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2.10.04 Men: The Paradox

Premise: Men (and the women who want to be men) expect to be powerful and "in charge." They strive to be the alpha, the leader of the pack, the one the women must have their babies with.

We accept this, right? It is biological. 70% of my spam is for Viagra and penis enlargers. Poor things. The primal show of power is everything to them. Embarrassment is death.

So, if embarrassment is death and egos are expected to be displayed, why do men cultivate helplessness? They need their calendars kept, their words processed, a flock of subordinates running around for them. They don't know how to work their computers and (despite an attraction to power tools) can't work a washing machine.

Ok, maybe it's not so mysterious. "Helplessness" means you must be surrounded by helpers. The helpers feel needed and bask in the reflected alpha glory. Having lots of helpers slips over from indicating helplessness to indicating power. Whatever the alpha is helpless at becomes "menial" and can be delegated out.

Just don't tell me, okay, that the archetypal American is the cowboy -- that lonesome, independent guy with nothing but his gun, his horse, and his wits to see him through life. No, no, no. The romance of the Old West is over. The South has risen again. The archetypal American male is now the Plantation Owner. Does the 21st century corporate alpha aspire to anything but being an antebellum slave master? More slaves, more cotton. More female slaves, fewer wise-ass complaints about the size of his, uh, ego.

Do corporations exist because God created the CEO? I guess for the most part this biology serves us well. When your pants are down, the bigger your corporation, the more other men admire you. It works in politics too. George Bush needs to prove he has the biggest most powerful country down his pants. But the evidence seems to be mounting that he's clueless about running that great big country and must surround himself with Viagra-like old alphas like Cheney and Rummy to do the heavy lifting. The Crawford ranch is not about cowboys but about how many acres of tumbleweed an alpha can accumulate.

Here's the problem. It's one thing if natural law drives the alpha to assemble a company that makes a productive contribution to the community. There is a division of labor and roles must be delegated. But what if the alpha starts delegating what is supposed to be his own job: Thinking, Envisioning, Strategizing, Writing Stuff Down. What if his incompetence is so real and his fear of public embarrassment so great that he outsources his own job? Ah, he has succumbed to the penis enlarger ads. If you don't have it, buy it. Corruption starts setting in.

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P.S. I've known plenty of men who are happy-go-lucky betas and heroically kind alphas. The above rant applies only to certain males who irritate me, including the one running this nation.

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