Adam Sandler, Male Drifters, and the New-Girl Economy

Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys Kay S. HymowitzBasic Books, 2011; 284 pages, $25.99 A couple of months ago, the Yale chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon was suspended for its members’ behavior during pledge week. Pledges, many of them blindfolded, shouted out chants to their female classmates such as “No Means Yes, and Yes Means Anal.” The media have made much of the fact that DKE was the fraternity of both Presidents Bush. The more salient point is the lesson offered about the relations between the sexes on college campuses these days—and indeed beyond college. Before jumping to all-too-common, knee-jerk conservative responses—“It’s the fault of feminism,” “Boys will be boys,” “It’s a fraternity; what do you expect?”—we should remember some overlooked yet obvious facts. The young men—we must use that term loosely these days—attend one of the oldest and most venerable institutions of higher learning in the nation. A Yale degree opens doors everywhere in the world. In short, these are future leaders, whether in business, law, politics, or culture. Further, DKE is an exclusive organization within an extremely selective college. Its founding documents state that the fraternity recruits men who “combine in equal proportions the gentleman, the scholar, and the jolly good fellow.” At least one of these elements has dropped out of the equation. In a sane world, these “frat boys” would be defending young women, not accosting and demeaning them. Looking to the behavior of their seniors, we see little difference. The scandals of Representative Chris “Craigslist” Lee, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Representative Anthony Wiener have become commonplace. Welcome to the world of the child-man, who is not expected and has no inclination to do the most fundamental human thing: grow up. To understand this depraved new world, anyone worried about the culture—even salvageable young men themselves—ca
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