September 16th, 2008 at 9:21 am
It seems as if Gary Cross is not the only one who has been thinking about how men are failing to grow up. A recent article in the Washington Post discusses Men to Boys: The Making of Immaturity and three other books looking at the crisis of male (im)maturity.
While the article finds fault with some of the other books’ assessments of the contemporary American man-boy, here’s what it had to say about Men to Boys:
Gary Cross, a professor of history, makes firmer connections in Men to Boys: The Making of Modern Immaturity. Cross slides through 20th-century culture in loping, eloquent paragraphs. He gives us informed wryness — as when he observes that the patron saint of modern manhood has morphed from Cary Grant (mature) to Hugh Grant (not) — and then tells us what it means. We’ve rejected the Victorian patriarch without finding a suitable substitute, he says, and “youth is no longer a stage of life but a ‘refuge’ from the now tangled and obscured path to maturity.” Woven between indictments of our youth-centric media and cultural decay is the observation that pitting women against men in a war of rights — and of “defining the victim” — has rendered male baby boomers unable to put on a strong, masculine face for their offspring.