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Friday, November 13, 2009

On "The Macho Tragic"

There is something about what I like to call "The Macho Tragic (TM)." By that I mean the insecure testosterone-fuelled bad behavior that oftentimes takes place after the home team loses (or even if they win), or at bars frequented by single, coked-up Wall Street-types after the Dow closes lower. The traders have The Devil behind their double-breasted suits and God help the bartender -- especially if it is a women -- that has to deal with this species of Neolithic Beast. You can hear this type coming a mile away, from the vestigial tail, the sulfurous smell and the cloven hooves a clacking. The compact body, legs underneath, akimbo. Budweiser hoisted against The Gods. Some like to call this type "maverick," others "the Hell Raiser," or "the rebel," a few "the tough guy."

I call it asshole(tm).

The Macho Tragic is as absurd a caricature of the human personality as the grown woman with the little-girl-baby-doll voice (Averted Gaze); it is as absurd a charicature of the human personality as the little child star pontificating on "the business" on the late show (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment). You know what I'm talking about. It was, at least since Obama broke that infernal chain of brush-clearers, what we expected of our Commander-in-Chiefs. Even a fully-gron band geek like Bill Clinton felt the need to threaten to paste the now-deceased lexicographical snob William Safire in the face once.

I truly detest that macho shit. In fact, as a philosophically non-violent man it is Tragic Macho Shit (tm) that more than anything else in this wide world tests that resolve. It is almost a biochemical with me. Tragic-Macho-Shit and Rom Mwangaguhunga do not mix. I yearn to call bullshit on that activity. One year ago or so I wrote, acidly, for HuffPo:

We've come to expect a certain amount of raw "manliness" from our American Presidents, but George W. Bush -- "Dubya" -- may have been the straw that broke the proverbially camel's back on the importance of that particular skillset. What is a President if he -- and invariably it has always been a he (averted gaze) -- cannot crack a Macadamia nut 'tween his forefinger and thumb? Previous to "Dubya," Presidents from George Washington, who excelled in the manly arts of colt-breaking and wrestling to the rail-splitting Lincoln were expected to be manly men. They had what I like to call "the rib-busting ox-strength." Reagan, after his fashion, ostentatiously cleared brush. And Teddy Roosevelt best of all understood Power and exercised it at every opportunity.

There has been, though, quite a bit of excessive "Thumos" in the air, especially after September 11th when we became increasingly security-oriented as a people. Lately the testosteronal stink in the musky gladiatorial fundament that is politics has become thoroughly obnoxious.

So true. This macho is unironically 1950s; unapologetic; shitheaded. It doesn't mind ensorcelling itself in racist or sexist jokes (that's just tough). It smokes stupid, unfiltered cigarettes forsaking health for the sake of "toughness." They drink stupid drinks with outrageous alcohol content and think that makes them cool. They identify toughliness with Godliness and the fixity of blood ethnic kinship as the fundament of the human condition. They are naught else but simple shit. They like guns and SUVs and being photographed killing their own meat, preferably with automatic weoponry:

(Former Governor Palin and a luckless quadruped via slurvemag)

Cause it's all about pow-uh. The sheer brick-shit-housiness of it all comes loud-and-clear through the exaggerated voice -- as if dragged through a field of broken glass and greasy laughter -- and and over-identification with all things violent and alpha. They fuckin' drop the "g" in their "-ing" endings (electoral defeats are a "Thumpin'")Hillary Clinton embraced it, sacrilegiously, during the 2008 campaign (But does it return her hugs now that the Clinton Doctrine is decidedly feminist?).

The Macho Tragic name-called "Political Correctness" with dirty fingers, calling it "Other" -- over and against the dominant "Us" -- even before that light egalitarian mood had even named itself. I find this macho Tragic for several reasons. For one, Baroquely macho behavior -- even in the most burly-assed mullet-wearing roughneck -- always suggests an almost touching insecurity. Take that disgusting voodoo out of your handshake! Second, the sheer lack of self-consciousness as to how that is perceived (the opposite intended effect) is sheer comedy. Third and finally, overmacho punkenheadedness almost always brings about an opposite and equal reaction, a countermacho. It is positively Newtonian how The Macho Tragic is unto itself a law of reciprocal shithead.

John McCain is the ultimate Macho tragedy. He lost the Presidential race as soon as it began. There is a profound irony that the man who wrote "Character is Destiny" would then go on to a loss precisely because of that character (that shit is deep). How curious finally that "Tough Guys" are rarely that -- read: loudmouth Pat Buchanan -- while the real strong men are the ones who downplay their toughness, like Senator Jim Webb (a man who, unlike Buchanan, is a veteran that actually won the political race he competed for).

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