Talking ’bout my wimpy generation.

The internet has created an army of Michael Cera types. How can we use pop culture to understand where our masculinity went?

Kids these days are wimps. We stay inside all day, pecking at our keyboards, updating our statuses, and living a virtual life. We all suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. We look like the vampires the girls in our generation swoon for.

I’ve been watching Parks and Recreation on NBC. Ron Swanson, an emerging cult icon from the show, is unlike our generation. He is a real man. Not only does he perform manly acts like drinking five glasses of whiskey while carving a harp out of mahogany, but he conducts himself like a man should. He’s upfront and courageous in everyday conflicts when most guys I know would do their damnedest to avoid them. Swanson’s not afraid to be rude, or disliked. In this world of poking and “liking”, we’ve become so obsessed with friending we’ve forgotten the importance of enemies. An enemy means you’ve stood up for something once in your life, right?

I think it was this guy who said that.

I’ve harped on the males of our generation for being nancy boys with no backbone, but it wasn’t until Swanson swaggered onto my TV did this hazy vexation crystallize. We males have lost our virility. And the internet stole it.

The internet’s to blame. (Which I will gladly point out to you on the internet). We have unlimited hours of entertainment at our fingertips, and it’s all tailored exactly to our most recent pleasures and interests. There’s no friction in our lives anymore. We don’t have to rub elbows with people who have different opinions and interest. As a result, we become soft to the outside world.

I don’t know what to do about it.

We should all go out and kill a moose with our bare hands while reciting Jack London. We should destroy our laptops and start a massive bonfire using the metal remains for sparks. In Dazed and Confused, the Adam Goldberg character grabs his pale friends by the shoulders and says “What everybody in this car needs is some good ol’ worthwhile visceral experience.” We need it too, Adam.

Pop culture can inform life, just as life informs pop culture. That’s the basis of this blog. The two mix and comment on each other infinitely. So whenever I see something in the world that bothers me, I’m comforted knowing I can back up my gripes with examples from film, music, TV, and books.

Swanson, a real man. The mustache helps.

We’ve got to be men. Or at least boys. Kids growing up today are no longer making tree forts or playing kickball or throwing rocks at trains roaring by. They’re slowly drowning in our new culture – the culture that exists on your laptop and in your ethernet cable. It’s turning us into unattractive wimps with bad posture and no street sense. I’d hate to live in a world where The Sandlot is a fantasy flick.

Be like Swanson. Be real, and be a man.


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