'Jesus was a man's man' or something like it is asserted with strange regularity.
The state shall be dangerously weak until all women are eager to raise boys to manhood and all men are eager to die.
It's a myth that Honduras and El Salvador went to war over soccer. They were already in a fierce land dispute when their national teams happened to play to a stalemate in a home/away playoff for the right to advance to the second round of North/Central/Caribbean American World Cup qualifying. The land in dispute was as I recall about thirty square miles, but you know thirty square miles is fucking important if you're small enough. I've tried to think of a good metaphor here but everything I think strikes me as chauvinist and condescending.
I remember the immediate aftermath of 9/11, when the concept of was scoffed at as something completely insane, a true and healthy response in itself, but also as something quite specific to 'them' and alien to our own enlightened being. In my Catholic school years I would dig through the lives of the saints during free reading time and knew that the West glorifies martyrdom to suit its own ends same as everyone, and furthermore I knew that all of my neighbors knew we did even as they scoffed at the 78 virgins or whatever it was.
'The martyr's fallacy' it's called, the assumption that either the willingness to or actual act of dying for a cause is proof that the cause is correct but I don't think that fallacy is really the proper term. It's more of a willful lust than a failure of thought, liberation from the fear of death through the very idea of a cause more important than survival; freedom from all fears of inadequacy or weakness in the thought that being laid low by your enemies is merely what's supposed to happen. 'Heads I win tails you lose etc.' Whether a historically kicked down people like my ancestral Poland wants to view a humiliating history as something prideful or a strong entity like the United States or the Catholic Church wants to mark their position of dominance as born of brave human vulnerability the utility of the martyrdom myth is the same.
When my grandfather died he was buried with military honors. He had safe desk work in the last days of World War II and my uncle saluted his father's coffin as it was lowered down. Grandpa mentioned that he had been in the army is all that he said of it to the grandkids. He liked the American Legion Club. He liked having discounts on his stiff-ass drinks. Whether he considered his service to be the One defining measure of his American manhood I wouldn't guess so. I'd guess that he'd of spoken of it more often than rarely if that were the case; and I though it deeply ham-fisted of my uncle when he saluted the corpse. Millions of strangers in the army and this is your one ultimate bind to your father? No.
Harry Spahn was the leader of my grandfather's honor guard. Harry Spahn was the weatherman for the North Platte NBC affiliate form several years and still the most well-regarded one to this day, deferred to as an elder real primal like. Harry Spahn was a navy man I think it was. He had been to the South Pole to learn how to tell navy weather. Harry Spahn has been retired for over twenty years and still jogs every day. He'd be at least close to ninety now as I figure. Harry Spahn once wrote to the editor of the N.P telegraph chastising local science teachers for using the foreign metric system.
My high school art teacher once painted Harry Spahn as this geoconic cyberpunk sort of thing and it was pretty cool. My high school art teacher was Harry Spahn's junior by at least twenty five years and has been dead from lung cancer for about five now. My high school art teacher had been to Vietnam and told the myriad Veterans groups to go fuck themselves. My high school art teacher once showed us 'To Kill A Mockingbird' on a token-half day before break which, to think back upon it now, is like 'come the hell on really?' The American Legion started a youth baseball program to teach young men the inherently anti-communist values of competition and the Soviets began legally conscripting hockey players for permanent service some years after.
I have never played chicken with a cigarette though I have seen it done and know how.