by The Urban Blabbermouth
By now we have all heard about television newsman Brian Williams's return to work after his suspension for telling tall tales about his military adventures in Afghanistan. Turns out that his telling of tall tales is a sign of a deeper issue - we now have a large number of professional men who have never served in the military.
One of the Rites of Passage to manhood is to prove your strength and courage. Becoming a warrior is the traditional way to do this. It is rather obvious why; standing tall in the face of an enemy who threatens your life requires strength and courage. Now, that enemy need not be another warrior. When there is no war, when there is no human warrior to face, we can substitute another life threatening activity such as catching and killing a lion, a tiger, or some other equally dangerous predator.
That professional men avoid military service is not a new phenomenon. During the American Civil War, wealthy men could buy their way out of military service. This caused riots during the Civil War. The irony is that for a long time, the ruling class of many western countries came from the military. In England, it is still expected that the male members of the Royal house serve in some capacity in the military. Here in the United States, we have reached a time when we are closer to none of the members of Congress, all four hundred and thirty-five of them, never having served in the military.
Today with the US Military deployed in active battle zones all over the world, men are back to facing another warrior to prove their strength and courage. Professional men have avoided this test and are considered less than true men. No one speaks of it openly but they do think it. Some men now feel shame for avoiding military service. So it is not surprising that professional men, like Brian Williams, make up tall tales to compensate.
We do not need to return to mandatory military service. What we do need is a modern version of the Rite of Passage to prove young men’s strength and courage. We need the modern equivalent of hunting and capturing a lion. Making billions of dollars or playing paintball does not cut it. Well, there is always the ancient gladiator sport of Boxing.