Penii Ascendant

« August 2006 »

Memo to Johnny Diaz: YOU ARE DUMB.

I don't hate bored reporters per se. I can empathize with them. Being a low-rung print journalist means spending the vast majority of your time writing about shit you don't care about. But there's apathetic, there's sloppy, and there's Johnny Diaz.

Mr. Diaz came to my attention when his two-month old Boston Globe article on gender relations finally got used as filler in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Like any well-researched bit of trend-spotting, it was shoved into Friday's lifestyles section somewhat haphazardly, only appearing briefly on the website's front page where it met my disapproving eyes.

The article's title had been changed from the original, ambiguous "Tough Love" to the more informative and irritating "Culture now celebrates the guy's guy". Great.

In the grand scheme of comedy, the three funniest things in the world are, in order: jokes about dicks, jokes about poop, and once-dominant groups desperately and pathetically trying to reclaim their eroded status after a cultural shift. Whether it's Justice Sunday, flying the Confederate flag, or putting creationism stickers on biology textbooks, all it means is that the world has moved on and left you behind, and now you're panting and red-faced and sweating as you try to catch up.

And thus, the "guy's guy". Traditional masculine role! Power tools! Flannel! Scrotum-scratching! Not listening to women! It's back, and in a big way, according to Johnny Diaz. And here are the stellar examples he provides:

He starts off with Jack Bauer, the lead character of "24", the Geneva-flouting, President-torturing Kiefer Sutherland, a man who is not only completely fictional, but bears little actual resemblance to the schlubs who think the show's a documentary. I mean, I like "24" too, but Bauer is clearly not the role model character. Chloe is. But this was just all prelude for the MOST CLUELESS PARAGRAPH IN NEWSPAPER HISTORY:

"This nod to manhood can be found at the movies -- from the latest installments of 'Mission: Impossible' and 'Superman' and the introduction of 'Nacho Libre,' the courageous chef who transforms into a cape-crusading wrestler to rescue a Mexican orphanage -- as well as on such TV series as 'Prison Break' and 'House.'"

M:I:III? If a summer action movie means the resurgence of men, then they've been resurging for 30 years straight. Superman? Everyone was saying the new Superman was gay! House? An aging, video-game-playing grump who only gets away with insulting everyone around him because he's so damn smart? If that makes you a "guy's guy", then I guess I have to stop shaving my pubes and buy a cordless drill instead.

And NACHO MOTHERFUCKING LIBRE? It's a good thing I was wrong. I figured the first time anyone actually attempted to apply cultural relevance to Nacho Libre, the universe would self-destruct as a mercy-killing.

So what else has Diaz got to prove that hairy-chested belchers are gaining the upper hand over the largely-nonexistent metrosexual movement? Let's see. A book by Jim Belushi, Ryan Seacrest looking a bit scruffy on the last American Idol, a gay mobster on The Sopranos, and that Harvard nutjob with the inadequacy issues who wrote that "Manliness" book. Oh, and the "Man Law" beer ads.

Now, the "Man Law" ads are angling for their own spot in this space any day now, so I won't devote TOO much time to them, but for now, I'll just point out that these ads use irony the way a desperate criminal uses a hostage - knowing they're fucked, but holding it in front of them to prolong the inevitable. Irony should be suing Miller for defamation of character.

Johnny, and guys everywhere, please. Calm down. You're not an endangered species just because women occasionally like to see a shirt tucked in and there are half a dozen places in the country where two boys can kiss in public without getting beaten up. And if that day ever comes, I'm sure we can establish a refuge where you can breed in captivity. I hear Dallas is lovely in the spring.

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