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My favorite Faux Space Family begins its trek across wherever. Let's talk about:

- 33
- Water
- Bastille Day

Jacob never recapped this season, so there's a dearth of pith and wisdom out there and I feel like we can fix that. (Plus, "dearth of pith"? That was fun to say.)

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tomfoolery815
Nov. 24th, 2006 07:00 am (UTC)
Re: Water
I agree and disagree. I'm about to draw a TWW comparison; I know I keep doing that, but I haven't liked too many shows this much.

The “man” in question is the speaker. He’s the real man, make no mistake. The speaker is therefore putting the listener, the other, in the role of “not a man” --- the one who needs to be schooled on what it is to be a man.
Definitely. Bill is definitely saying to Lee "You are deficient in manhood here." But that is a role that fathers believe they play for their sons: Defining manhood. Bill's ignoring the fact that Lee already is an adult.

The unbelievable hubris of one person defining himself as the very prototype for his sex, and defining the other as less than that --- I can’t tell you how I much I hate that.
I'm not sure it's always as hubristic as that. I think, sometimes, it's more "my father taught this to me, and his father taught it to him." That's how I see it in the case of Bill and Lee. Bill may even think that he hasn't taught Lee this particular lesson; maybe fathers never stop thinking of their role in these terms. Clearly Bill thinks Lee still needs this schooling.

There is, I think, a difference when a man does the "A man ..." bit to a peer. I'm thinking of Matt and Ricky on last Monday's "Studio 60," and Leo to Jed in "Let Bartlet be Bartlet" (Charlie goes anyway "... because a man stands up.") When peers do it, it's more "You know the standard of manhood I'm talking about." When it's peers as opposed to father/son, there's no disadvantageous position. There's still an implicit challenge, but it's "you know" rather than "it appears you don't know."

Plus, a man also is free to disagree with the other man's definition of manhood. It's not as if any of this is written down anywhere. Sometimes a man stands up by saying to the other man "You're wrong."

And the question also places Lee as willing student to Bill.
True. Which, to me, says Lee is willing to attend more of Professor Bill's Manhood Lectures. It doesn't necessarily mean he's going to practice manhood the same way. His willingness to listen to Laura shows his willingness to not practice leadership exactly as his father would.

(There's a scene in "Hero" that connects to this topic nicely.)
marymary
Nov. 24th, 2006 03:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Water
I understand that fathers consider it part of their role to define manhood for their sons. And I think Bill's version is realistic. The version of a good father would be more like, "You are a man that I'm proud of, and here's why." Or "It's ok for a man to question himself. How can I help you?" Here, Bill is 1) belittling Lee for his question, 2) distancing himself from Lee by differentiating them on this "manhood" thing, 3) discouraging further openness from Lee.

To me, the "man" thing always has a tinge of macho to it, unless it's being said as a joke (in which case I very much appreciate it :). It not only differentiates the speaker from "others", but from women. If "a man" is strong, or "a man" leads by example...what is "a woman"?

Which, to me, says Lee is willing to attend more of Professor Bill's Manhood Lectures.

Sadly, even though the question was asked before the little smacknown he got, he is. Lee, over the course of the series, is more open to his father than his father deserves. And, like I said, I am a fan of Bill. Just not in this particular area. But he has gotten much, much better through the time they've spent together. Just not here, in "Water".
tomfoolery815
Nov. 26th, 2006 02:34 am (UTC)
Re: Water
If "a man" is strong, or "a man" leads by example...what is "a woman"?
No argument here. The obvious implication is that women are not strong, not decisive. And we've all known plenty of strong, decisive women -- and weak, indecisive men -- to know what a load a crap the obvious implication is.

It's what still disturbs me in the moment near the end of Season 1 of SN, when Dan has divulged the Casey/Sally/Gordon triangle, that Casey calls Dan "a woman." Because it implies that Dan's actions are womanly and therefore beneath him.

When a man is compared to a boy, I'm much less troubled. I think it's appropriate to call someone on immature behavior. Likewise when a man is accused of being a girl; that particular insult is, I believe, much more about an accusation of immaturity, with a dash of humor. I don't think the ugliness of dubbing females the "inferior gender" carries through in most instances.