JPRuiz | Chicago Reader

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Re: “What if the next Jade Helm 15 happens here? A state guard for Illinois

Michael Miner can make some good points once in a while… but in this article he proves once again that he is rather simple-minded (I'm trying hard not to use the word "stupid"…oops!). If you want people to pile sandbags or other types of chores then create a force for those types of tasks that doesn't require the carrying of deadly weapons. Now that we took care of that point Mr. Miner's argument sounds plain stupid…oops, there goes that word again!

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Posted by JPRuiz on 05/14/2015 at 9:49 PM

Re: “Death of a cowboy

Sorry FGFM, but I couldn't hold my tongue...
Why don't you write something meaningful for once, instead of 15 one-line attempts to be funny...Why take up space if that's all youre going to do?

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Posted by JPRuiz on 08/23/2012 at 12:23 AM

Re: “Death of a cowboy

I am so much a liberal, so far left wing, that my mother calls me a communist when she's angry with me. And as such I am a very very strong supporter of the right to free speech. Let me state that again: I LOVE free speech. In case Mr. Miner didn't understand, let me put it like this: I am so far Left that I make the ACLU look like a Bible Belt conservative organization. But after reading Michael Miner's piece on the Death of a Cowboy I wish we lived in a repressive state so that Mr. Miner's opinion would be suppressed.

I was so appalled at the sheer ignorance of this article that I was left speechless, and I still don't know where to start. Mr. Miner cites some interesting facts and writings and makes some interesting observations but the puzzle he puts together out of all these pieces bears no resemblance to the actual image - let me spell it out: Mr. Miner lives in a fictional world while I live in reality.
Where to start, where to start?
Let's see, we live in the year 2012, soon to be 2013. I believe Mr. Miner is making a point about males aged mid thirties and younger, since he specifically mentions Seth Rogen. Let's keep that in mind because I'll come back to that a little later.

Whenever ancient Rome was going through bad times some Romans attributed it to the "softening" of the younger generations. Such, at least, was the opinion of Sallust when he wrote about Catiline. Rome's founders and earlier figures had faced hardship and thus knew the value of hard work, discipline, and austerity. But the younger generations of Romans were spoiled, they knew nothing of what it took to live in luxury - they were ungrateful, avaricious, and lazy. They didn't earn their empire, it was handed to them. Was this true? Who knows? But it sure does make a lot of sense.

2000 years later America's Greatest Generation didn't just win the war, it won the world. And since the founding of the United States it is also the last generation to face hardship and truly know the value of hard work, discipline, and austerity. But it got something wrong. The men came back from the war, got jobs, moved to the suburbs, had cookouts in their back yards, raised families, and spoiled their kids rotten. Winning the war planted the seeds of America's downfall. What group of people has the greatest sense of entitlement in this country? Middle and upper class whites. The Baby Boomer generation was taught that America owns the world, that free-market capitalism (a manifestation of intemperance and lack of discipline) equals freedom. Isn't it a sign of avarice that freedom is equated with unrestrained consumption, that whenever a person encounters an obstacle in their everyday life they believe (in their bones) that money will remove it, that it is ok to indulge an appetite simply because they can pay for it? This is the root of the emasculation of American males. They haven't earned the wealth they enjoy. America's problem, it's lack of real men, is the same problem that Rome faced. Every generation since WWII has had it easier and easier, their elders giving them an empire they didn't earn. I go to the bars in Lincoln Park and Lake View and I am a constant witness to DePaul boys spending their parents' cash and getting into cars that their daddies bought. Who cares about a Marlboro Man when boys' laxity is enabled by their parents?

The 20th century saw the beginning of the end for the discipline of children in America. It used to be that children were raised under rigorous and strict discipline, learning the classics, studying under tutors, SITTING STILL IN THE PRESENCE OF ADULTS. Or, if not wealthy, getting up at the crack of dawn to help on the farm, the shop, the apprenticeship. Believe me, kids (boys) were told to sit down and shut up. And yes "notes would be sent home [and] parents summoned." The problem is not the lack of a cowboy ad for cigarettes (even when this started to disappear, we still had the Terminator, Die Hard, Tombstone, Vin Diesel, and many other pop culture examples of the "macho man"; by the way, I started to smoke when I was ten, long before I was aware of the Marlboro Man's meaning). The problem is that kids are not disciplined enough by their parents. Parents let their kids run around wild at home (and I'm talking about WASP families) and are then shocked to hear that their kid acted up in class. Boys are getting mixed signals: your loving parents let you do whatever you want and then send you to strangers who want you to behave. Of course boys are confused, what do you expect? Kids naturally have a lot of energy, intelligence, and potential, Alberti recognized this during the Renaissance and he believed that these qualities could end up in either of two ways: the child could be left alone to develop his tendencies, risking a negative outcome (a personality with a tendency for vice) or the child could be shaped through education (his natural tendencies molded into a virtuous personality). Even boys born with negative qualities could be taught to channel these into virtuous actions. Alberti's reasoning makes a lot of sense to me. I firmly believe that a child's personality is almost fully formed before he even enters grade school. And this means that if the kid has personality problems it is the parents' fault. I agree that there is a crisis of the "perpetual adolescents who plague us" but the reason is a crisis of shitty parenting, not the lack of a puffing man on a horse. How about this explanation for the Seth Rogens of the world: Socially, the class clown is more popular, and has better luck with girls (who can deny that a girl likes a boy who can make her laugh).

I'm thirty years old, Seth Rogen's age down to the month. I wonder what time period Mr. Miner has in mind when he criticizes our expectations of boys and lack of male role-models. Is he talking about today? Because his argument wouldn't apply to either me or Seth Rogen. We were 10 year old boys 20 years ago. The "perpetual adolescents who plague us now" are usually in their late 20s to 30s so that means that whatever problems Mr. Miner is talking about have been around for at least 20 years. I doubt that. Times change. Perhaps Mr. Miner is 20 years too late in making his observations. He is making judgments about adult men based on what he thinks he knows of kids today. There is no logic in that line of reasoning.

I have two different degrees and soon to enter graduate school, I don't act out in public, I know the value of hard work, discipline, and austerity, and yes, notes where sent home and my mom was summoned. I worked in a restaurant in order to pay for school, and believe me, one learns more about society, class, and real every day psychology working in a restaurant than anywhere else. I know who is likely to tip or not, who feels they can get EXACTLY what they want simply because they can pay for it, who will make a scene, who will be rude, and who brings their kids into a public place and doesn't tell them to sit still and shut up. Working in that restaurant I saw many many parents let their kids run around like they were at home, and try to reason with them when they got unbearable. When I was a child of about 5 or 6 I sat still and shut up in restaurants and if I didn't my mother didn' t try to reason with me, she just gave me a firm slap on the lips. We don't need cowboys, we need to start dishing out good old-fashioned loving spankings (and in some cases, ass-whippings).

This country is going down the drain and Mr. Miner's opinion is part of the problem. Instead of us taking responsibility for our actions, for our bad parenting, we try to sound smart by mentioning archetypes that are supposed to raise our children for us. I remember once I sent a driver to deliver food to a man who lives in a high-rise in Lakeview. The man's 15 year old son thought there was a problem with the total but the driver's job is just to deliver, he has nothing to do with order totals. The kid signed the credit card slip, balled it up in his hand, and threw it in the driver's face. Mr. Miner, where do you think that 15 year old punk learned that behavior? Would enough bombardment by cowboy ads teach the kid to treat people with respect? This country is going down the drain because we think we can buy our way out of any problem with wealth we didn't earn. When things go wrong, when our buildings are destroyed, we blame foreigners, instead of looking in the mirror and asking ourselves what we might have done to deserve this. 9/11 happened in 2001, if there was a ten year old boy watching that footage he is now 21 years old, and he has grown up thinking that attack was unwarranted, that American international actions are purely defensive, that our past actions didn't terrorize the children who would grow up to tear down our World Trade Center. Instead of there being a sincere and open national discussion about what could have provoked those attacks, we started two wars, legalized torture and spying on civilians. A real man doesn't need to wear a cowboy hat, carry a gun, and smoke cigarettes (an image popularized when the Baby Boomer generation was growing up). A real man respects women (does Charlie Sheen? he's the perfect age to have grown up with the Marlboro Man), admits when he's wrong, and faces the consequences of his actions (did Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Obama?). What kind of example of Masculinity is it for our politicians and presidents to whine about our innocence and go to war under the guise of self-defense?

No Mr. Miner, the qualities you suggest we should not punish in little boys are exactly the ones that make up the "perpetual adolescent".

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Posted by JPRuiz on 08/21/2012 at 12:54 AM

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