It’s time for another edition of Mail Bag! Without further ado. . .
Here’s my submission for good examples of masculinity in popular culture: Walt Kowalsky (Clint Eastwood) in ‘Gran Torino.’ Also, I think that the theme of the Marvel superhero film ‘Thor’ was in part a commentary on the same phenomenon that you address in your post. Thor begins as the same oafish goof of a “man” at the beginning of the film that you discuss in the section on the various false manly stereotypes, and over the course of the film develops true, responsible masculinity.
Thanks for your posts!
Thanks, Michael. Gran Torino is one of my favorite movies of all time. I grew up watching Clint Eastwood movies with my father and really thought that Eastwood’s best movie-making years were far behind him when Gran Torino came out. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only is the movie well done, but it really makes you think about the poor state of American culture. Walt’s story is far too familiar; a blue-collar war veteran who raises children who lack respect for past generations and tradition. It has always been a great mystery to me as to how such an amazing generation of men, men who fought two wars against inhumane atheistic regimes, could raise a generation of children who gave us the 60s and 70s. I simply can’t understand it.
I do like how the movie explores the question of religion. Walt was never religious, and I think that is clearly reflected by the irreverence his children and grandchildren show at their mother’s funeral, but in his heart he knows that Catholicism is right. He has a funeral for his wife, goes to confession before his death, and learns to respect the local priest. It is also interesting how the movie explores the issue of immigration. The immigrant family has stronger family values than Walt, something he grows to appreciate. If there is any hope in saving the American sense of family perhaps it is in the examples set by immigrant families.
There are precious few mainstream movies that I could see myself discussing with friends over a few glasses of whiskey but this is definitely one of them. Great suggestion.
Dear Whiskey Catholics,
That was a very interesting post on bow ties, thank you for it. May I offer a little further information? You left out the medical/surgical rationale for wearing a bow tie; a four-in-hand tie, the kind usually worn with a lounge suit (a.k.a. business suit) hangs down and could fall into an open wound or worse still could cause Cows Tail Swish i.e. scoring the surface of the eye of an unconscious patient. The bow tie does neither.
Excellent point. I hadn’t considered that before. Nick sports a bow tie and I’m still stuck trying to learn how to tie one. I’m hoping to learn before I get married because I would really like to avoid the high-school prom clip bow ties. I’m sure I’ll fiddle with it more this summer as I study for the bar exam.
If I was operating on a patient I would probably want to take my tie off, though.
You are showing your provincialism here.
Ryes have traditionally been more popular in northern states, extending as far south as Maryland, although their popularity has certainly been on the decline since the 1950s. In fact, some of our older guests’ eyes still light up when they see a good rye on our shelf, usually followed by a comment about how “back in the day everyone used to drink a rye.”
We in the “fly over middle states” have a different meaning of “northern states.” Bob
You’re right! We’re showing some “east coast bias” right here on Whiskey Catholic! With any luck this won’t last long as I’m moving to Texas and Nick is moving to the rust belt.
Dear Michael, Andrew, and Nicholas,
I recently stumbled across your blog while looking for a review of Buffalo Trace Bourbon, and I’ve found it to be one of the better Catholic blogs around right now.. I like your mix of posts about faith, and ones that are simply practical. It’s also nice to see something like this coming out of my own diocese. You’ve given this seminarian something good to read over his summer break, and I thank you for that. Keep up the good work.
We live for e-mails like that. . .
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