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Viking Pyres And The Decline Of Man

"The Kid" - pounding out the words.

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.


  1. As long as my wife is cranking out “Stand by your man” Tammy Wynette style I’m a happy camper. After all, he’s just a man.

  2. Has anyone examined the correlation between this phenomena and the largely white male 50-60 demographic participating in the Jan 6 insurrection and ongoing anti-government movements?

  3. Given the increase in population in recent years I’m not so sure that lowering the marriage/fertility rate among men isn’t such a bad thing.

  4. Good story. I see men giving up but I also see the rise of the New Sigma – men who are doing things differently and succeeding. It is also good to see women afforded the opportunities denied them over the years.

  5. Men have built the pyramids, painted the Sistine Chapel, and written the Constitution. Sure there have been a few hiccups along the way like World Wars One and Two and the Spanish Inquisition, but all’s good between friends. I just worry about handing the reins of civilization to a group who cannot parallel park a car.

  6. I, for one, am “clinking a celebratory glass of Chardonnay” to the capable fellow who parallel parks for me, the gifted artist who depicts man drawing primordial life from his patriarchal god, the slave owners who drafted our most precious articles defining THEIR liberty, and the authors of World Wars I and II, and, of course, their mighty predecessors who enslaved thousands upon thousands to erect monuments to their self-glory. I thank you mightily! Please protect me from change. Life is good.

  7. Good article. We’re producing a massive amount of men who simply can’t navigate today’s world and are paying the price. And there’s a new generation of them on the way – untrained, unsuccessful and looking for a scapegoat. You’ve touched on a trend we’re going to be seeing for a while.

  8. Headed inexorably for that inverted pyramid – more old people on the planet than young people to take care of them. And don’t think I don’t think about that every day.

  9. went back east for my high school reunion and was stunned to find out how many of my class had died — mostly of mans diseases like heart attack and alcohol but some who took their own way out. very hard to see so many promising lives end this way.

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