Thursday, May 31, 2007

From John Wayne To Johnny Depp

What has this world come to? From an article in the Washington Post we now find ourselves being posed with the following question...Swish or swagger?

If you're wondering what it takes to be a man these days, check out Johnny Depp's wrist. As the unconstrained Capt. Jack Sparrow in the newly released "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," he wears a wisp of white lace tied just above his left hand.

Johnny Depp as Capt. Jack Sparrow: a perfect role model for today's young men? A token of his feminine side? Perhaps. Or maybe it's just what Depp said it is: a trophy piece from a young woman.

I don't think of Mr. Depp as a man's man. More of a caricature of a man. It's funny to watch him prance around as a pirate, but I'm not sure I'd want my grandson mimicking him. Swish

Swish or swagger? That's the choice that men -- particularly young men -- find themselves facing today.

I don't think so.

I don't do either one. And most of the men I know are the same. We do what we have to do and try not to make a mess of it.

Only some As author Calvin Sandborn -- who juggled teaching and child-raising as he wrote "Becoming the Kind Father" -- says, society used to assign certain characteristics to men, including power, aggressiveness, professional success and autonomy. Other, shall we say, swishier traits were expected of women, such as the ability to create and nurture connections, kindness and communication.

There is nothing feminine about being able to communicate. Remember Ronald Reagan? There is also nothing feminine about being kind. It is an admirable human trait whether found in man or woman and, quite frankly, we need more of it as well as patience. There is nothing manly about road rage and wife beating.

As a matter of fact, this Memorial Day weekend I was told about a tar and feather party that occurred about 60 years ago in the north part of the county. It seems some men of the community got tired of a certain cretin who was abusing his wife rather badly; they tarred and feathered this man to teach him a lesson. The elderly woman who related the story told me that the instigator of the party was her father.

No matter how I try I can't see Johnny Depp doing something like like. John Wayne, certainly, but not Johnny. It takes a certain amount of physical and mental toughness to do something like that - a tough attitude and the conviction that what you are doing is right.

I didn't say roughness, although it may come to that. Being tough means to be strong, durable, vigorous, able to endure hardship or adversity. Being rough means to be coarse, harsh, rude or even violent. A man can be tough without being rough.

Johnny Depp is neither.

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