Jewish World Review Oct. 5, 2001/ 18 Tishrei, 5762

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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Sensitive man -- JUST prior to the new day of infamy, the Wall Street Journal ran a front-page piece on a new trend for men: hairless chests. Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz worried us when he took to the bald chest in 1972 for aerodynamic purposes. Now men covet the smooth, silky look. Male models are told to show up with hairless torsi. Imagine Ulysses Grant, Ike, or Douglas MacArthur booking some tanning bed time and a chest wax.

I miss real men. Marshal Dillon men. Men with hair on their chests and in their ears. Men like Eliot Ness or Janet Reno when she plowed down the Branch Davidians. Sensitive man is king, or head of an autonomous collective, as sensitive man would say. .

Sensitive man is warm, politically correct and passive, much like Mr. Rogers. Never a cross word. Gleeful in his patience with childhood tutorials. But, I don't trust sensitive man. This figment of enlightened imagination seems to be inches away from snapping. When the camera light went off, Fred Rogers probably flung his cardigan, hurled a blue tennis shoe at the crew, and sent a cloud of obscenities over Pittsburgh that consumed the steel plants' black smoke. .

But, Mr. Rogers and that King Friday perhaps single-handedly fueled the box office for Seagal, Stallone and Schwarzenegger movies. Men raised on PBS loons needed the comfort of martial arts and reassurance of weapons. .

Real men are relegated to fiction and B movies. Constrained by the looming death penalty for sexual harassment, the prissy demands for diaper changing and the condemnation of language patrols, real men wither and eunuch sensitive man emerges. .

Over the last few weeks, the linguistics police have been busy suppressing a threatened emergence of real men. President Bush, with evidence of an evolving real man swagger, has taken a beating for saying aloud of Mr. bin Laden, the likely mastermind behind the WTC massacres, "Wanted: Dead or Alive." The chattering class, well, chattered, about this real man faux pas, "What kind of message does this send to the world?" One hopes this: "Mr. Rogers and the chest-waxing thing aside, we mean business." .

Mr. Bush also took some chin hits for using "crusade." Sensitive man may have a soul mate, but religion is taboo. God can bless America all He wants, just don't expect organized religion in return. Sensitive man theorists tittered about the morally offensive Crusades and touted their age-old bunk: religion has cost the world more lives than war. Ignoring the obvious goal differences with the Crusades, such as the United States having no interest in conquering Afghanistan (the welfare alone would break the lock box), one can use "crusade" as a non-proper noun to mean, "a cause pursued with zeal." .

Then, Fran Lebowitz, one of those funky NYC literati, appeared with Brian Williams on MSNBC and declared that she likes nothing President Bush has said since the WTC collapse. Her shallow observation, at the root of her sensitive man ire, was that the president called the terrorist "folks." She scolded and clucked that "folks" is a term used when you have people over, not for terrorists. Her literal literary mind missed the charm. Calling bin Laden et al. "folks" has a certain wit. It is wit akin to calling ADHD kids "cherubs." It's real men wit -- sort of folksy. .

Real men don't self-censor. Their language reflects the swagger. But, we've beaten the swagger out of men so that we have grovelers and blubberers. Dan Rather, sensitive man writ satellite, sobbed his way through an appearance on David Letterman. This picture of the American male ought to send the terrorist folks scurrying. .

Afghanistan, with 2 working tanks and 16 aircraft, two of which are cannibalized for parts for the others, shows no fear in going to war with the U.S. for they have seen sensitive man. Over 6,000 innocent lives were taken on our soil and the days since have been spent apologizing to Arab-Americans, correcting phraseology and debating whether we should give peace a chance. The terrorist folks have also witnessed 140 protests at campuses around the country demanding a "nonviolent" resolution. Tom Brokaw can now write: "The Most Sensitive Generation." .

Negotiating with those who have already infiltrated your country is sensitive man military strategy. Giving bin Laden a good tongue-lashing is not going to break up worldwide terrorist cells. A sample of sensitive man negotiations: We promise to surrender the stock market if you promise to give us your box cutters and pilot licenses. .

The sensitive man at war. Constrained in his language. Restrained in the use of force. Fretting over collateral damage. However, I did see Marines preparing to ship overseas. Their biceps defied the sleeves of their fatigues. Combat boots in lieu of blue tennis shoes. And just beneath white t-shirts at their nearly neckless shoulders, I saw hair peeking out from chests. They cut a wide swath, these men on a crusade to rid us of some nasty folks, dead or alive. One said, "Bring it on."

Well said, real man.

JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.


10/01/01: Post-September 11 security
09/20/01: No tinhorn terrorists can frighten us
09/06/01: If there is no honor in youth sports, it is because of the adults
08/27/01: The draw of Condit
08/23/01: Lowering expectations and flying high
08/17/01: Thoreau, Walden and stems cells
08/13/01: Our masters: The animals
07/30/01: When principle hits too close to home
07/13/01: Rage born of sublimation
07/06/01: Patient's rights and the Valley of Death
06/29/01: There is no excuse
06/21/01: I want an eternal soulmate, but the marriage thing is another issue
06/14/01: Which way maverick McCain? An Arizonan's perspective
06/07/01: No stroke of genius
05/30/01: The lesson of the Mr. Green Jeans senator: 'Moderate' is a classy term for wishy-washy
05/25/01: Baseball has not been so good to me
05/18/01: Clothes make the woman
05/11/01: Selective precaution
05/04/01: Grades: Equality of students, by students, for the students
04/27/01: The Horowitz revelations as seen by a college professor
04/20/01: First, let's kill all the tests
04/13/01: The continuing mistake of underpricing electricity
04/06/01: That pill, Julia Roberts
03/29/01: If it weren't for the parents, we might accomplish something
03/23/01: The melt down of the academy
03/15/01: Columbine redux: Moral infants
03/09/01: The lessons of Tom and Nicole
03/01/01: Pardon the temporary outrage
02/23/01: In defense of homework
02/20/01: A Message for faith-based organizations: Don't take the money, just run
02/06/01: Enough already with the Clintoons
01/26/01: The challenge to be better than we have been
01/19/01: Where have you gone Frieda Pushnik?
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12/23/00: Litigation: It's the American way
12/15/00: In defense of rhetoric
12/06/00: The company we keep: Lawyers and elections
12/01/00: Liberals' art of trashing of women
11/20/00: Put me out of my misery
11/17/00: On being a statesman
11/13/00: When it's broke, fixing it wouldn't offend the Framers
11/08/00: ELECTION 2000: I SURRENDER
10/27/00: Al in the package? Memo to women: Choosing presidents and husbands
10/20/00: Ten things the gay community should understand
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09/29/00: The capacity for truth
09/22/00: Charity with strings and an agenda
09/15/00: The taming of the shrew: Gloria Steinem takes a husband
09/09/00: Why rich folk don't bother me none
08/28/00: Survival of the not-so-fit but conniving
08/25/00: Conventions: A study in contrasts
08/18/00: Resenting the accusations of racial prejudice
08/04/00: Women: Their own worst enemy
07/21/00: Hillary: Our longshoreman First Lady
07/21/00: SUVs: The root of all evil
07/14/00: The basketball gene and white men not jumping so well
07/07/00: I wanna be around
06/23/00: The liberal conversion
06/14/00: Sex and the City: The shallow but vulgar female
06/08/00: No excuses schools
06/02/00: Oh, Canada: Our Nutty Neighbors to the North
05/23/00: The new mollycoddling coach
05/16/00: On adultery and leadership
05/12/00: Taking your lumps
05/02/00: Elian: There's never a liberal around when you need one
04/25/00: Life's circle and tenderness
04/18/00: Womyn who want it both ways
04/11/00: The monsters we're raising with the ergo proposition
04/05/00: Endowing the Hooters Chair for Literature Appreciation
03/28/00: Dr. Laura: The passive/aggressive kid's mom
03/21/00: Dough and campaigns
03/14/00: The volunteerism of conscription and pomp
03/07/00: Hope and pray that religion remains a force in politics
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02/22/00: Cranky nitpickers make writing a [sic] experience
02/15/00: Those chameleon 60s activists
02/08/00: McCandidate McCain: Flirting with principles
02/01/00: The demise of marriage
01/25/00: Stroke of the pen, law of the land: Clinton's Camelot
01/18/00: Off the Rocker Rorschach Test
01/11/00: Oprah's lemmings
01/04/00: Struggling mightily amidst the comfort
12/23/99: Confused fathers
12/14/99: Drop-kicking the homeless
12/07/99: Turtles and teamsters, side-by-side in Seattle
11/29/99: When conservatives behave badly
11/22/99: Compassionate conservative: Timing and targets
11/18/99: The elusive human spirit and accountability
11/11/99: Succumbing to the intellectual child within with the help of crackpots and screwballs
10/28/99: Live by litigation, die by litigation
10/22/99: Jesse, Warren, Cybill, Donald and Oprah
10/14/99: Inequality and injustice: It's the big one
10/05/99: Dan Quayle, morals and schoolyard bullies
09/30/99: The monsters of epidermal parenting
09/21/99: The Diversity Hoax
09/15/99: Waco Wackos
09/09/99: Selective censorship
09/01/99: The village, the children, judicial imperialism and abortion
08/24/99: Naughty Newt?
08/17/99: In defense of Boy Scouts and judgment
08/10/99: Ruining the finest health care system in the world
08/03/99: Nihilism and politics: ethics on the lam
07/26/99: Of women, soccer and removed jerseys
07/23/99: Not in despair, a mere mortal doing just fine
07/20/99: "Why me?" How about "Why us?"
07/13/99: Bunk, junk & juries
07/06/99: An Amish woman in a Victoria's Secret store
06/30/99: That intellectually embarrassing Second Amendment
06/24/99: Patricia Ireland eat your heart out --- but check out the recipe in 'women's mags' first
06/22/99: Dems and the Creator coup
06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2000, Marianne M. Jennings