Как да бъдеш мъж… и други истории

Преди половин годинa писахме за предстоящата книга на Glenn O’Brien, един от най-интересните журналисти и фигури от културната сцена в Америка през последните 30 години. Книгата вече се продава, а ревютата за нея са доста позитивни. How To Be a Man: A Guide To Style and Behavior For The Modern Gentleman е изключително забавна и остроумна книга с есета върху интересни теми като това как да бъдем истински мъже, истински животни, как да ругаем правилно, да се бием и не само. O’Brien разсъждава и върху опасностите от вратовръзките и еволюцията на интимната прическа при жените. Същият стил от колонката му в GQ Тhe Style Guy, но с доста по-разнообразни теми, много деликатна философия и убийствено чувство за хумор. Въобще книга, която се чете лесно и е много повече от обикновен наръчник по етикет и стил.

How To Be a Man: A Guide To Style and Behavior For The Modern Gentleman ($24.95, Rizzoli) може да бъде поръчана тук. Потърсете я и в по-добрите книжарници през следващите няколко месеца. Междувременно ви предлагаме кратък откъс от встъпителната част от книгата. Заслужава си.

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Don’t just lie there. Get up and evolve! Anybody can have a penis, two testicles, and a Y chromosome. You might be a man, technically, but that is not enough anymore. Be a man in full—the full monty. Like the U.S. Army used to tell us, “Be all you can be.” Be an army of one. Be an alpha and an omega too. This might be called the human race, but it’s also mankind. You, sir, are the crown of creation. So far. Don’t blow it.Manhood is a realm, so you might as well rule it. Use your head. Give it your best shot. Don’t take it lying down. Stand up and be counted. Tell it like it is. Let the chips fall where they may. Put your pants on one leg at a time. Tell ’em where they can stick it. No pussyfooting. Give it all you’ve got. Walk it like you talk it. Put your money where your mouth is. Hit the nail on the head. Stop the buck here. And in the end give ’em something to remember you by. Socrates said, “Know thyself.” Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” Matthew Arnold said, “Be neither saint nor sophist led, but be a man.” Nietzsche said, “Man is something to be surpassed.” I say, “What are you waiting for, man?”

Right or wrong, man has always seen himself as special. We’ve hyped ourselves as reasonable facsimiles of God. But too often, when the going got tough, we’ve expected a bailout from a presumed creator. Unacceptable! As Mark Twain pointed out, “Man is the only creature that blushes, or needs to.” According to what is supposedly our instruction manual, as the crown of creation man is supposed to have dominion over the earth and its creatures. And while that might not be working out quite as well as expected, all the more reason we should step it up a notch. If God arrives, which I don’t expect, looking like a Marine drill instructor a mile high, which I’d like, we want to be able to yell out, “Sir, no excuse, sir!” Being a man really means being everything a man can be. Evolution is our business. Under the right circumstances and with the right effort a man can be far more than just a man; he can be a gentleman, a sportsman, an inventor, an artist, a philosopher, a bard, a magician, or a hero. Some think he can even be a god, but that’s another story.

This is just a collection of musings on how to be a man…better. One step at a time. Forward, or maybe backward, depending on the situation. The world changes quickly. Man, science informs us, changes slowly. It has taken nature a million years to get us here—ten thousand here to evolve nose hair or ten thousand there to perfect the suntan. It has been a long march to develop the features that will better ensure our survival. But those sophisticated mechanisms so painstakingly developed won’t get us out  of this one! The jig is up. Now the world is wobbling from our presence. And so now we have to be more and more alert as to how we can adapt ourselves to the facts and manage this ancient organism, with all its flaws and weaknesses, through an ever more challenging environment.

In Homer’s time, a single man could know all that men knew as a species. Pretty much, anyway. Kings, chiefs, and priests were the repositories of the collective knowledge and wisdom of the tribe. Heroes conversed with the gods and sometimes schtupped them. The human brain, which, when it failed, was often splattered on the ground by bronze axes, was the only available source of gigabytes. A man was great because he was the fullness of mankind. He knew the names of the stars and distant tribes many days away. When something had no name, he gave it one. He knew the lore of the gods and how to appease them. He knew how to build a house. He knew what herbs would heal a wound or change a mind. He knew how to propitiate the powers of nature, how to propagate crops and livestock, and how to make wine and make war. He knew how to address the people and move them to action. He knew how to dance and that maybe it would even rain afterward.

Today a man can know only a minuscule portion of the sum knowledge of man. Through the exponential expansion of the race, the individual man has been vastly diminished. He knows an iota of what is known. His thoughts and actions may not matter. Are you going to settle for that? Man has been reduced everywhere, serving the hive like an ant or a bee, toiling away at mechanical tasks and never approaching a knowledge of the whole, or performing the great work. There are no Renaissance men because there is no Renaissance. Or is it the other way around? Maybe it’s time for a change. It’s time to reboot. Put up or shut up. Man up, not overboard. Get up. Stand up. Turn the page.