23 August 2010

American Manliness & The Civil War

One of my daily blog visits takes me to The Art of Manliness. A blog/website started by Brett McKay to help finance his way through law school. The site has, over the last few years, developed somewhat of a cult following. Count me a member of the cult. I've done a couple of pieces for the blog and the site is loaded with articles and links of interest to men who don't quite fit in with modernity's metro-sexual, Matt Lauer type of "manhood." Count me not quite fitting in. 

Anyway, Brett has a most interesting post today about the "history" of manliness in America and raised the issue of how the WBTS played a part in its development.

Here's a tease:

"As America shifted from an agrarian to an industrial society, the Genteel Patriarch quickly became an endangered species. His values and traditions didn’t transfer well to the new fast-paced market economy. Seeing that his days were numbered, the Genteel Patriarch made his last stand in the American South."

I would have some nuanced disagreements with some of Brett's points, but would tend to agree with his comments overall. This will be a 3 part series titled: 3 Archetypes of American Manliness. Today is ~ Part I: The Genteel Patriarch


Stephen Clay McGehee said...

Like you, I tend to agree with the substance of the article - that doesn't mean that I have to like it though. The decline of the Genteel Patriarch is certainly no cause for celebration. What now passes for popular culture in America is, in large part, coarse, crude, and vulgar. There are plenty of exceptions of course, but the decline of the Southern Gentleman has left us with a far uglier world in which to live.

It is a personal crusade of mine to defend the culture of The Old South, and the Genteel Patriarch is a large part of that. Understanding how we got to where we are is the first step in reclaiming our rich culture. Thank you for giving this AoM post more exposure.

Stephen Clay McGehee

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hey Stephen. I would agree. The piece involved some over generalizations and misconceptions, I believe. Still a lot of truth to the piece. That the "Genteel Patriarch" is/was made up exclusively of men who avoided manual labor is a broad and inaccurate generalization. This suggests that all these men were aristocrats, which we know is ridiculous. The yeoman class, like Stonewall Jackson for example, could certainly be classified as a "genteel patriarch."