Louts Are Taking Over the Planet Says the L.A. Times

An interesting article at the LA Times about the rise of the lout – young men in their 20s and 30s who dress like slobs, disdain women, and just want to indulge in their teenage boy fantasies. From the article:

[The lout] seems to be a form of passive-aggressive revenge against what some men see as the indignities feminism has forced upon them — indignities that have been exacerbated by economic hardship.

The lout is not exactly a reversion to the old macho stereotype. He isn’t tough, muscular, steely, monosyllabic, able to build a car engine or a house singlehandedly or sail around the world solo. He’s not a sophisticate either, a Dos Equis most-interesting-man-the-world type. He doesn’t dress to the nines or know his wines or drive a Porsche, and he isn’t able to make witty cocktail party repartee. A lout is someone who is proudly stuck in a kind of adolescent parody of manhood that conflates insensitivity and machismo.

Read the whole story- Louts are taking over the planet – latimes.com.


Hat tip to Joel for bringing this article to our attention.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Sebastien Ouellet February 16, 2011 at 6:02 pm

I believe this is also the result of a loss of existential meaning AND the everyday social pressure to become SOMETHING valued BY the society AND women while undervaluing the worth of manliness (through feminism and “sexual egality” becoming a paradoxal tyranny undervaluing man’s place in society). Men of the last two decades have lost their “man” identity, as well as their models of what is manliness, while the model of “womenliness” has become overwhelming in society (see the overrepresentation of women in education, healthcare, human relationship-based jobs). In the name of egality, we have created an unfair situation for men. Egality is not the solution, equivalence is.

Justin C February 16, 2011 at 6:09 pm

What a ridiculous article. It vacillates between disdain of these “Louts” for inadmirable qualities, and plain bitterness that they seem to be getting without effort what the author is not.

Want to be a man? Don’t let this get under your skin. If this is your friend, he’s probably depressed, and this is how he’s expressing it. Maybe try to help him, instead of sneer at him.

Sebastien Ouellet February 16, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Exactly. Agreed with you Justin… lack of empathy screams from this article. Yet, the reality of the suffering is there… but goes unnoticed because of the judment they are being victims of. Help them, don’t judge.

Michael Lunsford February 16, 2011 at 6:16 pm

If a stranger is just a friend we haven’t met yet, then perhaps these poor “louts” are just men that haven’t met artofmanliness.com yet.

Titus Techera February 16, 2011 at 6:16 pm

This is rich. As it turns out, louts are some kind of revenge ploy – womankind and society are plagued by this epidemic; presumably, women and the society can simply not defend themselves…
Louts are just a peaceful version of the barbarian. They were never educated and they were never restrained. People who love the way things look these days and call it freedom should not turn their noses at these people and call them louts – they are the inevitable result.
Why was the counter-culture admirable but these people are not? What do these louts do that Jack Kerouac or Norman Mailer did not do worse? Why was it acceptable to be rockers with groupies but it is not acceptable to be a lout? – Notice how whoever wrote the article cannot help themselves from defending Howard Stern: how are these louts any worse than he is? Why are they excoriated, whereas he gets an aside to note the point he is making?

Brett McKay February 16, 2011 at 6:29 pm


I think you make an excellent point that we should try to help these guys out. I’m interested in how do we do it in way that these “guys” are receptive to it?

Mike February 16, 2011 at 6:35 pm

I have seen this behavior for the last batch of years and frankly if the ladies are upset about these slobs, louts, or whatever fits, then more for the rest of us. I still get a laugh
from watching these guys and couples. The wearing of sports caps during meals in public places is annoying though, are they afraid that it is going to be stolen? The shaved head genie look is pretty laughable too, growing up in the 50s/60s a shaved head meant that you had “Bugs”.

Justin C February 16, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Well, the only way you can ever really help anyone is if they let you. Which is why I said, if this is your friend, try to help him. And don’t give up.

Zack February 16, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I am a college student, and I live in student apartments and was paired with two people that this article described perfectly. They aren’t depressed, they aren’t crying out for help, they think that they are real men. They think their lives are just perfect. They genuinely believe that they are cool customers and that I am a loser because I listen to Sinatra, and treat women with respect. Their whole life revolves around where they are going to get drunk on Thursday nights and what chick they are going to bang. One of them stated his goal on a Thursday night and I quote; “I’m going to get drunk, and find a young harlot. Why? Because I’m horny.” These people see themselves as real men, and they see anyone who thinks they are misguided as wimpy, or not true to their real desires. One of them aspires to be like a porn star who is able to blow himself. I do think this author is a closet supporter of loutishness, but either way, he is right, they are not sophisticated, and they have no other desire than to get drunk and knock every decent looking chick they see. They see it as their right.

Roy February 16, 2011 at 6:59 pm

1. This guy is a metrosexual, and the lout is his extreme opposite
2. Proof is that he thinks movies, TV, commercials, books, etc are the real world, which means of course, that his piece is not based on the real world, but media descriptions of the “real” world

He did describe real men, but they were the men of the 50s and earlier, as described in the second paragraph above, or who were raised by real men since then.

Titus is correct – the lout is the barbarian, and there is an increase in them (go to a mall, or a bar, etc) and they are inside the gates because we have “raised” them to be barbarians. Basically it stated with my generation (late baby boomers) and the boys that we “raised.”

John February 16, 2011 at 7:04 pm

The previously mentioned shaved head look doesn’t bother me. maybe it’s my military background, but a shaved head looks a whole lot cleaner, neater, and better groomed than long, scraggly, unwashed, uncombed, smelly, greasy, messy hair. (which many of these “louts” also seem fond of)

Look, guys – this is a bit of a revelry in “let’s feel better about ourselves because we’re not louts”, adn I guess that’s OK – if you’re proud of the fact (as I am) that you’re semi-disciplined, relatively motivated, and moderately groomed with either average or above average manners with at least a mediocre amount of responsibility. I get all that. And, yes, there is nothing wrong with “looking down” on louts. That’s the way society used to work. If you’re not man enough to comb your own hair or tuck in your own shirt or get a job by age 30, then no one SHOULD respect you. Or even feel sorry for you.

I’m all for helping someone if they NEED help because of some tragic set of circumstances. But I don’t see the need for us to sit here and talk to each other about how we can “help” these lout types. That’s just flirting with being enablers. I comb my hair, pay my mortgage, etc. without any “help” from anyone else and I imagine most of the other subscribers/readers of AoM can say the same. No one can “help” you be a man. and we have to face the staggering fact that not all “guys” will be “men” regardless of what happens. there are always going to be louts that contribute nothing to either society or their own miserable lives, and that’s NOT my fault or yours. It’s theirs.

Audrey February 16, 2011 at 7:33 pm

As a woman, I have “disdain [for] these ‘Louts’ [who] seem to be getting without effort what the author is not.”

I have even more disdain for women who give them the time of day.

Ben February 16, 2011 at 7:35 pm

It’s another take on the topic of “suspended adolescence”. The points are valid, but the tone is confusing. The author ridicules the lout by pointing out the absurdity in their behavior, yet praises them for getting what they want. The only way to get a man out of this stage is a change of the heart and setting a new direction for one’s life. Without making a goal to become a real man (and obtaining the mentorship in which to do so), any change made would be merely behavior modification. Nothing would be “real”.

Zack February 16, 2011 at 7:52 pm

These louts don’t want help, they are spoiled brats. Nothing more, nothing less. What these losers need is a dose of reality, not to be coddled and told how great they are. Like I said earlier, they aren’t depressed or lashing out, the opposite is true, they think way too highly of themselves! They have been told by their families and friends that that are perfect little angels and have never been exposed to any real values. When you are fed praise constantly, nine times out of ten you come out a lout. These people don’t need help, they need a good kick in the can and a dose of reality.

Francis February 16, 2011 at 8:31 pm

We’re always going to have men who will not be able to handle themselves in life until a certain event comes about. The solution: let them wander until they are ready to change their ways, as it has been stated before we can’t help those who do not want help. As for reversing the trends its pretty obvious, we remain the example of what proper men are: independent, self reliant, proper in many ways but never compliant in all, and a thirst for life unquenchable.

Dustin February 16, 2011 at 8:48 pm

It seems to me that this phenomena is simply the end result of the way most children have been raised in the last 30 years. When everyone gets a trophy, there are no winners and losers, and everyone around you exists only to make sure you never fail, this is exactly what you get: self-important, obnoxious, insensitive, unmotivated, ill-mannered, and thoughtless shells of human beings.

C February 16, 2011 at 9:02 pm

This article delivers the exact same brow beating that spawned the lout in the first place.

Brian McCarthy February 16, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Zack, your roomies, adn most of these “Louts” are a smug group of..well, louts. I think what they need is a good ‘ol fashion right hook. Since that is what they did not get that growing up. I wish we could go back to the days where a man could call out another man for being a Lout and take it outside. Fighting isn’t bad. Society has made it bad. If a man gropes your girlfriend, and you knock out a couple of his teeth, you go to jail and he gets big money from the pending lawsuit against you, which he will likely win. Society has allowed these Louts to surface because it won’t let the natural order happen. If a Lout walked into a bar in the 20′s or 30′s, he wouldnt get out without a few bruises. And is that wrong? I don’t believe in violence unless a line is crossed, but has society moved the line? Where is the line anymore?

Josh F February 16, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Wow, I go to a college that is teeming with these louts. (I won’t name the school, but rowdy fraternities and sororities are its primary selling points for prospective students.) Just the other day I heard a conversation so disgusting that it made me physically ill. The first part of the conversation was so terribly misogynistic that I cannot even bring myself to repeat it here. The two went on to compare a certain group of girls to players a baseball team, ranking them. The lowest ranked was given the title of “utility player,” meaning, “you use her when you need her.” Disgusting. And that is the “less” offensive portion of the conversation.

It was clear that these two were incredibly satisfied with themselves. As I listened further I learned that their parents were footing the bill for their college “education”, as well as paying for their membership in their fraternity. What a surprise. These guys, and others like them, believe they are living out the masculine ideal when in actuality they are still entirely dependent on their parents, have not a moral bone in their body, and are incapable of seeing past their own desires and needs. They are the _definition_ of childish.

Joe Styles February 17, 2011 at 12:07 am

The belief that something is new is truly in the realm of the young. Loutishness is as old as mankind. Women have no need of protection from them as “louts” are uniquely qualified to be victimized by them. Anyone who thinks that women are the weaker sex missed the boat. They are just as capable as any man when it comes to taking care of themselves in social situations. Meaning some will fall victim to the “lout” and some won’t. Most youth are not that bright when it comes to fashions and customs that is not to say they are stupid just short sighted as we were all guilty of the same at one point or another. (in my day the afro was quite popular as well as bell bottoms) The dress of the lout may seem overly casual now but wait till the stars get hold of it then a decent ball cap will cost about $70.00 :) Once the “lout” fashion goes mainstream then it will become over commercialized and fade for most people. Note some people still have mullets (business at the front party at the back) 20 years from now there will still be a few “louts” Only they will have beer bellies and we hope bigger T shirts.

Seth February 17, 2011 at 7:09 am

The best way to counter the “lout” act is to work on the next generation. For example, make sure your sons and daughters see you opening doors for women. That way your son knows to do it and your daughter knows to expect it. Change your own oil and take your son along. Fix things even if you are not sure how. Literally wear the pants. One does not demand respect from one’s children wearing pajamas. And if a video game is rated “mature”, don’t buy it. “Mature” adults have better thing to do. For most advise you could always turn to Hondo. He’s a real man.

Kelly February 17, 2011 at 9:13 am

The cousin of the lout is the hipster. Fucking hipsters.

MO Shaw February 17, 2011 at 9:33 am

I read the comments here, then read the article and the comments on the LA Times. Funny contrast.

CoffeeZombie February 17, 2011 at 10:43 am

I noticed this trend some years ago, actually, though I don’t think I ever saw it as getting “revenge” against women in any way. My opinion was more that they were becoming exactly the caricature of masculinity that feminists had created to rail against. Chances are, what they had been told by society (by that, I mean primarily the media, school teachers, etc.) was that men in the past were misogynistic, chauvinist brutes who would go to great lengths to keep women in their place. Feeling pressed down by the feminist yoke, they pushed back, but unwittingly allowed the feminism they were resisting to define them.

CoffeeZombie February 17, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Oh, also, I have to take exception to Seth’s comment, “And if a video game is rated “mature”, don’t buy it. “Mature” adults have better thing to do.”

It rather annoys me to see how often a perfectly legitimate hobby is derided an “unmanly” on this site. Now, I know, the popular perception is that video games are “kids stuff,” but the truth of the matter is, video games have *never* been made exclusively for kids, and, in fact, most of the classic video games were aimed squarely at adults.

As a kid, video games (mainly those on the PC; console games are, by and large, generally a waste of time, with a few exceptions) provided the cognitive challenge that I didn’t get in school. Many of the old adventure games taught me problem solving and thinking about things from various angles (indeed, in part because adventure game authors seem to prefer to shy away from providing the most obvious solution to a problem, to require you to *really* think about it). Sim City taught me fiscal responsibility.

Sure, for many of the more “action oriented” games, the plot of the game existed solely as an excuse for the game itself, but many other games evidenced how video games are a powerful new storytelling medium, able to tell stories in a way books and movies cannot (as an example, System Shock 2, or it’s “spiritual successor”, Bioshock).

Of course, I’m speaking from experience as a PC gamer. It’s a different world from console games. Console games are “plug-and-play”, stick the cartridge in, hook it up to the TV, kill aliens. There’s a reason drunken frat boys and louts loved Halo (it was a console game). PC games are a different story. Those of us who play PC games often build our own systems, and spec them out ourselves, to ensure we will be able to play the latest games to the fullest extent. This was more true in the old days (i.e., pre-Windows) than today, but there’s still a different mindset for the PC gamer.

If spending hours of your life to read through War & Peace is an acceptable hobby, why isn’t spending those same hours playing through the story of Bioshock? If playing chess with a friend is an acceptable hobby, why isn’t playing Civilization? And why is it less manly to shoot invading aliens in Duke Nukem 3D than it is to watch someone else shoot aliens in the Alien series?

Finally, I would note that my father would, definitely, by almost any standard on this site, qualify as a man, yet, when I was younger, he and I often played some of the same video games on our family PC, and I know other men who are the same way.

Rob February 17, 2011 at 3:59 pm

@CoffeeZombie. I agree with you on the Civ vs. Chess example. Most strategy games are good mind training. Seth does have a point with the WoW’s and CoD’s out there. Those are the same as slot-machines. Really, it’s the same dopamine mechanism as a B.F. Skinner Box.

I think @John does a have a good point though. We can lament the ”fall of man’ all we want, and we can promise to go out and make men of these louts. But we all know we won’t. Mr. McKay is doing something, this website and other efforts. And some of us are helping. But the majority will read this on their lunch hour and move on.
So what?
Fine by me dudes. I think this is great. Less competition on Friday night. I get the women, these louts get the girls. No problemo.

CoffeeZombie February 17, 2011 at 4:26 pm

@Rob, Yes, and I did try to acknowledge the WoW’s that are out there. I’m just sick of video games as a whole being derided just because there are crappy ones out there. No one would think to deride film as a whole because of movies like Gigli and Ace Ventura and all the lowbrow comedy. No one derides books as a whole because of all the trashy romance novels and crappy fantasy stuff out there.

Anyway, sorry I’ve gone so far off topic; it just grates on me every time I hear someone on this site claim that “real men” don’t play video games, and I guess I was just in a combative mood today. So, pardon the interruption, let’s get back to the louts. ;-)

duren February 17, 2011 at 7:56 pm

louts, as such, are no more a reaction to feminism than the incessant parade of realitiy starlets are to 60 minutes. certain categories or behavioral types may stand in contrast to other, artfully chosen categories or behavioral types, but this makes them a reaction only in the authors mind. it is too easy too fall into a ‘this vs. that’ way of thinking, though that is what most authors, in opinion pieces such as this intend to due. louts are, as i see them, insensitive, self-indulgent, emotionally infantile paradigms of slovenliness that disparage women simply because their lifestyle does not encourage the successful relationship. most louts would not know the difference between camille paglia and rush limbaugh, at least when it comes to their knowledge of feminism. and as for me, please, lets leave jack kerouac out of this.

Steve February 18, 2011 at 11:12 am

Fabulous article! And to all the little momma boy bleeding hearts out there, be men why don’t you!

Rob February 18, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Haha, don’t worry about it.
I think that there is some resistance to the manliness of video-games due to the social aspects of it. The movies can be a glamorous affair, with dinner, fine coats, dresses and what-not. You can make it a social gathering, and hundreds can enjoy it. Video-games are not this. They are done with fewer people and in the comfort of your living room with jeans and sweat-pants. Also, there is still a stigma for women with games. I guess it boils down to being able to impress a woman while doing something. Can you do this at the movies? Yes Can you do this with poetry? Yes. Can you do this with games? ….Possibly….

Sorry, more louts though. Wait, no. Less louts, more discussion about louts. And how awesome we all are. Hahah!

Andrew February 20, 2011 at 1:27 am

The rise of louts is a perfectly natural effect of kids being raised by their peers and by social propaganda. As someone who hung out with louts in high school, and as someone who was essentially raised by my peers and social propaganda, I can understand the appeals of the lifestyle. I think the women who use their hunks of meat as social currency are female louts. Clearly if there were more self-respecting women, then louts wouldn’t get dates or sex, just as if there were more self-respecting men, then female louts wouldn’t get dates or sex.

Loutism (why not? :D ) is a response to a low self-esteem society. It’s not passive-aggressive revenge. For many people, it’s a sensible social survival strategy, because as soon as the lifestyle attracts mostly social disapproval instead of approval these louts will disappear.

Tim T February 20, 2011 at 2:50 am

This reminds me of the scene in the recent movie, The social network. facebook co-founder Eduardo laments Zuckerberg for being a pretentious /expletive/ after Z criticized him as a suit. Zuckerberg a lout?

Eric Hedman February 22, 2011 at 7:59 pm

I recently challenged a lout to 3 rounds in an AAU boxing ring for his stupidity and insulting nature. Suffice it to say, he backed down. Haven’t heard much from him lately.

Hunter Hamilton February 22, 2011 at 10:59 pm

One of my weekend copies of the Wall Street Journal, I’m at Field Artillery Officer Basic Course and I leave most weekends so don’t get around to reading the Friday/Weekend till Monday, had a decently long article relating to this as well. I believe the title is “Where have all the good men gone” it was very well written and the WSJ provided a counter point. Although I’d like to tell the author to just meander over to this site, but that’s me.

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