Friday, June 29, 2007

What James Harris Could Mean

From CourageMan, a synopsis of a lesson given by Fr. Scalia (yah--his dad works in the Federal Court system.) It's what James said, more or less.

He says in his presentation that the title comes from one of the commonest things he tells men -- "grow up" or "be a man, not a boy," something he's said to me individually, with the caveat that "we are raised in a society that makes it difficult." That latter point is the focus of the bulk of his talk.

Father Scalia notes a crisis of manhood, citing the usual statistics -- the education-achievement gap, the overwhelming number of fatherless men in prison. He tells ToT that this is because boys have to be taught to become men (or in Camille Paglia's formulation, "a woman is; a man must become"), and have it done by other men. But our culture doesn't do that, instead keeping males as boys.

Biology rebels though, so males not socialized to be men will try to become through other means, which accounts for the popularity of gangs and the "conquest" culture. In the past, he notes, every culture had some rite of passage,...

Males want to sacrifice and be heroic, even in defeat -- it's what makes you a man. He cites examples from the Titanic to the Birkenhead, where men observed the code of honor -- "women and children first" -- even at the cost of their own lives. This is what men want and need, but the culture breeds it out of them. Even in defeat. The Spartans failed to keep the Persians from advancing through Thermopylae, but the 300 men stood in the face and did their duty in the face of overwhelming numbers. He also cited the Chosin Reservoir and Black Hawk Down battles. Father also cites how in boys' war games, everybody wanted to die the noble death, knowing that no greater love exists than to lay down one's life for others. "When boys play war games, they're usually not in the supply lines," Father jokes. But our culture is so phobic to this that even in the 1997 movie about the Titanic, the film-makers said they didn't show the "women and children first" nobility because "nobody would believe it."

There's more at the link. Good stuff.

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