in: Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends: September 8, 2023

“In Praise of Heroic Masculinity” by Caitlin Flanagan. The phrase “toxic masculinity” has been thrown around a lot in our culture the past several years, particularly when high-profile men use their power and strength to take advantage of women. But Atlantic writer Caitlin Flanagan argues that “If the noun masculinity can be modified by the adjective toxic, then there must exist its opposite, which can be revealed by a different adjective.” Her choice for that adjective is “heroic,” and she argues that all the talk about the wrongs men commit overlooks the fact that they often use their physical strength and courage to protect and serve the vulnerable. Heroic masculinity manifested itself big time on 9/11 as male firefighters rushed into the World Trade Center, and, Flanagan says, it shows up every day when a young man stands up for someone getting picked on at school. She argues that if we want boys to become good men, we need to talk more about their potential for heroic masculinity and show them examples of what it looks like.

“Dream of Mickey Mantle” by Bleachers. We’re big fans of the Bleachers in the McKay household. They were one of the best shows I’ve seen at Tulsa’s famed Cain’s Ballroom. All of their songs are great, but one I particularly enjoy is “Dream of Mickey Mantle.” The music and lyrics convey a sense of nostalgia and longing for childhood. I always get chills down my spine when the song hits its crescendo. Frontman Jack Antonoff is definitely one of my generation’s greatest song-smiths. 

Philips Norelco Nose Trimmer 5000. As a middle-aged man, I’ve got to pay more attention to hairs growing out of my nose and ears. I’ve written about how to manage this hair before. My old nose and ear hair trimmer bit the dust a few months ago, so I picked up Philips Norelco’s latest. It’s just $20, and it gets the job done quickly and painlessly. You can also trim your eyebrows with it, which comes in handy if you have Sam Eagle eyebrows like me. 

Paddington. Our family finally got around to watching Paddington this summer. Can’t believe we waited so long to watch it! It’s such a delightful and charming movie, with lots of truly laugh-out-loud moments. Paul King did a great job of injecting whimsy in the movie without going overboard with it. It’s a great movie for the entire family, and you’ll wish you had a Paddington Bear friend in your home to eat marmalade with when you’re done.

Quote of the Week

Trust him little who praises all; him less who censures all; and him least who is indifferent to all.

—Johann Kaspar Lavater

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