American male?!”
“Well, perhaps he has always been like this?”
“No way. Look, you’ve seen Band of Brothers… Imagine Evan Hansen cast as a member of the Airborne invading Normandy!”
“Yeah, you’ve got a point.”
“So what has happened to us?”
“Well, today most boys don’t need to have the masculinity they did in 1942.”
Doing a little Googling when I got home, I found numerous articles and stories pointing out the lack of measurable testosterone manifesting in modern boys. Most of what I read was anecdotal… as, frankly, is this blog… but it was still eye-opening.
So… here we are… a brave new world.
There is one potential advantage though… one of the fears that we have had throughout our nation’s history is a foreign military power forcibly occupying the continental United States. If some of America’s enemies see what is coming down the genetic pipe, I’m not entirely sure they will want to have anything to do with us.