July Leaguecast: The Role of Men in the 21st Century

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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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109 Responses

  1. Avatar Chris says:

    It tells me the video is private. So you lied when you told me I could see the video after the jump!Report

  2. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Hollywood has done its usual fine job presenting us with role models. To begin with, true maleness lies in wearing outlandish costumes and having fistfights with other costumed males while stuff blows up around us. Second, we should all be named Ryan.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      It might be cool if people called me Marshal like Idris Elba in Pacfic Rim.That would feel hella manly. Of course that might have something to do with being Idris Elba in the first place.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to greginak says:

        I’ve said it elsewhere and I’ll say it here again — Idris Elba would make a very good James Bond. Not that I have any complaints about Daniel Craig.

        Which reminds me: as role models for masculinity go, James Bond exerts more than trivial cultural influence. Fodder for the LeagueCast (I’ve been in two of the last four so I’ll bow out of this one to make room for others to participate).Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Burt Likko says:

          He would make a great Bond. He would also make a great Dr Who since he can really sell some corny lines.

          James Bond and John Wayne characters have done a lot to build an impossible image of masculinity. I used to run a Men’s Group in a rehab i worked at. I’d spend at least an entire session on Men in movies Even though the groups were mostly made up of Alaska Native/Native American men the John Wayne ethic was strongly present. I would always ask the men about the movies of these guys ( and add in Dirty Harry, Stallone, etc) what the home life of those guys were in those movies. They could rarely if ever remember what the private lives of those guys were. They could usually remember the lead actor hooked up with someone in the movie and that is about it. Well the reality is beyond a hookup with the lead actress you almost never saw any home life of those characters. So the next question was how drinking like those characters might , in real life as opposed to the movies, affect their home life. That was usually the start of some good conversations.Report

          • Avatar Rose in reply to greginak says:

            I would love to talk about James Bond!Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Rose says:

              Even leaving aside the movie geek aspect of JB he is a great study on a particular and ridiculous view of manhood. Although the Craig movies have actually turned him into somewhat of an actual human character.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Rose says:

              What do you think of Lazenby’s performance as Bond? I thought he was good, a nice in-between Connery’s more serious Bond and Moore’s light hearted bond. Lazenby’s Bond could be serious when called for but you could obviously sense he was having fun to and didn’t take things too seriously.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to LeeEsq says:

                I’m vaguely aware that there were actors in that film other than Diana Rigg, but I’m not sure why they were considered necessary.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                So that Diana Rigg doesn’t look like an idiot whose talking to herself and having some rather vivid hallucinations.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to LeeEsq says:

                I think its impossible for Diana Rigg to be anything other then solid awesome and beautiful.

                Lazenby was solid. He might have grown into the part to be actually good. I prefer the serious bond to where it went with Moore. The movie itself is a little bloated but it works. There are worse Bond movies. Of course with a lesser mate than Rigg i’m not sure how good the movie would be.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to greginak says:

                Dame Diana wasn’t really all that beautiful in Doctor Who, but of course she was playing a villain — and she was quite an enjoyable villain at that.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Burt Likko says:

                Well yeah she wasn’t beautiful, but she was evil and she would have kicked all our pasty white asses if she had really wanted.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to greginak says:

                “There are worse Bond movies” than On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. I suppose that’s at least debatably true, having waded through Quantum of Solace and Diamonds are Forever.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Burt Likko says:

                cough…moonraker…..sporking MOONRAKER…cough
                The Brosnan movies were pretty weak. Never Say Never Again was a lame remake of Thunderball and Octopussy….really come on, with a name like Octopussy you know it sucks and blows.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to greginak says:

                Greg, surely you understand that about the time Bond takes a fifteen-minute helicopter ride from California’s high desert to a French chateau that the movie had stopped being an action film and become a comedy of self-parody.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to greginak says:

                yeah…but when you are a self-parody then that = suck.Report

            • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Rose says:

              What is there to like about Bond? He is clever, he is good-looking, he is strong, he is capable, and he masters his own vulnerabilities.

              But the movies, not just the character, are hugely misogynistic. Women are alternatively playthings or tools to Bond, and seduction and subsequent abandonment is the motif for male-female relations. Granted, starting with Goldfinger the women demonstrate a bit of spine and give-back, but even through the more recent Daniel Craig films, Bond’s relationship to women is distant, and distasteful. But perhaps most distastefully (or drearily, depending on your perspective) in Octopussy, Bond is shown as having seductive powers so potent that he can turn arch-villains into allies — as long as they are women, vulnerable to his masculine potency.

              Granted, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and the more recent Casino Royale, on two occasions when Bond does render himself emotionally vulnerable to a woman, he is usually hurt very quickly. We’re supposed to believe there was some chemistry and history between Bond and Teri Hatcher’s character in Tomorrow Never Dies, but I never really bought into it — the actors didn’t have much chemistry, I think.

              The only woman who is really portrayed as having the kind of substantial strength and potency (rather than combat prowess, as with Grace Jones in A View to a Kill or Halle Berry in Die Another Day) that Bond demonstrates is M as portrayed by Dame Judy Dench. It’s never quite stated in Dame Judy’s movies, but there are suggestions that she was a 00 agent herself at one time, not just a bureaucrat or a politician. Pierce Brosnan’s Bond seems to quickly choose to ignore her femininity as a way of reconciling himself to the necessity of submitting to her authority and direction, but Daniel Craig’s Bond transforms her into a maternal figure, especially in Skyfall where he repeatedly calls her “Mum,” forgives her for his injuries in the opening action sequence, and in fact spends the bulk of the movie protecting her from the villain, with varying levels of success. But I note that even in Skyfall where maternal-filial love is portrayed, he protects her, whereas she endangers him.

              Bond’s relationship with other men is very different indeed — men are adversaries or fellow-travelers; even those adversaries who know what Bond is seem to enjoy the cat-and-mouse game instead of sensibly eliminating him when they have the chance (perhaps most obviously in The Man With The Golden Gun although Moonraker and Tomorrow Never Dies also have a lot of this). For our purposes here, there is a fundamental equality of status in that portrayal — men play the Great Game with one another. Sometimes that game is resolved with violence, sometimes with wits, but women are never more than middle-ranking pieces on the chessboard.

              It’s telling that in 23 canon and 2 non-canon movies, Bond has never squared off against an ultimate villain who was female. The closest it comes is Rosa Klebb in From Russia With Love, and she is portrayed as subordinate to Ernst Blofeld in SPECTRE’s command structure.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Burt Likko says:

                What is there about Bond that draws people in? No ambiguity in service of a noble goal. We can know him without being exposed to that pesky inner life of doubts, fears, day to day life, fears, compromises, and did i mention fear. He is always competent and in control of himself. Simply we see all the good parts without any of the bad or unpleasant parts of being human or a killer secret agent.

                Bond is a great example of how taken to far this kind of image leads to toxic masculinity since it offers no inner life or barely even a glimpse what a life of violence and drinking will do to a person. Same thing with Dirty Harry. It’s a great movie allthough i goes way over the top at the end. Harry remains mostly a cypher. We do hear he was married but that is mostly it. If you take DH or a model you learn about a surface that is impossble to keep up but nothing about what that does to you.

                Contrast DH with another great San Fran tough cop movie from a few years earlier, Bullitt. Another great flick with a tough, moral, no nonsense cop determined to deliever justice. But in Bullitt we see him at home; tired, eating tv dinners, but still he actually has a home. He also has a woman in his life he loves, cares about, is tender to and very much wants to make it work. A good bit of last half of the movie revolves around how he deals with the death he sees. At the very end he is trying to wash the blood off his hands. That is far more than you ever see in DH.

                FWIW Rose Klebb, who was played by Lotte Lenya and is an interesting talented character on her own, was far scarier than plenty of Bond main villians.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to greginak says:

                Bond movies are quasi-pornographic fantasies. “Women want him, men want to be him” is at least half-true. For me, at least, it’s not that Bond can get away with treating women so badly that makes him an alluring figure — he’s a figure of potency and assertiveness.

                Bond is superhumanly potent — both in his playing of the Game of Spies, and in the sack with a seemingly endless parade of hot, hot women. He has vulnerabilities and makes mistakes (Connery’s and Craig’s Bonds especially), but he overcomes them. He has access to all kinds of money and entrée to glamorous places. He has his own compass of right and wrong, his own desires for what he wants to do, and he makes those things happen through his effort and will and personality.

                So yeah, he gets laid a lot. But that’s only part of it. He’s the guy who gets shit done. And that is, in my mind, why he remains an enduring role model of masculinity: men measure themselves in terms of their accomplishments. (Women may well also view themselves principally as the sum of their accomplishments as well, of course, but this is at least a stereotypically masculine perspective on self-within-world.)Report

              • Avatar Rose in reply to Burt Likko says:

                But Bond is also sort of a joke about that. It is knowingly porno. That’s why Austin Powers made no sense. It was parodying something that was already parody.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Burt Likko says:

                Your first paragraph sums up why people like Bond. Bond represents a certain platonic ideal of manhood that embraces stoicism of a sorts and eschews emotions. A lot of men idealize Bond because they get all the good parts of manhood in their opinion without anything that would come off sissy or egg-heaed to them.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Yes. Someone who actually did the James Bond schtick would need to be both smart and better at being girly than he is.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Burt Likko says:

                Casino Royale is easily my favourite Bond movie precisely because there is a genuine relationship between Bond and Vesper, not just a brief fling to show off Bond’s attractiveness like in the other films. Quantum of Solace is also notable in that Bond doesn’t actually have anything more than a friendship with the main ‘Bond Girl’. Those two are my favourites in the series; I was disappointed in Skyfall after them, because it seemed to undo everything that the previous movies had done in subverting the ‘Bond girl’ trope (and because it made M look like a complete screw-up after several movies of being awesome).

                I’ve watched all the Connery ones and can’t enjoy any of them, despite widespread insistence that they’re classics, precisely because of the over-the-top sexism.

                It’s telling that in 23 canon and 2 non-canon movies, Bond has never squared off against an ultimate villain who was female.

                Yes, he has. Elektra King in The World Is Not Enough.Report

  3. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Still watching the video but two observations:

    1. Tod, you have a great old-time radio voice. I can hear you doing narration for old-school adventure stories “Meanwhile while Clark Kent is investigating, Lex Luthor hatches is next dastardly scheme….”

    2. I will be forever confused by the appearance of Russel (who looks like he is younger than me) and the old-time Doctor pic.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to NewDealer says:

      We’ve had several conversations about Tod’s impressive voice.Report

      • Avatar Rose in reply to Kazzy says:

        And I look like I am storing nuts for the winter in my cheeks. Check the angle, Woodhouse! Did your film degree do nothing for you? (Actually, yes, it didn’t.)Report

        • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Rose says:

          I suppose in some ways I could say the same about my MFA for Theatre Directing but if I think it did psychologically. I needed to get my MFA for a sense of closure. At least I achieved the terminal formal education level,Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to NewDealer says:

      Thanks, ND! I’ve actually been considering trying audio stories for the League.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to NewDealer says:

      I thought Russel would speak with a Mid-Atlantic accent like the old movie announcers for some reason.Report

    • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to NewDealer says:

      When I heard Tod’s voice, it “… spoke, low and melodious, its very sound an enchantment. Those who listened unwearily to that voice could seldom report the words that they had heard; and if they did, they wondered, for little power remained in them. Mostly they remembered only that it was a delight to hear the voice speaking, all that it said seemed wise and reasonable, and desire awoke in them by swift agreement to see wise themselves. When others spoke, they seemed harsh and uncouth by contrast; and if they gainsaid the voice, anger was kindled in the hearts of those under the spell. Fur some the spell lasted only while the voice spoke to them, and when it spake to another they smiled, as men do who see through a juggler’s trick while others gape at it. For many the sound of the voice alone was enough to hold them enthralled; but for those whom it conquered the spell endured when they were far away. and ever they heard that soft voice whispering and urging them. But none were unmoved; none rejected its pleas and its commands without an effort of mind and will, so long as its master had control of it.”

      Will I come up Tod? No. Wll you not come down?Report

  4. Avatar NewDealer says:

    One random observation as I am listening.

    I agree with you that we used gender as a substitute for class in a lot of places.

    Connor is right that since childcare is so costly in the United States, it doesn’t make sense to go to work at a certain income level. I remember reading a few years ago that popular to contrary belief most Stay at Home Moms were not wealthy. They usually came from lower-middle income or worse because they did not have the skills/education levels to get the jobs that pay the income level that Connor described above.

    Anecdotally, I’ve met a lot of resistance from lower-middle/working-class people when presented with this idea. There are obviously plenty of working class, dual-income families. There are also plenty of upper-middle class professional families with a Stay at Home Mom. But a lot of people seem wedded to the cultural idea that SAHM are generally from the upper-middle class. They might or might not have nannies to help raise their kids but they do have wealthy husbands. The popular image for the STHM is a woman perpetually clad in lululemon yoga clothes with a husband in tech, banking, law, medicine, etc. They are probably also educated but decided on the mommy track.

    This conception obviously exists but large chunks of the American media exclusively focuses on the upper-middle, professional class. “Having it all” stories are not really about all women rather they are about women with college degrees (and probably higher). Just like Hanna Rosin’s “End of Men” argument can be more accurately described as the “End of Blue-Collar Men” but that does not sell much copy. I don’t think Hanna Rosin is concerned about her two sons going to college.*

    The other part of the narrative is that it is probably very hard for people to admit that they are not valuable as breadwinners to their families or the economy as a whole. It is a very-hard pill for someone to swallow and say “Wow, my skills and pay demand are so deficient that it makes sense for me not to work.”

    There are probably a million more tactful ways to describe what I am writing above.

    *Whenever “End of Men” statistics come up and people talk about how men are not going to college I always want a bunch of cross studies done based on education level achieved by parents and socio-economic status. I have a hunch that if a guy has one or more parents with a college degree or higher, he will obtain a similar education level. Both my parents have advanced degrees, and I always took it as implicit that I was expected to do the same. Later my parents told me that this was explicit because they consider showing masterty in a field important (I ended up getting two advanced degrees.) Others have told me that they consider it a bit mind blowing and scary that this was an assumption and expectation on the part of my parents and myself.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to NewDealer says:

      ND, I really don’t make it my business to know the personal details of writers for Slate but I believe that Rosin is married to Saletin and they have one daughter. Dahlia Lithwick also has a daughter and so does Dana Stevens. Its Emily Bazelon who has two sons.

      I agree with your overall point, the “End of Men” really is the “End of Blue Collar Men”, the type that would get good paying jobs in factories or other work-sites after college. Some blue collar men like plumbers, construction workers, and miners are relatively safe because you always need them. Getting the sons of blue collar families into college seems hard for some reason.Report

  5. Avatar NewDealer says:

    I will add my own little story here and about being a man in the 21st century. Specifically a man in his early 30s who graduated law school at the worst possible time to graduate from law school and how this effects my perceptions of myself. Again there are probably class/gender issues here as well.

    So I graduated law school in 2011. As noted above, this was not the best time to graduate from law school. Now I have been doing bar-required work and work that pays pretty well. I can afford rent and paying my own insurance in a very expensive city and doing stuff. But these have all been project to project jobs for a year plus. I still have yet to receive an offer for a position with benefits, chances for promotion, and doing stuff beyond the most basic legal work.

    This has been a bit of a blow for my self-esteem at times especially in talking to women dating-wise. Now everyone tells me that the Great Recession hurt a lot of people (men and women) and there are a lot of law school grads in my place. The issue being that when I go on dates it seems to be with women who have careers at various stages.

    I was born in 1980 and always grew up in an era when women worked. My mom was a working professional until I was 12 and then she stopped working not because of us but because her mom developed serious Parkinson’s disease. But I still feel sheepish as a guy in this weird limbo stage of having what is more like a well-paid legal job instead of a career. And I feel like there is something societal programmed that I am not where I should be or who I should be to present myself to these career-women. I feel sheepish saying that I am a “freelance attorney” or “contract attorney”
    when they have real careers.

    Though and this gets to socio-economics and class, I have not quite found a way to write to any woman on a dating site who has less than a college degree. This has been given to me as a suggestion.Report

  6. Avatar NewDealer says:

    One more thing:

    Are a lot of guys in the “Men’s Rights” movement really Millennials?

    I always thought a lot of them were late Boomers/early Gen Xers. Generally guys in their 40s and 50s.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to NewDealer says:

      My experience is most MRA’s are older, at least above 40.-50 It’s mostly a movement of men left behind by the social changes in this country and often, as Tod said, been badly wounded by life.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to greginak says:

        There seem to be a bunch of men in it who as Tod says felt like they were given the shaft in the Divorce agreement when it came to child custody. It has always been my impression that this is what gets people interested in “Men’s rights”Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to NewDealer says:

          Oh definitely. Child custody battles are harsh and bitter. There has been some biases against men being able to care for children although that has changed in some places but not all. On the other side of MRA’s upset about child custody are domestic violence advocates who have waged a battle against the abuse of women. DV advocates do a great service in general but many also are strident, self-righteous and see excessive clarity in how real messy life plays out. I work in child custody so i’ve seen and heard from both sides. While MRA’s do have the occasional point in general its not a community i see as healthy or tolerable. But leaving aside biases and legal battles, divorces/break ups are just super painful and many people are unable to get over them so attaching themselves to a cause helps them get by.Report

          • Avatar NewDealer in reply to greginak says:

            Neither do I. I was just expressing surprise at Tod’s claim that there are many millens in the group and my general knowledge of them.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to greginak says:

            Can one be a male critic of our current child custody system without being an MRA?

            Note: I have not yet listened to the Cast so if it addresses there I’ll just wait.Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Kazzy says:

              Yes, very very easily. People do it all the time. Calling yourself a MRA is a fairly strong statement and people don’t do it unless they want too. There are many critics of the current child custody system, if fact its one of those things where everybody is at least somewhat of a critic I am. MRA has a lot of baggage to it, pretty much all of it earned.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to greginak says:

                Okay, cool. I don’t really know much about MRAs, but I remember years ago (5+ maybe?) reading an article about a London-based group advocating for dads’ rights and I was really interested in the idea. But based on what I’m seeing here, I’d never claim the MRA designation.Report

            • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Kazzy says:

              Yes.

              As I say in my article (which will probably go up either here or elsewhere with links here tomorrow), I talked with a number of professional non-profit and social service organizations that advocate for men in custody battles, male victims of abuse, male victims of sexual assault, etc. Every singe one asked that if I mentioned them in my article I note very clearly that they have nothing to do with the MRM.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to greginak says:

        I think that the MRW movement is kind of dangerous. It seems filled with people who know thats something very wrong from personal experience but can’t get the cause of their problems right or the solutions right. We had lots of examples of this from history. They never tend to work out well.Report

        • Avatar Barry in reply to LeeEsq says:

          There’s some guy who was a big martyr in the MRA (I can’t recall his name now). Apparently he slapped his four year old daughter (hard enough to draw blood) for repeatedly licking his hand (yes, licking). His wife called the police, he was removed from the house, and told to undergo counseling. He basically refused and f-ed up his marriage. I was going to say ‘things got worse’, but that’s exactly the passive voice that’s the problem. In the end, he refused to pay child support, the judge threatened him with jail time, and he committed suicide.

          Through out his whole description of what happened (obviously up until the suicide), he wrote as if he had done nothing wrong, and was purely and innocent victim.

          That’s the voice I associate with the MRA. Pure victimhood, never acknowledging their own fault in anything.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to NewDealer says:

      There are a lot of millennials – from my vantage point it’s the fastest growing demographic in what is, really, more of a confederacy than a unified body. I suspect that 10-20 years ago it was primarily older guys, but the internet has changed that drastically.

      For example, the Pick Up Artist movement has a ton of overlap with the MRM, and they seem to be almost exclusively made up of the 18-28 set. There’s a segment of the movement that overlaps between young men who write about men’s rights and young men who write about the kinds of topics you might see on VDare. (The bigger, more well known sites don’t seem to care about race at all, but a lot of the smaller ones spend a lot of time writing about the MSM conspiracy against reporting on flash mobs, etc. When I checked back yesterday to double check some quotes, I noticed that there’s been a lot of pro-Zimmerman writing on a lot of MRM sites these past few days. And most of these seem to be written by and read by younger guys.)Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        What is their beef with flash mobs?Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Kazzy says:

          Not the “performance artist” kind of flash mobs. The “young black men wilding and hunting white people” kind of flash mobs.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            How often do they start sentences with, “All we want is…” and end them with, “…our country back”?Report

            • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Kazzy says:

              Never. I don’t think they remember a “back” to be gotten to. To be honest, I’m not sure they want anything at all.

              I think they just get excited by the illicitness of talking about how awful black people are anonymously on the internet.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Sorry, I meant MRMs in general. But I did find one of the articles you discussed and there was a weird glee that came across any time the author got to use the phrase “black people” after a big number.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I never really got the appeal of PUA culture and I’m in the prime demographic for it, a young man whose romantic success is more than a bit bellow average. I’ve never been a part of hook-up culture, NSA sex, FWB, or whatever you want to call it. I feel actively excluded from it at my darker times. My more traditional dating life isn’t that much of ranging success either. Still, PUA culture is obviously a scam besides being really anti-Feminist. Its snake oil and the techniques can not possibly work.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to LeeEsq says:

          I’ve read a bunch of PUA posts (and two wisps o’ books) over the past few weeks, and my impression is that there’s a lot of missing of forests for trees going on there.

          Basically, the pattern with almost everyone starts with this series of confessions:

          1. I used to be a guy that never got laid. I went to bars but was uncomfortable talking to women I didn’t know, so I usually sat in the corner and stared at them and them went home alone at the end of the night alone.

          2. Then one day, I started approaching them, talking to them and engaging them one on one and in groups.

          3. Now I get women who give me their numbers/make out with me/sleep with me – way way more than I ever had before.

          4. Now I’m going to tell you the secret of how I started getting laid…

          … and I want to shout at them, “IT’S NUMBER 2!!!! IT’S THE SECOND THING YOU SAID!!!! YOU’RE GETTING MORE WOMEN BECAUE YOU ACTUALLY TALK TO THEM NOW!!!! THAT’S YOUR SECRET!!!!” But instead they go into all kind of hyno-theory or “secret words that trigger animal responses” or some other kind of silliness.

          I can never tell if they are the least self-aware people on the planet, or if they’re actually quite clever and know that no on one is going to shell out $3.99 for an ebook that just says, “Why don’t you just try talking to the nice lady?”Report

          • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            You know what. I have a hard time going to bars alone and starting up conversations with strangers.

            I can do the on-line dating thing. I can chat up people at parties and other social situations without any problem. But going to a bar by myself and starting a random conversation with a woman (or a guy for that matter), I’ve been able to do once or twice in my life. It seems to me that when I go to bars most people are already in their groups and I have a hard time intruding in. It feels rude.

            I have been told by men and women that they find going to bars on their own to be depressing and daunting as well.Report

            • Avatar Chris in reply to NewDealer says:

              The weird thing about people at bars, and in fact people everywhere, is that so many of them are sitting there thinking, “I wish I could talk to someone, or better still, that someone would just come and talk to me so that I don’t have to initiate a conversation with a stranger,” within a few feet of other people thinking the same thing, and as often as not, if not more often, none of them say anything to anyone.

              If I were going to write a guide to meeting people, it would have only two pieces of advice:

              1. Keep reminding you that whatever you’re thinking, and whatever you’re wishing you could do, other people within talking distance are also thinking and wishing.
              2. Talk to people.

              The first one won’t always be true when you follow the second one, but if you follow (2) one a few times, you’re bound to discover the truth (1).

              If I walked into a moderately crowded bar right this minute, I could start a conversation with a willing and eager interlocutor, male or female, within 5 minutes with little effort, just by following those two pieces of advice and common sense (like, if you see two people talking, don’t just walk up and butt in, though 1 and 2 can apply to pairs or groups as well).Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

                *keep reminding yourselfReport

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Chris says:

                Whenever I go to bars, I generally just see groups of friends, couples, or couples hanging out together and in a tight circle.

                This is my perception at least.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to NewDealer says:

                In my experience, groups of friends are the easiest to begin conversations with, because you don’t have to do as much work. You say something, and more than one person will respond, and they’ll talk to each other, and to you, and before you know it you’re in a conversation with a group of friends.

                I understand that may be daunting, believe me I do, so you may want to start out with people who are alone and work your way up to groups of people, but I guarantee you that unless you walk up and say something so unbelievably odd that they begin to worry whether you might have escaped from the state hospital that very evening, then at least as many times as not you’ll find that groups of people are really easy to approach and engage. And you don’t have to prepare things in advance to say. The key is just to talk to people. “Hey, how’s it going?” works perfectly well.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chris says:

                I agree with this, just listen somewhat closely and say something funny or intelligent in response to someone in the group says. It usually works.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

                If guys would actually work on being funny/intelligent, they’d get more chicks.
                UCB is a WAY better deal than “PickUpArtist” books.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Women kinda need to STFU about how men orta do this and how if they’d only do that they’d score so big. Getting really sick of men acting like performing seals or so many poodle dogs jumping through flaming hoops o’ fire –just to get women. When women come around to respecting men — as men — you’ll let me know, woncha Kim? We’ve had a few decades of shuckin’ and jiving and every time a woman says “Men are Pigs” we’re just sposta grin and admit such. Of course, when men don’t feel respected, that’s our problem, not the disrespecter.

                All such talk is even stupider than some list in Cosmo magazine about how some curious little enumeration of sex tricks will thrill your man. Gosh.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Blaise,
                Whoever said I was talking from my own experience?
                Some folks out there do research on what women like.
                Cross-cultural even.

                Mayhap sometime I’ll talk about more of it.

                note: when I reference pig, I’m talking about a specific personality type. It’d be the same thing as saying “some men are rabbits” — which is perfectly true, as far as it goes…Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Any sentence starting with “If guys would actually work on” or “If women would actually work on” shall be routed immediately to /dev/null . People are individuals and these days, what with our gay and lesbian fellow citizens getting a few more well-deserved rights in law, it behoves us all to belay all this definitional nonsense. All these asinine would-be lexicographers of the human condition need to get a clue.

                We are self-defined. What do a gay man and a straight man have in common beyond some anatomical considerations? That’s entirely dependent upon which two men we’re talking about. Maybe they’re both parents. Maybe they both like uni sushi.

                Men are not pigs. I’m growing increasingly disgusted with all the stereotyping on the subject of Men. Want to implement an instanceof() operator? if ( thisPerson instanceof Man )? You up to the task? Try all that Men are Pigs talk, substituting Women for Men in that equality around here, sit back and watch the reaction you’ll get.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Blaise,
                Yes, people are all special snowflakes.
                I’m certain you’re just as aware as I am
                that personality typology can be applied
                to all genders.

                Did you see that Oglaf comic about
                “what women want”? I think it’s aproposReport

          • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            Though I never thought I would meet my mate at a bar.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            It just seems to be basic snake-oil to me. The modern version of the “I was a 90 pound weakling” ads that used to be in comic books. I speak to women all the time but it doesn’t make me a Casanova by a long stretch.

            The problem is that a lot of people want a short cut to romantic and sexual success. Men feel especially pressured because in our society a man whose heterosexual by not stallion with the ladies is basically seen as dud. Nearly every movie establishes that the lead man is a hit with women and can bed any at anytime he wants. If he isn’t depicted as being successful than a good chunk of the movie is about him becoming successful. The 40-Year Old Virgin is a prime example of this. This can cause a tremendous amount of resentment and feelings of inadequacy in lots of men.

            The best solution is probably to remind people that the grass is always greener and that a lot of relationships aren’t very happy and are filled with problems. Its kind of dark but taking away the fairytale nature of romance and sex and focusing a bit on the the more negative and troubling aspects could relive at lot of pressure. Yes, it sucks to be lonely but its more common than you think and not everybody in a relationship is enjoying a fairytale love story.Report

          • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            I would say the reason I can approach people on-line is because there are profiles. It gives me an in. I can read their profile and find common interests as ice-breakers/conversation starters. This is hard to do at a bar.

            Not that on-line dating is perfect. It is far from perfect I do like profiles and listing of interests and things.Report

          • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            If someone had told me when I was in my twenties that the secret to social success with women (by which the younger man means “persuading her to sleep with me” rather than the somewhat more mature “finding out if she’s someone appropriate to fall in love with”) was asking nicely I simply wouldn’t have believed it. No, there must be more to it than that, my younger self would have protested. Thus, the need for instruction in “trigger words” and “nonverbal cues” and “receptive-aggression signals” and all the rest of that bullshit.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

          Not all of it is a scam. some of it advocates legal rape.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Is there an overlap between young men in MRM and young men on reedit? Or “troll” culture in general?

        I know of reedit and basically what it does. I know it has a reputation for some wackiness/trolling stuff that is sexist, racist, anti-Semitic, pornographic, etc. But I am not a tech guy and most of it seems rather boring to me. I’ve no desire to be a reeditor.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        “There’s a segment of the movement that overlaps between young men who write about men’s rights and young men who write about the kinds of topics you might see on VDare.”

        Makes sense – they’re missing the Patriarchy, where no doubt they’d be lords and masters, with a submissive (hot) wife, and obedient children. And probably some, ah – servants – to do the grunt work for the Massa.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Barry says:

          Such Massas must be careful. Observant and diligent, too. For many’s the Hot Wife who appreciates the services of a good Grunt Worker whilst the Massa has other pressing business of a Patriarchal nature.Report

  7. Well, it seems my congenital inability to tolerate how I look or sound on video continues unabated.

    (Protip for self for next Leaguecast — blotting paper, Saunders. Blotting paper.)Report

  8. Avatar Chris says:

    Now that Tod’s made it public and I’ve managed to make my way through it, I just wanted to say nice job you three. A lot to think about.

    Russell, I was disappointed not to see a mirror on your head.Report

  9. Avatar Don Zeko says:

    It is extremely strange to attach faces and, more importantly, voices, to people that I have only met through text and gravatars.Report

  10. Avatar Barry says:

    Burt Likko July 17, 2013 at 12:57 am

    ” Greg, surely you understand that about the time Bond takes a fifteen-minute helicopter ride from California’s high desert to a French chateau that the movie had stopped being an action film and become a comedy of self-parody.”

    What’s funny is there might be a (bad copy by a multi-millionaire) of a French chateau rather close to California’s high desert. There’s been lots of money and bad taste in SoCal for a long time.Report

  11. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Interestingly enough, I listened to the LeagueCast after suiting up in my UnderArmour gear, strapping on my CamelBak, loading my 3-month-old into his stroller, walking with him to the grocery store so I could food shop for the meals I’d be making this week, while simultaneously debating whether tonight should be black bean veggie burger night or smoked pork shoulder night and if my day should be spend cleaning the floors or building a retaining war.Report

  12. Avatar Keith Beacham says:

    It would have been nice (more fair) if you would have had some one on this panel who could speak for men’s rights. Tod you correctly identified some of the points of pain within the men’s rights movement but to dismiss the movement by suggesting that half its supporters are simply angry at not being able to say cunt in polite company is silly. There is a deep and interesting conversation going on about what it means to be a man this video was not one of them. You never once addressed important issues such as warfare, tribalism, male vs male completion, male vs female competition, the viability of marriage within modernity, boys education, paternity, child custody……………. This was merely coffee talk among a polite elite. You talked about parenting and not about men.Report

  13. Avatar MichaelDrew says:

    Wow. I’m just getting started on this, but… wow. RTod’s voice is *diametrically* different from how I imagined it might be. He sounds like he could have been the announcer for the American version of Masterpiece Theatre in about 1981, if such a thing had existed. Authority. I won’t try to describe how I imagined his voice might be, but it wasn’t… like that.Report