General

Men Of State (And State Of Men)

I spent Friday writing parts of the new book:

[Tentative cover for Tomorrow The Grace.]

As I finished, I was listening – perhaps appropriately – to French singer Patricia Kaas. I thought I’d have a laugh. Instagram always provides an outlet:

Afterwards, I started to relax. How did I do so?

I had a read about Admiral Lord Nelson:

[Back on Friday night. Photo by me, 2018.]

…who HATED we Americans and the United States.

Nelson is also famous for fighting the French, particularly from 1793 until his death in 1805. However, during a visit in the 1780s to France – after the American war and before the French Revolutionary wars began – then at peace with Great Britain, he boarded at the home of a local family while staying in St. Omer just across the Channel (an area still popular with British visitors). The household included two attractive daughters who cooked his breakfasts, his teas (dinners), and with whom he played cards in the evenings.

He did his best to communicate with them. Obviously they had made quite an impression on him. Meeting them led this future admiral, who never hesitated to annihilate an enemy in war, to write lightheartedly to a colleague back in England:

“I must learn French if ’tis only for the pleasure of talking to them, for they do not speak a word of English.”

Although excellent at nearly anything else he attempted, Nelson was never able to learn more than a few words of French. So he will be perfect to fictionalize in the new novel. How can he possibly be omitted.

And this man will make a fictional appearance as well:

[Later, on Friday night. Photo by me, 2018.]

Indeed, we do miss Washington – even if we don’t realize it. As you may recall, Friday was also a busy day across the Atlantic at the US Capitol:

AP FACT CHECK: Kavanaugh’s claim of exoneration

As we also know, we live in some tough social times as well. Instagram provides a platform for opinion also, of course. I don’t usually use it for that. In fact, I try to avoid those who use it for that.

But there are times it comes at us without warning and we read it. I agree with almost none of this – which someone shoved at me as a follower – below from a “feminist” playwright. Especially I disagree with her insinuation that “good men” are now “passive” and if so it is because, well… we just don’t give a damn:

[Screen capture of Instagram.]

However, that large numbers of women may see “good men” as she does should trouble us as men because if they see us as “passive” in the face of other men who abuse them, we must be giving off that impression. That reality should bother any decent man. For “passive” is of course the opposite of “active” – or “action,” a word she pointedly also uses there.

Seeing that led me to remember this. When during the 2016 presidential campaign then candidate Donald J. Trump ridiculed the attractiveness of Senator Ted Cruz’s wife, I could only but think that in response to such an effort to insult and humiliate his wife future president Andrew Jackson – who had once killed a man in a duel (in part) over his wife’s honor – would have probably angrily demanded “satisfaction” from Trump. Merely the possibility of being “called out” in its way enforced a “civility” in such discourse: knowing he might have faced a duel for insulting another man’s wife, Trump might have had second thoughts about blurting out such a crass thing – or things, as he blurts out such garbage regularly.

Yes, Jackson was involved in that duel way back in 1806. The world has thankfully moved on. Women are now legal equals to men. They aren’t “wards” of their husbands. Women vote.

Dueling is an extreme example, of course, but in the face of a 21st century “nanny state” which has also so reduced the zones of men’s possible “actions” (basically it’s now voting; maybe attempting a costly lawsuit that takes years and hardly troubles the rich; or standing on street corners and yelling), men have little choice but mostly to harbor a private and personal fury. Nearly four decades ago, at age 14, in junior high school, my first girlfriend became my first girlfriend after a brief hallway fight that started after I’d punched the guy who had moments earlier in study hall thrown a large spitball at her that hit her in the back of the head. For that punch I would have faced probably an hour’s after-school detention. (I got away with it; no teacher saw.) However, today a boy who did what I did is quite likely to be expelled, sent to “anti-violence” counseling, and possibly even be questioned by police; knowing that, another 14 year old boy in a similar situation in 2018 may well do nothing but look on angrily and helplessly. So if “good men” are perceived as, and even to be condemned as, “passive,” it needs to be at least understood that is probably because they have increasingly been forced to become mostly mere onlookers.

One can only imagine what Andrew Jackson would have done to a physical abuser of Mrs. Jackson. Interestingly this time we live in now is also a new world that many wanted to see come about: men overall were/are “the patriarchy” that need(ed) to be “detoxified.” What has also happened is “good men” have been essentially “disarmed,” while bullies/abusers have been permitted to run riot because there is no one to “stop” them until law enforcement gets involved, if it ever does. Indeed given all of that it is heartily ironic how that playwright and so many others like her now suddenly demand “good men” do something when “a lady’s honor” is at stake. Fear not, we can at least still fire off an enraged tweet or concoct a cutting Instagram meme: that’ll make the bastard tremble in his boots at his keyboard, no doubt.

Incidentally, I happened to be writing this back on Friday:

[Sneak peek into Tomorrow The Grace. Click to expand.]

I view every president through the prism of George Washington as first president: his precedent-setting public dignity and personal decorum in particular. Whether other presidents can live up to that standard is beside the point. They should ALL be held to that standard regardless.

Sometimes, in some ways, unfortunately the past was perhaps now and then a bit better than our present.

[Approaching midday, Saturday, September 29, 2018. Hertfordshire, England. Photo by me.]

Have a good Monday, wherever you are in the world. 🙂

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