Blog Post: A Generation of Misfit Men?

Are we creating a new generation of male misfits?

There are many thoughts about men:

Can you imagine a world without men?  No crime and lots of happy fat women.  ~Attributed to both Marion Smith and Nicole Hollander

All women become like their mothers.  That is their tragedy.  No man does.  That's his.  ~Oscar Wilde

Part of the reason that men seem so much less loving than women is that men's behavior is measured with a feminine ruler.  ~Francesca M. Cancian

In light of these opinions, I read a short article today in which two authors of a new book were interviewed. The book is titled: The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Struggle and What We can Do About It. Phillip Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan are the authors and their general position is "all those hours spent in front of a screen-not just watching porn but playing video games too-are leaving men in the dust socially, unable to relate to women and unable to function in society."

First of all, their overall premise seems a little general to me. I have to say that the majority of men I know and meet seem like they are functioning pretty well in society.But maybe I don't get out enough.

The authors above say that in their research, women are complaining that they can't find men that they can have a conversation with. That much I can believe. Frankly, there are many people out there of both sexes who seem to have difficulty carrying on an in-depth conversation.  Sadly, I don't think too many people can talk about very many things beyond their own world and experience. But I don't know if men can be singled out on that issue. I do have to admit that I can converse on a wider variety of subjects with women I know than men. But again, maybe I don't have enough erudite male friends (actually, I don't!).

One of the reasons these authors see a disintegration of "guys" and the male persona is because they see far too many boys growing up without a strong father or male role model in their life. Boys are more involved in their video fantasy worlds than ever and on social media and in their video games...places where the risk of social rejection are less pronounced. They are living in a more regressive state than a generation ago. They lack communication skills and the ability to build strong, solid relationships. These are all conclusions of the Zimbardo and Duncan's research.

In general, I can see their point. I have seen many boys from 14-25 who have difficulty making their lives work and who seem to be stuck in a world where they prefer to avoid responsibility and commitment. I have seen some who have that "entitlement" issue and can't seem to grow beyond that. But I don't think men have changed too drastically. But then, I'm not sure what people are expecting.

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Denise B. June 05, 2012 at 11:27 PM
BK- Don't discount the boys. I think the economic situation has made it harder for young people in general, but I would not say they prefer to avoid responsibility. When we were growing up you could get a summer job easily. Not anymore. It is like they are all forced into a holding pattern. They do seem to mature a bit later than we all did, but I think that is due to the helicopter parenting you previously wrote about. I found this interesting and suspect you will to. We are in the process of hiring a couple graphic art assistants for our marketing dept and I have been bemused to see that the majority of the resumes are coming from boys. When I did this ten years ago, it was mostly girls who applied for these type of jobs and very few boys if any. I have always fished for talent at the fine arts programs out of Art Center and Cal State Long Beach (their graphic programs are top notch), which are very difficult to be chosen for, but it is obvious the boys are earning entry into these very selective programs. It could be due to the video game industry attracting boys that want to work in game development, but the point is the boys are stepping to the plate and they are talented! The one thing that gives me pause in the hiring of the boys, is that they are more likely to be outright color blind. Girls have a naturally better color eye. I will include a color test I guess and give the boys a shot this time out.
EZDuzit June 06, 2012 at 12:28 AM
As usual, Denise, your responses are always articulate and interesting. I am certainly not discounting boys and as you see in the blog I don't agree with the conclusions these authors have reached. My last paragraph is directed at SOME boys I have seen and known who fit that mold...but it's certainly not all of them. I do agree that at no time in U.S. history has the job market ever been this tough for boys 16-25. It's really tough out there!
Denise B. June 07, 2012 at 04:12 AM
BK - I want you to know that your article made a difference in the lives of 2 young men. After reading it I decided to give a leg up and hire the boys for both openings in our graphic art department. If I had not read your column, I know I would have just automatically picked women to fill those jobs. Everyone assumes the boys don't need help, but your article told us otherwise. I will let you know how it works out. They are a bit more shy than the women at the same age, but they are just as talented.
EZDuzit June 07, 2012 at 05:18 AM
Well, I'm always glad to have had any positive influence on anyone (which is a key reason I became a teacher). I applaud your daring to move in a different direction. I do hope these young men work out. Please do keep me informed!
Denise B. June 12, 2012 at 01:09 PM
BK- maybe you do a blog on what texting has done to the English language. I have been reading the pit bull story and the tree trimming story and you can hardly figure out what anyone is saying. I realize the tree trimming story is probably from the English as a second language group, but it is obvious basic writing skills in general have gone south. Sheesh we are starting to sound third world here on Patch. The tree trimming thing has turned into a bad Telenova episode.
EZDuzit June 12, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Oh my gosh, it's ironic that you mentioned that...I was thinking the exact same thing! I have read the thread on that story and I have no clue what people are trying to communicate! The heightened drama of what I can understand is, indeed, like a telenovela! I'm not sure if texting is to blame for poor communication skills or just not paying attention in school!
Denise B. June 12, 2012 at 04:57 PM
I suspect it is the English as a second language group. Since I don't have any second language skills period, I don't want to be too disdainful of those that do. I must say though, for a culture that is so worried about being disrespected, they could not collectively have done more to disrespect the deceased. I was being a smarty pants when I referred it to a Telenova and now I see that is called a telenovela. Shame on me for not looking it up before spouting off. I am encouraged though...just when you think the whole situation is hopeless, someone like Brandon intercepts and restores our faith in a civilized society with a nice quote from a French poet. You gotta love it. No one could do disdain better than the late Christopher HItchens, but I do think Ian runs a close second. I nearly choked more than once over some of his comments which appear to go right over the head of most readers. We need to flesh Ian out and see if he will be the moderator next time we have local political debates. It would be so Bill Maher.
Denise B. June 12, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Now on another note, I had an interesting conversation with one of the young men you inspired me to hire. In the graphics community we use programs from a software company called Adobe. Not so long ago, Adobe sold them all separately. The majority of us preferred using a program called Quark for layout which was not an Adobe program. Adobe then came out with a package deal including a layout program and most people made the switch. Quark would have been another 1000 bucks, so the Adobe version took off fairly quickly. Now mind you, we are talking a span of 10 years at most when Quark was the leading layout software for designers. I would say the rise of In Design only happened in the last 5 years. When I mentioned that I still preferred Quark, the young man you inspired me to hire says "Oh wow, you really are old school". He then adds, "one of my OLDER professors at school knows Quark, but I don't know anyone else that still uses it. You must be one of three people in the US that still does". I can tell that things will be interesting with these two.
EZDuzit June 12, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Well, Denise I am so out of the loop on any software terminology that this entire last entry you submitted makes about as much sense to me as that telenovela thread we referred to! lol, At any rate, I'm glad things are working out. As to some of the comments people make on here, I don't quite understand why some people are so vitriolic and callous but then, some people just don't exercise restraint or empathy and that is their loss and burden. As to the term, "telenovela"...the only reason I know it is that my son is Mexican-American and keeps me up on all the terms :) Plus, his life, at times, has resembled it's own telenovela :)
Denise B. June 12, 2012 at 09:40 PM
The moral of the story was that the new young men, you encouraged me to hire, were pointing out how positively ancient I was since I was using technology developed when they were around 10 years old. I am sure I seem very long in the tooth to these two graduate students. I hate to tell them, but I actually remember when we did not have computers at all and had to paste up and order type for all of our brochures etc. Seems like a lifetime ago, but this was still going on in the 80's. Thank you Steve Jobs and Adobe software.
EZDuzit June 13, 2012 at 12:16 AM
I remember those days as well :) I had the first Mac ever made and even though I was thrilled with it I didn't actually get on the internet until I bought their next model. When I see what simple cell phones can do now I am slack-jawed!
Lou Irigoyen July 13, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Although we marvel at the speed which technology hits our markets, I am old enough to remember some of the obsolete methods used "a long time ago" like record players, 45's with a single song on each side, table top juke box machines at the local coffee house. I can remember when Shakeys had a player piano that you could buy a music cylinder for 25 cents. I love state of the art tekky stuff, but I have great memories of the "old school" way of doing things. By the way Denise, I actually took a printing class in junior high where you learned to set type on a composing stick and how to use a lino type machine. Yipes!! Can you say 60's?
EZDuzit July 13, 2012 at 04:37 PM
I remember those printing machines! I had a small one at home that took forever to use! :)
Lou Irigoyen July 13, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Speaking of patriotism. I happen to be a big country and western music fan. I about fell out of my chair when I saw Luke Bryan, singing the national anthem with crib notes on his hand. ???? Now, you know he is American born and bred.......and didnt take the time to learn the Star Spangled Banner by heart?? Shame on you Bryan.
EZDuzit July 13, 2012 at 06:02 PM
I think some performers just panic that they might forget the words and with THAT song, no performer wants that to happen...so I think they write the crib notes as a crutch..but bottom line..I agree...they really SHOULD have that memorized!
Lou Irigoyen July 13, 2012 at 06:07 PM
I guess in my heart, I am kind of disappointed that just about all of us know the words to Jingle Bells and Auld Lang Syne, but our national anthem? Nothing makes me misty more than to go to a baseball game and look around when they play The Star Spangled Banner and you see people mouthing the words. Great feeling!!
EZDuzit July 13, 2012 at 06:10 PM
I have to admit that it can put a lump in my throat too. For all the problems we have, it's still a pretty terrific country!
Denise B. July 13, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Maybe Luke was nervous and was worried about forgetting the words. I would be. It can't be easy singing in front of a big crowd like that. After your post, I reviewed in my head the words and I don't think I have them memorized. Shameful I know, but I am at the stage where I can head upstairs for something, get distracted and end up doing something else and then forget why I headed that way in the first place. Our national anthem is not an easy one to remember or perform. Some people felt America the Beautiful would be a more appropriate tune for an anthem. If you ever saw the film, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, there is a scene on the bus when Steve Martin tries to engage everyone in singing songs. He tries some classical song and everyone just looks around blankly. Then John Candy starts in with the Beverly Hillbilly song and everyone knows the words to that and the whole bus starts singing. I still know them to this day myself which is pitiful I know. Obviously my folks left me in front of the TV way too much. I also happen to work for the real life Jed Clampett. HA
Lou Irigoyen July 13, 2012 at 06:40 PM
I guess my point is that this gentleman is country and western, but doesnt know the national anthem? Sign of the times I guess. Oh by the way, Steve Martin tried to get the passengers singing "Three Coins In A Fountain" and John Candy struck up the theme song from "The Flinstones" sorry. I have watched this movie at least 50 times. Very funny and I loved John Candy as a comedian. Gone to soon.
Denise B. July 13, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Really.... it has been a while since I watched the movie, but I always remembered that one scene. it was so spot on. I think I can recite the Flintstones theme too... maybe even Green Acres. You probably don't want to go up against me in the pop culture songs from hit TV shows from the 70's category. Of course you would clean my clock in all the other categories I am sure. Now I am reminded of recently when Anderson Cooper had his clocked cleaned on Jeopardy by Cheech Martin. How funny was that! That Cheech Martin can sing too. Sheesh who knew!
EZDuzit July 13, 2012 at 07:10 PM
I guess the Cheech Marin episode shows you can't judge a book by it's cover...or perceived image can be deceiving, or something like that :)
Lou Irigoyen July 13, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Actually, I always had a passion for the stage and with this comes a knack for TV show theme songs, characters and memorable lines. Oh and Cheech, also a fine painter in case you havent caught some of his pop art. Pretty cool stuff.
EZDuzit July 13, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Yes I knew he was an accomplished artist and has an amazing collection of latino art.
Denise B. July 13, 2012 at 07:55 PM
BK was a drama student at one time. I bet you both have much in common.
EZDuzit July 13, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Yes, I was a drama student, have a degree in drama and one in Film Production, worked in "the industry" a while, have a play that's published and have many friends and ex-students who are very active in TV and films :) But my granddaughter is more important and interesting than all that! :)
Lou Irigoyen July 13, 2012 at 08:08 PM
I was in my high school production of Agatha Christies, The Mousetrap. I played the part of Mr. Paravachini, a traveler from Italy. I love the way you keep referring to your grandaughter. I too have a grandson, he is 20 years old, but he is my boy. I have always taken a lot of time to help him in all of his school project since I am the artsy fatsy one in the family. He had a book report to do when he was at Goddard. It was on the movie, I Know What You Did Last Summer. I built the set in my office( just back drops made out of dark bedsheets. I put together his costume complete with ascott. I put together the cue cards and did several takes, but he finally got it. Yes he got an A. I video taped it. Not too shabby for an amateur I might say.
EZDuzit July 13, 2012 at 08:17 PM
That's great Lou! I'm sure your creativity helped your grandson considerably! And I THINK "The Mousetrap" is STILL playing in London...it was the longest running play anywhere...like 50 years or more...something like that!
Lou Irigoyen July 13, 2012 at 08:53 PM
I think alot of the creativity has to do that I have quite of bit of ham in my constitution so he benefited from my ideas. Needless to say halloween has always been a favorite of mine so he always had some very authentic looking costumes. Working on The Mousetrap was great because we did all the production work. Built the flats, painted the sets, learned how to set up the sound systems and worked on costumes and makeup. Great fun and learned alot. My other passion in the last 10 years is voice over work. I have done some work with Audiogirl Productions out of Long Beach. They have an entire sound and recording studio in a converted garage in their home. Very pro stuff for sure.
EZDuzit July 13, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Voice work sounds like fun and you don't have to get in costume or makeup!
Lou Irigoyen July 13, 2012 at 09:26 PM
It is a lot of fun, but just like acting, the director wants it read a certain way and sometimes it can take several takes for you to get it just right. Although voice is not on screen, the inflections, pitches and pauses in the voice, make the production.


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