Of Monsters and Men

There are times when I feel embarrassed to be male.

There are times when I feel embarrassed to be male. For every great accomplishment my heterogametic brethren have delivered unto the world, some testicular-heavy jerk has spoiled it through ignorance, hate or plain stupidity.I hang my head in shame and barely-contained rage when I read that some narcissistic drunk has killed two innocent people by getting behind the wheel when he could barely walk, or a lowlife is caught with a litre bottle of the lethal date-rape drug, GHB. I gnash my teeth when I hear about a Saanich man convicted of attempting to lure a 12-year-old girl, and wonder just how messed up one would have to be to push a 78-year-old birdwatcher off a Dallas Road cliff.But it’s not always the obvious that boils my blood.For example, reader reaction to our front-page feature “A Question of Hate” last week was overwhelmingly supportive, but it also brought out a few loose screws who wanted to argue that the article was “anti-male” and that a female reporter couldn’t possibly understand “man-on-man” violence.What is there to understand? Anger, hate and ignorance aren’t male rights, they’re problems. Just because I stand up to pee doesn’t mean I have a right to assert my physical strength over those who are smaller or weaker or don’t fit a narrow definition of “normal.”When our Second World War veterans read the headlines today, they must wonder what in hell they fought for. In their time, a “real man” was defined as someone who stood tall to protect the gentler souls of our society, not target them. Those true heroes of yesteryear knew what was decent and right.Sure, they weren’t perfect — and prejudice is a hurdle that is still, stubbornly, being challenged — but in the face of hate and tyranny, those gritty gentlemen didn’t care if the persecuted people they were fighting for were gay or straight, black or white, Jew, Christian or Muslim — they just understood that picking on any minority was wrong. They believed in those human values so strongly that they laid down their lives to protect them.And this is what we have to show for their sacrifice?  The same bloody ignorance and fear that has left such deep scars across our short history.Why should a gay man have to fear walking down the street? Why should a woman or a child?“Lest we forget” is a motto chiselled in stone on cenotaphs around the world. But, I’m sorry to say, we have forgotten. We’ve forgotten how the simple act of being a decent, caring human being is what truly makes a man.I wonder if we’ll ever learn.Song stuck in my head“The battle of Mr. Shibuya” by Kim Churchill.I missed Kim when he made a one-night stop in Victoria last week and I’m still kicking myself. This 20-year-old Australian roots, blues and folk sensation has been knocking my socks off with his first self-titled CD that debuted here Tuesday. If you’ve been digging Mumford & Sons, you need to hear this track. M

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