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?
Hemingway does fit many of the themes this site represents, but let's not forget that he killed himself.
The only one I can best think of is Jesus Christ. His followers believe he was perfect in every way, which means he was the perfect man. He was a carpenter that lived simply and honestly. He was a mentor to other young men. He exemplified humility. He was innocent of all vice. He had a beard. He knew how and when to crack a joke. He befriended women and children and treated them with love and respect. He was slow to anger, but not a pushover. He made sure that no parties ran dry. And, best of all, he sacrificed his life for others (and then kicked Death's ass). Personally, I don't think you can find a better example. In fairness, he was also fully-God, so that's kind of cheating.
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 think we can all agree that an attribute of true manliness is toughing out life, no matter how messed-up things are. In Hemingway's case, he was deemed not mentally-competent at the time, so while I won't exalt him, I won't condemn him either.
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.
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"My League to fix the United States of America -
President - Ronald Reagan
Vice President - Benjamin Franklin
Secretary of State - Dwight D. Eisenhower
Secretary of the Treasury - Milton Freedman
Secretary of Defense - Leon Panetta