Men need to grow up, help solve social problems

Curtis Powers

When I look at the various social problems in America, there seems to be one common link: a lack of good men.

Men who will take responsibility for their actions and not fear commitment. Men who will get married, raise their children well, work hard at their job and for their community, and be a voice for the poor and oppressed.

Maybe that’s a sweeping generalization or an oversimplification of things, but hang with me on this. Let’s look at some major issues, for example the financial crisis and abortion. Then let’s examine more root-level issues like video games.

Let’s start with the financial crisis. From an article in The Atlantic, it appears porn may have helped start our financial collapse in 2008. Here are some noteworthy lines from the story:

“A senior attorney — a man — at the SEC’s Washington headquarters spent up to eight hours a day looking at and downloading pornography.”

“An accountant was blocked more than 16,000 times in a month from visiting websites classified as ‘sex’ or ‘pornography.’ Yet, he still managed to amass a collection of ‘very graphic’ material on his hard drive by using Google images.”

“The number of cases jumped from two in 2007 to 16 in 2008. The cracks in the financial system emerged in mid-2007 and spread into full-blown panic by the fall of 2008.”

That’s a pretty alarming report and speaks volumes. After all, what are you doing looking at porn, especially at work? Especially in that quantity. Also, where’s the accountability from other people within the agency? It’s surprising in this day and age that it would go unnoticed for so long.

How about abortion? Another article on The Catholic Education Resource Center’s website, stated, “Nearly 40 percent of post-abortive women in one study reported that partners pressured them into having the abortions.”

“Indeed, in her study of the data, Emory University professor Elizabeth Fox-Genovese reports that ‘the most enthusiastic fans of abortion have been men — at least until they have children of their own.'”

It is very sad to hear that some men would force women into having abortions. A woman shouldn’t have to face that kind of pressure when dealing with an unplanned pregnancy.

She should be able to count on the unquestioned support of her partner. However, in this day and age, most men don’t want to grow up and in this case, take responsibility for helping raise their own children.

This trend is called by some as “emerging adulthood.” More accurately for men, it could probably be called the Cartman Syndrome, which can be summarized with the following quote: “I’ll do what I want, whatever I want, for as long I want, and never grow up unless I have to.”

Therefore, as the City Journal points out, “Single Young Males, or SYMs, by contrast, often seem to hang out in a playground of drinking, hooking up, playing ‘Halo 3,’ and, in many cases, underachieving. With them, adulthood looks as though it’s receding.”

This is illustrated most poignantly with video games. Check out this stat from the same article which is appropriately entitled, “Child-Man in the Promised Land.”

“Those boys have grown up to become child-man gamers, turning a niche industry into a $12 billion powerhouse. Men between the ages of 18 and 34 are now the biggest gamers; according to Nielsen Media, almost half — 48.2 percent — of American males in that age bracket had used a console during the last quarter of 2006, and did so, on average, two hours and 43 minutes per day. (That’s 13 minutes longer than 12 to 17-year-olds, who evidently have more responsibilities than today’s twentysomethings.)”

That is simply shocking, appalling even. Expand that out over a week and it’s roughly 19 hours. That’s a part-time job!

Women, on the other hand, seem to be doing just the opposite. Right before that line describing young, single men, it states, “But while we grapple with the name, it’s time to state what is now obvious to legions of frustrated young women: the limbo doesn’t bring out the best in young men.”

“With women, you could argue that adulthood is in fact emergent. Single women in their twenties and early thirties are joining an international New Girl Order, hyperachieving in both school and an increasingly female-friendly workplace, while packing leisure hours with shopping, traveling, and dining with friends.”

No wonder women make up 60 percent of college graduates today.

Anyway, it’s been hard for me to pinpoint an underlying problem. Though like the previous article I wrote about “Amusing ourselves to death,” it seems to be more a problem of men loving what will ruin us.

However, there seems to be one thing that can help us — men — think about how we’re doing. Ask yourself this question: When I die, what will my obituary say? More importantly, what will your family say about you?

Will it say, “Here lies [your name]. He wasted his life on sports, movies, video games and porn. He died alone in a nursing home.”

Or will it say, “Here lies [your name]. He worked hard at his job, for his community, and stood up for the poor and the oppressed. He leaves behind his wife, lots of children,and lots of grandchildren who dearly loved him and will do things even greater than he.”

I hope that one day I will be able to look back upon my life when I am old and know that I have left a legacy for future generations. I hope that you men can, too.