Generous Orthodoxy  

Friday, June 01, 2007

Wanted: Grown-up men and fathers

The scarcity of male role models in American life is serious. Mothers alone cannot raise boys to be responsible, mature men without fathers or father substitutes. This fact is poorly understood and little acted-upon. Here is a sample comment from a review of the new movie, Knocked Up:

Excerpt from a review by A. O . Scott, New York Times, June 1

At a moment of crisis Ben [who has impregnated his new girlfriend] calls his father, a nice, tolerant guy played by Harold Ramis, for advice. “Just tell me what to do,” he begs, but no help is forthcoming. (“I’ve been divorced three times [says the father]. Why are you asking me?”) The absence of a credible model of mature manhood is clearly one of the forces trapping Ben and his friends in their state of blithe immaturity.

Mr. Apatow’s [the director] critique of contemporary mores is easy to miss — it is obscured as much by geniality as by profanity — but it is nonetheless severe and directed at the young men who make up the core of this film’s likely audience. The culture of sexual entitlement and compulsive consumption encourages men to remain boys, for whom women serve as bedmates and babysitters.