The Socialization of Young Men

A wise social scientist once commented to me that the most important task facing any society is the socialization of its young men.  Philosophers have concentrated on this question for thousands of years, and like it or not, almost every cultural tradition defines education as the molding of the male according to certain ideals.

Obviously we women don't care for this arrangement.  But setting that aside for a moment, consider that the problem facing American society these days is not that it neglects the education of young women but that it screws up the socialization of young men.  The most powerful shaper of popular attitudes is the entertainment industry, and what is it doing?  This short article in today's New York Times sums it up very effectively -- all the more so because it is so bizarrely uncritical.

This mentality can be summed up simply: Young men have no minds, souls, or characters worth bothering about; they care about nothing, respect nothing, and aspire to nothing.  They are pure appetite and aggression, just waiting to be pandered to for money.  So may the best panderer win.

Already I am tired of the fuss over Michael Phelps, who has won eight gold medals but seems to have less charisma than a carp.  But at least he aspired to greatness and achieved it.  Without sports -- and, of course, war -- what other challenges are presented to young men?  Being the biggest gross-out on the block?
August 17, 2008 10:10 AM |



PRC Pop 

The Chinese pop music scene is like no other ...

Remembering Elvis 

The best part of him will never leave the building ...

Beyond Country 

Like all chart categories, "country" is an arbitrary heading under which one finds the ridiculous, the sublime, and everything in between. On the sublime end, a track that I have been listening to over and over for the last six months: Wynnona Judd's version of "She Is His Only Need." The way she sings it, irony is not a color or even a set of contrasting colors; it is iridescence.

Miles the Rock Star? 

Does Miles Davis belong in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame? Here's my take on his career ...

Essay Contest 

Attention, high school jazz listeners ...

more trax

Me Elsewhere

Edward Hopper 

Painter of light (and darkness) ...

Dissed in Translation 

Here's my best shot at taking Scorcese down a few pegs ...

Henri Rousseau Revisited 

"Henri Rousseau: Jungles in Paris" appeared at the National Gallery of Art in Washington this fall ...

Paul Klee's Art 

Paul Klee was not childish, despite frequent comparisons between his art and that of children...

Our Art Belongs to Dada 

Rent my "Dadioguide" tour of the Dada show (before it moves to MoMA) ...

more picks


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Martha Bayles published on August 17, 2008 10:10 AM.

A Treat for the Fourth was the previous entry in this blog.

Gray Hats is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.