The tidal flow of popular culture has obliged me many times to remark upon what it is doing to the male sex. The concerted effort to weaken and emasculate boys and men is producing an effect which probably will be a surprise to many advocates of this weakening, but which highly-placed culture-shapers may have desired all along.
Exactly as gun-control laws never disarm career criminals, the campaign to eliminate male aggressiveness is completely ineffective upon the worst of all males. Men of good intentions, who are accustomed to exercising a conscience, are willing to listen to moral exhortations; if they can be led to believe that becoming effeminate will make them better citizens, they will try to become effeminate out of a desire to contribute better to society. But men who don't _have_ any conscience will stay just as toxic-masculine as they ever were, while sneering at well-meaning men who timidly surrender the battlefield to the evildoers. The same feminists who have worked for decades to soften up men as a category are in for an unpleasant surprise, when they look around and see that thugs and barbarians have remained as gruntingly male as ever, while the well-meaning men have become too submissive and weak to be of any help in keeping the feminists safe.
It took me a while to fit a certain piece into this gender-politics puzzle, but by now I’ve seen just where it fits.
Which male superhero in the Marvel Comics universe -- I mean the print comics, not the movies derived from them -- has been subjected to THE VERY MOST MERCILESS attack of thematic castration? Not the city-wrecking Hulk; not the homicidal Wolverine; not the cynical, chaotic Deadpool; not the gruesome Ghost Rider. Any of those could actually use a mellowing influence; but NO-O-O-O.
The hero most extraordinarily singled out for humiliation and sexual-identity blurring is the dignified, chivalrous, noble, idealistic THOR: the very character who so obviously _didn't_ need to be “cured” of his valiant maleness. It was Thor who was offered up as a sacrificial ram to appease the pop culture’s demand for un-manning. It was Thor who had his Thor-ness stolen from him and conferred on a woman. Any rationale about him having become “unworthy” was only a tacked-on excuse for what someone had really wanted to do to Thor no matter what.
Just as somebody over at the B.B.C. had been wanting to change Doctor Who into a woman.
Long before the Thor series was vandalized for the sake of political correctness, there was a She-Hulk created in addition to the original Bruce Banner Hulk. She was a separate character; she didn’t have to rob the first Hulk of his Hulk-ness, even though Bruce Banner would _rather_ have been de-Hulked. Spider-Man, meanwhile, was allowed to have a daughter who inherited his powers; but she, again, was not taking her father’s identity away from him. Nope, it “just had to be” Thor, that supremely decent and idealistic male comicbook hero, who was knocked out of the game.
This exactly fits the real-world pattern: allow bums and crazies to stay masculine, but get rid of precisely the best male role models.
Thus does pop culture help to create the very conditions described in poetry by William Butler Yeats: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst // Are full of passionate intensity.”
If comicbook heroes actually existed, I would never even consider asking Deadpool for help in any emergency, if there were an unaltered, uncastrated, unvandalized Thor to call upon. So what does the pop culture do? It offers me Deadpool -- while decreeing that I can’t ask for Thor unless I’m prepared to agree to the p.c. dogma that males are inferior and making Thor a woman was an improvement.
Now, Black Panther T’Challa is noble and virtuous and admirable; but he has his own support of identity politics to protect him from being ruined by writers. He’ll be retained. But I expect the movie side of Marvel to kill off Captain America -- which, on top of the castration of Thor on the publication side, advances the purge of maleness. We are left with an Ant-Man who in the movies has been made into a clown, a Peter Quill who is required to be inferior to his leading lady Gamora, and an Iron Man who (if he survives “Infinity War”) will almost certainly retire. Even Doctor Strange isn’t allowed to be Doctor Strange unless his mentor The Ancient One is changed into a woman.
If storytellers just made up more entirely-new characters who were impressive women, I wouldn’t be so upset. But there is something mean and spiteful -- in other words, there is something perfectly typical of recent hard-left feminism -- in this policy of preferring to TAKE AWAY whatever men have and are. Worse, to take it away only from good men.
In a world heavily supplied with Islamist predators who laugh at all suggestions that they should be soft and meek, modern women may find that they have cut off their noses to spite good men’s faces.