Maureen Dowd just published an earth-scorcher on the Anthony Weiner scandal entitled “Your Tweetin’ Heart.” It’s in the NYT and is well-worth reading (HT: Mike Cosper). Dowd relishes a fine skewering of bad men, and she’s up to the task in her piece. I found it interesting given that just last week I tackled this theme in a Gospel Coalition piece.
Dowd takes note of a trend among famous men nowadays. They marry very well, hitching up with women who graduate summa cum laude from Smith, manage 100,000-person companies, have their dresses cut for them by Kate Spade herself, and run marathons in Zimbabwe on free weekends. Quickly, though, they grow bored. Online or in person, they prowl for young girls, women of a certain profession, married women. Quoth Dowd:
The weenie Weiner married up to Hillary Clinton’s aide, the glamorous and classy Huma Abedin, and only 11 months later got caught e-dating down with a Vegas blackjack dealer, a porn star and a couple of college students.
This time, no feminist umbrage rang out — and not merely because Weiner is a liberal Democrat. Women have been conditioned by now to assume the worst.
All this has changed the woman-to-woman code, according to Dowd, a lifelong bachelorette:
In five decades, we’ve moved from the pre-feminist mantra about the sexual peccadilloes of married men — Boys will be boys — to post-feminist resignation: Men are dogs. And there’s no point in feminists wasting their ire at women being objectified because many women these days seem all too ready to play along.
I cannot imagine what it is like to be a single twenty- or thirty-something woman in the broader culture today. It must be a ghastly experience. Following feminist tenets, you’ve worked your way to a fantastic job in an ultra-urban setting. Because you’re responsible, you’ve been able not only to save money but to buy a nice apartment. You take care of yourself, eat good food, go to fun shows and movies, and generally live a glamorous lifestyle. There’s just one thing missing: a good man.
While you were pushing your way to the top, he was floating through his twenties, leaving this job, taking another, never committing to anything. He spent copious amounts of time reading comic books, watching his favorite Judd Apatow movies, and whining about his lack of direction. He’s shluffy. He looks nothing like the man you used to look up to, the grandfather you adored, who wasn’t a perfect man but who did hard things, took care of his family, and would have looked at you speechless if you asked him how he found himself and his purpose in life. He’s sweet-hearted and cuddly, but something about that rubs you wrong. Aren’t you supposed to be the one who epitomizes those traits?
Actually, this dude has a brother. This guy is a man, a mensch. He’s a power-broker, ambitious, handsome, devastating in conversation. Your knees go weak every time he talks to you. He has the bearing of a Greek philosopher-king and the confidence only a financial whiz can possess. He’s taken you on a few dates, and you were held in his thrall, but then he went weeks, even months, without calling you. You were confused, but you shrugged it off. Later you heard he proposed to a Chilean government strategist who modeled on the side. You sighed at the news, but moved on with your life. A year or two later you were surprised–though not shocked–to find that he had compromised his marriage by a bender in Las Vegas. Turns out that the bender wasn’t isolary, either–the guy had cheated on his wife ten times over.
Let’s switch back to the real world here and end our David Brooksian tour of modern secular men. It’s a brave new world out there, one forged by a diverse combination of factors–feminism, WW2, the sixties, the rise of boy culture in the early twentieth century, a corresponding condemnation of men. In some ways, it offers modern women most everything they could want–money, success, status, stuff. But it takes off the table the one thing that many women want more than anything else: a good man.
I write this all in a sprightly tone, but this is a dastardly situation. It signals the devolution of the family. It promises suffering and heartache for women and, if men will have them, children. Christians should realize that this new narrative for men and women is playing out all around them.
We don’t look at Anthony Weiner and the state of marriage today and scoff. We grieve. We know that outside of the grace of Jesus Christ we could well be wreaking that kind of havoc. We feel just anger at what is transpiring, anger that inspires us to break awkward silences and share the gospel with those we encounter. In our churches, through the fellowship of brothers and much prayer to a great God, we show the world a better way, a new breed of men, redeemed, not boys, not unfaithful, not dogs.