MSNBC host Joe Scarborough has been getting mocked for a series of tweets criticizing millennials:
Scarborough’s ideal activity for young men –fighting in wars– really is a strange view of the good old days. A more obvious answer would be starting a family, or working towards being able to start a family. But our societal turn away from marriage can’t be blamed on smart-phones and video games, even though smart-phones and games provide some of the diversions that fill up the time men used to focus on leading and providing for a family. The truth is that we have formally adopted a new family structure to replace marriage, the child support model. While we keep marriage around in a ceremonial form, wives forever retain the option to convert these nominal marriages into the child support model at will.
Moreover, as much as Scarborough was pummeled for telling millennial men to man up and do what he didn’t do (join the military), he would have left himself even more open if he had told them to do what he did do; Scarborough will soon enter his third marriage, which puts him in a tough spot to sell marriage as a moral imperative. Either Scarborough didn’t honor his own vows, or his wives elected to convert what he thought were marriages to the child support model.
Why can’t other men be humble and noble, like me?
All of this started when Scarborough decided to throw his weight behind Rod Dreher’s recent American Conservative article: Deforming Teens’ Moral Imagination. Dreher’s article in turn was primarily the publication of a letter from an unnamed reader, a young (Millennial) man. Dreher’s reader explains that unlike himself, his peers are antisocial and think they are better than everyone they meet:
The presence of other people is treated as a nuisance, an exhausting and tedious task of putting up with overly-energetic plebeians who couldn’t possibly understand your tastes in photography and gritty, authentic literature. I’ve even heard more than one particularly nasty people in this group say, on multiple occasions, that they hate people. Full stop, without qualification, “I hate people.” This is usually occasioned by some petty rudeness or ignorance on part of the unwashed masses with whom these elevated introverts have the misfortune of using the same grocery store or university.
In an ironic twist, the young man explains that he also finds that he is too superior to participate in groups with men his age (emphasis mine):
RUF is about as far from the stereotypical entertainment fluff stereotype of youth / college ministries as you can get. And yet in my senior year when I tried out a couple of community groups, which were split by sex, I found that I simply couldn’t join them. To the best of my recollection, every single male besides myself in both RUF community groups I visited (and there was no overlap of people) was an active porn user, or had been relatively recently. As the discussions went on in both groups, I found myself uncomfortably silent — I’ve never watched or even wanted to watch porn, but I didn’t want to say so and sound impossibly holier-than-thou.
Clearly the young man doesn’t understand the hair-shirt and chest thumping model of modern Christian manhood, and has forgotten the hair-shirt.
Finally he gets to the heart of the issue. These antisocial men were not only lesser men than him, but they were the men the women his age were attracted to. Even worse, these are the same women who have friend-zoned our intrepid letter writer:
So there I sat, listening as guys whom girls I know and deeply respect had crushes on and wished would ask them out, go on about how porn was just too hard of a habit to break because of dopamine addiction. The young women who were taken with these young men would no doubt be shocked and horrified to know what these gentlemen spent their evenings doing, and were at risk of walking into a relationship with a porn-addicted man who would almost certainly conceal his private habit from this girl until she was emotionally involved enough that breaking off the relationship would be hard. Because of the confidentiality involved, I couldn’t warn these girls off from dating these guys, and I couldn’t bear to think about the indignity these women would be subjected to in dating these men, so I left and never went back. Most of my good platonic friends in college were women; and I consider the lack of male community where perversion was not the accepted norm to be one of the principal causes of that fact.