stevedeace

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Honor

In Uncategorized on February 18, 2011 at 7:31 am

Dictionary.com defines the word honor as “honesty, fairness, and integrity in one’s beliefs and actions…high public esteem, fame, glory (which is earned)…a source of credit or distinction.”

Honor is a word that used to carry preeminence in our culture. Not too long ago we used to have an honor-based culture, until we started accepting the contemporary social mores based on what we prefer to view as our more enlightened thinking, but really is just magical thinking that violates the natural order of things.

Regardless of what you think of Linn-Marr wrestler Joel Northrup’s decision to forfeit his opening match at this week’s annual state wrestling tournament rather than tussle with a girl, this teenager should be commended for reminding the adults in the room that it’s our job to instill honor in the emerging generation, not theirs.

Northrup – whose father is a pastor – claims he forfeited his match for matters of religious conscience, which forbids him from manhandling women in a way that wrestling demands you do to your opponent in order to win.

“Wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times,” Northrup said in a statement released by his high school. “As a matter of conscience and my faith I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner. It is unfortunate that I have been placed in a situation not seen in most other high school sports in Iowa.”

Let me just say as a father of two daughters who encourages their competitiveness and drive that Northrup is exactly correct. You may ask what I would do if my daughters came to me wanting to wrestle with boys, to which I have two answers. One, if I do my job as their daddy they won’t. Two, I would try to encourage that drive and competitive ambition by simultaneously channeling it in a way that doesn’t require my girls to give up their God-given femininity to be validated.

Naysayers will say Northrup is just covering for the fact he doesn’t want to risk losing to a girl, but if that’s the case he’s still correct. Those naysayers indict their own magical thinking since if they’re admitting there is a supposed stigma in losing to a girl doesn’t that then also reveal the lack of honor in beating one in such a pursuit?

There is no honor in winning like this, and a culture that encourages its males to pursue victory without honor is setting a very dangerous precedent indeed. Men who have sought victory without honor have often committed the worst atrocities in human history. Furthermore, with that history as our guide it’s ironic to note that in cultures that do this very thing women are the most subjugated and restricted—not the other way around.

Why? Because women have a sense of honor as well as a source of “credit and distinction.” In the moral tradition that founded this country it was believed that men and women were created equally. Granted, much of that equality had to be attained in areas of life where it should’ve been the natural order of things, but violating the natural order of things in order to obtain some flawed notion of equality equally has no honor. Or, as my mama used to tell me growing up, two wrongs don’t make a right.

No other religious tradition in the history of this planet gives as much equality to women as does the Judeo-Christian one. For Moses to state that God created them, male and female, equally in His own image was not just a revolutionary thought to the ancient world but remains one to the majority of the world today.

However, equality does not equal sameness.

Before God you and your boss have equal merit as each being created in His image, but you don’t each have the same authority or responsibilities in this life, and when you attempt to usurp his authority or responsibilities there are consequences. Similarly, my lovely bride and I are of equal merit in the eyes of God and are to treat each other that way. Nonetheless, we don’t each have the same authority and responsibility.

To the egalitarians reading this, or women who unfortunately grew up without a real man as a father or are currently married to a scoundrel or a wimp so they struggle to trust masculinity, what I just wrote seems old school—but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

If you’re one of those aforementioned types of skeptics let me ask you a simple question: was taxes higher or lower, was crime higher or lower, was children’s literacy higher or lower, and was the divorce rate higher or lower when our culture still embraced what I believe than it is now that we embrace what you believe?

That’s what I thought.

This is because this isn’t just my belief at all. Instead it is the natural order of things—or the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” To align with the natural order brings harmony. To violate it brings chaos, which in our day often manifests itself in all the societal ills the so-called “Great Society” (see that as the taxpayer) is asked to pick up the tab to clean up.

No civilized culture in human history I can think of sent its women off to war or encouraged its women to physically compete with the men as we are doing today. In fact, I’m not sure I can think of too many uncivilized savages who did, either. Even in those barbaric cultures the men still had enough honor to protect their own women, even if they weren’t very kind to the females in the tribe they just conquered.

Why is it that if you were walking down the street after school and saw two boys wrestling with each other, even if they were a little rough and sweaty, you wouldn’t think of separating them unless one was bleeding?

Why is it that if you saw a girl and a boy in the same situation you would?

Why is it that when my son gets rough with his sisters I pull him aside and teach him that he has to protect them from other boys, not treat them like other boys?

Why would a father be comfortable with a teenage boy manhandling his daughter, including her most intimate areas as wrestlers often do, when if he saw a teenage boy doing that to her in a parked car on a Friday night he might be inclined to take advantage of his Second Amendment freedoms?

The answer is simple, because men and women are different. They are separate and distinct, and to treat them as such not only is honorable but bestows honor on each. It is not the girl’s job to live out her daddy’s misspent regrets that he never had a son, instead it’s her daddy’s job to give her the unique honor as his beloved princess she deserves. Nor is it mommy’s job to encourage her Princess Boy, but instead give her prince the honor of learning how to protect her and provide for her so that he may adequately do that for another man’s princess one day.

If there is no honor in losing to a girl in such a pursuit, then there is no honor in defeating one, either. The Iowa High School Athletics Association doesn’t allow boys to compete in girls’ sports, and no father in his right mind would have his son do it even if he could because there is no honor in it. The ridicule rightly outweighs the reward.

For years I’ve done a lot of good-natured jesting at the expense of the sport of wrestling, mainly because it was the source of some of my most embarrassing moments as a youngster. Nonetheless, I’ve always had a lot of respect at the honor that is a part of the sport’s subculture. It’s a rigid sport that frankly I wasn’t tough enough for that in this state has turned many a boy into a man with the adversity one must overcome to engage in it successfully.

It seems to me the one that is living out that life lesson on a very public stage is the child the adults are supposed to be teaching it to, not the adults who are supposed to be doing the teaching.

Advertisements

My Top 10 Films of 2010

In Uncategorized on February 16, 2011 at 8:04 pm

A long time listener recently asked me to post this list again, so in case you missed it here it is:

10. Despicable Me

The months of endless trailers that made you sick of the movie before you even saw it didn’t do this one justice. Definitely worth the 3-D, especially for the closing credits, the animation is top notch and the main characters are all very likeable—especially the children and the beloved minions. Laugh out loud funny at times, too.

9. The Ghost Writer

Ewan McGregor plays a ghost writer hired to clean up the autobiography of a fictional former British Prime Minister (played by Pierce Brosnan) whose profile strongly resembles the real life Tony Blair. However, once McGregor begins to investigate what happened to his predecessor on the project the movie becomes one of the best thrillers I saw last year.

8. How to Train Your Dragon

Hands down, the best 3-D animation of any film I’ve seen since the format became chic again, the story is also tremendously underrated and charming. Gerard Butler as the Viking king with a soft spot for his son does a great job, and it has a very pro-traditional family message about a boy’s need for his father’s approval.

7. Buried

Who knew that Ryan Reynolds really could act? Hollywood’s emerging boy toy plays a U.S. contractor working on the rebuilding of Iraq, who is kidnapped by terrorists and buried in a grave underground with a cell phone by which to call the authorities to make their ransom demands. What I really loved about this movie is that it resisted the temptation to give you the clichéd Hallmark moment at the end and stayed true to its gritty story line all the way through.

6. Inception

Christopher Nolan continues to distance himself from his peers as this era’s premier onscreen storyteller. Rarely can a film both confuse and enthrall you, but similar to Nolan’s breakthrough hit Memento you’re never really sure what part of the story you’re in or even if you’re in the story at all. But you love every minute of it.

5. Waiting for Superman

This documentary ought to be mandatory viewing by every public school parent and every state legislator in the country. What’s particularly refreshing about this film is that it’s an honest and necessary clarion call about the sorry state of our educational system by a left-of-center filmmaker who is naturally predisposed to have a favorable viewpoint regarding the subject matter, not a right-winger like me who disdains the very premise of contemporary government education in the first place.

4. The King’s Speech

You know a film is really good when it can convince you that Helena Bonham Carter actually is the traditional, nurturing wife and not some psycho killer freak show in a skirt that she normally portrays. Colin Firth deserves all the accolades he’s receiving for his stellar performance, and the script is top-notch and at time surprisingly warm considering it’s about a bunch of Brits with the stereotypical stiff upper lip. Guys, if you’ve got to take one for the team make this your date night sacrifice. You won’t regret it.

3. Toy Story 3

One of the best family films made in the last decade or so, it’s simultaneously a masterpiece of storytelling and animation that both entertains and tugs at the heart strings. A fitting conclusion to the award-winning trilogy that made Pixar a household name that revolutionized modern film-making, if you’re not misty-eyed at the end of this one you’re heartless.

2. The Fighter

Quentin Tarantino called and he thought there was too much foul language in this film, but if you can overcome this realistic portrayal of family dysfunction in a declining working class New England town it’s impossible not to get caught up in this classic underdog tale based on a true story. Amy Adams makes quite a transition from her typical girl-next-door innocence, but it’s Christian Bale in a mesmerizing supporting role who clearly steals the show from lead actor Mark Wahlberg (who’s also pretty good).

1. The Social Network

A flawless film, the opening sequence is one of the most memorable and original in recent memory. The method of using flashbacks through the various depositions taking place in the eventual lawsuits against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg as a means of telling the story is ingenious. Jesse Eisenberg is tremendous in the lead role, and Justin Timberlake is a pleasant surprise as Napster founder Sean Parker. Clearly the top movie I saw in 2010.