June 16, 2007
Eunuchly American literary figure(s)
I had in mind a long-winded essay about how the best way to avoid raising a eunchoid son would be to have him read "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," but this took the wind out of my sails.
(Things are really desperate when all you get when you Google is your own stuff.)
To make a long post short, I think what's important about Sidney is that he is, literarily and metaphorically speaking, a neutered boy -- the equivalent of a eunuch. Not gay, not a sissy, or anything like that, but a pliant, obedient, well-behaved lover of authority who does as he's told, runs to the authorities for protection, undermines the accomplishments of others, and thwarts those with free will and stubborn independence. (And who in all probability would think sex is icky.)
"The Dangerous Book for Boys" strikes me as a Tom Saywer/Huck Finn sort of restoration project in the making, and an antidote to the growing neuter movement. How could anyone in their right mind could object to that? I Googled the book to look for objections, and found none. However, it didn't take long for an angry whiner to come crawling out of the woodwork in the form of Glenn Greenwald -- a genuine Sidney Sawyer if ever there was one. I was a bit taken aback, but I shouldn't have been, really. It was just so in character for Greenwald to object to this book. So, so, perfectly fitting. His attack on "The Dangerous Book for Boys" is a true testament to the perpetually recurring nature of the Sidney Sawyer eunuchoid personality that is unfortunately as much a traditional American character as his brother Tom. IMO, the ideal American spirit is Tom Sawyer, not Sidney. I don't think most parents would want to raise a Sid Sawyer (or a Glenn Greenwald) as a child. Nor should the schools be encouraging the development of such personalities. (Instead of banning Tom Sawyer, I think they ought to make it assigned reading.)
Regardless of whether the Sid Sawyers of the world are comfortable with it, this stuff has important consequences -- some of which were discussed in a Wall Street Journal article that Glenn Reynolds linked yesterday:
You can't build a civilization and defend it against barbarians, fascists and playground bullies, in other words, with a nation of Phil Donahues.Nor with a nation of Sidney Sawyers.
The author (Tony Woodlief, who also wrote "Raising Wild Boys Into Men: A Modern Dad's Survival Guide") amplifies:
The good father, then, needs to nurture his son's moral and spiritual core, and equip him with the skills he'll need to act on the moral impulse that we call courage. A real man, in other words, is someone who doesn't run from an Osama bin Laden. But he may also need the ability to hit a target from three miles out with a .50 caliber M88 if he wants to finish the job.If anyone had the Tea Party Gene, it would have been Sidney Sawyer. He'd not only run from Osama bin Laden, but he'd tattle on the Tom Sawyers who risked their lives to go after him.
UPDATE: Many thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link, and welcome all!
Considering the recent forced mutilation of toy soldiers by educrats, I think a Tom Sawyer revival is long overdue, as the Sidney forces seem to be winning.
All the more reason not to forget about Tom!
posted by Eric on 06.16.07 at 04:09 PM
Search the Site
Classics To Go
See more archives here
Old (Blogspot) archives
A knee sock jihad might be premature at this time
People Are Not Rational
No Biorobots For Japan
The Thorium Solution
Radiation Detector From A Digital Camera
This war of attrition is driving me bananas!
Attacking Christianity is one thing, but must they butcher geometry?
Are there trashy distinctions in freedom of expression?
Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood