When you think of the "Art of Manliness" what man comes to mind as most closely personifying the ideal set by the web site? Perhaps because of the feel of the site and the use of imagery Hemingway comes to mind for me; but while his sense of adventure, love of sport an fitness and sense of style were laudable, I don't know that he morally represented the site. Ben Franklin definitely had the moral qualities and hard work/yankee ingenuity that represents the site, not to mention a great nose for business, but he wasn't often described as being debonair or stylish. So who else, Francis Bacon, Voltaire, Socrates? Does anyone else have someone in mind who personifies the site?
Well said Zach. So often in my life I've been disappointed by people that I have looked up to. But I have come to realise that although I can learn a lot from them, they are still human and still make mistakes.
However, if I look at the character of Jesus I realise that he is so much more than just the friendly guy with the beard as illustrated in my old children's Bible. He lived life the way it was meant to be lived. For me he not only personifies Godliness, but also manliness.
I have to respectfully disagree with this to an extent. Making a choice to end one's life on one's own terms is not necessarily unmanly. It's not necessarily wimping out or being unable to tough it out, though there are times when that certainly is the case. I've known people who have ended their lives as a result of severe depression, and while it is sad, I certainly can't blame them for succumbing to an illness any more than I could blame a cancer patient for dying from their illness. But, I've also known of people who have chosen to end their lives as a matter of dignity. Faced with what they considered to be an undignified death, they chose to end things on their own terms, for which I have a certain amount of respect.
Franklin fits. "Debonair and stylish" in his day were not the attributes of a serious gentleman of character. Teddy Roosevelt and Teddy, Jr. fit. Both put it on the line, and TR did have the laudable ability to laugh at himself. But for style, unappreciated wit, a phenominal amount of self control, and wholly underrated ability to learn, adapt, and suborn personal desire for the public good, George Washington.
Nathan Bedford Forest and Robert E. Lee.
And if I may add, Franklin did not much fit the archetype. While Ben Franklin was a great Man in many ways, he was an absolutely horrible husband and Father. He was an entirely absentee parent until his illegitimate son was a grown Man, ( The boy was in his twenties already at the time of the great electrical experiment so often referenced.) and sadly, Ben Franklin was utterly dismissive of his wife and daughter.
I obviously do a lot of thinking about "manliness," and something I've been thinking about lately is how there are really a few different kinds of manliness-es. There's the manliness of a guy like Hemingway, a brilliant writer, a hunter, boxer, and adventurer. But also a man who married 4 times and killed himself. Then there's the manliness of a guy who's a gentleman, a virtuous and faithful family man. There's the manliness of the cowboy or biker, the rebel without a cause, who keeps to himself and walks a road entirely his own. These different manliness-es are rarely found all within the same man; in some ways they are incompatible.
There are a few that come close: TR, Churchill, Lee
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