The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Living as I do in the remote provinces, I often find myself fascinated by the cultural advances of America’s great metropolises. Last week, for example, the New York Times featured an entertaining column urging people to walk cats on leashes. If I tried that, I’d definitely have a fight on my hands.

Now and then, Albert the orange tabby follows the dogs and me on our daily constitutional. Mostly, however, he’s too busy snoozing. Or hunting rats, his favorite pastime since we left the farm and brought him to town. He deposits their corpses where the dogs are sure to find them.

So, yes, it’s true as the Times columnist lamented, that free-roaming cats kill many small mammals. Also that most of them need killing.

But walk on a leash? Let me put it this way: two years ago, after I broke several ribs falling from a horse, Albert clearly felt my pain, as Bill Clinton used to say. He transformed himself from an outdoor to an indoor cat for a few weeks. We watched baseball together on TV until I quit screaming every time I moved. Then he headed back to the barn to kill mice.

Those, he eats.

But Albert doesn’t even particularly like to be carried. Put a leash on him and he’d fight like a barracuda. I might never see him again.

A neighbor recently asked me to do something about our other cat, Martin, visiting her yard. She’d grown sentimental about wild baby rabbits–the McDonald’s quarter-pounder of the animal kingdom, consumed by everything with sharp teeth or talons. (But not by Martin, more lover than hunter.) I told her I’d speak to him, but that the best solution would be to spray him with the garden hose. Then she took offense on the cat’s behalf. Happily, she’s moved away.

The new neighbor knows a pacifist when she sees one.

But hook Martin up to a leash? Passive resistance would be more his style. He’d just lie there like a lump and I’d have to drag him.

But I’m only guessing, because I’d no more walk a cat than attend a meeting of the ManKind Projectthis week’s trendy Manhattan thing. According to author Hannah Seligson, the organization focuses “on men’s emotional well-being, drawing on elements like Carl Jung’s theories of the psyche, nonviolent communication, breath work, Native American customs, and good old-fashioned male bonding. Minus ogling women, drinking, or fist fighting, of course.”

Those apparently being the only options in the author’s mind: drunken brawling or hippy-dippy cant. Supposedly ManKind’s deepest goal is “to break down patriarchal and hierarchical ideas of masculinity,” a phrase that has more than a whiff of the campus about it. (To give you some idea, I once got scolded from the audience during a college talk for using the word “murderess,” as if the gender-neutral “murderer” were an honorific.)

Illustrated by photos of men hugging and petting each other and gripping a feathered totem like bearded Cub Scouts, Seligson’s article describes ours as a particularly “fraught” time for American men—which would probably confuse most of our fathers and grandfathers, the men who built the nation’s railroads and highways and fought its wars. Apparently, there’s also a lot of eye contact and crying.

This too: “Some retreats have optional nudity, in an effort to promote healthy body image.” Does this feathered headdress make my butt look big? Football locker rooms have nudity too, of course, but that’s a different story.

Elsewhere, the author informs us that “most men would rather be electrically shocked than be left alone with their thoughts”—more bad news for somebody like me, as like most writers I spend many hours by myself.

Seligson interviews a TV actor for whom most of humanity’s ills can be laid at the feet of the accursed patriarchy. “’The stoic male who doesn’t express or share his emotions, I see that as being extremely detrimental,’ Mr. Darville said in a phone interview. ‘A lot of pathologies in society, such as entitled masculinity, are related to men who are repressed.’”

In short, it appears that the ManKind Project’s main goal is preparing “woke” men for a lifetime of being bossed around by New York career women who disapprove of such ordinary male pastimes as playing ball, attending Yankees or Knicks games, or having a few cold ones with your pals.

Because out here in the boondocks where I live, that’s where most guys find male companionship: they play basketball, golf or tennis. They watch sporting events together. Some, like me, mess with horses or hunting dogs. They go on fishing trips, canoeing expeditions, even deer camp.

Stories get told; intimacies shared.

Often enough these activities also involve women. 
Others participate in community theater or art exhibitions. They play in bands. 
But above all, they do something besides sitting around complaining.  

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Mark Levin

Politico reported Friday that John Eastman, the disgraced ex-law professor who formulated many of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, was also apparently in communication with Fox News host Mark Levin. The story gets even more interesting from there, revealing the shell game that right-wing media personalities engage in while doubling as political operatives.

A legal filing by Eastman’s attorneys reveals that, among the messages Eastman is still attempting to conceal from the House January 6 committee are 12 pieces of correspondence with an individual matching Levin’s description as “a radio talk show host, is also an attorney, former long-time President (and current board chairman) of a public interest law firm, and also a former fellow at The Claremont Institute.” Other details, including a sloppy attempt to redact an email address, also connect to Levin, who did not respond to Politico’s requests for comment.

Keep reading... Show less

Sen. Wendy Rogers

Youtube Screenshot

There have been powerful indicators of the full-bore radicalization of the Republican Party in the past year: the 100-plus extremist candidates it fielded this year, the apparent takeover of the party apparatus in Oregon, the appearance of Republican officials at white nationalist gatherings. All of those are mostly rough gauges or anecdotal evidence, however; it’s been difficult to get a clear picture of just how deeply the extremism has penetrated the party.

Using social media as a kind of proxy for their real-world outreach—a reasonable approach, since there are few politicians now who don’t use social media—the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights decided to get a clearer picture of the reach of extremist influences in official halls of power by examining how many elected officials participate in extremist Facebook groups. What it found was deeply troubling: 875 legislators in all 50 states, constituting nearly 22% of all elected GOP lawmakers, identified as participating members of extremist Facebook groups.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}