MRM: Hiding in Plain View?

After much discussion with Paul Elam about the state of the men’s movement, pop culture, and the way forward, I’ve formed the opinion that we MRAs are, at best, little more than hands on a broken tiller.  I have contended in the past, and I still do, that history will judge the ‘turning point’ in the Gender War as being sometime before the middle of next year.  I personally think things are snowballing enough, quickly enough, that early next near politicians the world over will not be able to avoid these issues anymore.

I’m sure that’s not a surprising thing to hear, and probably your only quibble would be with the timing.  I say that timing is based on the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back, that is/will be when all these unemployed men, with no benefits other than welfare left to fall back on, will have run out of things to sell.  And then, they will be facing homelessness.  And getting more and more angry at the entitlements given women.

But these things don’t come out of nowhere, and to date, the men’s movement has been largely invisible, and when not invisible- painted as villainous sexism.  So where will this cultural awareness, this impetus to effect change, focus its efforts?  How will all these angry men know who to get angry AT?

My contention, as an MRA, is that they already know.  My contention is that the Men’s Movement is literally nothing more than that first guy to stand up and say something.  Once that happens, all the other guys (in order of confidence) will then stand up too- if the first guy doesn’t get his head cut off.

We MRAs have had our head cut off….a lot.  But, we grow new ones, and get back up.  And now, other guys are standing up too, and not getting their heads cut off.  And it is for THIS reason alone that I think we will see exponential growth in progress on men’s issues.  After all, you can only be heard if you have a head, and more and more of us are keeping them.

Another aspect of our discussion revolved around the concept of popular culture, and the acceptance of the MRM as worthy of attention.  Many here and elsewhere seem to believe that our concepts, the injustices we identify, and the criticism we level are neither accepted widely, nor seen as anything but whining.  I contend that not only are most of our concerns reflected in popular culture, nearly all of them are, and so much so that not seeing it is likely a matter of cognitive dissonance.

Take music, for example.  We all know of the Eminem / Rhianna take on DV, which could have been taken straight from an MRA site.  We mistakenly attribute that to ‘broken clocks are still correct twice a day’ type thinking.  I say mistakenly, because a good portion of society is concerned about certain aspects of daily life.  There ARE people who are concerned about male suicide, for example, that still firmly believe in The Patriarchy(tm).  There are even people who are concerned about nearly all of the things we MRAs are, that don’t identify with (or even show awareness of) the Men’s Movement.

Sometimes, that person is in a band.  Like The Shins, for example.

I have to confess, I got the idea to write this while listening to this band, so I apologize for the obvious segue.  I haven’t kept up with them for the last couple of years, but I recently ran across a couple CDs, and after giving them a spin, I figured I’d share with you folks.

Here’s a song called “Girl Sailor”.  Read these lyrics, then tell me it doesn’t mirror your feelings on the matter

exactly:

The Shins – “Girl Sailor”

The gutter may profess its love,
Then follow it with hesitation,
For there are just so many of
You out there for rent

A stronger girl would shake this off in flight,
And never give it more than a frowning hour,
But you have let your heart decide,
Loss has conquered you,

You’ve won one too many fights,
Wearing many hats every time,
But you won’t win here tonight,

You’ve made it through the direst of straits alright,
Can you help it if plain love now seems less interesting?
You haven’t changed an ounce in my eyes,
And I cannot lecture you,

And does anything I say seem relevant at all?
You’ve been at the helm since you were just five,
While I cannot claim to be more than a passenger,

But, you’ve won one too many fights,
Wearing all of your clothes at the same time,
Let the good times end tonight,
Oh girl, sail her, don’t sink her,
This time,

Just a moment or two from now,
Not a mind will retain even a trace,
Of the thoughts that I struggled to tell
And how our stack of cards just fell,

 

So settle this once and for all,
The light no longer shows the cracks around my door,
And I have no lantern to light your way home tonight,

 

 

You are not some saint who’s above,
Giving someone a stroll through the flowers,
You’ve got so much more to dream of,
Oh girl, sail her, don’t sink her,
This time,
This time,
This time.

I’ve struggled on many an occasion to put into words exactly how I feel about what feminism has done to relationships between men and women.  I’ve also struggled to put into words the disillusionment that becoming conversant in Game brings a man. Not only do The Shins put these complex issues into clear focus, they do it in what is probably the most difficult timing a song can be in.  This is a band for intellectuals, and high-level musicians – and yes, that does mean it’s not as catchy as Ke$ha, thank God.

Folksy stuff not your bag?  You prefer a little more synthesizer and booming to acoustic guitar?  How about a little Industrial music?  There’s a band by the name of KMFDM that I listen to regularly.  You may recall them as the band largely blamed for Columbine (which compelled the band to rename themselves MDFMK), even though a hallmark of the band is what could best be termed ‘violent pacifism’.  For as far back as I can remember, this band has had fairly leftist viewpoints…ones that I heartily agreed with (and still do – SURPRISE!, I’m a lefty!)…but wait, look at some lyrics from their latest album:

KMFDM – “Bitches”

All these years, all this time
We have been messing with your mind
You thought us Noble, Right and True
You just don’t have a fucking clue

All the humor, pun, and wit
A heaping, steaming pile of shit
With a smile and a wink
We make believe our poop don’t stink

Rip the system, revolution
Adding fuel to your confusion
Gobble up the crap we feed you
We don’t really love and need you

We just want your cold hard cash
Get our hands into your stash
Now shut up, listen, and behold
Finally the truth’s been told

[Chorus:]
We’re only in it for the money
To dip our fingers in ya honey
We pretend to no end
We are bitches for your riches

My tide and the audacity
Of a handsome crook from Germany
A million sheets of patient paper
Chronicle his every caper

You never had us figured out
Lend stature, relevance and clout
Even called us pioneers,
When really we were privateers

 

You reveled in our plagiarism
Joined into the organism
Your pompousness and indecorum
Spewed on every online forum

How you dribbled, how you drooled
Priceless how we had you fooled
We hijacked your bedazzled souls
For ransom ’til we made it gold

[Chorus]
We’re only in it for the money
To dip our fingers in ya honey
We pretend to no end
We are bitches for your riches

We’re only in it for the gain
Sex and drugs, and rock and roll fame
Jewelry, luxury
We are jammin’ for your ….

We’re only in it for the encore
We want it all, and then some more
All our deeds, plant the seeds
Prime booty is our duty

We just want your cold hard cash
Get our hands into your stash
Now shut up, listen, and behold
Finally the truth’s being told

We’re only in it for the drugs
The … never burns
Can’t get enough to stuff
The artifice of avarice

 

 

We’re only in it for the money
To dip our fingers in your honey
We pretend to no end
We are bitches for your riches
We are bitches for your riches

There are countless songs like this out there, and while the phenomenon may be nothing new, the frequency is increasing.  These songs are resonating with the public…you know, all those people who don’t know about us, or ‘agree’ with us?

These social memes are out there. The sentiments of the MRM are universal sentiments. Frankly, I think there’s even merit in completely disbanding the MRM altogether, in some ways.  Our sentiments certainly aren’t exclusive to us.

All we are, remember, is the first guy in the room to stand up.

Dan Moore is the editor and publisher of MenZ Magazine.

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