The other evening I was watching the new series on the National Geographic channel about full contact heavy armor jousting. At first I thought it would be a bunch of renaissance fair actors with balsa sticks in fake armor and bad accents. It turns out though that this show is about a bunch of lunatics in heavy plate pounding on each other with tree trunks. Of course I was immediately hooked. What real man wouldn’t be?
In typical reality television fashion, the main character is a prick no one can stand and you spend most of the show hoping someone will kill him, or at least knock him off his horse. He seems to have a rather predictable inability to accept criticism or anyone questioning his rationale. It’s funny, that’s the only way I can describe it. What else can you do when faced with a three hundred pound WWE wannabe who spends most of his time prancing around like a rooster with a bad Mohawk telling everyone in earshot that he is the “Alpha Wolf of his pack,” but laugh?
Character assassinations aside; I love this show and its main character. His drive to see his sport and dream succeed borders on the fanatical but I think that’s what it will take to make it work and I’d follow him. Given the chance I would not hesitate to sign up and go a few turns in the lists myself. It’s actually harder than it looks and the bruises, contusions, and concussions at the end of the matches are real. The plate the riders wear is extremely heavy and falling off a horse at speed is equivalent to a car crash at 45 miles an hour. It’s football with horses, ale, and shiny armor.
The hope of the show and the main character is to turn this anchor of fantasy fairs into a primetime sport again. I for one hope he succeeds. If he can get a television audience, a few volunteers willing to turn themselves into crash dummies, and bribe P.e.t.a to look the other way he just might succeed. To be fair the horses seemed to be the only participants involved that appeared to know what they were doing and weren’t getting hurt.
Let me take a moment to explain why I like this show so much. Simply put its men being men. It’s the same reason why I love the British version of the show Top Gear. For an hour I get to watch a group of guys do what they love, make dumb jokes, nearly kill themselves in the process, and never once apologize for it. The networks tried an American version of Top Gear but our PC sanitized version just didn’t come off as funny as they had hoped. This highlights one of the biggest problems I see growing in our society here in the States, and that’s our complete lack of humor. Everything has become so serious and so taboo, that the average person is terrified to say anything that someone somewhere may find offensive. The result is a society that goes about pretending to be people they are not so as not to step on anyone’s toes and incur a lawsuit.
I’m not going to get into this subject any further because it would take me all day to expand on my feelings for it and I’d probably piss someone off and get me sued too. Moving on though I think we need more shows like the ones above. I think men need to be told that it’s okay to like fast cars, things that go bang, boom, crash, and slam, and all kinds of things that the PC crowd label as crude and barbaric. Guys if you’re reading this, go be men! Don’t apologize when you want to hit something, beat your chest, and howl at the moon; embrace it. Take up boxing, go mountain climbing, risk your life! You are the male of your species. There’s testosterone coursing through your veins, not strawberry wine.
I believe the reason movies like 300, Fight Club, and The Immortals appeal so much to modern men is because we are being figuratively neutered in our modern lives. We see these men being the kind of guys we imagine ourselves being and we’re envious. Every day we are being told more and more that we must deny and eradicate the urges and feelings that come with being a man; that it is socially unacceptable to have a penis and testicles. I think a lot of women are beginning to feel the same way. They wonder where the real men are, where they have gone, what happened to them. In the growing sea of effeminate boy band cloned video game playing emotibots they wonder where are the men!
I think that guys can be more than we our allowing ourselves to be. I remember a great quote from the movie Braveheart, when the English negotiators speaking in French call William Wallace a liar and a savage to which he replies in French, that he never lies but he is a savage. There was a time not long ago when a man was expected to be educated, cultured, but also capable of brutality and violence in as far as it concerned defending his family and country. Fight Club again displays the actions of a man who is very violent and even barbaric but also insanely intelligent. The violence in this movie is not about domination or destruction but about taking holding of who you are and what you are and living it.
What’s wrong with being a savage; nothing at all. Jack is dedicated to men being men and finding that path to becoming a modern savage. We don’t embrace chauvinism, and ignorance, but power and acceptance of what we are. Women if you’ve never been overwhelmed by the sheer dynamic rush and power of a man being one, then you know what I’m talking about and you know what you really want. Tell men you’re tired of little boys and encourage them to be what they are. Guys flex your muscles, grow some hair on your balls and stop letting commercialism neuter you. If getting on a horse and beating your opponent with a stick is what it takes to be a man then go do it.