Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Media and the Real Man

According to Cal Thomas's latest article, there are five kinds of men the media will permit us to see. The sitcom man, the pro athlete man, the Playboy man, the soldier man, and the "Brokeback Mountain Man." Let's consider.
There is sitcom man, who is usually plain or ugly and weighs much more than his wife. He is an idiot, who is unable to do the simplest task and should feel lucky any woman would have him.
I don't watch a lot of sitcoms myself. Certainly this does describe Homer Simpson - but what about the male members of the cast of The Office. Or Scrubs. Or Friends for that matter (off the air now, but very popular fairly recently). There are probably other examples.
There is pro athlete man, whose boorish behavior is exceeded only by his sexual conquests and ridiculous salary demands.
I don't really have anything to say here, except that I encourage conservative pundits to take a stand against professional sports and see how that plays with their base.
There is Playboy man, represented by the fossilized Hugh Hefner who, were it not for what he pays the blonde bimbos who hang on his arm and the little blue pills he takes so he might convince himself and others that he is still desirable, would long ago have been stuffed and put in a museum.
This strikes me as frankly bizarre. I don't know how Thomas thinks he's talking about here, unless he's literally angry about Hugh Hefner being allowed on tv.
There is soldier man; not the hero who gives his life for the freedom of others, but the few the media pay attention to that commit atrocities.
This of course is nonsense as well. The Media does not atrocities (it's called presenting the news), but they also regularly bend over backwards to show American Soldiers in as positive a light as possible.
There is "Brokeback Mountain" man and we know their story, whether we've seen the movie, or not.
This is the only one I can sort of see, if I twist my mind around to Thomas's way of thinking. There are more gay men on TV than there were 10 years ago. I don't know if they make up 20% of the men on TV, but presumably having more than one is bad enough.

It's kind of obvious that either Thomas doesn't spend any time watching TV (in which case, fair enough, but then you probably should talk about it), or he has a very narrow way of looking at it. Jack Bauer somehow doesn't register with Mr. Thomas, apparently. Neither does Dr. Who. Nor Special Agent Seeley Booth. I'd say there are a lot more competent men in dramas than there are "Hugh Hefner" types. Conservative Male Commentators don't register either. People like Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity or even Mr. Thomas himself aren't on his horizon.

I think his comments on the male Sitcom give a hint at what sort of female characters mr. Thomas feels are most appropriate for TV.

At any rate his complaints about the sorts of males allowed on TV are all a set up for his pushing a book he happens to really like, not really a full throat attack on television. So no big deal, I guess. Just interesting for what it shows about Cal Thomas's connection to reality.

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