There’s some buzz out there that man – specifically, men, a group to which we happen to belong – is in decline.
There’s some science behind it. Studies have shown guys are stepping aside for the ascension of what has been described as The New Goddess. We don’t want to turn this into a man vs. woman thing, we happen to like women – a lot. But the argument is that all the breaks we as a gender enjoyed in years past are being passed from Jimmy to Jane, and Jimmy isn’t taking it very well.
We’ll spare you the stats because they can be daunting and we don’t want to depress anyone unduly, but suffice to say that men are drinking more, dying earlier in life – often by their own hand – and are complaining of having fewer options as women pass them by academically and in their careers.
Now, we know there’s an element out there who may be cheering on this news, perhaps clinking a celebratory glass of Chardonnay and sharing a high five. We get it, you were limited by a male-enforced glass ceiling, passed over by employers and universities, and this era of new opportunity is feeling like sweet and justified payback.
We wish you well. Really. Hope you’re able to make some cool things society can use because we believe in a woman’s role in the world.
But in the interim we’re also seeing the rise of something we jaded, cynical people laboring within the concentrated confines of our news bunker have come to call – The Viking Pyre.
This is the exaggerated suicide of a male in crisis, a man with few or no options available, in some cases complete with the fiery culmination he feels he needs to elevate him to his afterlife. They are particularly hard for us to take, despite the fact that we are no strangers to incidents of this type, but because our own mortality remains in question, the time and manner of our end unwritten. And we feel oddly linked.
As we push onward into life with the chromosomes Mom and Dad gave us we hear more and more how young men are in crisis – alone, celibate, without hope. The resulting opportunity gap has given rise to an often misdirected “Bro Science” with dubiously manly men like Sockless Tucker Carlson prescribing dodgy workout and food regimens, tanning our manly bits in a “Tucker Tanner” we guess is aimed at boosting declining testosterone levels and all presented against an oddly homoerotic backdrop of shirtless men and pseudo-science.
We figured something was up, because we’ve gotten into far fewer bar fights lately and find other random males we encounter willing to talk about the latest book they’ve read instead of instantly challenging us to a wrist-wrestling contest. Much of the data accumulated in support of our flagging maleness needs to be questioned, in our view, despite documented declines in the marriage and reproductive rates among those queried across the country.
But while additional research is undertaken in an effort to get to the bottom of the unraveling of the American male we will continue to keep an eye out for another terrible byproduct, another call of a man taking control of his life in the only way left to him, a drastic action complete with the flames he feels he needs to send him on to the afterlife.