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Men are not held in very high repute these days.  Being one myself I have thought about this a lot.  I’m not sure when it all began; the decision that my gender renders me suspect, or even detestable.  Somewhere along the way we men became extraneous in the eyes of society.  We were all lumped together as noisy, smelly, violent, oafish clowns.

All attempts to rehabilitate us have either denied our true nature as being something shameful or, like the work of Robert Bly, have failed to resonate with a large enough audience to make any difference.

I have sons; fine men who I admire; who are  responsible; men who have honor at the core of their being and act accordingly.  I know many others who I admire in the same light; men with strength, wisdom, humor, compassion, and innate decency.  I know men like this exist; I have met them; shared meals with them; laughed with them; walked hard trails with them.

The essential mismatch between my experience of the men I choose to know well and the messages about us that are in general circulation leaves me sad and a bit bewildered.

I have tried writing about this; but never with any success.  So, when I came across this song by Loudon Wainwright III, I felt I had to share the lyrics.


When a ship is sinking and they lower the lifeboats
And hand out the life jackets,
The men keep on their coats
The women and the children are the ones
Who must go first
And the men who try to save their skins
Are cowards and are cursed

Every man’s a captain, men know how to drown
Man the lifeboats if there’s room, otherwise go down

And it’s the same when there’s a war on:
It’s the men who go to fight
Women and children are civilians,
When they’re killed it’s not right
Men kill men in uniform, it’s the way war goes
When they run they’re cowards,
When they stay they are heroes

Every man’s a general, men go off to war
The battlefields a man’s world,
Cannon fodders what they’re for

It’s the men who have the power,
It’s the men who have the might
And the world’s a place of horror
Because each man thinks he’s right
A man’s home is his castle so the family let him in
But what’s important in that kingdom
Is the women and the children

A husband and a father, every man’s a king
But he’s really just a drone,
Gathers no honey, has no sting
Have pity on the general, the king, and the captain
They know they’re expendable, after all they’re men



3 Responses

  1. I think there needs to be more amongst men… Naturally we are islands emotionally, but the world would be a better place if men reached out to one another and found pride in who and what we are.

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