It’s not just about military intelligence

I missed the original hoo-ha about Rangel’s new remarks attacking the military. Most commentators are appropriately likening it to Kerry’s recent “joke” about military intelligence. I think there’s more there, though, than just an attack on the intellectual abilities of the average mil guy or gal. Here’s the money quote:

I want to make it abundantly clear: if there’s anyone who believes that these youngsters want to fight, as the Pentagon and some generals have said, you can just forget about it. No young, bright individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of educational benefits. And most all of them come from communities of very, very high unemployment. If a young fella has an option of having a decent career or joining the army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq.

I don’t know why, but when I read Rangel’s quotation, the subtext to me was that real men don’t fight. Only uneducated louts fight.

In other words, I saw a metrosexual peeking out from under his quotation. You remember metrosexuals, don’t you? They’re feminized young men who nevertheless claim that their actual sexual orientation is heterosexual. They’re just giving free rein to their feminine side. (You can read more about this breed here.) When I read Rangel saying “If a young fella has an option of having a decent career or joining the army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq,” I see it, not just as a comment about “only stupid people join the military,” but also as a demasculization of men. In Rangel’s world, real men aren’t warriors, they’re desk jockies. This is an entirely new phenomenon.

There have, of course, been other times in history when men dressed in a feminized way. Just go back to the ancient Minoan civilization, to see men with long hair and tightly bound waists. Beginning in the late seventeenth century, and lasting right up until the French Revolution, European and British upper class men had long hair, wore high heels, and had elaborate floral patterns embroidered on their clothes. Those styles, though, had more to do with displaying class difference than with downplaying masculinity. A man who could afford silk embroidery, who could wear his hair long, and who tottered about in high heels was boasting about the fact that he did not need to work. These same men, however, valued their warrior status. They practiced sword fighting, rode hard, hunted animals, dueled and, if they were late 18th/early 19th century Brits, boxed.

Rangel’s comment, however, implies that this innate masculinity has no place in today’s world. Now, I’m perfectly willing to agree with him — up to a point. As a mother, I spend an enormous amount of time working with my children to teach them to control their aggression. I view as uncivilized the Muslim populations that invariably greet words with violence. Civilization demands a balance. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that men have always been warriors and that all cultures have had a warrior class. This is the first time in history, I think, that the warrior class, rather than being regarded as a protector, or a sign of masculinity, however, is viewed as a type of cretinism. Considering who our enemies our, I don’t think this world view bodes well for our future.

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Comments

  1. kevin says

    “other times in history when men dressed in a feminized way”

    Heck, just look at some of the men’s styles in the 60’s (ruffled shirts, scarves tied around the neck, etc. Ick!)

  2. jg says

    We need to fly-in some Shiite-type militia to kidnap Mr. Rangel and pop him into his local New York National Guard unit.

    They’re the American troops I know who are in Iraq. And they WANT to do WHAT IT TAKES to protect this country. Including fighting. Of course!

    He’d find himself in the real world. A fat fool who lives in Washington surrounded by real Americans. Shake some reality into his empty skull.

    I wonder WHO Rangel ‘thinks’ publishes all those Iraq milblogs?!

    Were I not confident of Bookworm’s source, I would take Rangel’s quote to be from a Michael Moore film. Hollywood type, bizarre cant.

    Some commentators from our side view the Left (and the Dems) as partially/mostly insane. Rangel seems to vindicate that view.

  3. Zhombre says

    I think the key phrase in Rangel’s comments is “as I was when I was 18 years old.” It’s been a long time since Charles Rangel was 18. Decades. And I suspect he’s putting this not in a Vietnam but in a Korean template. He assumes nothing has changed about the military or the caliber and motivation of its recruits since young Charlie Rangel had few career options and joined or was drafted into the military and shipped to Korea. I can’t otherwise his invincible and stubborn myopia on the subject except in terms of personal experience which he has cast into marble. In this no doubt he’s sincere. An ass, but sincere.

  4. WhippyGoldberg says

    Why are high heels, tight waists and long hair feminine? And “Muslim populations that invariably greet words with violence”???

    Sounds like somebody is an ignorant ethnocentrist and downright racist. Good for you! Together we can bastardize history and world issues with dumb blogs clogging up bandwidth.

  5. says

    Clearly, Whippy, you haven’t been looking at women lately. Women have naturally cinched waists. Women have a better ability to grow their hair longer because, for the most part, women don’t go bald. In addition, in Western culture, at all times through the 1920s, women wore their hair long. Lastly, in almost all cultures that have used high heels, women are the ones most likely to wear them because balancing on them tends to thrust the chest forward and the bottom backwards — both of which accentuate features men are likely to find sexually attractive. But other than actually knowing what I’m talking about, I guess I am an ignorant, bigoted ethnocentrist.

    As for my comment about Muslim populations greeting words with violence, you might want to read a paper. Easy examples are the cartoon riots and the riots greeting the Pope’s speech.

  6. Trish Olsen says

    A few months ago, my husband & I signed-up to join “Soldier’s Angels” an organization made up of regular citizens who agree to support a soldier or Marine located primarily in Iraq. Long story short: Our soldier, a 22-year-old Marine Sgt located in Al Anbar Province, Western Iraq, has sent us amazingly articulate letters expresssing how much the majority of our forces WANT to be there, not only to protect us back home but to help the Iraqi people(which seems to be VERY inmprotant to them.) Our Marine is a product of 1 private Catholic schools all 12 years & played competivie sports, including baseball & was amemeber of the schoool’s golf team. Although college scholarships WERE offered at the time of graduation, our Mairne met a recruiter & was totally hooked. “College just didn’t seem right for nme, at the time & it was a done deal. I beame a Marine & I’ve not regretted it a single day, since. I LOVE doing the work I do!” scholarships.

  7. Trish Olsen says

    So sorry. My post, just now, was a mistake, a fault of my computer acting ureally weird lately. Sorry for the jumbled mess!
    My point was simple: that our “adopted soldier’s” communications have been absolutely amazing — articulate & very clear-thinking. HARDLY the type of person Kerry & Rangel have tried to project! Both my husband & I have been blown-away by the sheer QUALITY of these letters. It makes a citizen very, very proud!

  8. says

    Sounds like somebody is an ignorant ethnocentrist and downright racist.

    Man, I go away for a bit and people still talk about me. Where’s the love, man.

    But other than actually knowing what I’m talking about, I guess I am an ignorant, bigoted ethnocentrist.

    The club of the ignorant and ethnocentrist somehow includes me, Neo-Neocon, the Sanity Squad, and you. Wow.

    Small planet.

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