As I walked through the living room recently, I noticed that the television was tuned to a daytime talk show on which the host was pumping up the audience with some inane question. I think it was, “Why can’t men be more like women?” Or perhaps it was, “What is wrong with men, anyway?”
What surprised me was that the host was a man. His name was Jones Smith, or Smith Jones, or some crazy combination of last names.
“Say,” I told my wife, who was reading while the program played, “didn’t that guy used to be a real journalist on television? And now he’s Oprah lite?”
“He’s making a lot of sense,” she replied without looking up from her book.
No, he wasn’t making sense. He was just indulging in the current broadcast crime against society in which men are considered second-class citizens and are portrayed that way.
TV is one big Man Haters’ Club.
You know what I’m talking about. Name any TV talk show – I don’t watch them, so I can’t help you – and it’s a good bet the topic five days a week will be along the lines of “Why are men such slobs?” or “Men who won’t do the housework” or “My husband never shares his innermost feelings with me.”
Every faux doctor who gets his or her own talk show makes a bundle by stirring up the studio and home audiences with tales of men’s failures, foibles, sins and crimes.
My wife told me there is even a crime show that deals with (well, glorifies, anyway) women who “snap” and kill their husbands. Apparently, a man who kills his wife is branded a cold-blooded, misogynistic murderer – and rightly so – but a woman who returns the favor simply reached her breaking point.
Entertainment programming is no better. Name a drama or sitcom, and the chances are the man is to blame for this week’s troubles. The male character – usually too fat for his clothes and not as smart as his fifth-grader – has to be led out of the wilderness by his patient, understanding wife or girlfriend. For every bumbling Fred Flintstone, trying to watch the game in his man cave, there is a Wilma to switch off the set and nudge him toward evolution.
Commercials are just as bad. If you believe them, men are not capable of selecting the right menu item in a fast-food joint, understanding their cellphones or cable TV (although TV is apparently their all-consuming love), planning a vacation, buying decent clothes, picking out gifts, remembering birthdays – well, you get the idea.
We’re hopeless, I tell you.
Don’t get me wrong. Men and women are different, and I’m glad. We’re made that way, and I think we should honor those natural tendencies we inherit. We each have our strengths and our weaknesses.
But, then, what do I know? I’m just a man.