Monday, October 29, 2018

Being fiery, thin skinned, emotional & seeking retribution/righting wrongs is the historic definition of manhood? via The Art Of Manliness...

Wow.  This one is gonna be controversial and will rub many the wrong way.  Let me say ahead of time...Send all your bitches, gripes and complaints to The Art Of Manliness Blog.  But to get you started here's a primer.
In August 1937, Ernest Hemingway stopped by the office of Max Perkins, his book editor at Scribner’s. Perkins happened to already be hosting another visitor: Max Eastman, a writer of commentary on politics, philosophy, and literature who had several years prior penned a critical review of Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon. “It is of course a commonplace that anyone who too much protests his manhood lacks the serene confidence that he is made out of iron,” Eastman had written, “[and] some circumstance seems to have laid upon Hemingway a continual sense of the obligation to put forth evidences of red-blooded masculinity.”

Hemingway was extremely sensitive to criticism and derided those who peddled it as envious, milksop non-doers who lobbed invective from the safety of the spectator’s gallery. That Eastman had not only critiqued his writing, but questioned the thing in which “Papa” took the most pride — his manhood — made the “libel” even more galling. Though Hemingway had penned a searing rebuttal at the time, the passage of years had done nothing to dampen his sense of indignation and desire for avengement.

Now his chance had come.

Hemingway had been particularly irked at Eastman’s dig that he had created “a literary style . . . of wearing false hair on the chest.” To literally affirm his hirsuteness, Papa therefore initiated their encounter by ripping open his shirt to reveal a chest which Eastman admitted “was hairy enough for anyone.” Hemingway then tore open Eastman’s shirt, exposing a chest which was in comparison, Perkins observed, “bare as a bald man’s head.”

Thus far, Hemingway had only been “fooling” around. But catching sight of the very volume which contained Eastman’s critical essay lying on his editor’s desk, he got “sore.”

Hemingway demanded that its author read the critical passages aloud. When Eastman refused, Hemingway slapped him across the face with the book. The two fell over the desk and wrestled a bit, before Hemingway broke into a broad grin and regained his good humor.

Many moderns are apt to view this episode as rather ridiculous, and Hemingway as demonstrating an insecure machoism. If not an example of faux manliness, it’s apt to be seen as evidence of misdirected emotion — why care so much about what other people thought of you? It seems like a real exercise in pointlessness.

Except for one thing.

Hemingway’s passionate hate for his haters seemingly fueled his work. After he was especially excoriated by critics for Across the River and Into the Trees, “it was Ernest’s pride that defied the naysayers and goaded him into writing The Old Man and the Sea,” his friend A.E. Hotchner observed. “It was an absolutely perfect counterattack and I envisioned a row of snickering carpies . . . who in the midst of cackling, ‘Through! Washed Up! Kaput!’ suddenly grab their groins and keel over.”

Being touchy about his honor was what ultimately catalyzed Hemingway’s greatest literary masterpiece. 
It only gets better from there with a look back at ancient Rome.  Check it out here.  Once you've read it all I'd be interested in your opinions!

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