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Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Zoo Hypothesis

It helps explain the proliferation of 'reality' shows featuring working class (i.e., not lumpenproles but blue-collar) whites: It enables the androgynous liberalist a safe glimpse of the Other from the safety of his / her sofa:
The zoo hypothesis suggests that American suburbanites are amused by exotic creatures that they rarely see at the mall or biking about the trails in Spandex - in perhaps the same way as Petronius wrote for his literate audience about smelly soldiers and crafty innkeepers...just as grizzly bears and Bengal tigers are a big draw at the zoo, so too white-boy reality shows allow us to get close to these perhaps-endangered species. And as long as they do not stick their paws and snouts too far out between the bars to mouth off about gays, minorities, or feminists, there is a quaint appeal in - safely - watching these men cuss, and occasionally fight, while sawing and drilling in the wild. Why go on safari to their usual haunts in Alaska, Louisiana, or Wyoming, where bad things are said to happen to outsiders, when A&E can bring the perpetrator class, slightly sanitized, into your living room? A metrosexual can enjoy Duck Dynasty or Ax Men without necessarily being fond of the political wing inhabited by Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee.

Aside from the idea of glimpsing rare species in their natural habitat, a second theory suggests that viewers are smugly satisfied that they are not like these uncouth white boys, who are certainly worse spoken, more emotional, less mature, and more intolerant than the viewership. For all the MSNBC talk of "white privilege," these reality shows remind Americans of a non-minority underclass (fabricated though it is for TV) that is a bit worse off than the Latina newscaster who trills her Rs each evening on the news.

The national hysteria over Duck Dynasty's successful war against GLAAD and the profit-minded A&E execs might suggest that the white working classes also are therapeutic for millions of Americans. In the heart of every suburban soccer mom there is a reason she navigates a huge four-wheel-drive, snow-tire monstrosity, or has treads on her hiking boots that could take her over Mount Whitney. The ability to go anywhere is not necessarily antithetical to the usual reality of going nowhere. Watching these shows is a sort of grubbier version of wandering around an REI store, soaking up all the ways in which to confront the wild. So good-ol'-boy reality offers glimpses, premodern though they may be, of unrestrained freedom.
Although I'm in general syncope with Mr. Hanson's article, I offer a different take on shows like Axe Men, Duck Dynasty, Swamp People, Ice Road Truckers, and Black Gold that may also help 'splain their popularity: they feature sexually differentiated men, white men, doing manly things. This has appeal to other white men, who likely suffer from varying degrees of social gelding in their workday lives in a feminized culture, and women of all colors who, despite the fact that they themselves are likely far more mannish in mores and behavior than their grandmothers, secretly crave an authentic "wild at heart" masculinity that complements their feminine yearning. Even if they don't, can't--or won't--admit it.

Thus we come to the paradox that Mr. Hanson alludes to above. These strong, untamed fellows possess a masculinity that the bulk of more 'civilized' guys are perceived to lack...a masculinity that both sexes find wistfully appealing. Yet, like their urban thug bretheren, their rawness is incongruent with customs of a more urbane broader society. Best to keep their political incorrectness, their masculinity, and their (relative) savagery at a safe distance.

14 comments:

ray said...

both your views have merit

additionally, these shows (like live athletics) constitute the ONLY mass-com offerings in which content is not already "fixed" and teeming with sub-textual Prog-Prop

modern films (to say nothing of TV) now are largely unwatchable, theyre so full of PC assumptions and mass conditioning that normalizes femsupremacism, homosexuality, etc



Elusive Wapiti said...

Thanks Ray.

I find it interesting that for as scripted and as safe as these shows are--safe in the sense that they aren't likely to substantively exceed the modern liberalist's Overton window--yet elements of the Left practically swooned over Mr. Robertson's factually/mechanically/anatomically correct, if unpolished, comments on homosexuality.

What's more, and more sobering (for we should expect the Left to act like the illiberal thugs they are), a significant portion of the Right piled on Mr. Robertson for his indelicate comments about buggery--suggesting to me that, on the topic of homosexuality, the maintream so-called Conservative commentariat hold views fairly indistinguishable from GLAAD or GLSEN.

Re: movies and/or television--many movies are hard to watch these days given their obvious and obnoxious apologetics for the religion of liberalism. Never mind the big, heavy handed stuff, when even the "little" stuff just jumps out at you.

And television? Let's just say I don't miss it.

Eric said...

Wapiti:
I tend to think that's correct; but I'd also add that, being presented in a MSM venue, the elites still maintain a measure of control over the content, albeit indirectly (You don't want to be like THOSE guys, do you?)I think they're being portrayed like some kind of museum exhibit, IOW.

Also, I don't bother much with pop culture/TV either. Anything I want to watch, I can find on the Internet.

Maybe I've just been in an urban area too long myself, but I can't bring myself to believe that women really 'secretly crave a wild-at-heart masculinity'. If they did, those reality show guys would figure into the year-end 'top hottest guys' lists we're deluged with every year: instead those lists are filled with tattooed, foul-mouthed incompetent celebrities who couldn't fight (or think) their way out of a paper sack!

Unknown said...

Maybe I've just been in an urban area too long myself, but I can't bring myself to believe that women really 'secretly crave a wild-at-heart masculinity'. If they did, those reality show guys would figure into the year-end 'top hottest guys' lists we're deluged with every year: instead those lists are filled with tattooed, foul-mouthed incompetent celebrities who couldn't fight (or think) their way out of a paper sack!

Eric,
There's a difference between sub-conscious, natural tendencies and the conscious, conditioned response expected of us. Most of our thought-responses are a result of how we were taught to think. That's the beautiful gift of humanity - the ability to rise above our natural tendencies.

There's a bizarre play about it - like dancing. One feints, and the other advances... back and forth. While "wild at heart" is not the culturally acceptable, driven by rote response, it has become the sub-conscious need... when we are in sin, surrounded, and saturated in it, our sub-conscious desire is something pure and wholesome.

But while surrounded by pure and wholesome, suddenly our natural desire is for corrupt.

The dance between good and evil, I guess.

-C

ray said...

eric, e.w. -

well i find females in u.s. are pretty starved for masculinity -- not in some overt, macho-muscles way, but for males who arent afraid of them, nor submissive to them and their society

course, that aint free

no question that MSM electronics are top-down guided, particularly in the modern era . . . it's part of the "accepted background assumptions" re-inforced by most media and entertainment

it's v difficult to make an "honest" film nowdays, tho occasionally it is done, flying under the radar so to speak, usually by major directors who can get away with it

t.v. is a lost cause, and even athletics are heavily tainted by the Holy Religion of Progressivism -- hint at saying something un-p.c. and you are gone and blacklisted

but their constipated little reign will pass, soon too . . . speaking of entertaining, that'd be the word i'd use to describe their grand designs on the planet and stars

these people never get tired of wanting to be God, heck it beats their own comedies



Elusive Wapiti said...

"the elites still maintain a measure of control over the content,"

Yes. For me, I find it useful to remind myself that content and editorial selection is exercised by feminist women, liberalist men, and homosexuals. This triad is perhaps most evident in the fashion industry and mags...where the men look like Annie Lennox circa 1982, and the women tend to look like 12 yo boys.

"but for males who arent afraid of them, nor submissive to them and their society"

Nail, head.

Elusive Wapiti said...

"athletics are heavily tainted by the Holy Religion of Progressivism"

Indeed...very easy to utter heresies against liberalist saints...and provoke the mutaween in response.

His Lady said...

well i find females in u.s. are pretty starved for masculinity -- not in some overt, macho-muscles way, but for males who arent afraid of them, nor submissive to them and...society

But since the only things we're ever shown are the macho-muscles variety and the complete-sociopath cheap imitation, we lose our ability to perceive and appreciate the real version: godly manhood.

And that was the plan all along: separate the women from the men, and then use us against the men. Satan's plan writ large, and hey, it's worked pretty well for his disciples. The rest of us are left to perish, but omelets and eggs, am I right?

Elusive Wapiti said...

His Lady,

There is a recurring notion in the manosphere that, when presented with godly manhood, even Believing women are said to reject them.

I'm curious if you find this to be a credible assertion or hyperbole?

As an anecdote, I was listening to Focus on the Family this morning on my way into work. On the show was a woman who was "boy crazy" in her youth, but turned to "dating Jesus" in her frustration. She was and is a singleton, a missionary.

While I wouldn't dare second-guess her calling to mission work, I would admit that it would be difficult to measure up to The Man as a mere man.

Eric said...

Ray:
"I find females in the US are starved for masculinity...but for males who aren't afraid of them or submissive to them or their society."

His Lady:

"But since we're only shown the macho-muscles and the cheap sociopath imitation, we lose our ability to perceive the real version."

Wapiti:

"I would admit that it would be difficult to measure up to The Man as a mere man."

Now, according to People Magazine, this is the 'Hottest Man of 2013' chosen by American women for his 'cool, confident, good looks':

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Levine

In case you think this might have been just a few deviant women, here was the Number 2 choice:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_Timberlake

Here's the upshot of all this: THIS is what women WANT. The first guy looks like a yardbird and the second like a werewolf. And both have characters to match their looks. I don't see where masculinity or sex appeal factors into female choices here at all.

It might be argued that these guys are celebrities and so naturally they will get female attention---but is there some shortage of genuinely masculine public figures women can admire?

For example, I remember talking to a girl from Russia once who told me that women over there idolize President Putin and have posters of him and everything. No wonder: Putin is genuine 'alpha' by anybody's definition: a world leader, handsome, a war hero, and a role model among Russian men. Now compare that to the two poltroons American women put at the tops of their lists!

Eric said...

Unknown:
I agree that there's always a tendency for people (especially the young) to embrace the values of a counter-culture. It's kind of a way of under-developed self-expression asserting itself.

But the choices women are making are not this kind of counter-culture rebelliousness. They're making choices that are positively self-destructive. There is nothing normal---or even logical or sane---about modern women's tendency to reject good men in favor of males whose choice can't even be based on biological fitness (e.g. can you ever imagine Justin Bieber or Robert Pattison even having sufficient testosterone to father children? Yet women would line up to give 'em the chance!)

ray said...

"And that was the plan all along: separate the women from the men, and then use us against the men. Satan's plan writ large, and hey, it's worked pretty well for his disciples. The rest of us are left to perish, but omelets and eggs, am I right"


sure

omelets arent merely a feature, theyre the point

but Scripture assures us that God was aware of this tactic of gender division in the end times ,and would allow it to happen


"As an anecdote, I was listening to Focus on the Family this morning on my way into work. On the show was a woman who was "boy crazy" in her youth, but turned to "dating Jesus" in her frustration. She was and is a singleton, a missionary."


"christian" radio is a wasteland, i love to hear the Bible read and studied, but the geld factor among u.s. radion preachers is just too nauseating for my limited tolerances

FOTF is definintely part of the problem, wussies and careerists whose anointing and spiritual vetting consists of approval by their various wives

lol

no wonder those orgs are so popular, and well funded

cheers

His Lady said...

I'm sorry it took me so long to get back to your question, EW.

I did say that it makes it harder to "appreciate" godly masculinity. It's like how a diet of junk food makes it difficult to appreciate the truly good and healthy stuff. Why have a salad (good!) when you can have a Twinkie (tasty!)? Why drink water (good!) when you can have pop (tasty!)? Conditioning is a huge part of taste, and I believe that can apply to most appetites.

It is a credible assertion that many women are repelled by godly masculinity, because the worldly despise the godly, and I consider it hyperbole when it is treated like an immutable "fact". I believe it is possible (with a heapin' helpin' of God's grace) to learn to prefer what is godly over what is worldly.

It depends heavily on what you habitually feed your heart. We're called to come out and be separate for a reason!

Elusive Wapiti said...

"It depends heavily on what you habitually feed your heart. "

This.