Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Company men

That men are ultimately betrayed by patriarchy is evident anytime we turn our attention to the elder patriarch in his final days. The power he once wielded as a man is gone; his appeal no longer comes from good looks or vitality -- merely "being male."

Under capitalism, the identity assigned to him as "king of the family" is usually earned in servitude to an employer, where men's experience of subjugation is explained to them as the good fortune of a career. Subsequently, the patriarch invests himself in subjugation as a point of pride while remaining estranged from those most eager to love him.

When he retires, the relation he cared for most is absent, while his natural bonds are alien. The deceit performed on men that their power is derived by forfeiting who they are for what they are assigned to be always finds expression in a man's last days, when he can no longer sustain the pretense of fulfilling his assignment.

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