Monday, February 26, 2018

Machismo

In this post I'm going to indulge in some ethnic generalizations. These aren't meant to be universal. However, philosophers, psychologists, sociologists, and social commentators all resort to generalizations.

It's interesting to compare a pre-Christian culture with the impact of the Gospel after that's had some leavening influence on the culture. Likewise, it's interesting to compare how different ethnic groups appropriate the Gospel. It modifies them in some respects, but not in others.

Black-American culture is stereotypically extroverted. And the male component is stereotypically macho. In the general culture that's exemplified by the HipHop image. (I admit that I don't know much about that.) But before HipHop, you had Richard Roundtree in Shaft.

That has a parallel in Latino culture, which is macho. Same thing with Italian-American culture.

Machismo is decadent. Masculinity gone to seed. That's a throwback to pagan warrior cultures.

But it's interesting to compare that to effeminate men. I see twenty-something white guys who are anorexic. They have no normal male musculature. It's as if they spend all their time in internet cafes:

...they want to deprive me of the ability to defend myself. Conservatives [are] repulsed by the notion that personal security should depend almost completely on the government. The sense of dependence is at odds with their view of a free citizenry, and — to put it bluntly — they perceive their progressive peers as soft and unmanly.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/02/the-gun-control-debate-could-break-america

Now, I find it much easier to relate to macho guys than effeminate guys. Machismo takes a natural virtue to a vicious extreme. But it has a foundation in something good. Sanctifying grace dials machismo back a bit. It moderates the brutality, posturing, rapacity, ruthless competition.

By contrast, effeminacy is a pure vice. There's no underlying virtue. That has to be replaced, root and branch.

Then you have the Asian-American image, which is high polarized. On the one hand is the model minority stereotype. Nerdy and geeky. Excels at math, science, and computer anything. On the other hand is the martial arts bad boy, tough guy image. Fast cars, fast girls. I'm not sure that Asian-Americans have found their voice as of yet. There's these two extreme role models that have nothing in common. Almost like Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor. Basically, Lewis co-opted the role of Dean Martin–playing both characters.

Jon McCray strikes me as a guy who strikes a nice balance. On the one hand he projects the forward, self-confident demeanor of stereotypical black-American masculinity. But it's been channeled towards a worthy end:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1okSIA8UEY8OqvtjGHFvzA

2 comments:

  1. Speaking as an Asian-American, perhaps someone like Jeremy Lin (Harvard graduate, NBA player, committed Christian) or Jonny Kim (former Navy SEAL, resident emergency physician, NASA astronaut candidate) can unite the two poles.

    My impression is Asian-American women are doing better in terms of image than Asian-American men. Asian-American women project a certain confidence that Asian-American men lack. Both in terms of personality as well as aesthetics (e.g. sex appeal). Consider (in their heyday) actresses like Lucy Liu in Kill Bill or Constance Wu in Fresh Off the Boat, popular singers like Lea Salonga, athletes like Michelle Kwan or the recent Chloe Kim, and so on.

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  2. Then there are Asian Indians. I don't think it's possible to understand Asian Indian men by analyzing them with anyone else's categories.

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