Indeed…

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717 Views

Mark Dery:

OK, so maybe I’m overstepping the bounds of my Learning Annex degree in pop psychology. But the hidden costs of our overcompensatory hypermachismo are far worse than a few politicians slimed by pundits. The horror in Iraq has been protracted past the point of lunacy by George W.’s bring-it-on braggadocio, He-Ra unilateralism and damn-the-facts refusal to acknowledge mistakes — all hallmarks of a pathological masculinity that confuses diplomacy with weakness and arrogant rigidity with strength. It is founded not on a self-assured sense of what it is but on a neurotic loathing of what it secretly fears it may be: wussy. And it will go to the grave insisting on battering-ram stiffness (stay the course! don’t pull out!) as the truest mark of manhood.

It’s the enchantment with political masculinity that lends credence to arguments about Will and Green Lantern Theory; the idea that reality doesn’t make a difference as long as we’re tough enough and want something badly enough. There’s a weird communal aspect to it, too. The unwashed hordes of right blogistan seem terrified that admitting the truth about Iraq will directly undermine their own tightly held masculinity.

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