RANGER AGAINST WAR: Discretion Advised <

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Discretion Advised

--Levi in Vanity Fair (10.02.09)

Also weak in their minds
Also fake, also blind

Lies and lust and hate

, Front Line Assembly

They hurt you at home and they hit you at school,

They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool,

Till you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules,

--Working Class Hero, John Lennon

Boys will be boys, bad boy, bad boy

Always gettin' so restless, nothin' but trouble

Boys will be boys, bad boy, bad boy

Leave me feelin' breathless, nothin' but trouble
--Bad Bad Boys, Gloria Estefan

[I love this photo of Levi for the tattoo along his forearm -- "Johnston", just so he wouldn't forget.]

Ranger says babies are "shit making factories." Many continue the behavior into their adulthood, both literally and figuratively. This, is a rant.

It is not that Ranger or any other progenitor is necessarily a bad person, but many are and do produce some unsavory specimens. This has been a week of seeing those results, hence the
turn from my usual upbeat Sunday installment.

The bad behavior shows a predictable arc, from indulged (or neglected) childhood, to entitled adolescence and adulthood. Egocentrism is a normal part of childhood development, but if it is not contained and refined, it explodes into something very ugly.

Kids are mean, and sometimes, it just gets worse. Just ask
Nicolas Godin
, of the duo Air (Air Calls Kids Evil), who was quoted this week in Spinner of his salvation in music: "[Music] was magic when I was in class with all these mean kids 'cause kids are f---ing mean. Everybody loves kids but kids are evil. And I have kids! But it's true."

To begin: the littering ingrates who speed past my door every weekday morning and afternoon, to and from the neighborhood high school. Those in the BMW convertibles kindly slow down to drop their Burger King bags on my front lawn. The rednecks in the jacked up Fords offend with their Cherry Bomb Mufflers and "Dixie-blaring" horns. If I am home during these times, I must wear earplugs

Next, the adult vehicle offenders: Those who block intersections (de riguer, in Tallahassee); those who blare their horns when they violate roundabout rules (we shouldn't have "traffic calming" roundabouts in the U.S. if people aren't taught how to navigate them), and those who are simply oblivious.

I've had to beep at numerous cars this week to even have them see me as they drifted into my lane unawares of my presence. I drive a small car, and was once hit by a cell-phone talking woman in a hulking SUV who said, "I didn't even see you." Well, you didn't even bother to look down from your precipice, did you?

Next are the figurative train wrecks:
Levi to pose nude for Playboy (and here and here.) Alaska's favorite son, Levi Johnston, to be paid for bearing his newly beefed-up body. Levi --what an utter failure. What a bunch of nothing, not even pap.

Ranger's response to hearing the news was, "He's not even a man." (How does that even matter in the realm of skin mags? I thought younger was better?) But Levi the person is not better. The fornicating baby daddy of a wayward once-governor who also shuns her responsibilities seems an unlikely candidate for heartthrob.

Which leads me to wonder: Who and what do we esteem today? Maybe we want ineffectual, non-adults. If so, what does that say about our collective self-esteem?

The UK's Daily Mail speculates, "Taking the pill for past 40 years 'has put women off masculine men
" It argues from a biological perspective that a woman's receptivity to masculinity is down due to her artificially regulated cycles. If so, then the Cherry Bombs are for naught. Maybe the men are becoming like girls, who primp mainly in competition with other women. Maybe our society is becoming perfectly autoerotic.

But that presumes Hollywood is totally responsive to the desires of the audience versus creating that desire. And it presumes girls are the recipients of their mother's proclivities, as they themselves are not necessarily on the Pill. That also presumes a drug causation, and we may be a little too pill-centric.

I look at the aggressive monster truck drivin' rednecks offending me with their blaring gangsta rap or Alabama (a riven lot, those) and search for their counterparts in true masculinity; I come up wanting. We've gone from Steve McQueen and Sean Connery to
Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio and Zac Efron.

Maybe everything is a pendulum, of greater or lesser arcs. Maybe we shut down our idealization of the Tough Guy after Vietnam. Maybe a lot of those guys left the game, too. That is not to say they reentered on any more authentic plane. Maybe they just bowed out, as the prototypes they had followed met with disdain and derision.

Where are we now?

There. That feels only slightly better.

[cross-posted at Big Brass Blog]


Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

where are we, indeed, that is an eternal question.

my worries on this began back in 88, that year there was a poll of young people which asked them who their heroes were. the biggest hero in 88?

micheal jackson.

not the kid who blocked the tanks in tienamin square.

not anybody who actually did anything remotely heroic.

micheal jackson.

if you need a milepost to mark the beginnings of rapid decline, there it is.

Monday, October 12, 2009 at 9:16:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Thank you, I would go with that.

So we've been in a 20-year declination. I wonder how we pull the nose of this aircraft up out of it's tailspin? Like you, I love my country, many things about it I do not love.

Monday, October 12, 2009 at 9:42:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous NoPublic said...

Methinks Sean Connery isn't the best example to hold up given the way he treated women. But maybe I'm mistaken. Do we really want "Mad Men" again?

Monday, October 12, 2009 at 9:47:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


When I speak Hollywood, I'm speaking the most superficial of examples, of course. But even there they are pansy-ing out in affect, without stepping up to the plate, behaviorally. Think Nick Hornsby's High Fidelity for one ubiquitous example.

"Mad Men" has never left us. That was mere 50 years ago, and we do not change that quickly. As the protagonist responded when asked what he thought women wanted:
"Why would I care?"

I think that flip, self-focus characterizes both men and women today. Perhaps the only difference is, woman have entered that mindset in a more muscular way, as they have left the exclusivity of the home stomping grounds.

Monday, October 12, 2009 at 9:57:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous RangerHazen said...

Ok so you ranted...Now What?

I do not fear for my gender In fact I find most educated young men (and woman) to be quite engaged with the world and Therein lies the rub.. 30+ years of neglect when it comes to education and now with unemployment among the young and educated among the highest in the last 60 years We may be creating a new lost generation. I have spent most of my adult life mentoring at risk kids and let me tell you There is hope but only if you get off the bench and get into the game...If the Conservatives fear one thing about Obama it is exactly that...He may lead the way in making education, public service, and civic responsibility meaningful again...
It starts with us... For they are our kids...and "By their
fruit ye shall know them."

William Hazen

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 1:48:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


I, too, have spent many years mentoring and teaching at-risk kids. Mostly, they are like dehydrated men in a desert. The system has failed them, but they are yet willing receptacles for any positive input.

But again, they have been failed. I have also seen them at the college level, and it is a great tragedy that they have been passed down the line lacking some of the most basic requirements for a successful academic (life) career.

I am with you: Education is key to surmounting most obstacles, and pettiness and all the other grubby human attributes are obstacles to be surmounted. Of course, education is more than readin' and writin', but that is another topic. Reading would be a great place to start.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 8:10:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

p.s. to RangerHazen,

It would be all good if Obama could resurrect some educational initiatives -- beef up the AmeriCorps school component, for instance. A tremendous lot of good could be done with funding for initiatives like Teach America.

I'd like to see something like a CCC or WPA right now. Our infrastructure is crumbling, and there could be an educational bonus attached to such work.

Let's see what we prioritize. I hate to be a skeptic, but kids don't vote. . .

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 8:14:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Ranger says babies are "shit making factories." Many continue the behavior into their adulthood, both literally and figuratively. This, is a rant."

Ranger in his own unique Zen-style koan has nailed it. As the oldest of seven before the age of 'pampers'(BP), my house smelled of shit and baby powder. I believe 'pampers' not micheal jackson was the beginning of the end. In the age of cloth diapers (CD) I couldn't wait to get out of the house. Kids ran all over the neighborhood playing unsupervised, except for my younger twin sister's. My mother would drive a stake in the lawn and tether the twins to it. If we played sandlot baseball or football we worked the rules out without adults. I liked the solitude of the woods, so fished with a fly rod, taught myself how to handle a firearm, shoot straight, and orient myself in the woods at all times,all without an adult.
Then came the epochal era of 'pampers'. Shit once and toss. So mass marketing started the devolution of the human species. 'Pampered' (AC) children who grew up to be insecure, and learned helplessness. Of course the institutions of government followed the gaulent

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 9:32:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merde' hit the 'publish comment' button accidentally.... 'gauntlet' was I meant. I haven't finished my long winded tome but then again I don't give a shit.....


Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 9:41:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Interesting theory. Some suggest that the farther removed we are from our own excrement (indoor plumbing, various perfume and sanitary items, etc.), the father from our understanding of our animal nature.

If we don't understand that, we will miss opportunities to surmount it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 10:43:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Interesting theory. Some suggest that the farther removed we are from our own excrement (indoor plumbing, various perfume and sanitary items, etc.), the father from our understanding of our animal nature."

That's your theory about my "interesting theory". The best way to cut to the chase here is to ask RAW about about the shit heads who came up with that theory above.....

Keep me posted,

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 7:00:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Dear God, Lisa, the very thought of seeing Levi sans apparel makes me throw up a little in the back of my mouth.

I can't remember where I read this, but it seems apropos:

"At one time it required talent, wisdom, beauty, grace, poise, understanding or honor, or some combination of the above, to become well known. Apparently it now requires nothing more than an utter lack of shame."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 10:56:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Yes, the idea of Levi naked is not a winning one. How did he get a spread in Vanity fair, much less Playgirl?

Are we that smug, or that titillated by smut, or shamelessness? It seems so.

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 3:20:00 PM GMT-5  

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